Music is alive and well at SXSW 2022, which has already seen hundreds of artists grace the stages across the city. More than 200 musicians on the lineup this year are from Austin, in addition to the dozens of countries represented on stage this year.
These are just a few of the shows we’ve been able to catch so far, but you can catch live music on stages across the city through Monday.
Golden Dawn Arkestra
Colorful, danceable Golden Dawn Arkestra is one of the most unique bands you’ll find in Austin. With sparkling dancers, a huge range of instruments and funky psychedelic sound, the band is inspired by Sun Ra Arkestra’s fanciful visuals. Their song, "Phenomenal," will remind you that you are more than worthy—you're incredible. Be yourself, love those around you and explore the galaxy: that’s the message of Golden Dawn Arkestra.
Chief Cleopatra’s dream-pop R&B is quickly bringing her to the forefront of the local music scene. A lifelong Texan and musician who grew up singing in her church choir, Cleopatra’s genre-bending music tells relatable stories of choosing your friends wisely and new love. Her new EP, “Luna,” is streaming now.
A delightful mixture of Americana, R&B and soul, Jake Lloyd’s Continental Club show attracted a diverse crowd of those young and old. Half of Geto Gala, a project done alongside fellow Austin-based artist Deezie Brown, Jake Lloyd put on an energetic set as he danced for the crowd and did a cover of Cameo’s “Word Up.”
The only non-local artist on our list, New Zealand-born multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Kimbra’s spiritual set was fittingly held in a church. Since Kimbra’s career exploded when she was featured on Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know,” she has continued to shape pop as her own genre. Kimbra performed yet-to-be-released music, using a looper to create the song from the ground up, live.
With an unexpectedly enormous voice, Jade Bird often performs with just herself and an acoustic guitar on stage. The new Austinite shared one stage that SXSW was one of the reasons she fell in love with the city before breaking into a never-before-released song, "Save Your Tears." Her newest album, “Different Kinds of Light,” is streaming now.
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Summer heat is here and that’s just as good an excuse as any to hunker down with a whole mess of barbecue.
Luckily, some of the best barbecue in the world can be found here in town. If you’re new to ‘cue, start here, if you’re an experienced eater, see how many you’ve checked off your list.
Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que | 217 Congress Ave.
For any barbecue lover who hasn't tried the pork ribs at Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que, it's time to finally do so. Pitmasters Kenny Oestreich and Louis Garcia run the family-owned and operated restaurant, making that delicious barbecue smell wafting on South Congress. Brisket, chicken, jerky and even goat are a fraction of what Cooper's has to offer. You can dine in from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.
Distant Relatives | 3901 Promontory Point Dr.
Parked at South Austin’s Meanwhile Brewing, Distant Relatives and pitmaster Damien Brockway sport a James Beard nomination despite its youth as a business. The food here is spiced with African influences—try the pork ribs, burnt ends, collard green and smoked peanuts. Distant Relatives is open from 12-8 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday.
Franklin Barbecue | 900 E. 11th St.
Known for having extremely long lines and mouth-watering brisket from pitmaster and "barbecue nerd" Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue is loved by locals and celebrities such as Anthony Bourdain, Jimmy Kimmel and Barack Obama. From brisket to beef ribs and a Tipsy Texan sandwich, there's nothing more iconic to Austin than this particular barbecue joint. Described by Texas Monthly as "serving the best barbecue in the known universe," Franklin Barbecue is a must-try if you're new to town. Franklin’s is closed on Mondays and open Tuesday-Sundays from 11 a.m.–sold out, which comes earlier than you think so arrive early to line up.
Green Mesquite BBQ | 1400 Barton Springs Rd. and 9900 I-35
An Austin classic, Green Mesquite BBQ has been serving barbecue at Barton Springs since 1988. This Austin barbecue spot switches things up by featuring mesquite barbecue, a method of cooking meat over a fire using mesquite wood that gives it a distinct flavor. This is the spot for chicken wings, fried okra, baked potatoes and sweet smoky meat. The Barton Springs location is open daily from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and the Southpark location is open from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
Interstellar BBQ | 12233 Ranch Road 620 N
Using high-quality ingredients and wood, and cooking in small batches, low and slow is the motto Interstellar BBQ goes by. Of course, you can get all the classic favorites: brisket, pulled pork and ribs, but Interstellar has some pretty stellar signatures. Try the peach tea glazed pork belly, brisket taco, jalapeno popper sausage and you can even get bulk sauces or beef tallow to cook with. You can take out your feast or dine in from 11 a.m. until sold out Wednesday-Sunday.
La Barbecue | 2401 E. Cesar Chavez St.
La Barbecue is a shining star of Texas barbecue. Owned by LeAnn Mueller and wife Ali Clem, La Barbecue serves brisket, beef and pork ribs, sausages and so much more. Pitmaster Clem has established her influence on La Barbecue with help from Francicso Saucedo, especially for the sausages and pork ribs for a perfect barbecue experience. You can preorder online or dine in from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday.
LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue | 121 Pickle Road
This new-school and creative food truck blends new school flavors with traditional embellishments. LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue opened their doors in 2017 in the Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden lot and pitmaster Evan LeRoy and Director of Operation Sayer Lewis have provided Austinites with locally-sourced barbecue since. From brisket to sausage to barbacoa, LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue have all the fixins' and more for barbecue lovers in town. Grab some grub from 11 a.m.-9 p.m., or sold out, Wednesday–Sunday.
Micklethwait Craft Meats | 1309 Rosewood Ave.
Micklethwait Craft Meats is no stranger to the well-known barbecue game in Austin. Also featured in Texas Monthly as one of the best barbecue spots in Texas, pitmaster Tom Micklethwait brings standout items to the Austin food game. With brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork, homemade sausages and so much more on their menu, Micklethwait Craft Meats is the perfect spot for meat lovers looking for a new destination. You can get your barbecue fix Thursday-Saturday either through preorder or walk up and there's even an outdoor picnic area that is open from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.
Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew | 6610 N. Lamar Blvd.
Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew is led by pitmaster Lance Kirkpatrick, with a hometown twist and celebrity status of being featured in “Dazed and Confused.” Owner and Texas native Shane Stiles named Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew after a Central Texas railroad stop on the I&GN Railroad from the 1800s. The authentically delicious barbecue such as beef rib, pork ribs and sausage are just the start of the menu. You can dine in from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
Terry Black's Barbecue | 1003 Barton Springs Road
Pitmasters Michael and Mark Black, from the famous Black’s Barbecue family, bring Lockhart's barbeque knowledge to Austin. The meat market-style restaurant offers delicious brisket, pork rib, beef sausage and shining sides . If you're new to town and thinking of sending a gift to your friends and family outside of the state, Terry Black's offers nationwide shipping for most of their meats. Austinites can dine in from 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and Friday-Saturday from 1:20 a.m.-10 p.m.
Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ | 11500 Manchaca Road
In a city where tacos and barbecue aren't hard to find, pitmaster Miguel Vida brings Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ to Austin with a twist on both food groups. Is there anything more Austin than skipping tradition and creating something completely unique? Valentina's serves brisket, pulled pork and chicken and beef fajita with a Mexican twist. Make sure to try their smoked brisket taco and order online before it all sells out. Valentina’s is closed Monday-Tuesday, but open for dine-in from 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m. (or until sold out) Wednesday-Sunday.
The Texas Senate Democratic Caucus is urging Gov. Greg Abbott to call an emergency special legislative session to consider a variety of gun restrictions and safety measures in the wake of a mass school shooting in Uvalde that left 19 children and two adults dead this week.
In a letter released Saturday morning, all 13 Senate Democrats demanded lawmakers pass legislation that raises the minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21 years old. The Uvalde gunman was 18 and had purchased two AR-style rifles which he used in the attack.
The caucus is also calling for universal background checks for all firearm sales, “red flag” laws that allow a judge to temporarily remove firearms from people who are considered an imminent threat to themselves or others, a “cooling off period” for the purchase of a firearm and regulations on high capacity magazines for citizens.
“Texas has suffered more mass shootings over the past decade than any other state. In Sutherland Springs, 26 people died. At Santa Fe High School outside Houston, 10 people died. In El Paso, 23 people died at a Walmart. Seven people died in Midland-Odessa,” the letter reads. “After each of these mass killings, you have held press conferences and roundtables promising things would change. After the slaughter of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, those broken promises have never rung more hollow. The time to take real action is now.”
Such laws are unlikely to gain traction in the Republican-controlled Legislature, which has a track record of favoring legislation that loosens gun restrictions. Only the governor has the power to call lawmakers back into a special session for emergency work.
Asked about a special session at a Friday press conference in Uvalde, Abbott said “all options are on the table” adding that he believed laws would ultimately be passed to address this week’s horrors. However, he suggested laws would be more tailored toward addressing mental health, rather than gun control.
“You can expect robust discussion and my hope is laws are passed, that I will sign, addressing health care in this state,” he said, “That status quo is unacceptable. This crime is unacceptable. We’re not going to be here and do nothing about it.”
He resisted the idea of increasing the age to purchase a firearm, saying that since Texas became a state, 18-year-olds have been able to buy a gun.
He also dismissed universal background checks saying existing background check policies did not prevent the Santa Fe and Sutherland Springs shootings, which both happened while he has been in office.
“If everyone wants to seize upon a particular strategy and say that’s the golden strategy right there, look at what happened in the Santa Fe shooting,” he said. “A background check had no relevance because the shooter took the gun from his parents…Anyone who suggests we should focus on background checks as opposed to mental health, I suggest is mistaken.”
Since the massacre at Robb Elementary School, the governor’s comments about potential solutions have centered around increasing mental health services, rather than restricting access to firearms.
This story has been edited for length.
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