Music news

Allen Toussaint
Allen Toussaint

Rooms to Go

Alongside record numbers of registrants and performers, SXSW has signed up more venues than ever this year, with 63 stages in the fold. "Todd Puckhaber, the person primarily responsible for booking the venues this year, is especially diligent and really worked hard, so it would be wrong not to credit him," says SXSW Creative Director Brent Grulke, fighting off a nasty cold. As usual, the roster is heavy with new clubs (Dirty Dog Bar, Molotov Lounge, Club One 15, Karma Lounge, Copa) and Sixth Street rooms that don't normally host live music, like Exodus, Eternal, Caribbean Lights, and the Jackalope. Grulke isn't sure if the economic effects of the smoking ban made club owners more willing to come aboard this year, because SXSW has always provided a financial boost for bars that would otherwise be dark over spring break. This year all but two venues, the Back Room and Continental Club, are downtown, with SXSW providing free shuttle service from the Hilton downtown to and from the Back Room. The Continental, meanwhile, is a brief cab ride away, as is Auditorium Shores, where the lineups are now set for free shows on the Town Lake Stage: Mr. Lif, Blackalicious, Spoon, and Echo & the Bunnymen Thursday; Rosanne Cash, Josh Ritter, and the Little Willies (aka Norah Jones and friends) Friday; and an all-day affair saluting Louisiana Saturday with Houston's Calvin Owens Blues Orchestra, BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet, Buckwheat Zydeco, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Allen Toussaint, Sam Moore, and more. SXSW wristbands, by the way, go on sale 10am today (Thursday) at Waterloo Records, at $130 for the first 2,000 and $150 for the next 2,000. Limit two per customer.
Keys to their hearts: Shandon (l) and Shawn Sahm
Keys to their hearts: Shandon (l) and Shawn Sahm (Photo By Joey Guerra)

Coming Down the Pike

Finally available on DVD, the 1972 cult film Cisco Pike contains one of only two celluloid appearances by the late Doug Sahm. The Genuine Texas Groover plays Rex, a musician whom this week's cover boy Kris Kristofferson visits in the studio while trying to unload some marijuana forced on him by corrupt cop Gene Hackman. Sahm's screen time is brief, four minutes or so, but long enough for him to utter classic lines like, "See my manager, he handles the bread trips," and, "That stuff you gave me really hurt my head." "I remember going to the theatre and watching it," says Sahm's elder son, Shawn. "All of us were thinking he didn't really have to act, he'd just get in front of the camera and be Doug." "When Curt Kirkwood watched it, he was like, 'Man, he's totally playing himself,'" agrees younger son Shandon. Sahm may well have been in more movies than Cisco and 1979's More American Graffiti, but his priorities were elsewhere. "He didn't have a phone, so he used to get his calls at Oat Willie's in the Seventies," says Shawn. "They called wanting him to do More American Graffiti, and he told the cat on the phone he didn't know if he could do the movie or not because that was World Series time." Both Sahm sons continue extending their dad's legacy through their own music: Shawn's Tex-Mix Orchestra has played several dates with Los Lonely Boys, and Shandon's Knock Yourself Out, featuring members of Amplified Heat, Southern Gun Culture, and Mr. Lewis & the Funeral Five, comes out next month. "It's like the old days: 10 songs in 28 minutes," beams Shandon. "I'm like, 'Dude, I came in one minute under [KISS'] Dressed to Kill!"
Illustration By Nathan Jensen

Danke Schon

Local talent wrangler supreme Charles Attal walked away with the top prize at Pollstar's annual Concert Industry Awards last week at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay hotel, taking the Bill Graham Award for Concert Promoter of the Year. "I couldn't believe it," he says. "There were a lot of good people on that list." Even sweeter, handing him the award was Mr. Vegas himself, presenter Wayne Newton. "He was awesome," says Attal. "We walked back into the green room and got some pictures, and he hung out and talked for a little bit." It was Attal's first nomination and first win, and the Austin City Limits Music Festival, which he books, also won for Music Festival of the Year. "It was our year last year," Attal says. "I think we were due."

The Infinite Pet

The accolades keep rolling in for Spoon's Gimme Fiction, at No. 14 the highest-ranking Texas album in the Village Voice's 2005 Pazz & Jop poll. Other Lone Stars cited were Lee Ann Womack (56), Okkervil River (58), Trail of Dead (96), Smog (111), Rodney Crowell (120), James McMurtry (144), and Revenant Records' American Primitive Vol. II: Prewar Revenants (1897-1939) (151). Spoon also placed "I Turn My Camera On" and "Sister Jack" in the P&J survey of last year's Top 100 singles; see the whole enchilada at

Misprint magazine is having a party for its new "SXSWasted" issue Saturday at the Flamingo Cantina with the Ugly Beats, Lomita, Zom Zoms, and 'Til We're Blue or Destroy. "We're tired of other crappy indie pubs coming into Austin once a year and dropping one stinkbomb SXSW issue after another on us," says Misprint's Bryan Keplesky. "If it's going to be a stinkbomb, it might as well be from some local dudes like us." The $5 cover helps Misprint pay for their March 18 day party, also at the Flamingo.

Kudos to Ruta Maya International HQ, which placed fifth in Food & Wine magazine's survey of the top American coffee bars, the only Southern java joint apart from New Orleans' Cafe du Monde to do so. "Terrific coffee exclusively from Chiapas, Mexico, and great live music," notes the article, available in the March issue or online at

The Austin Music Foundation's first Music Industry Boot Camp of 2006 considers the State of the Austin Music Industry Monday, 6:30pm, at the Lucky Lounge. On hand to discuss will be Texas Music Office director Casey Monahan, Flamingo Cantina owner Angela Gillen, Waterloo Records owner John Kunz, artists Sara Hickman, Troy Campbell, Tee Double, and others. Free.

Best of luck to the Texas Rollergirls, competing with 19 other flat-track teams in Tucson this weekend for the 2006 Dust Devil National Championship. The Rollergirls start their 2006 season March 5 at Playland Skate Center with music from the Total Foxes, while their banked-track Lonestar Rollergirl rivals spring into action 6pm Sunday at the Crockett Center, 10601 N. Lamar, with expanded seating and a "surprise" musical guest.

Mr. Kite's Corner

Sweatbox Studios, displaced by the recent fires at their downtown offices, has dozens of master tapes they'd like to reunite with their owners. About two-thirds of their inventory was successfully moved to new location Nevele Eleven; of those that didn't make it, Sweatbox's Bryan Nelson says, "Some are in good shape, some are in bad shape ... [but] maybe even some of the very bad ones can be salvaged." So Adult Rodeo, Cryin' Out Louds, Euripides Pants, El Flaco, the Satans, Tallboy, this means you. The full list will be available Friday at Emo's Sweatbox benefit with Poison 13, Stepbrothers, Gorch Fock, the Meat Purveyors, and Possessed by Paul James.

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SXSW, venues, wristbands, shuttle, Town Lake shows, Cisco Pike, Doug Sahm, Shandon Sahm, Shawn Sahm, Charles Attal, Pollstar, Bill Graham Award, Austin City Limits Music Festival, Wayne Newton, Sweatbox Studios, Spoon, Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll, Misprint magazine, Ruta Maya, Austin Music Foundation

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