The End of Austin Mic Exchange

Organizers retire the community cypher

For the past five years, local MCs, poets, and producers have come together weekly at Spider House to trade bars, gain stage experience, and hook up with collaborators at the Austin Mic Exchange. Today, organizers announce they’ll retire the Wednesday night event Sept. 20.

Pass the Mic: An MC convergence at Spider House during AMX (Courtesy of Adam Protextor)

AMX founders Leah Manners, host of KOOP’s long-running Hip-Hop Hooray program, and rapper/filmmaker Adam Protextor have become busier with their music and radio careers, and no longer entertain the bandwidth to devote to the popular open mic. They didn’t arrive at the decision lightly, but they’re hoping others pick up the baton.

“When we started AMX, there wasn’t a lot of weekly hip-hop events,” says Manners. “I think partly it’s a cyclical thing, but also we’ve seen the community grow a lot. Now, there are a lot more opportunities for artists.”

During the run, which began on Tuesdays in 2012 and later switched to mid-week, Manners witnessed multiple generations of artists come through AMX, get live performance experience, then graduate into putting on their own shows – a testament to AMX’s mission of fostering Austin hip-hop. Protextor’s proudest of different sub-scenes coming together, first on the campus venue’s patio, then later in the studio and onstage.

“We’ve seen so many collaborations and shows come from artists who met at AMX,” he attests. “They take that energy and make their own things out of it.”

There will be four more weeks of regular AMX Wednesdays, in which a sign-up sheet slots you to perform a single song, before a farewell concert that lands almost exactly a half-decade to the day from that first night.

“The five-year anniversary seemed like an appropriate time to put a bow on it and celebrate the community that’s been there, the family we’ve made, and what we’ve done,” says Protextor. “The last night is going to be a big party showcasing the most talented people who’ve been part of AMX.”

Here’s that lineup for Wednesday, Sept. 20:

Average Nick
Ben Buck
Chuck Duze
Coota Brown
EyeRon Marie
Phraynkh P
Shirt Off Fe
Sith Assassins
The Elephant in the Room
Tone Royal
Valor Alan
You F Oh
Zackary Golden

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Austin Mic Exchange, Leah Manners, Adam Protector, Spider House, KOOP, Hip-Hop Hooray

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