The Austin Symphony will provide the soundtrack Thursday to the Fourth of July fireworks downtown, but people looking to start the holiday weekend on Wednesday night have more than enough to choose from when it comes to live music through Sunday.
Denny Freeman, who recently released an album of interpretations of Bob Dylan songs, “Diggin on Dylan,” kicks things off on Wednesday with Johnny X, Speedy Sparks and Rodney Craig at the Continental Club; the Warren Hood Band and Del Castillo play the Saxon Pub; and Black Red Black is at One-2-One Bar.
Also playing on Wednesday: The Hearttakers at Hotel Vegas; Carson McHone and Them Duquaines at the White Horse; and the Mau Mau Chaplains at the Flamingo Cantina.
Say “Happy Birthday, America” with pudding wrestling on the White Horse patio, followed by music from the Bluebird Specials, Horse Opera and Noel McKay (starting at 3 p.m.).
That smoke isn’t from fireworks: The Backyard celebrates the fourth with a three-night run from long-running Colorado bluegrass jam band String Cheese Incident (Thursday-Saturday), followed by a 20th anniversary celebration Sunday headlined by Willie Nelson and featuring performances from Leon Russell and Joe Ely, among others.
At Hotel Vegas, tributes to the Stooges’ “Funhouse” album, ELO and David Bowie.
For a less rock ’n’ roll, more classical music and fireworks Fourth, the Austin Symphony will perform patriotic music, including the “1812 Overture” for a crowd expected to reach 100,000. The music starts at 8:30 p.m., fireworks at 9:30 (no alcohol or glass containers allowed).
At the Nutty Brown Cafe: Bob Schneider’s Fourth of July Extravaganza with Water and Rust, and the Wind and the Wave.
The Scoot Inn hosts a “4th of July Pig Roast Spectacular” with Holiday Mountain, the Couch, Slomo Drags, Killa Dilla and Loving Ugly. Not to be outdone by pudding wrestling, the event will include a Slip ’N Slide and Tug O’ War.
Other shows Thursday include Miss Lavelle White’s Birthday Party at the Saxon Pub and Eets Feats, Crooked Bangs and Ghetto Ghouls at Beerland.
The rest of the weekend
Jimmie Vaughan and the Tilt-A-Whirl Band featuring Lou Ann Barton, Mike Flanigin and the Horton Brothers play Friday at Antone’s; the Calm Blue Sea (Mohawk); Talking Heads tribute Remain in Light (Frank); and Keyshia Cole (ACL Live) also play.
The Scoot Inn follows up its pig roast with Folk of July on Saturday, an evening of music featuring Robert Ellis, Whiskey Shivers, Mrs. Glass, Kalu James, Rosie and the Ramblers and more (6 p.m.). At Hotel Vegas, a day of music includes Grape St., Love Inks, Bad Lovers, Wes Coleman, Church Shoes, the Wolf, Pharaohs and more. Texas Tornadoes and Joe King Carrasco perform at Antone’s.
Mikal Cronin, and more Fun Fun Fun Fest news. Thursday at Mohawk, San Francisco rocker Mikal Cronin — whose new album “MCII” ranks among the best of the year so far — headlined a bill that also included garage pop freakout Shannon and the Clams and Austin-based party people A Giant Dog. Like his sometimes collaborator/bandmate Ty Segall, Cronin lit up the outside stage on Red River Street, with the driving, noisy and bright “Apathy” and endless guitar shredding atop the thumping “Am I Wrong.”
Mohawk owner and Fun Fun Fun Fest organizer James Moody, who was on hand for Cronin’s set, was excited about Fun Fun Fun’s July 9 screening of the custom van culture documentary “Vannin’” at Transmission’s 1100 E. Fifth St. warehouse. The night also will feature the final set of lineup “leaks” before FFF passes go on sale July 10.
So far, FFF has revealed that Ice-T, Judge, Bonobo, the Walkmen, the Julie Ruin, Deerhunter, Flag (the Keith Morris-led Blag Flag reunion that doesn’t include Greg Ginn), British DJ Star Slinger, rapper Big K.R.I.T., Daniel Johnston and comedian Kyle Kinane will perform at the fest, which happens Nov. 8-10 at Auditorium Shores.
Wendy Davis inspires Austin musicians. After last week’s filibuster of SB5 by Sen. Wendy Davis, members of Austin rock band the Bright Light Social Hour, who attended the session at the Capitol, were inspired to write and record an instrumental song named for the Fort Worth politician. “”Last night we found ourselves at the SB5 protest at the Texas State Capitol Building in Austin. After the vote went through we ran home, wrote and recorded this song and made the video with footage we took on our phones. La lucha sigue y’all,” the band writes.
Austin musician Silas Lowe was similarly inspired. His video for song “Didn’t She Stand (Here’s to Wendy Davis),” along with the Bright Light Social Hour’s, can be seen at the Austin Music Source blog.
Used Without Permission. Homer Henderson is probably best known for writing the oddball country classic “Lee Harvey Was a Friend of Mine,” but he’s best as a human party machine. What sets Henderson’s one-man-band apart from some of the others is that Homer’s contraption also allows him to play snare drum with his feet. “They all go ‘boom-bap-boom-bap’ and I go ‘boom-bappa-snappa-bappa-boom.’” Henderson’s latest CD, “Used Without Permission,” contains several songs he wrote with famous author Nick Tosches (“Hellfire,” “Dino”). The two met in New York City through a mutual friend several years ago and really hit it off when they talked about the music they loved. Tosches ended up sending Henderson lyrics, which Homer put to blues and rock beats. With the one-man-band format, which will play at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Longbranch Inn (1133 E. 11th St.) for a free happy hour show, Homer is best reving Jimmy Reed and Bo Diddley, but he also stirs up his “old weird Dallas” roots with country originals such as “Picking Up Cans on the Highway.”
— Michael Corcoran