Let’s face it, here in Austin, we’re a tad bit spoiled when it comes to entertainment. So much so that it’s often hard to choose which event to attend on a daily basis. Poor us, right? Not many cities have the amount of support we do from locals, which is one of the main reasons why Austin is able to bring so many amazing artists and acts to the city.
With exactly 88 bagazillion (no more, no less) events to choose from, it’s amazing that we narrowed it down to the top 45, but we did, thanks to YOU. These events were chosen by the amount of “follows” and “likes” as well as the count of All-Star votes.
**For a more intense breakdown, please scroll to the bottom of this extremely nostalgic list. We here at Do512 assume no responsibility for those who decide to drunkenly reminisce these events and end up drunk-dialing all their friends to discuss the days of yore.
What was once a small 2-day festival, booking its first set of acts in 2006 downtown, has now grown into a huge 3-day independent genre based festival, with nationally/internationally recognized bands – young and old – in genres from Indi to Metal. This year, they made their huge announcement of their partnership with Music Webzine, Pitchfork, and gained the attention of entertainment media from all over the nation. Our Do512 FFF P.I.P. ticket giveaway received more responses than almost any other event we had this year – just that in itself says a lot. To say the least, the fest RULED.
This year, Fun Fun Fun was unanimously a favorite among Do512 viewers, media, bloggers and musicians alike, gaining the most regular votes and All-Star votes of any other event in 2011. There’s good reason too. During the 3 days, fans enjoyed stage hopping between indi, metal, comedy, and grudge acts, seeing wrestlers get thrown to the ground in the pro-wrestling ring, sharing pics of all different angles of Ryan Gosling’s face, and of course hearing what everyone had to say about Danzig’s popularly publicized performance. Even battling the sand storms added to the FFF fest experience.
So now the question remains for 2012… Who do YOU want to see perform at FFF7? Let your thoughts be heard on @FunFunFunFest twitter page.
In general, Austin music lovers have been known to throw their concert-going support more toward indie acts more than pop shows. However… Austin went “ga ga” over a certain show that came to town in early April, and we can’t say that we were surprised.
Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball Tour was one of the most highly anticipated pop tours of 2011, and among Do512 users, received the most regular votes of all other listings this past year. That night at the Frank Erwin Center, as it was so eloquently put by one of our fellow bloggers, “was ground zero for the greatest explosion of body glitter and impractical shoes since Ru Paul took a wrong turn to Austin back in ’93.”
If you missed it, we’re sure she’ll be making her way back to the Live Music Capital of the Nation in the future… hopefully leaving the raw meat in her closet.
London-based garage rock duo, The Kills always hit it big in Austin. It’s not often that a sharp duo hits it as hard as White Stripes did in 2002. However, their sold-out April show at La Zona Rosa proved once again that they have what it takes to move a crowd (and make the long search for sold-out tickets online well worth the effort.)
With Cold Cave opening for The Kills, this show had an electrifying start. It’s popularity was obvious by the number of regular Do512.com votes it received, which was more than any other indi shows on our list in 2011.
If you haven’t had a chance to see these bands live, take the opportunity next time they come our way (The Kills will be here Jan.25 at Stubb’s FYI.) If there’s one thing that’s evident about Alison Mosshart and James Hince’s performances, it’s that they’ve got “it”- stage chemistry that is – and they have it in abundance.
4. Do512 Presents: The Lemurs, Suite 709, Quiet Company, Eyes Burn Electric, Auroravore 02/18 @ Antone’s
When we were tallying votes, and pulling events for this list, it was no surprise that this “Do512 Presents” show landed in the TOP 10. And if you were one of the smart Do512 users to RSVP early, you know why. Every once in a while, we throw a BANGIN’ party for our users and general fun-loving party goers – This was one of those parties.
RSVP-ed guests enjoyed $5 entry, complimentary cocktails provided by Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka (they poured those all night long ’til the cases ran dry), and a lineup of great artists who had recently received major national attention.
You can be sure to look forward to more of these sweet treats throughout the year, and be sure to “Like” the event for your chance to win a pair of free tickets like one lucky fan did this year for this event. Party on, Austin!
5. Official ACL Aftershow: Twin Shadow & Cut Copy DJ Set w/ Theophilus London & Diamond Rings 09/16 @ Emo’s
If you had the energy after a day of running from stage to stage and battling crowds at ACL this past year, hopefully you were able to make it to a few of the epic aftershows. One that we hope you didn’t miss (and one we know hundreds of our users made it to) was the Twin Shadow & Cut Copy DJ Set with Theophilus London & Diamond Rings. To sum up, let’s just say “Lights and music” have been on our minds ever since this magical night.
Raking in hundreds of regular votes and All-Star votes on our website,
this set was one that had the whole room dancing until the plug was pulled. If you’ve never had the opportunity to see Twin Shadow, this guy has the ability to make you feel like you’ve been thrown into another dimension.
Originally from Austin, Okkervil River always gets all the local support Austinites can offer. This was especially apparent by the amount of Do512 Regular and All Star Votes his April 2011 performance collected. That night, Scoot Inn attendees were treated to an amazing show with an opening performance by whimsical, acousmatic artist, Dana Falconberry.
Now on their 6th full-length album, Okkervil River has appeared at SXSW, on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and have performed with high profile bands including The Decemberists, The New Pornographers, and The National. If you get a chance to see in the future, it’s highly advised.
It’s rare to find an Austinite who HASN’T seen Ghostland Observatory. However, I was fortunate to have bumped into one this past year right before the concert. His excitement was endearing. The guy, who is by nature, a dancing fool, had scored a pair of tickets. With his level of excitement, you would think that he’d scored tickets to see Michael Jackson rise from the after-life.
This Austin-native duo vibrated to the top of our event list in 2011 for not only playing music that makes you want to dance all night, but putting on a spectacular laser light show. The whole crowd jumped through a ceiling of lights created right above their heads as Behrens jirated his hips like Jagger. Ghostland Observatory is a guaranteed electrifying time, and concert lovers in Austin just can’t get enough.
The Do512 office LOVES Black Sheep Lodge, not just because of their close proximity to our office, but because they serve up the tastiest gosh darn food – they’re our #1 pick for catering for Do512 Lounge Sessions - and best selection of drafts. For a spot that can pack a crowd on their patio even when it’s freezing outside, it’s not surprise that they’d have an amazing turn out for their 2nd birthday bash.
The springtime party was awesome, and raked in a ton of regular votes on our website. Attendees were treated to a crawfish boil, a funny performance from novelty band “More Cowbell” and a set by Austin favorites, bluegrass band Whiskey Shivers. We’re looking forward to their 3rd birthday! Make sure to check our site for deets.
Austin’s got nuttin’ but love for any part of Outkast. Since Big Boi dropped his album, “Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty”, he’s made his way to Austin, and each time, he’s received by a huge, loyal crowd ready to bounce to anything he chooses to perform.
He blew crowds away at ACL 2011, and afterward, he played a show at Mohawk’s Official AfterParty which was at capacity shortly after doors opened (not all of us even got in – waaaaaa!) According to Do512 vote tallies, this was the most popular hip-hop show for 2011, bringing in more regular and All-Star votes than any others. Hey Yaaaa!
If you aren’t a Big Boi fan maybe his mashup with Modest Mouse can change your mind…
If you’ve driven down Barton Spring road past the Hyatt this past year, you may have noticed that a new spot opened up where the old Bennigan’s used to be. If you’ve driven by too fast, to see what took it’s place, you should make it a point to head by soon. A 3 story bar that goes by the name of Upper Decks now occupies the corner of Barton Springs and Riverside, and has become a perfect location for game/movie watching, trivia playing, and comfy seat sitting (their bar chairs have to be some of the most comfy we’ve ever sat in!!!)
In July, Do512 sponsored Upper Deck’s Grand Opening party and proved to locals that it’s “not just a sports bar.” The event got pretty wild, probably because of the complimentary Dos Equis and Deep Eddy. Attendees enjoyed a screening of the 2006 BCS Championship game on the bar’s dozens of TVs, reminding us that the Longhorns were a pretty good team once.
11. UTOPiAfest 10/14
The first UTOPiAfest in glorious Utopia, TX was a Hill Country gathering for the ages. There was only one stage and only 1,500 tickets were sold, making for an intimate festival experience unlike other tent cities with populations as big as Austin. The fest, which earned its spot on this list with regular and All Star votes, featured an eclectic lineup, including Austin favorites Wheeler Brothers, Suzanna Choffel, and Grupo Fantasma as well as national acts like Blitzen Trapper and Dawes and my favorite one-man band, Keller Williams.
I was just working on our favorite non Austin band list, and Toro Y Moi and Bass Drum of Death were on that list too. Nice work, guys! After an awesome live performance at Fader Fort for SXSW, Toro Y Moi came back to Austin and rocked The Mohawk in October, making the list by its count of regular and All Star votes.
Your friend Molly went to Nocturnal Festival and had a ridiculously good time, held at Apache Pass in Rockdale. There were four stages, a light tunnel, trippy decorations in the trees, every costume imaginable, and a lineup boasting a bunch of the biggest electronic acts around. Above and Beyond, Paul Oakenfold, Bassnectar, and some of my favorites, Big Gigantic, Beats Antique, and STS9. People drove from near and far to experience this Insomniac Productions rave, and it didn’t disappoint, as Do512ers showed with their regular votes.
We are are still seeing Jejune stars after Bright Eyes official ACL aftershow last year with Kurt Vile and the Violators. Conor Oberst never fails to touch the hearts of his fans through his music. His latest album titled the “The People’s Key” reaffirms his poetic ability and makes this show a top choice for both All stars and Fans.
I’m a guy who usually doesn’t get excited about electronic music, but Pretty Lights is freakin’ awesome. He creates great original tracks and samples Pink Floyd, Kanye West, and John Denver. His shows are always high-energy, wild, bouncing dance parties and the lights are really pretty. Veteran rapper Nas and local up-and-comers Run DMT joined the Austin Music Hall crew for this ACL aftershow that made this list from regular votes.
Held at the Seaholm Power Plant, this Black Angels-curated event made it to the list off its regular vote count. The 4th annual Austin Psych Fest brought bands from every part of the mind-expanding music spectrum and included psychedelic light shows and film projections, which were pretty cool even for the sober festival goers. Roky Erikson, Spectrum, The Black Angels, and Omar Rodriguez headlined the event.
Shuck Fest took over Abel’s on the Lake on Halloween weekend when Do512 and Deep Eddy Vodka threw a funky party, complete with free oysters and drinks. This New Orleans-themed night featured Jimmie Dreams and a Zombie Brass Band performance by KreweDCM, a Bourbon Street style parade group, and made this list with a large number of regular votes.
Nas made the top 20 twice! Distant Relatives, his partnership with my favorite living Marley, Damian “Jr. Gong”, has made a living touring the country and the festival circuit. The sales from their collaboration album, titled Distant Relatives because of the guys’ common African ancestry, all are going to build a school in the Congo. This reggae/rap ACL aftershow at Haven was an irie time and made the list by its regular vote count.
19. Bill Maher 3/26
Lovable asshole, comedian, and HBO talk-show host Bill Maher came to ACL Live in March to deliver Austinites a night of his liberal, boundary-pushing comedy. The 21-time Emmy nominee made this list by his count of regular votes.
Emo’s East is a brand new, state of the art music facility with a 35 foot stage, a 40 foot ceiling, and a 1700 capacity room that is trying to revamp the east Riverside area as a concert destination. Their grand opening show featured Austin’s own Butthole Surfers, a band I would like to see even if they weren’t called the Butthole Surfers. This event earned its top events list spot by its count of regular votes.
The second annual Wild Frontier Fest was a great success, a two-day hipster get-together for the ages at Emo’s with 40 mostly local acts. Headlined by WAVVES, The Octopus Project, and Peelander-Z, the event that earned its spot on this list with All Star votes also featured a diverse local lineup with White Denim, The Frontier Brothers, The Black and White Years, and a lot more.
Sarah Silverman decided to make the joke on Gov. Perry for the inappropriate racist name of his hunting camp by bringing her comedy show right to his backyard at the Paramount theater while simultaneously raising money for the NAACP. This show received support from locals who voted it one of the top events of 2011. The comedy during this show poked fun at every kind of person, but this time the audience’s laughs served a greater purpose.
The Blue Man Group never fails to bring modern art to the masses in a unique and colorful way by combining interesting props with beats of a drum. Austin is very privileged to have such a renown show take place at the Long Center, and it was a perfect fit for Austin’s progressive culture that always tolerates a little weirdness.
Nudity? A chicken? R.C. car races? If that’s what goes on at Black Lips shows, then count me in. The members of this Atlanta garage punk group were kicked out of high school because administrators thought they were a “subculture danger”, so pretty much they’re badasses. Their appearance at Emo’s, supported by Brooklyn band Vivian Girls and John Wesley Coleman, received a large number of All Star votes.
The sound of Beirut’s ukulele at Stubb’s single-handedly stopped the chaos of Halloween weekend for a brief period of time. Zach Condon mesmerized fans as he played “Elephant Gun” and the breathtaking “Postcard from Italy” that transported fans to a place where there are golden rocks to throw.
The Pickle Patch Tour brought a group of young artists from Steve Aoki’s label Dim Mak to Beauty Bar last summer. These up-and-comers from a wide range of genres, including Scanners, PeaceTreaty, Autoerotique, Rob Roy, Ali Love, and New Ivory spent the summer on a tour bus together bringing the Pickle Patch show all over the country. Sounds really fun. This event made the list by its count of regular votes.
PacSun brought a great batch of indie rock to Stubb’s in October, and Manchester Orchestra put on a stellar show. Austin’s own psychedelic rock group White Denim shared the stage, along with The Dear Hunter and Little Hurricane. This night of eclectic music made the list by its count of Do512 regulat votes.
Danish pop duo The Raveonettes brought their brand of ’50s style rock infused with Velvet Underground-like instrumentation to Emo’s in April, and they wowed the audience with their dark lyrics and loud show in this event voted onto this list by both regular and All Star Do512ers.
Last year it seemed as if the song Pumped Up Kicks was on replay on every radio station in Austin. However, there is no question that there is more to Foster the People than that hit single. It could have been Mark Foster’s hypnotizing smile, but they certainly left everyone with a broken jaw after their fantastic performance at the ACL Aftershow with Cults, Southern Belle, & Reptar. If you haven’t heard Foster the People‘s first album titled “Torches” it is pure fun all the way through.
I remember thinking I was so cool in 7th grade when I learned about Death Cab For Cutie before my friends did. Now I still think I’m so cool, but Death Cab is an international sensation with millions of fans and a Grammy nomination. These indie rockers filled up Austin Music Hall and brought fellow Seattle natives Telekinesis with them for this All Star voted event.
Austin knew right then they had been abducted by Smith Westerns and Cults at the Official ACL Aftershow when both bands delivered stellar performances. The Smith Westerns are an indie rock band from Chicago who are known for their hit single “Weekend” and their latest album “Dye it Blonde.” Madellin Follin and Brian Oblivion, members of the Cults, captivated audiences at this show as well with their hit song “Abducted.”
New Wave pioneers and punk legends Blondie came to Austin for an ACL Live show, and Deborah Harry’s still got it, as Do512 All Stars votes will show. Over 30 years into its career, Blondie continues to tour the world and deliver off-the-wall loud performances. Opening was California indie rockers Nico Vega, and they also feature a female lead singer.
The first Southern Lights Music Festival, organized by UT students, was a great big hip hop and electronic party at Austin Music Hall. Headlined by Lupe Fiasco and RJD2, the event that made this list by its regular votes count also featured Texas rap superstars Paul Wall and Bun B and up-and-comers Cool Dre and Roosh Williams. Ali Shaeed Muhammad and Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest hosted the festival.
New Jersey quartet Real Estate came to the Parish in November with their indie pop sound and sweet, mostly happy lyrics and soothed some All Star Do512ers’ ears. This young band is two albums deep into their career and have toured with Girls, Kurt Vile, and Deerhunter.
Denton electronic rockers Neon Indian are quickly becoming kind of a big deal. Multiple festival appearances and late night talk show shows, along with strong support from Pitchfork Media and Rolling Stone has propelled 23-year-old Alan Palomo’s project to the top of the growing national electronic scene. They brought along up-and-coming funky producer Com Truise to this event that earned its spot with regular Do512 votes.
If Music is your boyfriend then you definitely caught this show played by CSS, a rock band from Brazil, who are known for their off the wall dance parties. The lead singer of CSS is such a badass that you don’t question her outfits, and this show being the day before Halloween was no exception. Her skeleton painted face was an excellent addition to this exhilarating All star show played with EMA and Men.
Detroit indie pop duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. have a funny name. I wonder why they chose that one instead of Ken Griffey Jr. Jr. Or Martin Luther King Jr. Jr. The possibilities are endless. Name aside, this indie-pop duo from Detroit is taking the country by storm, and they delivered a big show in a small place with their All Star-voted ACL Aftershow with Yellow Ostrich at Lambert’s BBQ.
Texas-raised Annie Clark, stage name St. Vincent, is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who is a former member of The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens’ touring band. The Berklee College of Music dropout has worked with Kid Cudi as well as Bon Iver and she put on an impressive show at ACL Live at this All Star voted event.
Post punk Brooklyn wild boys The Drums played a high-energy show at The Parish supported by Los Angeles indie group io echo. The Drums are a reverb-heavy 2-year-old band that have shared the stage with big acts such as Florence and the Machine and Kings of Leon. This event made the list by its count of All Star votes.
The crowd was louder than ever when Cold War Kids took the stage at Stubbs last April. Their set list swept the audience through their earlier albums to their new album “Mine is Yours.” Although the band isn’t from Texas they have a great following here in Austin, and the crowd had no problem jamming out to Nathan Willett’s soothing voice.
There is a reason why more commercially successful hip-hop artists like Jay-Z and 50 Cent continually refer to underground veteran Talib Kweli as one of their major influences. This rap visionary who began his career as a member of Black Star with Mos Def continues to put out stellar albums and exciting live shows, like this All Star-voted event at the Mohawk with a full live band supporting him.
When fans heard the news of these 2 bands playing together at the Austin Music Hall tickets became a hot commodity. We had NEVER seen Austin Music Hall so packed.
What a show this turned out to be when Local Natives took the stage and played familiar music from their album “Gorilla Manor.” You can imagine the energy in the room as The National played for this sold out show. It might as well have been world news when Matt Berninger leaped off the stage and walked through the audience because spectators went absolutely crazy!
Former southern grunge ’90s group Verbena lead singer A.A. Bondy is now making it as a solo artist and bringing his acoustic guitar and harmonica to his alternative folk shows. This All-Star voted event at the Parish featured Bondy and Seattle group Gold Leaves.
44. Austin Psych Fest and Sailor Jerry Present: Dum Dum Girls / Mark Sultan / Night Beats / The UFO Club 8/12
The guys behind the successful Austin Psych Fest 4, psychedelic rock group The Black Angels and the Reverberation Appreciation Society, put on an album release party for their The UFO Club/Night Beats split 10 inch at Mohawk last summer. This Sailor Jerry-sponsored event featured the bands recording the album and the Dum Dum Girls and Mark Sultan and offered a preview of next year’s Psych Fest. This event made the list on the heels of its All Star votes.
Myspace sensation turned professional electronic artist Ernest Greene, or Washed Out, brought his chillwave sounds to Austin for an All Star-voted show at the Mohawk. This small-town Georgia Master’s degree holder couldn’t find a job as a librarian after graduating college, so he turned to creating music in his bedroom. It seems it all worked out for him.
** How we calculated the top 45: We took each event on our site and weighted the total number of “likes” for said event, the amount of followers the event has on Do512, the number of likes by All-Stars (cool music aficionados and friends of Do512 like covertcuriosity and AustinBloggy), and the number of regular likes. With those criteria, we created a definitive and in no way completely arbitrary list for the top events here in Austin.
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