Saturday, January 17, 2009

FREE WEEK in Austin, Texas: Beerland Texas

January 4, 2009: The week of January 2nd-10th is FREE WEEK in Austin, Texas for a select number of Austin clubs and venues. These clubs do not charge a cover which means you can spend your money on other things. It’s a great way to promote the clubs and especially in these hard economic times, provide inexpensive entertainment. I’m not really quite sure if the bands make any money during FREE WEEK but I did my part by buying a couple of CD’s from the bands. I like buying their CD’s the night of the show because the money goes directly into the band's pocket and I also use the CD to refresh my memory of that night.

I wanted to take advantage of FREE WEEK because I’ve had to cut my entertainment budget. I will probably go out less or try to get on someone’s guest list to get into a venue. I really didn’t know what club to go to or what band to see, so I obtained a Austin Chronicle and went to to see all the possibilities. I decided on something different, something that I wasn’t that familiar with and out of my comfort zone. I decided on Beerland because they had three groups that play Psychobilly/Rockabilly/Punk music. Because I’m not that familiar with this genre, I will use quotes for reviews from other sources and credit will be given accordingly.

This was my first time to Beerland. I’ve walked by it going to other clubs and have seen their listing in the Chronicle and To some extent, it’s typical to the other Austin clubs I’ve been to except for the chicken wire wall suspended from the ceiling ready for deployment. The venue is small, holds about 200+ people comfortably, dark and hot tonight. Here we are its winter in Texas, its 80 degrees outside and hotter in the club, I was literally sweating. The wait to get a drink was long because people were either hot, needed something cold, or they had some extra money in their pockets. The club does have some seating available in the form of couches, some tables and chairs. I recommend you get to the club early to get a good seat.

The first act was Izzy Cox. According to her Myspace page, Izzy “is an anarchist crooner….she has coined the style Voodoobilly Jazz as her own”. Izzy hails from Austin, Texas, Hollywood, California, Brooklyn, New York and Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She also has an interesting background but I’ll let you read it on Myspace, at this time is coming soon. I like Izzy’s combination rockabilly, western swing, murder ballad style. She sings her heart out and with a lot of emotion and has a commanding stage presence. I felt that each song was a story and she wanted me to feel her pain, joy, happiness and sorrow. Tonight Izzy and her guitar, accompanied by Megan Harris on trumpet from Waco, Texas, were the band. Wow, two powerful women. Izzy is a must see performance and will be in the Austin area until March. I bought Izzy Cox’s Love Letters From The Electric Chair CD and my favorite tunes were: Devil, Devil; Belle Gunness; Man Of The Clothe; and not on CD, Fucking and Fighting and Bad Bad Woman.

Mr. Lewis and The Funeral 5 was the next band. The band consist of six members and all dressed in suit and ties, with most band members wearing a fedora or slicked back hair. They are some cool looking “Dudes.” The band’s music is hard to describe so I am borrowing a review that I found on

“Who is Mr. Lewis & The Funeral 5 anyway? Insane circus rock purveyors? Maybe. Are they what it would sound like if you trapped Queens Of The Stone Age in a dank basement and force fed them Irish whiskey and Tom Waits music? It's quite possible. It's a better guess to say that they are a band that has set out to prove that funerals can be fun if thrown by the right party planner. They couple lyrics about murder, drinking, and just a general desperation as if they were straight out of a Greek tragedy, along with music comprised of jubilant, tuneful song writing to come up with a sound that isn't quite average. Top it off with a whimsical grin, and you've got their unique brand of good old fashioned drinking music. They may take over the world. They may take over a 3 block radius. They may take over the payments on a reasonably priced 1989 Ford Taurus with slight body damage and two new tires. Who's to say? These are all just words anyway.”

Mr. Lewis and The Funeral 5 is a very entertaining band. I like the way the baritone sax gives the band depth and the additional tom tom drums gives the music and sound that heavy pulsating beat. You can’t help but go with the beat. Mr. Lewis does a good job of interacting with the audience using his dry wit and humor. I would put this band on your must see band list. You won’t be disappointed. I liked the following songs from their set and Myspace: Black Coffee Night; My Girl Suicide; The Alleyway King; Tuesday Is The New Monday. These songs and others are on their Murder and The Art of The Dance CD which can be purchased on

The last group for the night was Flametrick Subs. This band’s Myspace page describes their music as “Rockabilly, Psychobilly, Punk….Johnny Cash shooting speed in the graveyard...with the Devil”. That description is correct. The lead singer and guitar player, Buster Crash, has a wicked voice and reminds me of music that you would hear in a early 50/60's suspense movie. Buster's voice perfectly fits the Rockabilly, Reverend Horten Heat style music that the band plays. Flametrick Subs, personally, reminds me a little of Tito and Tarantula, which I blogged in October of 2008. One thing I found incredible about the band is that the bass player, De Marco, doesn’t have a left hand, he plays with his wrist. I was amazed and WOW-ed by his talent and playing style. The drummer, Miss Fortune, is a petite woman who stands as she plays the drums Rockabilly style. You have to make a point to see Flametrick Subs because their music rocks and rolls. I was always a fan of Rockabilly but was introduced to Psychobilly, Punk that night. “I am now a believer.”
My favorite songs were: Can’t Find My Mind, Down, Down, Down, Drink With the Living Dead,

Parking that night was hard to find because of Free Week. I had to circle around several time to find a parking space. I finally parked in a lot across from the Salvation Army facilities, corner of Neches St. and E. 7th St., and paid $5.00. The lot was well lighted and an attendant was present.

After the show finished at 1:30 AM, just outside the club’s door is, Hot Dog King, a trailer that sells hotdogs. The trailer has various hot dogs but tonight I decided on their Chicago dog for $4.00. Actually, it was a great tasting Chicago dog with all the toppings. Strongly recommend you stop by the trailer and have a hot dog. You won’t be disappointed.

All I can say about tonight is: "Life is good in Austin, Texas, Live Music Capital of the World."

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