The new Sanctuary Printshop mural on the easternmost wall of Dirty Sixth facing I-35 is the latest, loudest proclamation of Austin's oft-defended moniker as the Live Music Capital of the World. And it's weekends like this one that prove our claim to the throne.
It's not even festival time, but there is music coming from every corner of our barbecue-soaked city this weekend. New bands, old bands, red bands, blue bands. It's enough to make even the Never-Concerts discover an oldie but a goodie that maybe, just maybe, can get their toes tapping and boom-booms shaking.
First up, the ND, that shining bastion of good times and party music on the edge of East 6th Street, is turning one year old this weekend. To celebrate, they're inviting many of their favorite bands to come play at all hours of the night and day at the ND First Birthday Party, and the staff themselves will be performing in their own AC/DC tribute band, cleverly entitled AC/ND. Cupcakes and drink specials and Tamale Molly's for everyone!
Friday night, The Sahara Lounge welcomes 18 bands to play their versions of The Rolling Stones at the Some Girls/Tattoo You/Black & Blue Stones Album Hoot. The three classic albums will come to life with new and classic interpretations by some of Austin's best bands, who also happen to be some of the biggest Stones' fans. In between sets, you can enjoy footage from some of the Stones' best concerts projected up on the big screen. A can't-miss for any true Mick and Keith fan.
Saturday, the Mohawk hosts the 2012 Wild Frontier Fest, a collection of emerging local and national artists gathered together by The Vagabond Collective for the purpose of connecting Austin to the rest of the national indie music scene. Mother Falcon, Baths, What Made Milwaukee Famous and Wild Child are just some of the major acts playing throughout the day.
For a completely different musical experience, head over to the Mexican-American Cultural Center at 3 p.m. on Saturday for a five-hour concert celebrating influential composer John Cage's 100th Birthday. The Austin Chamber Music Center will be joined by the Austin New Music Co-op and others to play many of the experimental musician's most important works. Take note that Cage's music is not for everyone, so make sure to do your research before you subject a noob to this five-hour event.
On Saturday night, ACL Live is hosting a special concert event in honor of beloved SXSW Creative Director (and all-around Austin music champion) Brent Grulke, who passed away unexpectedly last month. This benefit concert, entitled GrulkeFest, is a fantastic way to honor his memory and all the work he did in helping the city earn its nickname. Influential Austin bands Doctors’ Mob, Glass Eye, the Reivers, True Believers and Wild Seeds are all reuniting for the first time in several years specifically to play this show.
Finally, Sunday night, you've got a choice to make between two amazing legends of country music: Lyle Lovett and Glen Campbell. ACL Live will host Austin favorite Lyle Lovett and His Large Band that evening, as they share some classic hits as well as new songs from the latest album, Release Me.
Meanwhile, over at the Long Center for the Performing Arts, you can catch Glen Campbell on the Austin leg of his Farewell Tour. This may be the last opportunity you get to see the Rhinestone Cowboy perform, but don't let that weigh on your decision...
So there you have it, a veritable live music smorgasbord throughout your favorite city in the world. You've got legends, newbies, heroes and tributes: It's enough to get even the stingiest curmudgeons excited about what we can muster up in a single weekend.
It's called the Live Music Capital of the World for a reason, and we've got plenty of happenings to defend that title.