Music news

Red all over

Changes are afoot, somewhat, at Red's Scoot Inn. The relatively secluded Eastside venue at 1308 E. Fourth was recently bought by the Longbranch Inn owners, who take over the lease in January. The stage goes silent after Dec. 14's Festivus throwdown with the White Ghost Shivers and Shanghai 5, but not for long; word is the new owners will continue stocking the Scoot with live music. After Red River hip-hop/dance room Red 7 was held up at gunpoint this summer, in September the owner turned it over to a group of East Coast transplants who overhauled it into an all-ages, inside/outside DIY venue patterned after clubs back home. "We have to bring in 21-plus crowds once in a while to get the rent paid," says co-manager Jared Cannon, "but we can also have 10 bands on a Monday that only bring in a 14-to-19-year-old crowd." (Redrum, meanwhile, hosts a Dimebag Darrell tribute Friday; hot newcomers Crash Gallery play the Red Eyed Fly Saturday; and Peter & the Wolf mastermind Red Hunter will spend next month in Los Angeles recording his new album.) In other real estate news, KOOP radio (91.7FM) completes its comeback from last winter's devastating fires this Saturday, when it signs on from new studios at 3823-B Airport Blvd. at 9am. The station plans an open house in January or February "to say thanks," says station manager Kim McCarson. And Monday, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., the parent company of the W boutique-hotel chain, announced it will open a 250-capacity Austin location at Block 21, the much-debated parcel of Downtown real estate across from City Hall. The site will also house an expanded Austin Children's Museum and 2,000-seat theatre/music venue for Austin City Limits, with ground-breaking and completion dates TBD.

Here Comes the Sun

Sunny Sweeney is in holiday-shopping hell. The rising Austin country singer's need for a new trailer lock has taken her to the consumer-clogged aisles of Wal-Mart. "I was about to kill people," she says from the relative safety of the parking lot. That's about all Sweeney can complain about lately: Her 2006 debut, Heartbreaker's Hall of Fame, was picked up by Universal offshoot Big Machine this month. The label, also home to chart-topping Austinite Jack Ingram, will re-release it – untouched – in March. To this day, Sweeney, a 2001 Texas State grad alongside KVET regular Randy Rogers, swears she doesn't know how the CD wound up in founder Scott Borchetta's Nashville office. "It's like a fairy tale," she says. "He got my CD in a blank envelope, and he doesn't know how he got it." The Longview native, whose East Texas twang seasons Tanya Tucker's "Delta Dawn," Waylon Jennings' "Good Hearted Woman," and Heartbreaker's "Lavender Blue" (a duet with pal Jim Lauderdale), to name a few, uses the quick wit she honed in local improv troupe Comedy Sports to banter with regulars at Burnet Road saloon the Poodle Dog Lounge, where her Sunday-night residency of more than two years ends Dec. 17. Dodging the sometimes overenthusiastic dancers has made Sweeney's reflexes equally keen. "One time this chick was drunk, and she almost knocked my teeth out," she says. "Now I'll just push 'em back. It's a full-contact sport."

Gig 'Em

Late-Eighties acoustic UT fave Twang Twang Shock-a-Boom reunites for Saturday's Sustainable Shopper's Ball by the Sunset Valley Farmers Market and a "secret" midnight show Friday at the Cactus Cafe... American Graveyard spins yarns from its scruffy self-titled debut Friday at Room 710... It's North Vs. South revisited Saturday as Grand Champeen storms 710 and Beerland serves up a joint Moonlight Towers/Til We're Blue or Destroy birthday bash... The TunaHelpers host a "psychedelic showcase" with Rubber Robot and Confuzatron at Emo's Lounge Friday... AUX releases its fuzz-shrouded debut EP Saturday at the Hole in the Wall with Manikin and Crawling With Kings... Ray Benson, Eliza Gilkyson, and Slaid Cleaves kick off the 2006 Armadillo Christmas Bazaar Saturday at the Austin Music Hall. See for a full schedule.

Friday in the Park

The future prospects for Austin's newest outdoor music festival, Fun Fun Fun Fest, seem as clear and bright as the weather for its inaugural run last Friday. Between 3,000 and 4,000 people – many of whom, as the Octopus Project pointed out, were skipping work and/or school – attended the daylong event at Waterloo Park, which nonetheless felt far from full. "The bar's doing great, though," mused organizer/Emo's booker Graham Williams as indie-stage headliners Spoon shuffled through the new "Don't Make Me a Target." The stages' proximity meant it took mere seconds to stroll from the Black Angels' warm blanket of creeping doom to the Riverboat Gamblers' amped-up antics, but sound bleed-over was minimal: The maelstrom of bottles and bodies whipped up by punk-stage closers Circle Jerks was clearly visible, but not audible, from down front at Spoon. A family vibe dominated, as Mohawk-sporting children streaked through the crowd playing tag, teenagers canoodled on park benches and picnic tables, and Spoon frontman Britt Daniel and the Applicators singer Sabrina each acknowledged their moms from the stage. Standouts included the fierce Iron Maiden-style metal of Austin's Iron Age, fist-pumping punk from locals Krum Bums and Lower Class Brats, the steamy Southern rawk of Memphis' Lucero, and Quintron & Miss Pussycat's Pixy Stix-powered dance party. During Negative Approach's growling set, Williams even found time to stage-dive, a luxury he earned several times over. "I was up at 5:30am for a KXAN interview," he said earlier. "It's killing me."
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