Susan Antone, Grupo Fantasma, Fun Fun Fun Fest, Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel, Zeale, Continental Club and H.A.A.M. are just a few of the people, places and things mentioned in my upcoming book Indisputable: A Fan's Guide to the Live Music Capital. I should probably make some room in the book for this past Tuesday night.
What makes Austin's live music scene so amazing? With the exception of the festival weekends, it's not the Friday and Saturday nights. No, it's those weekday nights that seem to host more live music than most other cities have room for on weekends. Case in point, last night featured The Derailers and Doug Moreland at Threadgill's, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings at La Zona Rosa and Malford Milligan at Antone's for Blue Tuesday. Not that I saw any of those shows.
I was too busy enjoying the Austin City Limits taping with John Legend & The Roots. Black Thought wasn't there to bring his MC skills to the stage, but John Legend channeled Bill Withers, Donny Hathaway and some of the other great R&B legends of yesteryear while ?uestlove played the drums with that familiar and distinct high-hat of awesomeness that I've loved for the last 15 years and many have come to appreciate since the Philly-bred hip-hop group became Jimmy Fallon's late night band. The crowd was a great mix of Austin's scenesters, movers and shakers, from power couple and new parents Jon & Amy Pattillo to Brad Spies of SXSW and John Liipfert at C3 Presents to Knuckle Rumbler's Aaron Berkowitz and Austin Ventures' Ken DeAngelis.
While Ashley and I experienced a free ACL show on the UT campus in the soon-to-be-missed studio, many of our friends were at Stubb's, the best-known outdoor venue in Austin, for a heated performance by electrofunk fan favorites Chromeo. In what was said to be the hottest day of the summer in Austin, Chromeo's show further stoked the fire burning in Austin's live music scene on this particular Tuesday evening. By the time we left the taping and made our way down Red River, we were being greeted at Red 7 with an hour-plus set by DJ Digg, my personal favorite in a talented field of turntablists here in Austin.
By 11:30, with plenty of friends (from both the ACL taping and the Chromeo show) in close proximity, I started what would become a 100-degree, 150-minute, dance and sweat fest sponsored by none other than ?uestlove, drummer-turned-DJ courtesy of Knuckle Rumbler, Proper Entertainment and the other laps this particular last-minute booking fell into. As ?uesto introduced each sample, we listened and danced intently before turning to friends with our best guesses at which song would be next only to be surprised/emboldened when we heard Jay-Z/T.I./Kanye/M.I.A./Wu-Tang Clan/Busta Rhymes/A Tribe Called Quest/Camp Lo/ and every other classic hip-hop cut he played.
At one point in the night, probably around 1 a.m., I turned to my good friend Niraj, who owns Apothecary Cafe & Wine Bar, and in between rapping lyric after lyric I shouted, "This is a f*cking Tuesday!" Pretty please excuse my language, but sometimes it's difficult to find the right words to celebrate the fact that I live in the Live Music Capital. Especially after using up so many of them in the book I just finished writing.