Your daily dose of Austin
Smartphone image
Make your inbox more Austin.
Local news and fun, every day 6am.
PHOTOS: Gary Clark Jr., Blackillac play Moody Amphitheater grand opening to sold-out crowd

Gary Clark Jr. played the inaugural show for the Moody Amphitheater, which has in progress since 2017. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

The Moody Amphitheatre's grand opening kicked off with a big capital-of-Texas bang: a concert by two home-grown musical performances, Gary Clark Jr. and Blackillac.

The 5,000-seat venue debuted its long-awaited Clark concert on Friday evening complete with big, sold-out crowds. The music went on as scheduled after it was announced in June 2020, with seats packed all the way over the lawn.

Although Moody Amphitheater said it would require masks at all times except when eating or drinking, almost none were worn in the open-air venue. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

Many attendees enjoyed a live music ambience for the first time in over a year. Austinites Lauren Clary, Doug Nguyen and Trent Castleberry said it was their first concert since COVID-19 began other than Blues on the Green.

Clary, Nguyen and Castleberry they are looking forward to seeing more live music, like ACL, this year. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

"I love (Clark) because he's a local," Clary said, noting that she appreciates that Clark is involved in putting community events together like Blues on the Green.

Opening rap duo Blackillac is comprised of 36-year-old Valin Zamarron, whose stage name is Zeale, and 35-year-old J.J. Shaw, whose stage name is Phranchyze. The pair started making music in 2018 with guidance from Clark, who lovingly shouted them out in his opening remarks.

Blackillac has been climbing the ranks in Austin's music scene for a while—the two have performed at ACL Festival in 2019 and were named "Best Hip Hop/Rap" group at the 2020 Austin Music Awards. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

Blackillac had the crowd standing by the second song.

Blackillac played a 30-minute set before passing the stage on to Clark. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

Concert-goers Brad and Rhonda Davidson said they used to frequent concerts at Waterloo Park before it was revitalized. The couple said they were enjoying the new park just the same and were excited to see Clark again after seeing him at Blues on the Green in July.

Brad and Laura Davidson were happy to be back at Waterloo Park for a concert once more. (Laura Figi)

"(This concert is) the inaugural thing in this park and it's part of Austin," Brad said. "I used to see (Clark) walking downtown carrying his guitar into a venue. He's been part of Austin for the last 30 years; Gary is Austin."

Clark took the stage in his signature brimmed hat and opened with a guitar solo.

Just seconds before Clark starts the first song... (Laura Figi/Austonia)

During his set, Clark played "Bright Lights" and "Cold Blooded" to open up the show in front of a thrilled crowd.

A lifelong Austinite, Clark is also a Grammy award-winner and a seasoned musician who started playing when he was just 12 years old. (Laura Figi/Austonia)

Clark is playing the Moody Amphitheater again Saturday at 6 p.m. with opener Kydd Jones. The next show will play on Sept. 9, bringing reggae-rock band Rebelution to the stage


A big announcement from Austonia

Howdy, and happy holidays.

I have some big news for you.

Austonia is now part of 6AM City, a fast-growing network of hyper-local newsletters across the country.

I’m proud to be telling you this, because 6AM City’s mission is very much like Austonia’s — a daily morning update on events, things-to-do and news, with an underlying mission of community building in the cities they serve.

If you’re not already subscribed, 6AM City’s Austin newsletter is called ATXtoday. One of its city editors is Laura Figi, who you’ll remember for her previous great work on Austonia’s newsletter.

I’ve been reading ATXtoday every day since it launched last year.

Starting this week, you’ll receive ATXtoday every morning and I’m confident it will become part of your daily wake up routine. Be sure to add to your contact list (how to do that here).

Meantime let me thank you for your readership and support of Austonia, and convey my wishes for a great holiday season for you and those close to you.

Thank you,

Mark Dewey

Austonia CEO

Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.