I’ve seen two straight weeks of live music. I don’t if I’ve ever done something for two straight weeks on purpose that involved me actually leaving my house. What a two weeks it’s been too. I’ve met so many great people, both musicians and the people that come to see them. I know I use words like fantastic, amazing and awesome a lot when writing about the places I’ve been and the music I’ve heard, but it’s my honest reaction to it. There hasn’t been a show that’s left me feeling bad for going out. It’s been the opposite the entire time. There have been a few days that I’ve wanted to say “fuck it” and veg on the couch. But as soon I’ve gotten to whatever venue that night, my mood almost instantly changes. I get excited, anxious and ready for the music! That’s what live music is for me; emotional reaction and an uplifting experience. I haven’t found it to be genre specific either. If you’ve been following along with this blog, then you know that I’ve tried to hit a variety of sounds. Each show providing a unique experience and reaction. I’m hoping that through these next couple of weeks I’ll be able to push myself to see, hear and feel even more. Now on to the last 3 days.
For my second Friday in as many weeks I decided to head over to Tom’s Roasting Co on South Congress. Opened in 2014, Tom’s Roasting Co sells the shoes their famous for, eye wear and you guessed it, coffee. None of that is what brought me there though. I came to hear something called the One Village Music Project. To quote their site directly “The One Village Music Project is a youth-led music project Of the Amala Foundation. Each year, the one village music Project unites 30+ youth who have attended the Global Youth Peace Summit to create music inspired by the Summit experience”. And behind Tom’s Roasting Co that’s exactly what I was treated to. Enthusiastic young men and women from all backgrounds performing music that they had created with each other. Some rapped, some sang, others played instruments like guitars and drums. From my perspective, it seemed like everyone performing was having a blast and that’s what stuck with me. It was another great and unique experience that I know I’ll look back on fondly.
Friday was also a day for some unexpected music. As I was walking back to my car on Congress, I ran into a man named Dave playing his guitar. I gave him the last few dollars I had in my wallet and sat listening to him on a bench near by. He sang country songs that I’d never heard, but coming from his weathered voice, had a familiar feeling and sound. After a few songs we got to talking and he told me how music had brought him down to Austin in 92′ and that he’d been playing outdoors for a few years. From the way he spoke about the songs he was playing and music in general, it sounded like Dave had exactly what he wanted in his life. I can’t claim to know much about Dave, but it seemed by doing what he loves, he was happy. It was a great reminder for me. If you find yourself on South Congress near Amy’s Ice Cream and a man’s out there playing, do yourself a favor and sit a spell. It’ll be worth your time.
Saturday I made my way over to One 2 One bar to hear a set from Jean Claude Van Jamme. JCVJ is a an Austin funk band that knows how to bring it. I love Oboe’s and amazing band names and they have both. Had I not been doing this 30 days of music, I still would have gone to see them based on their name alone. The fun doesn’t stop at their name though, their performance was equal parts high energy and fun. And honestly how could it not be when they’ve got tracks like “Get Me To The Chopper!”, an obvious homage to the 80’s Arnold classic “Predator”. I’m a sucker for funk, and I would see them again in a heart beat. Check their music out for yourself here!
I spent Sunday at South Austin Brewery in their brand new upstairs listening lounge for a set from Suzanna Choffel. With seating for around 30-40 people and about that many in attendance, it made for a very laid back, intimate performance. I’d never heard Suzanna Chofel before, but I had heard of her and how great of a musician and song writer she was. Everything I had heard held up, from her lyrics and her stories in between songs, it sounded like she’s been all over the world and experienced so much. At times I had a little trouble focusing, mainly because my ticket to the show came with a free drink and I chose a nitrogen infused black coffee. They have it on tap downstairs and it’s amazing but had me flying before I was halfway done. South Austin Brewery’s plan is to have performances in that space every Sunday night. For a full list of the performances coming up, click here.
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