When you sign up for one of Sofar Studios’ secret shows, there’s a surprise around every corner from buying the ticket to walking out of the venue.
A musical community putting on intimate live concerts in 325 cities and counting across the world, Sofar Studios puts on shows with unannounced artists with the goal of connecting locals to up-and-coming musicians.
Austonia attended a Sofar show that was in partnership with Bumble at Aviator Nation, 1325 S. Congress Ave., featuring performances from Mélat, Tony22 and Clarence James on April 14.
How a Sofar Sounds show works
Ticketholders are told only the general area of where the show will take place when they purchase their slot before being told the venue 36 hours before the show begins. Each of the three local artists, unknown by the audience until they take the stage, is given a 30-minute set to perform at a unique venue in front of anywhere from a cozy 50-200 guests.
Regional artist booking manager Esther Calloway, a Texan who books for Austin, Dallas, Houston and Colorado, said about half of the musicians do repeat shows. Calloway said she books artists based on their musicality and how Sofar can help them at any point in their career.
“It's really important that we help cultivate careers—we have different opportunities for them to elevate within the Sofar platform,” Calloway said. “We have been able to really connect with artists that we really love, that we are seeing in a local market that's evolving and growing.”
Depending on the venue you end up in, you may sit on picnic blankets or stand up and dance, bring your own booze or snacks, or end up with some free merch at the end of it all.
As for the artists...
Her name is pronounced May-lah-t. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
Tony22's ukulele gives him a gentle, unconventional sound. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
Clarence James' vocals are like a dream. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
- Dreamy R&B pop singer Mélat’s music is all about her strong yet angelic vocals, which she demonstrated by opening with a cover of “Killing Me Softly With His Song,” by the Fugees and Lauryn Hill. Our favorite original songs were “The Lesson” and “The Now.”
- Next on stage was Tony22, an electric ukulele strummer whose newest album “222,” follows relatable tales of love, life and mental health. The track “Here and Now” stuck out most to us.
- The final act of the night, Clarence James made the most memorable entrance when his bassist arrived late during the first song and jumped on stage to join. James’ impressive vocal range in “I’m Melting,” and effortless skills on the guitar in “I Think It Might Be Hell” made us fans.
Each show is a new configuration of artists. In addition to the three above artists, locals like Mama Duke, Sheridan Reed and Nick Swift are common on the lineup. Read more info about the shows here.
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Some of your favorite Instagram filters can’t be used in Texas anymore and Austinites are sounding off on social media.
Meta, Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, announced on Wednesday that certain filters would no longer be available in Texas.
The change is a result of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawsuit against Meta, alleging the company uses facial recognition technology that violates laws in Texas. A release from Meta says it stopped using facial recognition tech in November 2021 and denies Paxton’s allegations.
Some Austinites bemoaned the shift, saying some of their favorite filters were now unavailable.
This was my FAVORITE filter on @instagram and they done removed it cause I’m in Texas ! Like wowwwwww pic.twitter.com/uX60hdIC0Q
— Pinkyy Montana (@inkstar_pinkyy) May 11, 2022
i heard that instagram filters got banned in texas? what the actual fuck y’all better give me my favorite filter back
— lia 🤍 (@liatootrill) May 11, 2022
loved this stupid filter sm i hate texas pic.twitter.com/DXr9mmUc64
— birthday boy jeno 🎂 (@beabtox) May 12, 2022
But more often than not, locals joked about the ban.
Texas women seeing the filter ban on IG pic.twitter.com/yDMcP3Qtsr
— Christian (Anabolic) Flores (@christian_flo24) May 11, 2022
So, the state of Texas has banned filter use on IG? THE END IS NEAR. 😂
— THE FRANCHISE! Франшиза (@NYCFranchise718) May 12, 2022
And some in-between chose to show off some natural beauty.
I live in Texas, but no filter needed. 😉 pic.twitter.com/A6teRgYMKn
— bad and bruja (@starseedmami) May 11, 2022
filter, no filter..texas women still reign supreme.
— 🎍 (@_sixile) May 11, 2022
Finally, some are trying to cash in on the opportunity.
Texas IG users- if you want to filter your picture cashapp me $1.50 $ErvnYng
— Gemini (@ervn_y) May 11, 2022
Meta said it plans to create an opt-in system for both Texas and Illinois residents, who are facing the same issues.
Power demand is forecast to push within 600 megawatts of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas' capacity Friday afternoon as a record month of heat continues.
Demand for the statewide power grid hit over 65,000 Mw at 5 p.m., just under the capacity the grid can handle. ERCOT announced approximately 2,900 Mw of power was lost on Friday due to six power generation facilities tripping offline. At 5 p.m. it said all reserve generation resources available are operating. Texans have been asked to conserve energy.
Inbox: ERCOT says "six power generation facilities tripped offline resulting in the loss of approximately 2,900 MW of electricity. At this time, all reserve generation resources available are operating." Asks Texans to conserve power... pic.twitter.com/g6LxJlHlop
— Forrest Wilder (@Forrest4Trees) May 13, 2022
As the power grid threatens to buckle under the weight of consumers, record-breaking heat continues to push up demand. Austin is currently in the hottest May on record, with temperatures averaging at 82 degrees—eight degrees higher than average—at Austin's Camp Mabry.
And Austin is expected to have another triple-digit onslaught next week, with temperatures peaking at highs of 100 degrees Friday and Saturday. As a result, demand could peak Monday, with forecast demand expected to reach a May record of 70,758 Mw. The previous record was 67,265 in 2018, while ERCOT's all-time high was 74,820 Mw in August 2019.
While ERCOT has not yet seen a heat surge reminiscent of 2021's Winter Storm Uri, power outage woes became all too real for around 3,600 southeast Austinites Saturday as Austin Energy put on a last-resort power pause from around 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.
The outage was a culmination of many factors—from near-100 degree heat to unfortunately-timed maintenance checks and growth in the Bluff Springs area. The result was an overheating circuit that needed relief fast.
"It was related to high usage overloading one circuit at a time when some of our infrastructure was still undergoing maintenance in preparation for the months to come," Austin Energy spokesperson Matt Mitchell told Austonia. "So it was a very unique set of circumstances that we do not see repeating itself."
Mitchell said that all seasonal maintenance is complete and that Austin Energy will open a new power substation in Bluff Springs this June. The organization also said the issue had nothing to do with ERCOT, which released a statement assuring consumers that power was not threatened during that time.
NEW: ERCOT projects there will be sufficient supply of power to meet demand for this week. pic.twitter.com/fPZWHbWyoc
— Lindsey Ragas (@LindseyRagas) May 10, 2022
ERCOT also told Austonia before 5 p.m. that it "projects there will be sufficient generation to meet demand for electricity" on Friday. It then informed the public about the energy loss due to a power trip.
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