Toni Price is the undisputed queen of the calendar tattoo, making the term “residency” purt near permanent with her Tuesday night “Hippie Hour” shows at the Continental Club. In 13 years of Tuesdays, Toni’s missed her spiritual party about as often as the University of Texas offensive line has skipped supper.
Then you’ve got the rollicking Cornell Hurd Band holding down Thursdays at Jovita’s for more than 10 years.
Residencies are great for fans with short-term memories who can’t find the newspaper’s club listings. Tuesday means Toni and Thursday is for the CHB, but there are a few more gigs on a fixed schedule worth mentally bookmarking, at least one every weeknight. Most will only cost what you throw in a tip jar that feels more like a collection plate when the music moves you.
If you’re trying to get ahold of a local guitar player on Sunday night and he’s not answering his cell phone, just head on down to the Continental Club. Your out-of-pocket riff fisherman is probably there with eyes fixed on Redd Volkaert’s sausages with fingernails, ripping up and down the fretboard. Add fellow sideman legend Earl Poole Ball and Heybale is high musical cotton, indeed.
Doing servile work on the other side of the ’04 ZIP are the Resentments, featuring Jon Dee Graham and Stephen Bruton. Then there’s that finger-picking songsmith Ana Egge starting a residency every Sunday at Flipnotics. That’s a whole lot of musicianship coming out of South Austin on the Lord’s Day.
Craving more guitar the next night? Every Monday, one of the best blues bands in Texas plays T.C.’s Lounge on Webberville Road in far East Austin. The juke joint itself, unchanged since the ’60s except for an influx of collegians of the Caucasian persuasion, is worth the drive, but when guitarists Mike Keller and Seth Walker lead the Little Elmore Reed Band on such classics as “Okie Dokie Stomp,” well, the live music experience just doesn’t get any better.
Another cool new Monday institution is Carolyn Wonderland at Ruta Maya. If you’re entertaining visitors from out of town and you want to show off, take ’em to see the ridiculously gifted Miss Wonderland, who channels Bessie Smith while playing wicked guitar.
Austin’s greatest obscure musician, Erik Hokkanen, unveils his string wizardry every Tuesday at Flipnotics, backed by a crack band of whippersnappers. A stunningly deft guitarist, who’s even more talented on fiddle, Hokkanen plays everything from Western swing to klezmer music to surf rock and hillbilly blues. Your jaw will be sore the next day, from dropping so much.
Every Wednesday, Gary Clark Jr. will get you over the hump early with his 6:30 p.m. set of modern blues guitar artistry at the Continental. A veteran at 22, Clark continues to grow as a musician, soaking up such influences as Bob Marley and Stevie Wonder, even backing a guest rapper on occasion.
And then on Thursday, true blue classic rock royalty holds court at Lucky Lounge, as former Small Face Ian McLagan and his Band of Bump trace the roots of pub rock, creating a constant flow from the Guinness tap. No band in town can make 6 p.m. feel more like midnight.
So there’s your plan to get your face full of music Sunday through Thursday. Sorry folks, but when the weekend hits, you’re on your own.
I’ve imposed the Kazoo Rule on the Asylum Street Spankers — never go out of your way to see a band that uses the devil’s trumpet — but I have to repeal prohibition after seeing the theatrical way-back machine’s cover of “Dance This Mess Around” by the B-52s. Christina Marrs nails the essence of B-girl Cindy Wilson on the tune and when Wammo comes in as the Fred Schneider role, it’s hilarious without being over-the-top.
So now I’m up for another dip in the Spank Tank. Rats! The group had been playing every Tuesday at the Saxon Pub and every Wednesday at Ruta Maya, but those residencies have ended and the band begins a national tour tonight in Kansas City. Be forewarned, these calendar tattoos are not necessarily permanent. The good news, though, is that the Spankers return to Austin for a Feb. 24 show at Ruta Maya.