The Austin Chronicle's 14th Anniversary
Laguna Gloria, Sunday 10As the old timers around here like to recall, Chronicle anniversaries used to consist of a few joints passed around the back of Liberty Lunch as the True Believers raged on stage. Now, it's red wine, kids running rampant all over the grounds of Laguna Gloria, and word-smiths like Jimmy LaFave spinning tales of life on the planet Texas. That's what growing up is all about. Help us celebrate the gray at the temples with Kris McKay and Leeann Atherton on the acoustic stage; La Fave, Marcia Ball, and Alvin Crow on the electric stage, and a whole passel of performers in the Children's Tent. Party kicks off at 2pm, and admission is $5.
TEXAS UNION OPEN HOUSE
UT Union, Friday 8Lolla-what? Four stages at the UT Union? Free? It's a free-for-all: Sincola, Horsies, and K. McCarty rock the upstairs ballroom; The Escovedo Orchestra, Susanna Sharpe & Samba Police, as well as Espiritu are on the patio outside of the Union Wendy's; Pork and Noodle destroy the Tavern, and uncle Walser yodels in the Cactus. It all starts at 9pm.
INT'L MUSIC EXTRAVAGANZA
Casa de Luz, Friday 8Multi-culturalism is an oft-abused term but there's not a better one to describe this fiesta that includes a bevy of Austin performers - like East Babylon Symphony, Antonio Dionisio, and Steve Bernal - and international journeymen musicians who will transform this outdoor venue into a tropical isle in the Caribbean.
CINCO AñOS! FIESTA
Liberty Lunch, Saturday 9Not quite as old as us Chroniclers, Trance has managed to accomplish just as much in five years (just check the new Cinco Años comp), and to prove it, they've assembled some of their finest label stalwarts in Starfish, Cleveland's My Dad is Dead (on the new Trance imprint Emperor Jones), Sixteen Deluxe, and Bedhead. All hail the King!
Antone's, Sunday 10It's fitting that this year's keyboard lovefest is dedicated to the late Erbie Bowser - he was the Eastside's own Piano Man. With long, tall Marcia Ball as hostess plus Johnny Nicholas, Floyd Domino, and other ivory-ticklers on hand, Pianorama continues its traditional tribute to 88 keys and those who make 'em sing at Austin's Home of the Blues. Guy Forsyth takes the mike at midnight. - Margaret Moser
FOO FIGHTERS, SPEARHEAD
Liberty Lunch, Monday 11As was the case with Hole's Live Through This, it took but one listen to the Foo Fighters debut to know it was gonna end up on a lot of Top Ten lists. Bottom line: Dave Grohl is carrying on the Nirvana legacy - as a guitarist no less - and doing a mighty fine job.
Steamboat, Tuesday 12Nevermind the huge sold-out shows in Paris and the rest of Europe - those people just cain't get enough Texas Strat Magik. It's here in the states that Chris Duarte's making inroads, especially if you're paying attention to Billboard's new blues charts. He's right up there with the Claptons and Crays. Two separate shows here to get 'em all in.
Babes, Wednesday 13Thanks to Don Walser's Monday nights, Babes has become an unlikely C&W hangout, and they'd do well to get Dale Watson's good looks and real-deal licks on that small stage more often. Along with Walser, Junior Brown, and the Derailers, Watson's the type of C&W maverick making Austin - once again - the outlaw capital.
Cactus Cafe, Wednesday 13 & Thursday 14Dar Williams is to the Northeast what Nanci Griffith is to the Southwest: a strong yet sensitive woman with a thorough sense of her roots and an uncanny ability to manipulate emotional buttons. Her SXSW '95 gig was a formidable display of the latter. She had a full-house laughing one second, angry the next, and shuddering in tears at the end. Williams' Honesty Room LP ranks in the same upper echelon of song-oriented albums as Griffith's Last of the True Believers and Escovedo's Gravity. Williams is made of the stuff that will inspire female folkies-to-be. -Joe Mitchell
BOTTLE ROCKETS, DEAD HOT WORKSHOP
Electric Lounge, Thursday 14Some records overflow with anger, lust and soul. The Bottle Rockets' Brooklyn Side oozes fun, nicely balancing country wit with rock riffs in compact songs. The band's last show in town was a SXSW Waterloo Brewing showcase you could hear clear down to Liberty Lunch, making believers of locals and tourists alike. Those lucky enough to catch that intimate Joan Osborne Continental Club show are still singing the praises of her opener, Dead Hot Workshop - a Tempe band with songs to make them better than simply a Gin Blossoms with balls. Miss Xanna Don't and Lone Star Queens open. - Andy Langer
Emo's, Thursday 14If you missed this Australian trio's blistering set at Lollapalooza due to lack of funds or a resistance to alternative nation's cattlecall, this is the time to grab the loose change outta your couch, and tap into some of the best instrumental improv in this lifetime. Including members of Aussie punk roots bands The Sick Things, Venom, and P. Stinger, the Dirty Three play sad and dangerous songs about love. Dallas' Vibro Champs and The Reverb Brothers are also on the bill. - Kelly M. Petrash ALSO PLAYING
Friday: Vince Bell, Chicago House
Saturday: Abra Moore, Ruta Maya; Betty Elders, Waterloo 6th; Pocket FishRmen, Austin Outhouse
Sunday: Iguanas, Continental Club
Monday: Seed, Steamboat
Tuesday: Jon Blondell, Cedar Street
Wednesday: Dead End Cruisers, Tallboy, Blue Flamingo
Thursday: James Polk, Shady Grove