News Column

Austin Music People Offers Musicians, Fans 'a Little Love' With United We Jam

August 19, 2013

YellowBrix

Austin Music People director Jennifer Houlihan sees the "hyperlocal" United We Jam festival -- which takes place Saturday and Sunday at clubs on Red River and the East Side -- as an alternative festival option for Austin music fans who might not be able to afford some of the bigger events.

The event will feature Austin-based acts Seth Sherman, Pink Nasty, White Ghost Shivers, Gentleman Rogues, the Sour Notes, Oh No Oh My and more performing at clubs including Holy Mountain, Mohawk, the White Horse and Cheer Up Charlie's. The covers vary, but music fans will be able to get into most shows for a suggested donation of $5. "We'd love for local musicians to get a little love, and for local fans to get a little love," Houlihan says.

In addition to the high number of Austin-based acts performing, the festival (which resembles a not-quite-free, summertime version of January's annual free week) will double as a voter registration drive. To prepare for that aspect of the event, AMP is hosting deputy voter registration training at City Hall at 2 p.m. Tuesday. That hourlong training session will allow volunteers to register voters during the festival (and for years to come).

"We'd like to make sure that young people, music fans, people who are supporters of the creative economy, people who are supporters of the live music industry are among the people to cast their vote," Houlihan says. "We don't expect every issue to go in a particular way, we just want to make sure nobody in the creative community can say they didn't have a chance to participate."

Houlihan points to two issues, affordable housing and transportation, as being particularly important to musicians and other members of the music community in Austin. "It's going to be very hard to remain the live music capital of the world if our service industry workers and musicians and techs get priced out and are unable to live here," she says.

Another issue that AMP and Houlihan have been involved with recently is the latest push to create a cultural heritage district on and around Red River Street. At the last meeting of the Austin Music Commission, Houlihan presented her organization's recommendations for how to proceed with the district, which would attempt to protect at least some of the live music venues on the strip as the Waller Creek redevelopment project continues.

Unlike prior attempts, AMP's suggestions are more of a starting point that would allow businesses in the area to market themselves as part of the district. "We wanted to start with something that would immediately have results for the small businesses in that area," Houlihan says. "There is still much to be revealed, and those conversations will happen over time as different elements are introduced -- if we can get some banners up, some plaques on some of the buildings, it will help drive more business to that area."

Oh No Oh My call it quits. Austin-based Oh No Oh My's show Saturday at Red 7 (part of United We Jam) will be the group's last. The group, which formed in Austin in 2004, will release their final full-length album at the show. From the band's Facebook page: "At this time we have no plans to play anymore ONOM shows after this one, but we'll all be moving on to new musical projects and endeavors. We're hoping this is sort of a retrospective type thing to get all our friends/fans together for one last show ... so we'll be playing a 'Best Of' type of set list, filled with and all the 'hits' and lots of older songs we haven't played in years." Booher and Royal Forest will also perform.

Petty Fest hits Austin. Norah Jones, Doyle Bramhall II, Jakob Dylan, Jason Isbell, Erika Wennerstrom, Ian McLagan, Lukas Nelson and more will come together at Mohawk on Sept. 25 for Petty Fest, a celebration of the the music of Tom Petty. The event, which has also happened in Nashville and other cities, will benefit Sweet Relief, an organization that aids musicians struggling from illness, disabilities and other issues. Tickets, which should sell out fast, were still available at press time for $20 at thebestfest.com.

In brief: Janelle Monae will play ACL Live on Nov. 12 in support of her new album, "Electric Lady," which is out Sept. 10. Last week, Monae released details on the album, a followup to 2010's "ArchAndroid." Erykah Badu, Miguel, Prince, Solange, Big Boi, Cee-Lo and Esperanza Spalding make appearances. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday through acl-live.com. Lyle Lovett (who also talks about fashion in the latest issue of Esquire) and his Acoustic Group have also added a second show at ACL Live (Sept. 10) ... Umami Mia Pizzeria has partnered with KUTX to host a live outdoor music series on Sundays. The series begins Sept. 1 with Austin band Black Pistol Fire. The Tontons, What Made Milwaukee Famous, Residual Kid, Milkdrive, the Preservation and Danny Malone also will perform in coming weeks. Music starts at 3 p.m.

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