Venue Spotlight: The Mohawk

We here at the Deli Austin are extraordinarily proud to present the first in our series of features profiling Austin venues. Our writer Resalin Rago brings us installment one, focused on the Red River hotspot the Mohawk, which you may call a hipster hangout at your own peril. Photos by Frances Lin.

A wooden sign hanging above the bar at the Mohawk reads “All are Welcome.” The motto, explained owner James Moody, is directed at artists. “Austin, having so much talent coming through, didn’t need to take that extra step. There were things in Austin that weren’t being done and we wanted to fill in gaps," Moody said. “When we started, the interactive scene wasn’t there. No one was using social networking on websites and there were no Green Rooms for artists to chill and relax before the show. ”

Bored at his desk job, Moody left the health care industry to open a club, soon christened The Mohawk, on Red River. The investors decided to build next to Club De Ville, hoping to piggyback off the elder’s success. Club De Ville had established itself (nine years prior to Mohawk’s opening night) as a strong rival against Stubbs, one block down the street. While the trifecta now compete against each other for bookings, they are reviving the downtown entertainment district that had grown quiet.


On a late summer afternoon, Mohawk co-managers Adrian Ace San Miguel and Renee Stokes tell me stories about the club between puffs of a shared Camel cigarette. The Camel sales rep loves the club so its patrons and employees have no problem sating their nicotine craving. They finish smoking and take me on a tour of the property.

We climb narrow wooden stairs off to the right of the indoor stage. Before coming into the Green Room, I pause to read Neil Young lyrics painted in Old English font:

My, my, hey, hey,
Rock & Roll is here to stay.
It’s better to burn out than to fade away.
My, my, hey, hey.

Public access to the Green Room Lounge is determined by the generosity of the headlining band, which is why it’s “open most of the time.” (This pertains to the venue as well since its doors open only if a band is playing on one of its two stages). A green light over 10th St. summons revelers into a room with walls the color of mowed grass. During late afternoons, however, the wooden floors don’t groan under footsteps or shake from the amps blasting below. The vintage Seeburg Stereo 160 jukebox is left alone. At these moments, the music is gone, and with it, the debauchery, lewdness, and unexpected rollicking antics of artists and Austinites cashing in on cheap prices and free cigarettes. All is quiet.

But here is where Too Short left with female co-eds and tequila bottle in hand. Here is where Michael Stipe (REM) supposedly puked his guts out.

“[Stipe] needed to go to the bathroom,” Moody said. “He was on the roof deck and it was jam packed with people so I asked an employee, an ex-Marine, to help Stipe. Not knowing that Stipe is a frail, nervous guy—grabs him and says ‘Come with me dude.’ He puts [him] in a headlock and starts yelling: ‘He’s gonna puke! He’s gonna puke!’ The crowd cleared out and Stipe got to the bathroom. For the longest time, the rumor was that Michael Stipe puked in the Green Room at the Mohawk.”

Mohawk ladies

Stokes and San Miguel point out the new canopy, all of the re-claimed wood and metal, and new soundsystem. “What I like about working here is that rather than take home a paycheck, the owners re-invest back into the club,” San Miguel said. “I worked at Emo’s for five years and they still have the same shitty, broken toilet.”

While Moody is not the sole owner (Mike Terraza is another), he is responsible for crafting and maintaining Mohawk’s personality through design, social networking, and booking (Transmission Entertainment). Mohawk dabbles in different music genres as evidenced by its eclectic lineup. However, its taste prefers underground and emerging bands over the mainstream. The crowd that warms the white swivel stools in the lounge on a regular basis didn’t buy tickets to Cracker a month ago. They choose skinny jeans over pleated khakis. They are clever enough to appreciate the clashing interior decor motifs—the stuffed animals heads hanging over a retro couch, yellow-gold frames gilding portraits of woodsmen with coiffed facial hair. They read blogs, or have one. They listened to Bon Iver before he made it on the Where the Wild Things soundtrack and they probably stood in line at the Alamo Drafthouse to see the film opening night. Of course their taste in music is above average. They are, after all, hipsters.

It’s a stereotype Moody opposes.

“We were a hipster location at first but that faded,” Moody said. "Our scene is based on events. We don’t have hipsters, but Austin music heads.”

Mohawk may not be a hipster scene, but it’s hip to be seen there.

--Resalin Rago

Who said that punk is dead? Star Fucking Hipsters

Recorded almost entirely in the band members' LES "cozy" bedrooms with the help of a high profile team of audio pros, the thirteen songs on Star Fucking Hipsters' new album "Never Rest In Peace" entartain us with screams and riffs about rebellion and punk and ska revolution! The new songs sound more fierce and mature, and benefit from cameos from Dick Lucas (Subhumans U.K., Citizen Fish, Culture Shock), Jasper Pattison (Citizen Fish, Culture Shock), and Bryan Kienlen (Bouncing Souls). It includes art by famed DIY artists Fly (“PEOPs,” Dog Dayz) and Paul Barron. SFH, after touring the U.S. and U.K., and are kicking off a West Coast Tour this week with Citizen Fish (dubbed "Cracktoberfest") including a performance at the Alternative Tentacles 30th Anniversary Festival.

 
Published on Tue, 3 Nov 2009 12:23:08 0 Comments | Post a Comment

The Diggs play Glasslands on 11.03

The Diggs - if we remember correctly - played one of our very first Deli shows at Asterisk Art Space ages ago (4 years?). It's great to see that they are still at it, and admittedly we haven't covered them in awhile. Their sound seems to have evolved considerably in the last few years. We remeber an aggressive, post-punky power trio; we find now a more mature group whose fast songs show more attention for melody and structure, and benefit from arrangments that - like all the best rock classics - progressively build in layers and intensity. Check out these guys live at Glasslands on 11.03.

 
Published on Tue, 3 Nov 2009 11:56:06 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Check out Bottle Up and Go at Glasslands on 11.17 with Dinowalrus

Bottle Up and Go is a Brooklyn based duo of rock n’ roll screamers who combine honky tonk fiddling, and horn accompaniments that will whisk you away to a seedy bar full of guys spitting tobacco into silver buckets. Their screeching harmony of guitars, horn toots and tambourine talents have created sonic gems such as “Ain’t Going Down,” a ballad well suited for a rock version of the Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack. You’ll know you're not in Kansas anymore when you hear their song ‘Wayward Son,” a lament of depression and drinking that features a chaotic sax growling for dear life. Enjoy Bottle Up and Go with a bottle of whiskey and sing a long, “I love my baby/but her body is cold/Seems like my liquor/is the only thing.” - Chloe Schildhause

 
Published on Mon, 2 Nov 2009 11:24:47 1 Comments | Post a Comment

The Barrens release single + play Arlene's on 11.07

The beauty of The Barrens' music lies in the little details: the piano accents that hit throughout “12 Petals,” propping up the tune’s winding lead guitar riff; the unexpected, disorienting chord wedged in the middle of the “Ezekiel Saw a Shape” chorus; and the way singer Colin Fitzgerald screams toward the end of “The Green Room,” right before guitarist Mike Koene takes a solo and the already-epic tune spirals further into Doors-esque psychedelic bar-band territory. “Worming,” a bruising track reminiscent of the Who’s “Quadrophenia” gem “I’ve Had Enough,” is the best tune on the band’s MySpace page. Its mean fuzz and memorable hook—“I keep worming/ your love is in the dirt”—combine to form the type of weirdly accessible pop song that is the Barrens’ specialty. The band recently released a new single called “Scoliosis”, another sonic attack that somehow manages to blend punky guitars a la’ Ramones and frozen melodies reminiscent of Clinic with vocal harmonies that would make Kim Deal proud, and “philosophical” melodic openings a la’ early Pink Floyd. Yes, that’s a crazy ride indeed! Don't miss their show at Arlene's Grocery on 11.07. — Kenneth Partridge

 
Published on Mon, 2 Nov 2009 11:11:27 1 Comments | Post a Comment

Glass Ghost opens for Dirty Projectors on 11.18 at Bowery

Glass Ghost's "Idol Omen" is The Deli's September CD of the Month (see review here, right column). The band is obviously getting some love from the music blogs as yesterday they jumped first to position #12 and then to #5 in our "Web Buzz" NYC rankings (orange charts on the left, click on "Popularity" scroll down menu and click on "Web Buzz".)

 
Published on Fri, 30 Oct 2009 12:48:09 1 Comments | Post a Comment

Yeasayer is back! Download new single from upcoming CD

Yeasayer - winners of The Deli's Best Emerging Artist of 2007 poll - will re-emerge in early November with "Ambling Alp," the first single off their sophomore record ODD BLOOD (due February 2010 on Secretly Canadian). The single will be released digitally and on a limited 12" vinyl packaged in a space age colored metallic sleeve that will also feature remixes by Memory Tapes and DJ /rupture. You can already downlad "Ambling Alp" FREE at the band's website.

 
Published on Fri, 30 Oct 2009 12:39:04 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Cymbals Eat Guitar at Soundfix + Halloween Party

Yesterday, I was in Williamsburg thrift shopping for my Lydia Deetz costume for Halloween. As I gave up on finding frumpy black clothing and a hat with a wide brim, I stumbled upon an in-store performance by Cymbals Eat Guitars at the new SoundFix store. They were one of the many bands I had planned to cover for CMJ but never got around to attending one of their numerous shows. I had seen them earlier in October when they had had opened for the Pains of Being Pure at Heart at Webster Hall. That performance was awe-inspiring. Dripping with sweat (a pool of it had formed around him), frontman Joseph D’Agostino pulled as much as he could out of his guitar; his hands blurred in front of me as his band mates relentlessly attacked their instruments. Although they took a completely different stage for Thursday night’s performance, the raw energy emanated throughout the crowded store. They began with the anthemic “And the Hazy Sea” and followed it up with “Some Trees (Merritt Moon).” The cathartic screams beautifully wove through the solid instrumental skills displayed during their 30-minute set. Exhausted and possibly gravely sick, D’Agostino asked the crowd if they would like one or two more songs. Of course, fans yelled back two, and they happily complied. With their meteoric rise to indie fame, SoundFix may be the last small venue they’ll ever play in New York City. Cymbal Eats Guitar, together with Mistery Roar and Teletextile, will be performing live on 10.31 at a Halloween Party on 14 Steuben Street, Brooklyn (map). - Nancy Chow

 
Published on Fri, 30 Oct 2009 11:26:04 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Polite Sleeper new album 'Lake Effect' is out now on Sabotage

Tick tick tick, pop pop pop, snap snap snap. That’s the essential staccato loving formula used by Brooklyn band Polite Sleeper - featuring band members of Mountain Goats and Mercury Rev. Every song is set to a rapid metronome of sound, infusing two beloved music genres - folk and punk. Blending these two contradictory styles is not a novel idea - they say that's what anti-folk is all about - but Polite Sleeper pull it off in addictive songs featuring acoustic guitars, minimal drums, disgruntled lyrics and also the occasional analog synth bassline. Jason’s singing can be theatrical and aggressive (in the calssic not-so-polite anti-folk fashion) but also atmoshperic and contemplative, bringing to mind Michael Stipe's tone and phrasing. The band's new album "Lake Effect" is out on Sabotage Records now. If you’re hanging out in Haverford, Pennsylvania you can catch their next show the eve of Halloween at Lunt Basement. - Chloe Schildhause

 
Published on Fri, 30 Oct 2009 11:19:44 1 Comments | Post a Comment

NYC artists on the rise: Clinical Trials - live at Lot 73 on 11.07

Taking definite inspiration from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is the electronic band of splendor, Clinical Trials. So fixated I am on the similarities I can almost hear them singing “Karen O.” in their song ‘Disco Headphones.’ But beyond the similarities, they do strike out in their own unique sound using a surplus of synth, with a blend of other influences such as a tendency to sing with Le Tigre like passion and Janis Joplin edginess. Listening to them is like hearing your good friends in a comfy garage, but friends who are actually talented and whom you don’t have to politely white lie to when they ask how you enjoyed their music. Catch their next show at Lot 73, November 7th. - Chloe Schildhause

Published on Thu, 29 Oct 2009 11:33:49 1 Comments | Post a Comment

Collision of indie talent at BAM! The National's multimedial work

 

The Long Count, part of BAM's 2009 Next Wave Festival, is a song-filled myth about the beginning of time created by three inexhaustibly original artists - brothers Bryce Dessner and Aaron Dessner of The National and visual art phenomenon Matthew Ritchie. It also features as guest vocalists the legendary Breeders' sisters Kim and Kelley Deal, Shara Worden from My Brightest Diamond, and Matt Berninger also of The National. Expect a feast of images, instrumentals, and songs thick with primordial mystery, recreated by a twelve-piece orchestra and the Dessners' gothic mix of electric and orchestral sounds. Don't miss this show, there are only 3 dates (October 28, 30 and 31). Tickets can be purchased here.

 
Published on Wed, 28 Oct 2009 15:39:34 0 Comments | Post a Comment

NYC Artists on the rise: No Eye Contact

No Eye Contact's eclectic influences are evident in their creative and memorable songs. Drawing inspiration in equal parts from Neutral Milk Hotel and old Appalachia, the band's sound resides in the strange space where up and down, happy and sad overlap. 'You and Me and Other Fables', their debut LP, was hailed by NPR's Robin Hilton as "stunning and utterly surprising." Recently named to Spin Magazine's Top 25 Must Hear Artists of CMJ. - (as posted in The Deli's Open Blog - post your band's entries, videos, and Mp3s here).

 
Published on Wed, 28 Oct 2009 12:26:27 0 Comments | Post a Comment

Dogs of Winter release free acoustic mp3 and video

Music critics were quick to applaud and praise the harmonious dual vocals of Ryan Dowd and Brian Grosz on the stoner-metal debut of Brooklyn's DOGS OF WINTER, "From Soil To Shale" (Lapdance Academy) - so it comes as little surprise that they've decided to re-invent one of their songs as a dreamy, if dreary, acoustic ballad. While the original recording of "Beneath The Fold" was a churning, thunderous maelstrom of psychedelia, Dogs of Winter have stripped the composition down to acoustic guitars, a string section and the sound of traffic passing by the studio in which they recorded. "Beneath The Fold" is here to remind us: just because a song is heavy, doesn't mean it isn't beautiful. - (as posted in The Deli's Open Blog - post your band's entries, videos, and Mp3s here).

 
Published on Wed, 28 Oct 2009 12:09:00 3 Comments | Post a Comment

ShWAG BAG Showcase at CMJ at Arlene's on 10.20

 

An appetizing order opened CMJ 2009 at Arlene’s Grocery last week, with sampling of New York’s finest produce. Mixing seven diverse flavors into a memorable musical meal, the ShWAG BAG Showcase provided CMJ-goers a five-star taste test of NYC’s music scene. Decibel set the pace with their mysterious mélange of melody and megaphone, proving the duo powerful performers and a tough act to follow. Laura Ault, who recently adopted a full band, charmed with her lively lounge lilt. A rowdy riot TAB the Band (in the picture) invigorated the crowd with its kooky demeanor, preparing Arlenes' for Black Taxi who brought the night's excitement to a boil with their contagious hooks and sultry, saucy swank. Bryan Scary and the Shredding Tears entertained to the nth degree with their outstanding presence, outrageous energy, and outlandish outfits. The evening's second duo, Peephole, stocked the Grocery with synthesizer blips and bleeps which eventually united the audience for an on stage groove, while Mon Khmer topped off the event with their peaceful flow and exotic savory rock. - Meijin Bruttomesso

 
Published on Wed, 28 Oct 2009 11:15:17 0 Comments | Post a Comment
 
 

 

 
 
 

TKO: The Boxing Lesson - New Poll up soon!

Corto Maltese

The Boxing Lesson ran away with our latest poll and shall shortly bask in the rectangle above as late October champions. Congrats! Now (or soon) awaiting your decision are our current nominees, Corto Maltese (pictured above), Drew Smith's Lonely Choir, Matt the Electrician, The Low Lows, and TV Torso - those last two will be entertaining you this coming Friday at Local Music is Sexy. We do hope the serious business of being pitted against one another in the Deli Artist Poll will not make things tense at LMIS.

We Find Local Music Attractive, Too...

Looking forward to the FFF-related annual event Local Music Is Sexy, taking place over in the Red River hip zone of the Mohawk and Club de Ville on November the 6th (that's next Friday). It does seem sexy this year, as it includes TV Torso,The Low Lows, International Waters, Watch Out for Rockets, Beautiful Supermachines, Air Traffic Controllers, Distant Seconds, Silent Land Time Machine, Black Before Red, Manikin, The Authors, My Milky Way Arms, and Minor Mishap Marching Band. We here pay verbal fealty to the organizing force Austinist, who've put together a good one. The Deli will be represented & we'll report back for those who miss out...

...and that very nifty photo collage above, of TV Torso, is by Tim Murray

 

Doors Close, Doors Open: Invincible Boxing Lesson?

 

We are fast approaching All Hallow's Eve, which coincides neatly with the end of our poll; at this point, The Boxing Lesson is resting easy out front. If you're a fan of Death is Not a Joyride, Single Frame, The Lovely Sparrows, or When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, then take a moment away from the body-painting you've settled on as this year's costume, and vote!

But, when the lord closes a poll, he opens a blog: wanted to remind the bands out there that our Open Blog remains, well, open. Check it out here, and post up news, bios, what have you about your own band or a band that is near and dear to you (so long as they're Austin-based) using this form right here. We will quite often pull posts over to our main blog.

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