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David Brendan Hall

David Brendan Hall

Articles (11)

Where to eat the best BBQ in Austin, Texas

Where to eat the best BBQ in Austin, Texas

If there’s one kind of cuisine Austin does best, it’s barbecue. Of the many things to do in town, chomping on slabs of meat always ranks pretty highly on the agenda, both for tourists or locals alike. It therefore comes as no surprise that the brisket here is tender, the ribs juicy, and the sides as flavorful as the main event: corn on the cob, coleslaw, mac & cheese and green beans, by the pint with extra butter…that’s how we do it in Texas! Austin’s pitmasters are some of the most talented on the restaurant scene. Most utilize Central Texas BBQ traditions when it comes to smoking, salt and pepper rubs, and heat, while a few update them with modern twists. Nevertheless, all execute with plenty o’ Southern TLC. Ready to get the meat sweats? Here are the best BBQ joints in Austin. When you’re done, you’re gonna want to head to some of Bat City’s best bars for a refreshing beverage or walk off those calories with a hike on one of the many trails.

The best attractions in Austin, Texas right now

The best attractions in Austin, Texas right now

It is not just the best sports events, music festivals, and conferences that keep Austin busy year-round; the slew of awesome attractions, restaurants, and live music venues make it a fabulous evergreen destination of fun and frolics. Whether you only have 48 hours to explore or you’re a local looking to be a tourist in your own city, there really is something for everyone and plenty of outdoor space to enjoy. And it’s weird and varied. One minute you’ll find yourself sweating it out on the lake, then you’re at a trendy SoCo restaurant. Whatever the occasion, know this: Austin folk are some of the most friendly, open-minded, and welcoming around. You’ll have a swell time (margarita in hand), make some friends, and be hurrying back for more. Let’s go out and get exploring—here’s where to start. RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in Austin 

Best things to do with kids in Austin right now

Best things to do with kids in Austin right now

Austin is absolutely packed with awesome activities to keep kids and adults alike entertained; it's a city that boasts not only ample outdoor spaces, but also almost year-round good weather to make the most of them on. Even when the heat is deemed 'unbearable' by folk from the north, it’s nothing an iced beverage and Barton Springs pool can’t fix, and during those rare storms, the indoor spaces more than suffice in keeping y’all amused. It’s safe to say Austin will appeal to visitors and locals of all ages and all tastes. Whether you’re looking for fascinating museums to inspire and educate those curious minds; parks to bask in the sunshine and let them play; or you just fancy treating the whole clan to some yummy eats with a twist of silliness, there’s absolutely no need to leave the kiddies at home. Here are some of the most fun family activities in town. RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in Austin

The 25 best free things to do in Austin

The 25 best free things to do in Austin

Any Austinite will tell you that music, art, and the outdoors are what makes the city great. What they may forget to mention is that you can enjoy all three without paying a cent. In addition to sweeping landscapes full of free watering holes and spots to hike within city limits, the best free things to do in Austin include free live music shows nearly every day of the week, free admission to museums, free yoga or dance classes, and a multitude of other gratis events throughout the year. We’ve put together the ultimate list of free experiences in Austin, because why pay for something when you can do it for free? Save a buck and buy a taco instead.  RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in Austin

The 15 best outdoor activities in Austin

The 15 best outdoor activities in Austin

Austinites take pride in many aspects of their city: from the best BBQ in Austin to this diverse list of best venues for live music in Austin, the city is clearly a national hub of food and culture. But what many don’t know when researching the best things to do is the vast array of outdoor activities in Austin that both locals and tourists can enjoy, whether solo or with kids in tow. From alfresco concerts and movies to nature walks and boat tours, consult our guide to the best outdoor activities in Austin and fall in love with the city all over again.

The best movie theaters in Austin

The best movie theaters in Austin

Looking for the best movie theaters in Austin? Sure, our city may be known primarily as the Live Music Capital of the World (check out our favorite bars for live music and best venues for live music), but lately, it’s become just as lauded for its people’s dedication to and love of the film industry. Whether you’re looking for the best spots to catch outdoor movies, or trying to see as many of this month’s best new movies, our diverse list of the best movie theaters in Austin has you covered.  

The 10 best Austin museums

The 10 best Austin museums

When it comes to things to do in Austin, it’s often the killer bars and the best BBQ in Austin that will be top of mind. But the city is a culture-devourer’s delight as much as it is a playland for foodies and revelers, and the best Austin museums are among the top institutions in the country. Whether you’re looking to take a deep plunge into Texas’s history at the Bob Bullock museum or you're up for an exploration of popular culture, there is something for you. And bonus if you brought the little ones: Some of these great venues feature fun interactive exhibits that make them among the best things to do in Austin with kids.

The best New Year’s Eve parties in Austin

The best New Year’s Eve parties in Austin

It’s time to the face the facts: 2017 was a rough year for a lot of us, so it’s more important than ever to up the ante at one of the best New Year’s Eve parties in Austin. Sure, you’ve got your pick of the lot from Austin’s best rooftop bars replete with dazzling views of the city skyline to incredible concerts poppin’ off within the walls of Austin’s best live music venues, but if you’re going to brave the masses, you need an NYE party imbued with a bit of magic. Whether your fantasy is to dance the night away or get fancy among friends at the city's top cocktail bars, you can fulfill it by browsing our picks of the best New Year’s Eve parties in Austin. RECOMMENDED: Our guide to New Year's Eve in Austin

The best Austin restaurants open on Christmas Day

The best Austin restaurants open on Christmas Day

Going to a restaurant open on Christmas Day isn’t a tradition as near-and-dear to our hearts as, say, checking out Christmas lights and making sugar cookies. Maybe all you want for Christmas this year is to prepare a nice, home-cooked meal. But remember in A Christmas Story, when all Ralphie Parker wanted was a Red Ryder B.B. gun and everyone told him he’d shoot his eye out if he got one— and then he almost did?! The point is, cooking can be hazardous, and, let’s be real, nobody wants to clean all those dishes when you could be spending time with family and friends. Our gift to you: a shortlist of restaurants open on Christmas Day, including some of Austin’s best Chinese restaurants and top diners. So you don’t accidentally, you know, cook your eye out or anything like that. RECOMMENDED: Our guide to Christmas in Austin

A guide to Oktoberfest in Austin

A guide to Oktoberfest in Austin

Grab your steins! We’re already gearing up for Oktoberfest in Austin because, contrary to what the Bavarian celebration’s moniker suggests, the traditional Oktoberfests of Munich, Germany (the fest’s origin site since starting in 1810) begin mid- to late-September. So, on top of the myriad things to do in downtown Austin and the best craft beer bars to visit, we suggest perusing our detailed guide of the best Oktoberfest events in and around Austin—local festivities run all the way through early November. Check out Austin’s essential Oktoberfest parties featuring activities and food/drink specials (some of Austin's best breweries will be showing off new beers), and don’t forget: lederhosen and dirndls are always encouraged! Prost!

The top fine-dining restaurants to visit in Austin

The top fine-dining restaurants to visit in Austin

Among Austin’s elite fine-dining restaurants, from the best Italian restaurants to the best Japanese food, at least a few elements are consistent: exceptional service, extraordinary food and inventive beverage pairings (including some of the best cocktails in Austin). And with new high-end restaurants opening all the time, deciding where to spend your money only gets harder. Not to worry—among Austin's growing options, we’ve pinpointed the can’t-miss fine-dining establishments in town, those restaurants that combine extremely creative, consistently changing concepts with the highest quality seasonal ingredients. Whether you’re a visitor or an Austin resident, check out our top fine-dining recommendations for a memorable meal.

Listings and reviews (85)

Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail

Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail

Maybe getting out on the water isn't your bag, but you still love the serene sight of it with the city skyline as a backdrop. The solution: a stroll along the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail and Boardwalk, which hugs the south shore of downtown-adjacent Lady Bird Lake for 10 miles. It's especially stunning at sunrise or sunset as the light refracts off the buildings and onto the water, but with seven viewing areas and more than 300 piers (including ADA accessible), it's a superb option for exercise or leisure any time of the day.

Barton Springs Pool

Barton Springs Pool

Barton Springs Pool, ATX’s outdoor gem, is a surefire swell time on almost any day—even the cold ones! (It’s true: the year-round average 68-degree water actually feels warmer when it’s brisk out). But for a purer Austinite experience, head to this Zilker Park-adjacent swim spot on the night of each month’s first full moon. Our advice: arrive early (no later than 8:30pm)—because of overcrowding in the past, the city now limits the capacity to 750 people at $3 a pop. If you’ve ever wanted to channel your inner wolf and howl at the top of your lungs without fear of judgment, this lunar party’s for you!

Willie Nelson & Family New Year w/ Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real & Blackberry Smoke at ACL Live

Willie Nelson & Family New Year w/ Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real & Blackberry Smoke at ACL Live

If you’re looking to blend in with the locals, consider heading to this long-running ATX New Year’s Eve tradition. Ring in 2018 with Austin’s most important hometown musical hero, Willie Nelson, who wraps up his third and final night at ACL Live on NYE with support from his son, Lukas Nelson (and his fantastic band, Promise of the Real) and Atlanta-based rockers, Blackberry Smoke. Don’t miss this occasion with the Red-Headed Stranger, whose career now spans six decades and more than 200 albums; Father Time Texas and Baby New Year are making appearances, too!

NYE White Party: Reveling in Rio’s Réveillon at the Sunset Room

NYE White Party: Reveling in Rio’s Réveillon at the Sunset Room

For this Brazilian spin on “Ano Novo”—which features samba dancers, capoeira performances and Caipirinhas—wearing white symbolizes purity, peace and renewal for the New Year. But that doesn’t mean you can’t snazz it up a bit. Organizers encourage adding different colors (incorporating sequins aplenty, obvs) to attract certain luck in 2018: red for romance, green for health, yellow for wealth, blue for peace and purple for inspiration. The all-inclusive ticket gets you flowing champagne, midnight snacks and VIP lounge access (by reservation). Bonus: this bash runs about an hour later than other downtown NYE party.

NYE at the Highball

NYE at the Highball

Head to the Highball (adjacent to Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar) for a New Year’s Eve of laser light shows, confetti blasts, a mechanical bull, photo booth, hookah lounge, build-your-own hot chocolate bar, a dance party featuring 2017’s biggest hits plus plenty of throwbacks, and billions of champagne bottles a’poppin’! OK, maybe not billions, but there will be a complimentary champagne toast at midnight, and besides that they’ve promised “the best time you’ll have for 364 days.” With three of Alamo’s theaters open for surprise party activities, who knows what else is in store.

Party For the People: NYE 2018 at Spider House Café & Ballroom

Party For the People: NYE 2018 at Spider House Café & Ballroom

With a warm interior décor and two stages for non-stop live music, the campus-area Spider House Ballroom is known for throwing superb shows any night of the week. On NYE, they’re raising the stakes with an all-local bill of bands (for the affordable price of one regular show) featuring some of Austin’s most notorious talents: Big Bill, the Ghost Wolves, the Rotten Mangos and much more. Expect cheap drink specials all night and more announcements as the party nears.

Sōtō Zen Year-End Ceremony at Austin Zen Center

Sōtō Zen Year-End Ceremony at Austin Zen Center

Just because it’s not outrageously debaucherous doesn’t mean it won’t be a fulfilling New Year’s celebration. The Austin Zen Center opens its event description with an apt quote from renowned Zen Buddhist monk Suzuki Roshi: “Moment after moment we should renew our life, we should not stick to old ideas of what life is, or what our way of life is. Especially at the end of the year we should completely renew our feelings and completely clean even our cars. If we always stick to old ideas and always repeat the same thing over and over again, then we are confined in our old way of life. Some excitement or some occasion is necessary to encourage us along.” Aligning with that mindset, there will be temple cleaning, chanting for compassion/awakening, toshi-koshi noodles to symbolize “year bringing,” sitting and walking meditations, literally ringing in the New Year with 108 (!) bells and a bonfire purification ceremony accompanied by celebratory toast (we’re guessing it’s tea).

New Year’s Eve Silent Disglo at Historic Scoot Inn

New Year’s Eve Silent Disglo at Historic Scoot Inn

Spinning off their recent addition to ACL Fest, C3 Presents is throwing a NYE silent disco party featuring your favorite 80s, 90s, 2K, hip-hop/R&B and EDM/Top40 tunes. It’s dubbed a “disglo” because the headsets let you choose between three DJs (DJ Steady B, DJ DK or DJ Kimmy K) playing simultaneously, denoted by a corresponding colored LED display so you can groove along with anyone on the same channel. Dancing is encouraged (duh), but all you gotta do to talk is lower the volume or take the headphones off. Complimentary champagne toast at midnight for all the 21+ peeps!

All That Glitters NYE Party at Azul Rooftop Pool Bar + Lounge

All That Glitters NYE Party at Azul Rooftop Pool Bar + Lounge

Welcome 2018 under the shining stars with 180-degree views of the city at this VIP New Year’s Eve event held at the Westin Austin Downtown’s 20th floor rooftop pool bar. Musical talent from the Boss Brass Band plus a lineup of DJs are set to light up the dance floor while you enjoy an open bar, passed bites, cabanas with fire pits (by reservation) and a champagne toast at midnight. Limited NYE accommodation packages—some which include breakfast the following morning at the hotel’s restaurant Stella San Jac—are also available, so you don’t need to worry about responsible transportation to and from the party.

A Hollywood Glam New Year’s Celebration at the Charles Johnson Mansion

A Hollywood Glam New Year’s Celebration at the Charles Johnson Mansion

The Austin Social Affair advertises this NYE bash as a chance to “immerse yourself in the shimmering elegance; where the crowd is dazzling and the night is anything you want it to be.” Elegant attire is required at this shindig, and you’ll doubtless want to don your most thrilling Hollywood-worthy threads as roaming “paparazzi” photographers snap your pic while you indulge in a champagne room (that’s right, a dedicated bubbly space), VIP cigar lounge, passed gourmet hors d’oeuvres, photo booth and DJs dishing out non-stop entertainment on the dance floor.  

Tomorrow Never Dies New Year’s Eve Party at Upstairs at Caroline

Tomorrow Never Dies New Year’s Eve Party at Upstairs at Caroline

This NYE party at Caroline’s hip upstairs space offers entertainment by DJ WillGood, a photobooth, themed craft cocktails by Flor de Cana Rum, Wild Turkey, Campari, Grey Goose, Absolut Vodka, Deep Eddy, Avion Tequila and Patron, plus a balloon drop and complimentary champagne toast at midnight. And since the shindig’s free (with RSVP), you can invest more cash in those tasty libations (or a group shareables menu) and truly party like there’s no tomorrow from a rooftop in the heart of downtown.

Fire & Ice New Year’s Eve Party at Moonfire Lounge

Fire & Ice New Year’s Eve Party at Moonfire Lounge

Feeling a little hot and cold about going out for New Year’s Eve? Well, might as well head to Moonfire Lounge downtown where that’s literally the idea anyway. Amid DJ sets, “Fire & Ice dancers” and “red-hot and sexy ‘fire’ and shimmering silver ‘ice’ décor” (Game of Thrones fans—this is your scene), GA cash bar ticket holders will enjoy access to the dancefloor, all-night drink specials, light bites and a champagne toast at midnight.

News (29)

Our top 10 concert picks in Austin: June 2018

Our top 10 concert picks in Austin: June 2018

There are plenty of things to do in Austin throughout the year, but deciding on what live music to see is a whole different conundrum. In the Live Music Capital of the World, there are literally dozens of gigs happening each night, including plenty of touring artists plus more must-see local acts than the average concertgoer knows what to do with (we’ve got a ton of talent here, ya’ll). To help you out, we’ll be taking the liberty of putting together monthly lists of the top 10 concerts you’ve got to see. In chronological order, here are our June picks. June 4: Paul Simon at Frank Erwin Center, 8pmHarping off the title and context of his 1966 single with Simon and Garfunkel, Paul Simon brings his ‘Homeward Bound—the Farewell Tour’ to Frank Erwin Center for a bittersweet goodbye to Central Texas fans. The storied singer-songwriter promises a set list spanning his thirteen solo albums and five classic records in his original duo—surely a worthy investment (tickets here) if you haven’t yet crossed this legend off your live music bucket list.June 5: Royal Blood at Stubb’s, 8pmOnly two albums and five years into their career, English duo Royal Blood are still new blood among heavy rock outfits, yet they’ve already scored opening spots for genre giants like Queens of the Stone Age and Foo Fighters. Even more impressive, they achieve their riveting raucousness using only multi-effects-laden bass grooves and a drum kit. Witness the prowess of their sonic swagger for yourself when the

Jack White electrified Austin on Wednesday night—with the help of a local rock staple

Jack White electrified Austin on Wednesday night—with the help of a local rock staple

Though it topped charts upon its recent release, Jack White’s third solo album, Boarding House Reach, is by far the most esoteric album in his catalogue, making it polarizing among core and casual fans alike. Yet prior to his Wednesday night show at Austin360 Amphitheater, anyone chatting about it shared a similar sense of optimism: No matter how weird White gets, the music almost always comes together masterfully on stage, with threads of epic shred, stomp and shout at last resulting in cohesion. So how did that assumption hold up during the show? For the most part, it was spot on: Angsty hip-hop-influenced single “Over and Over and Over” made for a searing start, and though the following instrumental-dominant jams (the spoken-word-meets-funk-jump of “Corporation,” the hardcore-leaning “Battle Cry” and the jazz-rap of “Hypermisophoniac”) seemed to stifle some attention spans, the sheer technical talent oozing from each of White’s four backing bandmates was awe-inspiring. Besides, interjections of high-octane onslaughts (a quick verse of Iggy & the Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” the percussive rollick of the Raconteurs’ “Broken Boy Soldier” and the delightful duels between keyboardists Neal Evans and Quincy McCrary on “Hotel Yorba” and “My Doorbell”) kept the overall tapestry intact. Truly, White and his crew played the balancing game—between what core fans want to hear and what they felt like playing in the moment—almost perfectly. Cases in point: the odd future-blues of “W

Our top 10 concert picks in Austin: May 2018

Our top 10 concert picks in Austin: May 2018

There are plenty of things to do in Austin throughout the year, but deciding on what live music to see is a whole different conundrum. In the Live Music Capital of the World, there are literally dozens of gigs happening each night, including plenty of touring artists plus more must-see local acts than the average concertgoer knows what to do with (we’ve got a ton of talent here, ya’ll). To help you out, we’ll be taking the liberty of putting together monthly lists of the top 10 concerts you’ve got to see. In chronological order, here are our May picks. May 1: The Distillers at Mohawk, 6:30pmMore than a decade has passed since the Distillers were last active, but now the revered L.A.-based punk band—fronted by Brody Dalle, wife of Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme—returns to Austin for their fourth show since reuniting. Tickets are long since sold out, so you’ll have to find ’em secondhand, but it should be worth it knowing the splendidly unhinged nature of Mohawk punk crowds and the unbridled raucousness of the band’s tunes—we anticipate a memorable, mosh-intensive evening.May 2: Jack White with A Giant Dog at Austin360 Amphitheater, 7pm Jack White’s just-released third solo album Boarding House Reach has proven polarizing in its reception (admittedly, it’s a weird one), but fans of the former White Stripes frontman should remain confident that his live show will inject his set—a mixture of songs from all his projects, including the Raconteurs and the Dead Weathe

KISS Guy stole the show at Wednesday night's Foo Fighters concert

KISS Guy stole the show at Wednesday night's Foo Fighters concert

As 24-year rock and roll veterans, Foo Fighters do most things pretty fucking well, consistently. Examples abounded during Wednesday night’s performance at Austin360 Amphitheater: theyserviced their generation-spanning fans by playing a routine three-hour set featuring tracks from each of their nine albums, including deep cuts (“Breakout,” “This is a Call”); hosted badass band intros with cover songs led by each member (Alice Cooper’s “Under My Wheels” with lead guitarist Chris Shiflett; John Lennon’s “Imagine” mashed up with the lyrics of Van Halen’s “Jump” with keyboardist Rami Jaffee; and the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” with guitarist Pat Smear); and capped that latter medley with a choice cover of Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure” that saw frontman Dave Grohl revisit his roots smashing the skins while drummer Taylor Hawkins handled lead vocals alongside Luke Spiller, vocalist for glam-revivalist openers the Struts.Another (more unfortunate) constant at their shows over the past few years: Grohl’s voice isn’t fully holding up, in that he can’t quite extend his screams the way he used to (see: the slightly broken crescendos of “Walk” and “Best of You”). He sounded a little hoarse throughout the first few songs (“Run,” “All My Life,” “Learn to Fly”) until he finally warmed up (he was in the pocket by fifth cut “The Sky is a Neighborhood,” the strongest among the new bunch aside from “Dirty Water,” which featured transcendent backup vocals from “Barbara, Sam and Laura”).

Our top 10 concert picks in Austin: April 2018

Our top 10 concert picks in Austin: April 2018

There are plenty of things to do in Austin throughout the year, but deciding on what live music to see is a whole different conundrum. In the Live Music Capital of the World, there are literally dozens of gigs happening each night, including plenty of touring artists plus more must-see local acts than the average concertgoer knows what to do with (we’ve got a ton of talent here, ya’ll). To help you out, we’ll be taking the liberty of putting together monthly lists of the top 10 concerts you’ve got to see. In chronological order, here are our April picks. April 6: Honey & Salt LP release with SMiiLE and more at Sidewinder, 9pm Whether your approach to appreciating live music is reveling in artists’ technical capabilities or basking in the glory of every catchy earworm, you’ll find whatever you need among Honey & Salt’s collection of prog- and math-rock jams, which expands with the release of their sophomore self-titled LP at this Friday night fête. Their name evokes as much—“Honey” for all the hooks, which never fail to satisfy as intersections of auditory resolution, sweetening the three band members’ intricate interplays (“Salt”) so it’s easy to swallow. Locals looking to amp up their musical palates should indulge in a hefty helping. April 7: Titus Andronicus at Barracuda, 9pm Over the years, Titus Andronicus’ music has exuded the snotty, rowdy attitude one might expect of a band labeled “punk rock,” though it’s always existed in that box with one or two appendages

Our top 10 concert picks in Austin: March 2018

Our top 10 concert picks in Austin: March 2018

There are plenty of things to do in Austin throughout the year, but deciding on what live music to see is a whole different conundrum. In the Live Music Capital of the World, there are literally dozens of gigs happening each night, including plenty of touring artists plus more must-see local acts than the average concertgoer knows what to do with (we’ve got a ton of talent here, ya’ll). To help you out, we’ll be taking the liberty of putting together monthly lists of the top 10 concerts you’ve got to see. In chronological order, here are our March picks. March 2: Mac Sabbath at Come and Take It Live, 7pm Fans of Black Sabbath and late-night, unhealthy eating habits: rejoice! The self-proclaimed progenitors of “drive thru metal,” parody band Mac Sabbath returns to Austin for a first-Friday throwdown at Come and Take It Live. Even if you don’t care for fast-food fare, it’s safe to assert that any old-school metal fan with a sense of humor will enjoy these rockers—decked out in costumes emulating Ronald McDonald and the classic Mickey D’s gang—ripping through riffs on “Chicken for the Slaves” (“Children of the Grave”), “Frying Pan” (“Iron Man”) and more. March 3: The Avett Brothers with Asleep at the Wheel at Long Center, 8pmAnyone who follows North Carolina’s Avett Brothers knows the band notoriously plays long sets (usually at least two hours), and with yet another new album on the horizon—the band stated mid-2017 that they were already working on the follow-up to 201

St. Vincent strips down over two nights at ACL Live

St. Vincent strips down over two nights at ACL Live

The most impressive iteration of St. Vincent I’ve witnessed was in May 2015, when the Dallas-raised songsmith (born Annie Clark) played a hometown show backed by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra at the gorgeous Winspear Opera House. Familiar tunes spanning her first four albums transformed in real time, sprouting sonic tendrils of harmonious horns and stirring strings at every turn. So how would a solo show—the type Clark conceived for her Fear the Future Tour behind fifth album Masseduction—fare compared to that, let alone one her typically riveting full-band sets?Over two sold-out nights at ACL Live this past Thursday and Friday, Clark proved her concept’s indisputable potency despite its stripped-down design. The performance was punctuated by her spotlit, legs-for-days figure donning space-age domme garb while singing and/or shredding center-stage for about 90 minutes, which covered a set of career highlights plus the entirety of her new record. Riffs erupted in washes of glorious overdrive without so much as a single on-stage pedal to trigger the effects (distorted and reverb-heavy on “Actor Out of Work,” Moog-like on “Sugar Boy” and robustly rockin’ during “Los Ageless“), revealing her nuanced method. Every audible moment was mapped out to the millisecond and controlled remotely to make sure her instrumentation aligned with each pre-programmed playback track, many of which (“The Strangers,” “Rattlesnake,” ”Young Lover”) seemed to adopt heavier, more hip-hop- and dance-orien

Our top 10 concert picks in Austin: February 2018

Our top 10 concert picks in Austin: February 2018

There are plenty of things to do in Austin throughout the year, but deciding on what live music to see is a whole different conundrum. In the Live Music Capital of the World, there are literally dozens of gigs happening each night, including plenty of touring artists plus more must-see local acts than the average concertgoer knows what to do with (we’ve got a ton of talent here, ya’ll). To help you out, we’ll be taking the liberty of putting together monthly lists of the top 10 concerts you’ve got to see. In chronological order, here are our February picks. February 1: A Giant Dog with Xetas, American Sharks and more at Beerland, 8pmMost Austin live music fans know debaucherous rock and roll dealers A Giant Dog, and they’re likewise familiar with gloriously grungy Red River mainstay Beerland, but have you ever witnessed one inside the other? Calm down, we’re talking about a concert here, ya pervs. An especially epic one, at that; this gig—the first of four Thursday residency shows in February, all with different openers—also features powerhouse punks Xetas, stoner auteurs American Sharks and more. Advance tickets are sold out, but a few lucky early-bird fans will be able to snag extras at the door day-of!February 2: Psychedelic Medicine: A Benefit for MAPS with Megafauna, These Clouds are Ghosts, the Human Circuit and more at Barracuda, 8pmSick of the stigma associated with psychedelics and marijuana for medical use (or in general, for that matter)? Here’s your chance to put

Our top five takeaways from Free Week 2018

Our top five takeaways from Free Week 2018

Another Free Week is in the books and this year—with pretty much every local musician worth his or her salt (we’re talking hundreds) spread throughout Austin’s best live music venues from January 1-7—it was practically impossible to go even one night without witnessing a solid handful of impressive artists. Sure, the high quality among Austin’s live acts is one reason why the weeklong event felt more vital than ever (not to mention all those who braved freezing temperatures Monday-Wednesday) but, to cop an accurate cliché, it takes a village, and there were plenty of other reasons for Free Week's undeniable success. In that spirit, here are our top five takeaways from Free Week 2018. All photos by David Brendan Hall 5. An on-the-fly freestyle can steal the show 5-D The scene: a packed-out Empire Control Room crowd on Saturday calls for an encore after a sharp set from local rap duo 5-D (CAPYAC/SubKulture Patriots’ RuDi Devino + Sip Sip/SubKulture Patriots’ HBZ) backed tonight by members of hip-hop production crew Applied Pressure and other collaborators. The group momentarily debates playing “that one remix,” and then HBZ offers, “We can freestyle!” It’s settled: Several band members and fellow Sip Sip MC Captain Kirk join for a round table session of insane off-the-cuff rhyme schemes over a funkified beat that leaves the audience screaming for even more. 4. Everybody loves a good cover song. Here are the week’s best, in descending order of badassery:   Cowboy Irie - Cowb

Our top 10 concert picks in Austin: January 2018

Our top 10 concert picks in Austin: January 2018

There are plenty of things to do in Austin throughout the year, but deciding on what live music to see is a whole different conundrum. In the Live Music Capital of the World, there are literally dozens of gigs happening each night, including plenty of touring artists plus more must-see local acts than the average concertgoer knows what to do with (we’ve got a ton of talent here, ya’ll). To help you out, we’ll be taking the liberty of putting together monthly lists of the top 10 concerts you’ve got to see. In chronological order, here are our January picks. January 1-7: Free Week at various venues Big ups to the Red River Cultural District and partners at outlying venues for producing a weeklong live music event that revives the local-championing spirit of SXSW in its heyday. With more than 100 shows booked between Jan 1-7 (nearly every one featuring at least three Austin artists) synthesizing Free Week’s schedule to a best-of is a daunting task. We recommend RSVPing to as many shows as possible on Facebook to build a rough schedule, then narrowing it down as you’re hopping from venue to venue. And why not play the field? Every show is, after all, completely free. That said, make sure to tip your bartender, or better yet, the bands. A few we’re excited about to get you started:Jan 1: Peelander-Z with Drakulas and more at Empire Control Room & Garage, 8pmJan 2: Annabelle Chairlegs and Vampyre at Mohawk (outdoor and indoor, respectively), 6:30pmJan 3: Ringo Deathstarr, the Half

Lady Gaga brought all the feels to Tuesday night's emotional concert

Lady Gaga brought all the feels to Tuesday night's emotional concert

Lady Gaga is living proof that power via pop-stardom can (and should) be honed to help others, to change lives not just by serving up arena-sized spectacles each night, but also by reinforcing empathy at every turn. During a two-hour career-spanning performance to a sold-out audience on Tuesday night at Frank Erwin Center, the 31-year-old tour de force cited new song “Joanne”—the title track of her latest album (an homage to her aunt who died of lupus) and this tour’s namesake (as well as her own)—as her attempt to “connect with people on a real level.”“Pain is an equalizer,” she said before strumming out the tune’s first acoustic notes. “[For this song], I ask you to go back down the rabbit hole to that pain...for me, that pain has just one name, and that's Joanne. However you choose to deal with it, that belongs to you, all that pain makes us the same.”That concept reached its cry-worthy climax when—after that serene serenade and subsequent pyro-blasted “Bad Romance”—Gaga shed her shroud of superstardom in the most ego-shattering manner: she paused to read a fan letter thrown on stage. “Honestly, you saved me,” she read. “The first time I ever felt alive was at the Monster Ball…I suffer from chronic pain and it can be so isolating. You're so fucking strong, and you reminded me that so the fuck am I.” Then the singer climbed down to hug that fan and sign her pink cowboy hat, adding “You can’t let [the pain] rule you and you can’t give up.”Talk about a celebrity who goes the

Our top 10 concert picks in Austin: December 2017

Our top 10 concert picks in Austin: December 2017

There are plenty of things to do in Austin throughout the year, but deciding on what live music to see is a whole different conundrum. In the Live Music Capital of the World, there are literally dozens of gigs happening each night, including plenty of touring artists plus more must-see local acts than the average concertgoer knows what to do with (we’ve got a ton of talent here, ya’ll). To help you out, we’ll be taking the liberty of putting together monthly lists of the top 10 concerts you’ve got to see. In chronological order, here are our December picks. December 1-3: Saturnalia Festival at Hotel Vegas, Sahara Lounge and Webberville Rd. Baptist Church In ancient Rome, Saturnalia was celebrated as a holiday to reject all forms of work. Take a cue and play hooky on the first Friday of December so you can attend all three official days of the fest (for ticket holders, there’s also a pre-party on Thursday, Nov 30, at the Electric Church). The roster features some seriously top-notch talent, both local (Golden Dawn Arkestra, Octopus Project, American Sharks, etc.) and from afar (Allah-Las, Morgan Delt and Cosmonauts, among others). Find the full lineup and tickets (only $40 for GA!) here. December 1: Fastball with Moving Panoramas at Antone’s, 8pm Talk about an ATX throwback: our premier ’90s pop-rock outfit, Fastball, will stage a homecoming show at revered venue Antone’s. You’ll get your fix of super-hits “The Way” and “Out of My Head,” but don’t expect the nostalgic streak t