Austin stands with Houston: Scenes from weekend Hurricane Harvey benefits

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Over the Labor Day weekend, Austinites turned out and turned up at Hurricane Harvey relief shows. Here are a few scenes from the ground.

On Friday, the Mohawk hosted a big two-stage bash featuring Black Joe Lewis, Octopus Project and many more.

Mayor Steve Adler popped in for a surprise special guest appearance. Mohawk manager, Cody Cowan says they are still tallying numbers and trying to find matching donations, but so far, the fundraiser has raised over $30,000. 

A few days earlier, Black Joe Lewis had posted photos of himself navigating the streets of Houston on a boat on Instagram.

WARNING: Coarse language

Patty Griffin drew a capacity crowd to Waterloo Records Monday. Her set included a poignant take on Bessie Smith’s “Backwater Blues.” 

According to the ladies of Sailor Poon, the Rotel Vegas Chili Cook-off raised over $1000 for the Houston Food Bank on Sunday. 

The Body Rock Crew raised $580 for local group, Counter Balance ATX’s relief efforts. 

Meanwhile Thor Harris, a drummer, anti-Nazi crusader and longshot Texas gubernatorial candidate who’s also a skilled carpenter, grabbed a chainsaw and headed to Houston. 

Walker Lukens plays the Mohawk benefit on Friday night. Contributed: Cody Cowan

RELATED: Austin music scene Harvey relief benefits: Reckless Kelly and more 

Omar Souleyman show postponed due to passport issues

Syrian wedding singer, and the most unlikely techno music sensation in the world, Omar Souleyman was scheduled to perform on Monday at Empire, but according to a Facebook post from the club, the show has been postponed.

(Contributed: Alex Woodward)

“We just got word from Omar’s management that issues with his passport will prevent travel to the United States this weekend,” the post said. “We are working to reschedule a new date as soon as possible and notify all ticket buyers when we know more.”

Reps from the club say they are working with Souleyman’s management to “lock in a new date” and communicating with ticket buyers via email.


This week’s music picks: Patty Griffin, American Aquarium, Texas Gentlemen and more

Monday-Tuesday: Hurricane Harvey benefits at Waterloo Records. Austin’s premier record store is joining in the Harvey relief effort with in-store performances by some top Austin acts. Monday’s show with Patty Griffin benefits the American Red Cross, while proceeds from Tuesday’s Israel Nash/Matthew Logan Vasquez bill (with other special guests) will go to the Houston Food Bank. $20 suggested donation. 5 p.m. 600 N. Lamar Blvd. — P.B.

Monday: American Aquarium, Matthew Ryan at Stubb’s indoor. American Aquarium bandleader BJ Barham recently found himself in an unusual position: Just as the long-struggling North Carolina alt-country group finally became a solid national draw, his backing crew decided to depart. He’s re-stocked the lineup with three Texans, including Austinites Joey Bybee (drums) and Shane Boeker (guitar). They held their first full rehearsals in Austin a few weeks ago, shortly after Barham completed an incredible solo U.S. tour: He played at least one show in all 48 contiguous states in less than two months. Opener Matthew Ryan, a first-rate rock singer-songwriter since his 1990s tenure with A&M Records, opens. $16-$18. 8 p.m. doors. 801 Red River St. — P.B.

READ MORE: BJ Barham’s summer tour was the vacation of a lifetime

Wednesday: Texas Gentlemen at Waterloo Records. Dallas band the Texas Gentlemen caught some people by surprise this summer when they opened for Dawes at a free Bud Light Series show in the American-Statesman warehouse. Their set of largely cover tunes featured some great choices, including Tom Waits’ “Ol’ 55,” and a singer whose voice was a dead ringer for Willie Nelson’s. Their debut album “TX Jelly,” due Sept. 15 on New West Records, will focus on their original material. Free. 5 p.m. 600 N. Lamar Blvd. — P.B.

Hayes Carll plays Thursday at the Saxon Pub. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2016



  • Thee Oh Sees, Leather Girls at Hotel Vegas (sold out)
  • Charlie Sexton, Peterson Brothers at Continental Club
  • Church on Monday Band at Continental Gallery
  • Blue Monday with Whitey Johnson at Antone’s
  • Matchmaker Band at Highball
  • Omar Souleyman at Empire (POSTPONED)


  • Black Sabbitch at Stubb’s indoor
  • Beat Root Revival at Saxon Pub
  • Durawa, Linda Gail Lewis at El Mercado Backstage
  • Mike Stinson, Toni Price at Continental Club
  • Lex Land at Geraldine’s



The magnificent diversity of Houston shines through its music

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The Statesman put a call out to staff and readers for their love letters to our beleaguered neighbor to the southeast. You can read them all online here. This is mine …  

Like the rest of us in the parts of Texas that aren’t underwater right now, I’ve watched the devastation Hurricane Harvey unleashed on our state’s coastal areas with a heavy heart. I’m not a native Texan, but I’ve lived in the state for more than 20 years. Both of my daughters were born here, and gradually, over the past decade, my entire family has migrated to the Lone Star State. I love my adopted home fiercely. My heart aches seeing Texas’ quirky seaside communities suffering so profoundly. And Houston. Seeing Houston submerged kills me.

Austin is my beloved home, but I always tell friends from around the country that Houston is the other place in Texas where I’d love to live.

 I grew up in the Midwest, a small-town girl with big city dreams, and Houston is a massive cosmopolitan city. I love the world-class museums, the fancy restaurants and the leaping fountain that shoots over the Metrorail downtown. But mostly, I love its diversity.

 Houston is the most ethnically diverse city in America, a title it took from New York City in 2010. 

 Beyoncé, the city’s most famous musical export, is the queen of Houston, and the city holds the regional throne for Dirty South hip-hop. Houston’s signature sound reflects the tricked-out, candy-colored rides that parade through the streets each year, slow, low and banging. The (Underground) King of Houston is Bun B. He’s revered in the city as an elder statesman, and, in recent years, he was tapped by Rice University to teach a class on hip-hop and religion.

 Houston is home to the second largest Hispanic population in the country. A full 41 percent of people living in Harris County are Hispanic. One of the city’s underdog heroes is self-described tamale kingpin Chingo Bling, a rapper-turned-comedian with an incisive take on immigration issues.

 Houston feels like a gateway to the rest of the world and that’s because it literally is. From the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, it’s a short hop to Mexico and Central America and there’s steady traffic in and out of South America daily. The Port of Houston is one of the country’s biggest shipping channels.

 The city’s population also connects us to the rest of the world. As the Houston Chronicle explored with a beautiful, in-depth reporting project in 2015, 1 in 4 residents of Harris County, over a million people, are foreign-born. They come from all over: South and Central America, Europe, all corners of Africa and Asia. According to the Times of India, more than 150,000 Houstonians hail from my father’s homeland, making the city home to one of the largest East Indian communities in the country.

 Houston’s diversity and internationalism is reflected in my favorite H-Town bands. The Suffers, fronted by vocal powerhouse Kam Franklin, blend reggae, Mexican influences and hints of bayou Cajun sounds into a mix they call Gulf Coast soul. Khruangbin mixes surf pop and psychedelic sounds with Thai funk of the 1960s.

 Vocalist Asli Omar, who’s half-Somali, fronts the Tontons, a dreamy indie rock band that includes a Vietnamese bassist and a pair of Latino brothers on guitar and drums. The bandmates have been friends since high school. Omar once told me the fact that they all come from hard working and proud immigrant homes is a bond they share.

 A first-generation American who came of age in wholesome, white-bread, small-town America, I always longed to live in a city defined by a rich tapestry of ethnic communities. Growing up in a mixed-race family, I was raised with the naive belief that love trumps all, that our common humanity will always be greater than our differences. Having married into an African-American family, I cling to that idea more than ever these days.

 After Harvey pummeled Houston, the nation’s eyes were opened to the city’s beautiful diversity. Images of Houstonians, black, white, Hispanic and Asian, standing together and risking everything to help their neighbors uplifted us all.

 I realized, in Houston I see my American dream. The recovery is going to be a long, hard haul, but as soon as the city is ready for visitors, my husband and I, along with our Afro-Anglo-Indo-American children, will be among the first to come.

Singer Beyonce during GRAMMY Awards in 2017. (Contributed/Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS)

Eric Church moves Austin360 Amphitheater show to April 2018

Eric Church has moved his scheduled Sept. 7 concert at Austin360 Amphitheater to April 28, 2018.
Ashley Landis for American-Statesman 2013

Country star Eric Church has rescheduled his Sept. 7 concert at the Austin360 Amphitheater for April 28, 2018, “in light of the extensive devastation throughout the state of Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey,” the venue announced Friday.

“There is a time and place for everything, and we really feel that now is not the time for us to play in Texas,” Church said in the statement, which also cited the postponement of a show at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion near Houston. “Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you all.”

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Church also announced that proceeds from ticket sales for the 2018 Houston and Austin shows will go directly to Houston relief charities, and he invited first-responders to the storm to attend the shows for free (with details to be announced later).

Refunds for those not able to attend the rescheduled date will be given at the original point of purchase.

READ MORE: Eric Church at the 2013 Austin City Limits Music Festival