Monday, June 15, 2009

It's a Free For All...

When I first moved to Austin in 1999, the place to be on Sunday nights was the Hole in the Wall for the weekly music showcase, the Free For All. It was organized by Paul Minor, long known for supporting the music community, as a musician and just a general person who makes things happen. I was lucky to meet Paul in those early years and get introduced to the Free For All scene, exposing me to all the great music Austin had to offer. Paul's band, Superego, hosted the Free For All from 1994-2002, and then after on a less than weekly basis. It's a tough gig, the weekly showcase, but some of Austin's most famous came out of that scene, including Spoon and Fastball, and some of Austin's most colorful celebrity sightings also emerged (Courtney Love, Quentin Tarrantino, Don Henley...).

So, with the Hole celebrating its 35th anniversary, it was only fitting to have a Free For All Reunion. The lineup included Ethan Azarian, Landis Armstrong's Guilty Pleasures and, of course, Superego. It was great to hear so many old songs and see the familiar faces that were once a regular part of my week (like Chepo, Kevin, Jeff...). I'm a big fan of the weekly gig (and I'm not a musician). It really fosters a sense of community and place, and the Free For All was legendary at doing just that. I don't think any other event in town can boast the longevity and power that the FFA wielded. Enjoy these videos:

I'll See You When I Get Home - Ethan Azarian is a great musician and a talented artist. His new mural was unveiled at the Hole in the Wall during the anniversary weekend.

The Kids Don't Know - featuring the super talented Jeff Johnston on the telephone

Ohh, Las Vegas - Landis Armstrong is one of the best guitarists in town

Tulips - the album that this was on, Oh Yes, My Friend, came out around the time I moved to Austin. All these songs really symbolize those early years for me.

Lilies of the Field - going back a little further, on My Bad

Riddled - probably my favorite Superego song, going way back to the first album Mellow, Robust, Satisfying. So glad they played it.

No comments: