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Austin Free Week 2018

FREE WEEK RECAP

I went to #FreeWeek 2018 on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; it’s the first week of every year when the red river music venues put on a week of free shows for the locals. It originally started as a way for the venues to fill up the dead spaces on their booking calendars – usually in january and after sxsw. Now that free week has the backing and organization of the #redriverculturaldistrict, and the combined weight of venues that easily charge $20-$25 per head for bigger acts lending credibility to a smaller scene, it’s really starting to become something more than just the one time you can see your friends play without paying $5 and mentioning them by name to the door guy so they get credit for you being there.

I’ve heard people say that “The only way to get better at performing is to get on stage every night” and that spirit was in full effect last weekend. I was so impressed by the sheer number of bands that were out in the cold gigging it. I can’t even count the number of bands I saw loading in and out from over a block away.

Empire Control Room & Garage

First up @ empire control room is Mobley. A one man powerhouse band that had refined visuals and a very clean set. I was there as a leftover from Fort Never and am so glad that I stayed.


After Mobley’s set wrapped up, I wandered inside to the Control Room to find Emme, an electronic duo driven by the lead female vocalist – their cover of Depeche Mode got everyone grooving.

Thursday, it was announced that the folks in charge of Empire purchased the Parish and a few of the bands got pushed over to the “dirty” part of 6th. The place was packed, dark, and only open Thursday night so I didn’t get any decent photos. This photo is from the outside of Bat Bar while I waited to get into the Parish.


This hip-hop rap duo is 5-D; they were part of Applied Pressure’s night at the indoor Control Room. Highlight of the set was a freestyle / ad-lib encore that brought a few of their friends on stage to drop bars over an impromptu beat by some of the musicians in the room.

Applied Pressure did all the booking for the control room on saturday night and even brought out my homie from HS to do a comedy set. S/o Haris

Shy Beast had a clean set @empire’s outdoor stage. People came here to see them.

Mohawk

Mohawk was the furthest north venue, all the way at red river and 10th, but that didn’t stop folks from making the 4 block walk.

Krista Van Liew played an early set to a steadily increasing crowd inside Mohawk

Leave a comment if you know who these guys are… people were really enjoying them.


The Door guy @ mohawk was having trouble with a drunk homeless person and called the fuzz for some assistance; after the cops showed up, I noticed everybody with a headcount clicker check that they were both within the firecode and had a matching count.

This Bluegrass band is called Wood and Wire and I didn’t know how much I enjoyed blue grass until I saw them.



Barracuda

Barracuda, directly across the street from empire, is a venue I hadn’t been in since they changed their name. A distinctly older crew was hanging out here most nights but they were still getting down.

Swan Dive

Swan Dive more often than not has a cover; free week is cool cuz now they don’t. S/o Swan Dive and this band, Go Fever with a lead vocalist from the land down under.

Popped into Elysium and they were jamming Love my Way by the Psychedelic Furs, stayed for this band.

This group, NOLA, is from New Orleans and I really appreciated the technical competence of the musicians.

Cheer Up Charlies

This trio is Fort Never – the sound from their drums swallowed up the inside stage @ cheer Up Charlies. They also played before Mobley the next night @ Empire.



This crew was playing fast and furious, whoever was fronting this group is a tornado on stage. CC: @starfruit

This band is called Andy… I think. They had one of the best, rehearsed, and narrative sets that I saw all weekend(andywalkswithme).


If you played free week but didn’t see a photo in here then check out this flickr because I dumped a bunch more photos there and would love for you to have photos of you and your crew doing what you do best.

 

Article and Pictures by Anthony Schoggins

Instagram: @anthonySchoggins
Twitter: AnthonyDschogg
Facebook: Facebook.com/schogginstx

 

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