South by Southwest is in full swing, filling downtown Austin clubs with music and music fans from around the world.
But if you call Southeast Austin home, you don’t have to venture far to go hear music. Some venues have been here for decades, and others are moving in faster than you can say East Riverside Corridor redevelopment.
What’s the attraction?
Wide streets, free parking, better rents, newer facilities, a high population within walking distance and views of Austin’s downtown skyline are just a few. But take one look at the city’s master plan for this part of town, and you’ll see that Southeast Austin is ripe for a new entertainment district. New apartments and condos are being built at the fastest pace since the area was first developed in the 1970s, and a proposed urban rail line could make the East Riverside area a gateway to downtown for Austin professionals and airport travelers.
So just in time for SXSW, the Hurly-Burly presents SXSE, a roundup of Southeast Austin music venues. And don’t forget to see the blog’s interviews with artists who call our Southeast Austin neighborhood home.
Currently: 213 W. Fifth St.
March 28: 2015 E. Riverside Drive
Opened by the late Clifford Antone in 1975, this legendary blues club will move into its fourth home as soon as the South by Southwest Music Festival wraps up. But don’t mourn. Though it’s giving up a corner location in downtown Austin, it’s gaining more space and free parking.
Antone’s will occupy the former Beauty Ballroom, in the same shopping center as another famous Austin nightclub, Emo’s, and across Riverside from newcomer the Buzz Mill. The businesses are pioneers in a growing entertainment district along the East Riverside Corridor, the focus of major redevelopment and transportation plans.
The Antone’s stage has hosted the Austin Music Awards, Bono, Elvis Costello, Eric Clapton, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and a long list of blues legends.
Performing soon: Soul Asylum, White Ghost Shivers, Miss Lavelle White, Marcia Ball, Carolyn Wonderland and Burleson-Parker resident Rosie Flores
1505 Town Creek Drive
One of the newest live music spots in Southeast Austin is inspired by the forests of the Great Northwest. Step up to the Buzz Mill’s log-wrapped bar to order locally roasted espresso, throw in a splash of whiskey, and step out back to a private patio inside a cedar stockade fence to enjoy the open air.
A local following has grown quickly at the Buzz Mill, an oasis in what had been a coffeehouse desert. Nearby residents showed up at the 24-hour coffeehouse and bar soon after the January opening, drawn by social media, word-of-mouth and the promise of brisket and all-you-can-eat flapjacks from Blue Ox BBQ & Pancake Wagon. The Buzz Mill is owned by local roaster Travis Kizer (Bootleg Coffee) and Austin nightclub veteran Jason Sabala (Emo’s, Antone’s), so count on good drinks and good music.
The patio and small stage are an intimate venue for rootsy Americana, and the Buzz Mill has already started hosting free shows and theme events, like Murder Ballad Mondays with musician and mystery writer Jesse Sublett. Visit the Buzz Mill on Facebook for upoming events.
Performing soon: Wild Bill and the Lost Knobs, Mockingbird Loyals, The Bluebird Specials, Sam Hadfield.
2015 E. Riverside Drive
Emo’s first made a name for itself as a punk club in the 1980s, and has grown into one of the country’s most respected alternative music venues.
The club made the move to East Riverside from Red River Street in September 2011 after spending $2 million to renovate the former Back Room with the help of Austin architect Michael Hsu. When it was downtown, parking for bands alone cost the club up to $3,000 a month, but with the move Emo’s also gained free parking for guests, more square footage, better air-conditioning and more power for its sound and lighting equipment.
Last month Emo’s made news again when it sold to Austin company C3 Presents, the nation’s third-largest event promoter and the organizer of the Austin City Limits Music Festival, Lollapalooza and Austin Food & Wine Festival. C3 books acts in other Austin clubs and in concerts and events across the country — including President Barack Obama’s inaugurations — so Emo’s is likely to hold onto its title as one of the nation’s top nightclubs for indie, electronica, underground and hip-hop.
Performing soon: Queensryche, Bonobo, Ghostface Killah, the Joy Formidable
4. El Jacalito
2030 E. Oltorf St.
This restaurant and bar in a shopping center on the north side of Oltorf Street has been serving Tex-Mex for about two decades. Come on a weekend, and you might also get a serenade.
On Fridays from 7-9 p.m. and the last Sunday of the month 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., El Jacalito clears the tables in its side room for live Norteño music and dancing.
2201 E. Ben White Blvd.
Boot-scoot on over for two-stepping or line dancing at Midnight Rodeo. Originally an 84 Lumber Co. store, the building housing this longtime country & western nightclub traded the lumber business for the hardwoods in a 2,000-square-foot oak dance floor.
The club is open on Thursday through Saturday nights, so check the website to see who’s playing on Fridays, when it has live country music.
Performing soon: Max Stalling, Curtis Grimes, Brandon Rhyder
6. Patsy’s Cafe
5001 E. Ben White Blvd.
On the eastbound access road at Chapman Lane
Esther’s Follies performer and co-owner Shannon Sedwick gained an Austin following with her unrestrained send-up of country singer Patsy Cline, so when she opened a restaurant and nightclub a stone’s throw from downtown, it was a natural to name it Patsy’s.
The menu of barbecue, chicken-fried steak, burger and sandwich names reads like a Who’s Who of Austin writers, movie stars and politicos, and the walls are covered inside and out with vivid murals by Austin painter Neil Cronk and artist and comedian Kerry Awn.
Open every day but Sunday, Patsy’s has live music Wednesday-Saturday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. As the sign out front says, it’s probably country, but you’ll find a little folk, bluegrass and Western swing, too.
Performing soon: Jodi Adair, Redd Volkaert, the Therapy Sisters, the Jerry Sires Band
7. Whip In
1950 I-35 South
On the southbound access road at Mariposa Drive
This tiny beer and wine market-turned-nightclub is where you can head for a draft beer and a plate of French, Indian or Travis Heights fusion cuisine. Even better, dinner comes with a side of jazz, folk, Americana, indie pop, klezmer or ukulele. The joint might be just west of I-35, but it’s a second home to many Southeast Austinites.
Whip In has live music pretty much daily, but seating is limited near the indoor and outdoor stages, so show up early.
The venue will host dozens of acts this week during SXSW. Later in the month, drop by from 9:30-11:30 p.m. March 29 to hear Burleson Heights singer Elena Antinelli, profiled in the Hurly-Burly on March 10, with the Paper Moon Shiners.
Performing soon: Matt the Electrician, Curtis McMurtry, ukulele band Pops Bayless & the Dark City Trio, Flamenco Symphony, Paper Moon Shiners