Editor's note: Each month, we spotlight the can't-miss shows, anticipated albums, and must-know artists that make Austin the Live Music Capital of the World. And do note, interviews have been edited for clarity and style.
It's time to rally, music-goers, as September is going to be a busy month in Austin. New music release shows, reunion shows, anniversary shows — there’s a lot of everything this month.
Before you jump to that, though, get the scoop on the Safer Venues Festival. The one-day fest, which is presented by the Sims Foundation and the Red River Cultural District, is set to happen Saturday, September 7, and will raise awareness about safety challenges in Austin’s ever-growing music scene. Six venues on Red River Street will be participating, and Molly Burch, Bourgeois Mystics, Born Twins, and more will be playing separately ticketed shows (see the full lineup below).
Here’s Adrienne Lake (Heard Presents), Patsy Dolan Bouressa (The Sims Foundation), and Cody Cowan (Red River Cultural District) with extra insight on the Safer Venues Festival:
How did the Safer Venues Festival come together?
Lake: Over a year ago, I was talking to fellow booker Renee Jonard (Barracuda/Hotel Vegas) about how venues should handle accusations towards bands and the like post-#MeToo, and I kept digging and eventually found out that Patsy from Sims Foundation was providing venue training to the Beerland staff to help them navigate a variety of issues. It was a huge relief to have Sims available to us as a resource for guidance, and we immediately signed up to start the training process, which the staff was very excited about.
After connecting with Patsy and taking a tour of the ARCH together, led by Front Steps Executive Director Greg McCormack, it seemed apparent that all of these incredible local organizations and RRCD venues all have the same goal, so it made sense to bring everyone together to connect. This felt like a good first step in addressing safety issues that we as a district and community face together.
SFV will mark the introduction of the Sims Foundation’s Venue Training Program. What exactly is that?
Bouressa: The Music Venue Training program is meant to improve our community partnerships with the venues and their staffs, to breakdown the stigma associated with behavioral health issues and to provide information to venue staff on a variety of issues that impact their work daily.
In your opinion, what’s the biggest safety hurdle currently? Is it awareness? Funding? Something else?
Cowan: The biggest hurdle today for safety in the RRCD is the lack of decisive action by elected officials and APD to eliminate the thriving drug trade in our district. We've had four shootings in 40 days — of which the most recent resulted in a homicide. Everyone knows who the criminals are, where they are doing business, and that this requires an aggressive police solution. Many of the areas of high drug trade are on city right of way or parks land and need to be closed or require a new enforcement plan. Regardless, we just want the City of Austin to get it done.
What would you like to see in year two of SFV?
Lake: This is really the pilot program for Safer Venues Fest, and the goal is to grow it with more community involvement and fund it with sponsorships so it can be a free, inclusive educational and entertainment event. I think we are on a roll right now with step one for addressing these issues, and my guess is that by next year the level of awareness and support will enable us to look towards taking the second step towards our goal of a safer entertainment district.
Safer Venues Fest lineup:
- Molly Burch, Christelle Bofale, and Sleep Good at Barracuda
- Mom Jeans, Hotmom, and Moist Flesh at Cheer Up Charlies
- Bourgeois Mystics, Ex Romantika, Torre Blake, Drint, and Chief Cleopatra at Empire Control Room & Garage
- Born Twins, Blood, and Billy Conquer at Mohawk
- Travesauras at Swan Dive
- Yonkers, Lonelee, Trashboy, and Lowtus at Scratchouse
- Red River Cultural District
- Sims Foundation
- SARRT (Sexual Assault Response and Resource Team)
- Front Steps
- The Other Ones Foundation
- Home Street Music
- Rainbow Patrol ATX
- Austin Police Department speaker Dustin Lee (Operations Lieutenant Downtown Operations Command)
- EQ Austin
A portion of the proceeds from each show will benefit the Sims Foundation.
And more September highlights
Mean Jolene – September 6 at Hotel Vegas
Power pop act Mean Jolene has readied a sophomore album, Try Harder, and will be celebrating its release at Hotel Vegas on Friday, September 6. That alone is reason enough to attend, but the bill for the evening also includes Moving Panoramas, The Reputations, and Nevil. Doesn’t get more stacked than that. Check here for more information.
Shy Beast – September 7 at Stubb’s Indoors
Shy Beast’s latest slice of indie pop is a single titled “No Time for Love,” and it will be out on September 7. Also, on that date, the band will be playing at Stubb’s Indoors with The Magic Rockers of Texas and Lolita Lynne. Tickets are $10 and available here.
Walker Lukens – September 11 at Scoot Inn
One of Austin’s most versatile singer/songwriters, Walker Lukens will perform inside Scoot Inn on Wednesday, September 11. This will be a great opportunity to experience songs off of his 2019 release, Adult, in a very intimate setting. The always-great (and self-proclaimed regret pop act) Sun June will open. Tickets are $15 in advance ($17 the day of).
Blushing – September 13 at Barracuda
Blushing has set up a party to welcome its self-titled debut album to the world, and it’s happening on Friday, September 13, at Barracuda. Holy Wave, Glaze, and Wurve will join, which means if you’re even just a little into shoegaze and psych rock, then this is a can’t-miss show. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 the day of.
What Made Milwaukee Famous – September 13 at Continental Club, September 14 at Antone’s
What Made Milwaukee Famous is reuniting for a pair of shows to celebrate the 15th anniversary of debut effort Trying to Never Catch Up. The first is on Friday, September 13, at the Continental Club, and the second is on Saturday, September 14, at Antone’s. At either show, be sure to keep an eye out for the band’s newly remastered version of Trying to Never Catch Up on vinyl. Tickets to the September 13 show are $22 in advance and $25 the day of. Tickets to the September 14 show are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the show.
Shivery Shakes – September 18 at Antone’s
On Wednesday, September 18, head to Antone’s to ring in the long-awaited arrival of Shivery Shakes’ new album, Weird Weather. Two other fantastic indie pop acts, Go Fever and Slomo Drags, are also on the bill, so this one is going to be an all-around great time. Tickets are $7 in advance, $10 the day of.
Black Books & Lunar Gold – September 20 at Stay Gold
Black Books and Lunar Gold have a shared bash set for Friday, September 20, at Stay Gold. The former will be celebrating its 10th year of existence, and the latter will be releasing a new single called “Long Cool Breeze.” The third bit here worth celebrating is the fact that this show is free.
HAAM Day – September 24
This year’s HAAM Day is Tuesday, September 24. Participating businesses, restaurants, and more will be donating a portion of their proceeds from that day to the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. There will also be a lot of live performances around town, where you’ll be able to make a donation (just look for the black boxes). Stay tuned here for the full lineup.
Nine Mile Party – September 28 at Barracuda
Nine Mile Touring and Greenbelt Touring are merging, and that’s the reason for this party at Barracuda on Saturday, September 28. Sweet Spirit, The Octopus Project, Think No Think, and Star Parks round out one of the biggest lineups you’ll find in Austin this month. Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 the day of.