Gary Clark Jr. live, blues clubs, and more ways to get in tune with Austin's music scene for 2024
We're sorry to say, just living in the Live Music Capital of the World is not enough to stay on top of what's going on within it. Those who haven't formed active habits — or have watched them slip away during a busy season — may benefit from this New Year's Resolution: Get back in touch with the sounds of Austin.
Down below we've got recommendations for refreshing and inspiring year-end shows; venues we trust year-round with an impromptu visit; and things to bring home that will remind us of our city's musical spirit even when the amps aren't humming.
Dinner and a show
As much as we like it when you come to us for tips, some spontaneity does a body good. Here are some jazz, blues, and soul clubs to keep in mind for next time you're trying to extend your night out — no matter who's playing.
Swift's Attic and Elephant Room
Upstairs at Swift's Attic, there's great (and strong) cocktails; creative, shareable bites from edamame to luxe pistachio-crusted halibut; and an upscale clubhouse atmosphere that doesn't feel stuffy or corporate. It's fitting for what's downstairs: an underground jazz club where the real aficionados go. We love the blues, but this fills up our brass tanks.
Bouldin Creek Cafe and C-Boy's
Speaking of the blues, Austinites don't buzz around C-Boy's Heart & Soul as much as the other blues clubs in town — probably because of its nearly-remote location, because the eclectic music is more than good enough to keep audiences around. Stray off South Congress for a change and enjoy a vegan or vegetarian diner dish about a third of a mile away at Bouldin Creek Cafe before the show.
Residencies at Geraldine's
Plenty of restaurants and bars around Austin provide food and tunes, but rooftop hotel restaurant Geraldine's has especially good taste. There's live music seven days a week, including residencies — a cool way to support local artists while they relax into a space rather than running around town. Geraldine's serves great Southern food and creative cocktails, and the plush seating provides a comfy way to enjoy the show.
— compiled by CultureMap Austin editor Brianna Caleri
Last weekend of 2023 concerts
Whether you’re on the hunt for something to do in and around the holidays or you’d just like to have an evening away from your family, we’ve got you covered with these select local shows.
The Calm Blue Sea at Pershing Hall – Friday, December 29
Post rock vets The Calm Blue Sea are set to make a rare appearance – in fact, it’s their first gig in five years - at Pershing Hall on Friday, December 29. Lunar Gold and XT Marks round out the bill. Tickets for the show are $10.
Moondance: Pre New Years Eve Party — Saturday, December 30
Get a local music pre-game in before the big night at Elysium, featuring "electro tribe" outfit Trouble In The Streets, semi-retro rising rockstars The Past Lives, soulful singer-songwriter Pariseli, and a solo electro set by Viben (of Viben and the Submersibles). This quirky show should be fun and leave the audience ready for more on Sunday. Tickets for the show are
The Decline of Hotel Vegas NYE – Sunday, December 31
If you’re looking for a variety of sounds on NYE, you should consider attending the event that Hotel Vegas has put together. It will feature members of the Riverboat Gamblers, Moving Panoramas, Fastball, Caleb De Casper, and plenty of other local acts performing the music of The Cure, Madonna, Van Halen, Black Flag, and lots more. Tickets for this bash are $46.82.
Gary Clark Jr. at ACL Live – Sunday, December 31
In need of something epic on NYE? Well, then look no further than Gary Clark Jr. at ACL Live. The blues/soul/rock superstar will be joined by THEBROSFRESH and Sid “DJ Kurupt” Sharda. Depending on whether you’d like to be in the balcony, standing room only mezzanine, or GA floor, ticket prices range from $120-$180.
— compiled by BC and CultureMap live music columnist John Laird
Shopping and merch
If you've got any holiday cash burning a hole in your pocket, there are some cool finds in Austin that'll keep you in touch with the musical world even when you're not at a show.
It seems like almost everyone in Austin already knows Waterloo Records, but they may be surprised at what goes on there besides the usual crate shopping. It's always a good place to keep tabs on for special releases and events. And it's a good place to off-load gift cards you can't use from well-meaning gifters. It runs a year-round promotion that offers equal store credit for gift card trade-ins from Best Buy, Walmart, Urban Outfitters, Target, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Talk about shopping local!
Feels So Good
This local screen printer and record label has a strong sense or humor, and represents a cool intersection of music and casual fashion coming out of Austin. Pick up records and merch from FSG artists or whatever they happen to have in stock, including vintage threads.
Music of the Spheres
Haters will say it's not local music, but this Austin-based wind chime maker is doing God's work with worldly tunings music theory students can gush over and anyone can enjoy. These beautiful chimes, ranging in size from two-and-a-half to 14-and-a-half feet, all contain a little historical context if you choose to look into it, with inspiration from the whole-tone scale, Balinese gamelan, and even Nashville's pedal steels. Yeehaw.