Broken Lizard is the group of guys from Super Troopers, Club Dread, and Beerfest. Tonight, they’re doing a live event where they take turns telling stories. Kevin Heffernan tells a fantastic story about filming Beerfest. In the scene he has to be deep in a giant vat of beer. Earlier in the day, they filmed a scene involving a lot of drinking. Thus, while in the vat, he needs to relieve himself. However, it would take a long time to get out and it would lengthen the amount of filming time. Since he is the only one in the vat, he decides to urinate in place. Then, two crewmen jump in behind him! They are there to make sure the vat is secure. They dive down and check the edges. The crowd reacts with disgust! Then, the director instructs Kevin that it is time to start drinking the liquid in the vat. Oh no! Kevin tells the director that he has been pissing in the vat for the past hour! “That’s your problem” he says. So, Kevin starts to drink very slowly. “Drink it faster!” The audience is cracking up the whole time he is telling the story. After he gets out of the vat, one of the crew members says not to be embarrassed about pissing in the vat. He pissed in it too!
Every one of the guys in the group had a story just as funny. It was a hilarious night full of laughs by the talented Broken Lizard. Support their campaign for Super Troopers 2 now!
A hapless nobody (played by Jeffery Mills) comes to town and is mistaken to be the government inspector. The town showers him with loans (bribes) and attention and he thinks it’s just because they like him (as he reveals when he speaks directly to the audience). The Mary Moody Northen Theatre is a theatre in the round, so it feels natural for the characters to break the fourth wall. It is the dialogue to the audience that results in some of the biggest laughs of the show.
Mills plays his character perfectly and the entire cast is hilarious. Michael Stuart portrays the mayor as a bumbling fool whom we all laugh at. Meridith McCall as the mayor’s wife is brilliant as the pushy mother encouraging her daughter to seduce the inspector in order for her daughter to obtain success and status. . Matt Buzonas, the postmaster, casually mentioning how he reads everyone’s mail cracks the crowd up every single time he nonchalantly mentions it. All the students in the performance are excellent. This definitely wasn’t an amateur student show. It was a professional production worthy of great praise.
Catch She Loves Me next at Mary Moody Northen Theatre starting on April 7th!
Warren Haynes has quite an impressive resume. He is a guitarist/vocalist for Gov’t Mule, The Allman Brothers, and The Dead. He has just released his third album under his own name, Ashes & Dust. He recorded the album with Railroad Earth and he is touring with Chessboxer as his band. “Holy Cow! That was awesome.” said an audience member after the impressive set that featured many of The Allman Brother’s greatest hits (“Jessica” and “Blue Sky”) along with most of his latest album.
Every member of the band was fantastic. Jeff Sipe was solid on the drums. Royal Masat rocked solid bass lines all night on an upright bass and an electric bass. Sterling Masat strummed the mandolin. Matt Menefee played an acoustic and a “space” banjo. During one of his solos, he threw in a bit of “So Fresh, So Clean” by Outkast which put a smile on everyone’s face. Ross Holmes is an expert on violin. His lightning fast solos were a major highlight of the night. And to top it all off, Warren Haynes was magnificent on guitar and vocals. His shredding solos and soothing voice were on full display this night. It’s clear he continues to be one of the finest guitarists in the world and will continue to play the best venues across the world.
Catch Warren Haynes featuring The Ashes & Dust Band (Chessboxer and Jeff Sipe) on tour now!
See the setlist here.
Tribes is a very realistic story about Billy, a young deaf man living in a hearing family. In the opening dinner scene, it is clear that his family loves him, but they don’t usually put forth the extra effort to include him in all the conversations. Billy is skilled at lip reading, but he doesn’t always catch the words the first time around. When he asks for family members to repeat themselves, they brush him off by saying, “it was something boring” or “don’t worry about it.” This makes him feel like a second class citizen and he secretly resents them.
One night, he meets Sylvia, who is also deaf. They begin dating and she teaches him sign language while bringing him into the deaf community. Billy finally feels accepted and heard. He has found his Tribe. With this new confidence, he invites Sylvia to dinner with his family. Stephen Darbicki, who plays Billy, does an excellent job of showing his personal growth throughout the play.
The dinner scene accurately portrays the situation of a family meeting a new girlfriend for the first time. “We all feel nervous”, says the mother. The father, who had always tried to keep Billy normal by keeping him away from the deaf community, begins to drill Sylvia. He ends up engaging her in a conversation about the very nature of sign language. Does sign language, by its nature, lacks subtlety? Mitch Pileggi (who you may recognize as Walter Skinner from the X-files) portrays the intensity of this inquiry expertly. He is searching for the truth.
The drama continues to build in the second act. Emotions build as Billy gets deeper into the deaf community and thus begins to leave the hearing (his family) behind. The audience feels a deep connection to his struggle to find his place in the world.
Experience this emotionally complex performance at Zach Theatre now through February 28th!
Riverdance is much more than just Irish dancing. It is also a fantastic concert with fiddle, saxophone, drums, Uilleann pipes, and tin whistle. It’s incredibly beautiful and exciting music that captures the culture of Ireland. The music accompanies the dancing perfectly. As the tap dancing increases to lightning fast speed, so does the music. When all the dancers join hands and dance in a circle, the music sounds like a big party.
In the second act, a dance-off takes place between the Male Troupe and the American Tappers. It’s a very exciting back and forth as they push each other back and forth across the stage. The American Tappers poke fun at the Irish Dancing but then adapt it to their own style. One of the Tappers throws in a break dancing move with a one handed freeze. It’s a cool blend of styles that would have been great to see even more.
See the fantastic choreography in the 20th Anniversary Tour of Riverdance tonight and tomorrow at The Long Center!
With so much live entertainment going on in Austin, how do you decide what to see? Here comes Industry Night, a preview show for Austin’s vibrant entertainment industry. The night starts with the hosts talking very strangely. Then, Brock enters the stage and is very confused by their speech. They finally reveal that they are pod people and now they are going to impregnate Brock! This sketch continues throughout the night to the audience’s delight interspersed between guest performances.
One of the first acts is a pre-taped Michelle Keffer Segment involving asking people on 6th street about the best “date night”. The most common answer is “Netflix and Chill”. It’s a hilarious edited video and you can see more of them here: https://vimeo.com/bluepaperfilm/videos
Last Five Years sings a hilarious song about people hitting on you more often after you are married.
Rosalyn Nasky performs an unique dance where she stands motionless for an uncomfortable amount of time followed by irregular movements where she pushes her shirt down to wear it as a skirt and puts her pants on her arms like a jacket. It’s completely bizarre and also quite fantastic.
The next sketch is called “We don’t have a sketch”. One of the lines is “So everything we are saying right now will be in the sketch?” It’s a very meta piece that has the whole audience cracking up. The scene ends with one character saying “But we need to do something really funny” and then getting a pie in the face!
The Back Pack do a highly entertaining puppet shadow show. “Secret Agent Man” plays while two squirrels fight their way past pigeon guards to diffuse a bomb. It’s like a live animation short that fills the crowd with glee.
Catch the next Industry Night for a expertly curated sampler of the best of Austin’s live entertainment!
Ballyhoo! tours like crazy across the United States. All this playing has resulted in a finely tuned live band. Howi leads the group on guitar and vocals with infectious energy. He immediately gets the crowd dancing and jumping along with their new song, “Mixtape”. It’s a great fresh new tune that proves these guys are still making great music after all these years (they formed in 1995).
One of their best live songs is “Walk Away”. It features a fantastic call and response that draws the entire crowd in. “Sometimes it’s easier to walk away (Walk Away!)” To close out the encore at the end of the night, they play “Last Night”. It’s a fantastically upbeat reggae rock jam that serves as a great finale to an impressively high energy set. Catch Ballyhoo! on tour now!
See past setlists here.
Nicole Pesce has the nickname “The Human iPod.” The library of songs in her head is so impressive, it should be upgraded to “The Human Spotify.” No iPod contains sufficient memory to warehouse her repertoire. After her first set, she asks for requests from the audience via Twitter, Facebook or text. She receives over 80 messages from which she creates two impressive cover medleys. The songs include “Green Onions,” “Rhapsody In Blue,” “Moonlight Sonata,” “Stairway to Heaven,” “Flight of the Bumble Bee,” and many more. The crowd happily sings along when she plays “Beer Barrel Polka.” She glides from song to song with grace no matter how different the preceding song. It’s quite a crowd pleasing segment.
Her quartet for the night includes bass, drums, and saxophone. In the first set, they play “My Funny Valentine” for all the lovers. Then, she says they’ll play “I Don’t Wanna Be Kissed” for the anti-valentine members of the crowd. But there’s a catch, the full title of the song ends with “(By Anyone But You).” Throughout the show she jokes like this with the crowd, which makes her live show quite charming. As a finale, she invites an old friend from her years at the Ritz Carlton on to the stage to sing “Over The Rainbow.” He showers her with praise before they sing a great version of the Wizard of Oz tune and a few other songs to close out the night.
Catch Nicole Pesce soon at a venue near you!
For Guster, who have been a band since 1991, their tour schedule is all about quality of life. The weekend before this Tuesday show they were enjoying a ski trip staying with a billionaire at a luxurious hotel in Park City with free lift tickets and massages. They were having a great time. Should they stay and skip the Arizona concert? Only about 350 people showed up to their last show in town several years ago. “We have to go to Arizona! I got six emails!” says Brian, aka Thunderhands. Decision made!
It was the right choice as The Marquee Theatre is packed tonight. Guster immediately gets everyone dancing around with “Satellite.” After the song, the lead singer begins to tell a story when a single piece of confetti falls from the ceiling. He can’t help but call attention to it. “All we can afford is one piece of confetti! My story can’t top that. I’ll have to tell it later.” It’s this type of improv and charm on stage that makes a Guster live show so great. It’s a celebration of music with the audience, not at the audience.
Later on he asks the crowd, “Have you been the Musical Instrument Museum? It’s fantastic. A visit starts with a video stating ‘Music is the language of the soul.’ And we play music and it’s in our souls!” It’s clear he’s happy they made the decision to come. The whole band is smiling as they play “Come Downstairs and Say Hello.” The whole building dances and sings along, “tomorrow I start in a new direction!” Then, on “Barrel Of A Gun”, Brian is a frenzy of hands, sweat, and bongos. He’s the strong beating heart of the band and it’s an absolute joy to watch him perform.
Guster isn’t coasting on their laurels. They continue to evolve and play fantastic live shows. Catch them on tour now and check out their new album, Evermotion!
See the full setlist here.
The Family Crest at The Crescent Ballroom (February 8, 2016)
The cello starts with the fantastic melody from “Beneath the Brine.” It’s instantly recognizable to fans of The Family Crest and they immediately begin to dance around. Soon the rest of the band joins in on bass, drums, keyboard, trombone, and violin. Then comes the emotional vocals to top off the excellently constructed song. Later, at the climax of “Love Don’t Go”, the whole crowd is singing along collectively with the band. It’s a fantastic moment to participate in.
The set includes many instrumental breakdowns. Two solos by the trombone player and the violinist respectively are highlights of the night. The songs feature a lot of slow builds into high intensity climaxes. The vocal range of the lead singer, Liam McCormick, makes this possible and is done impressively.
Catch this dynamic seven piece baroque pop band on tour with Jukebox the Ghost now!