Operators is on tour right now. I saw them live. You should, too.
Current touring lineup is Devojka, Sam Brown and Dan Boeckner. It is a tight trio across the front of the stage letting you pick if you want drums, guitar/vox or synths front and center for your earholes. I will ruin any form of review by just telling you it was so good. The collision of this band, visuals from the display screen behind and outstanding sound in the venue made for a fantastic night for fans.
DOOMSQUAD, a Toronto trio of two sisters and a brother, laid down quirky disco grooves in their opening spot as a bonus.
Blue Wave was one of our favorite records of 2016. Radiant Dawn is well on its way to getting the plays from all of us at ATH to make the top albums of 2019. Operators is Dan Boeckman’s currently active project; Dan is a very nice person to meet and talk to about music and all the other things. Devojka, Sam Brown, and Dustin Hawthorne make things whole and this band puts out an amazing level of jam live. I am salivating at hearing them fill the speakers at 3Ten. Get tickets here or at the door, a sample below from the previous tour of one of my favorite jams.
Sometimes, we get invited to little functions here in the business end of the music industry in Austin, TX. We are quite fortunate to have one of the great venues in the world in our backyard, a venue that takes its name from one of the great music television program in the world. ACL Live is coming up on seven years as the home of Austin City Limits show tapings and has not rested on their reputation. Small tweaks have been made throughout the years, but the first major overhaul of the show experience was just completed. The lighting system has been fully revamped, all LED with more and better housings with variable colors, new pattern and motion capabilities and less power consumption and downtime for maintenance.
This seems as good a time as any to take a little tour ACL Live and little brother venue, 3TEN, and learn what’s up in the bat cave.
Nostalgia acts are difficult. Ticket prices are usually higher, merch is prominent, meet and greets are “a thing” and expectations can be low. I have had several great experiences lately with bands I loved years ago coming in and performing at an insanely high level including two recent shows at 3ten with The Fixx and Midge Ure.
The Church, more to the point Steve Kilbey and a slowly evolving support band, last came through Austin for SxSW. I was always overlapped and didn’t have the chance to catch them along the way. When I saw the announcement for The Church to headline a show at 3ten, my interest level was sufficient to go on radar. When I saw the announcement that The Helio Sequence would open, I was locked in as they are one of my favorite things.
It was a good show, but not without issues. That is what we call a teaser. Click through for notes and all the pics.
Everyone is already looking forward to doing it again. More on that later. I took photos, we did our shimmy thing, records were sold, merch was sold, group shots, industry discussions, ball-busting, cider sampled, dogs joined in, kids were indoctrinated into collecting vinyl.
Modern Outsider, Super Secret Records, Western Vinyl, Holodeck Records, Launch Cycle, Chicken Ranch Records, Keeled Scales, Saint Marie Records, Nine Mile Records and, as Nate said, our own little ATH Records all had the booths up and running. We had the musical stylings of The Sour Bridges and A. Sinclair.
Please enjoy my little photo essay on the Austin Record Label Flea Market. Click through to see what you missed or reminisce…
As I mentioned in the preview, Midge Ure was last in town, almost exactly two years ago. Oh, those were much simpler times, weren’t they? Though not in name, the idea of the current climate was a subject of between song banter and related to several titles, even if just loosely. Fitting given the protest that night, call it a warmup for the women’s march. There were many songs that he could not do justice in the acoustic only set from The Cactus, in particular hearing “Reap the Wild Wind” was bucket list stuff for me.
Listen up, you whipper snappers. Midge Ure is an important figure in music. His work in Silk and Thin Lizzy shaped rock and roll while Visage and Ultravox still heavily influence the current flood of excellent synth pop. He co-wrote and played all instruments on “Do They know It’s Christmas”.
I last caught up with Midge almost exactly two years ago. He played an intimate acoustic show at The Cactus, one of the best things I have ever seen on stage. Midge, with band in tow, is back to play all those synth-laden jams he couldn’t play that night. His vocal is still outstanding, his stories endearing. Dallas-based Nite will kick things off a little after doors open at 8pm. Please join us.
So, there are risks in going to shows of bands that you loved from twenty years ago, hell even ten years ago. The Fixx was booked at 3TEN, probably the ideal venue for shows like this. It is a band that will draw a crowd of nostalgia seekers and the younger audience that made the discovery. I mean, Reach the Beach was among the first CDs I bought after getting my first player. It was important to me and I will put that record up against any of the current crop of nostalgia-driven indie prominent right now. The rack of keyboards, the front man with a specifically strong vocal and the mix of guitar and synth to build the layers – it is all there for you to love and rediscover.
We had a little extra dose of semi-local nostalgia in Deep Blue Something. You know who they are…