(Part of the Austin Rocks series of posts by a local about things to do and see in Austin, Texas)
There are all sorts of ways to enjoy the Austin music scene, but one of the easiest is attending a free, all-ages album release short concert at the independent Waterloo Records on North Lamar, near downtown Austin.
Waterloo is listed in the Austin Chronicle‘s comprehensive music lover’s guide to Austin, and for good reason. It’s been around since 1982, with a generous returns policy, the option to listen to any record/CD before buying, and helpful staff with encyclopedic music knowledge.
The whole scene is very casual for an in-store concert. You walk in (or line up if it’s a big name,) get a wristband at the front desk, and simply find a spot somewhere where you can see the small stage. The musicians will sign their albums after the show, too.
My husband and I dropped in early one evening recently (concerts are usually at 5 p.m. on weekdays) for an in-store by blues rock guitarist Jimmie Vaughan, in support of his new album Baby, Please Come Home.
Yes, he’s Texas rocker Stevie Ray Vaughan’s brother, but he has his own successful career, including hits with his Fabulous Thunderbirds like Tuff Enuff and Wrap It Up. In fact, when we saw him he was in town after three nights opening for Eric Clapton in London’s Royal Albert Hall.
We had a great time listening to Jimmie and his trio play a few songs from the new album, plus a rousing singalong of Hey Baby (as in, “I wanna know-ow-ow, if you’ll be my girl….”)
Don’t miss some of the other things to see and do near Waterloo. The excellent 24 diner restaurant is right next door, a branch of Amy’s Ice Creams is around the corner, and Austin’s indie bookstore BookPeople plus the gargantuan Whole Foods flagship grocery store are across the street.
Review the Waterloo events calendar to see what’s coming up, and even if you don’t know the featured musician or band, go anyway. It’s free, fun, they won’t play for long if you hate it, and you can always do a little music shopping if the live stuff that day isn’t your style.
Can’t make a concert? Shop the Waterloo online store and support an indie record store while we still have them.
Finally, this is super-fun … for the Austin City Limits 40 year show anniversary, Bonnie Raitt, Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes, Gary Clark Jr., and Jimmie Vaughan reprise “Wrap It Up” (which is a cover of a Sam & Dave number … )
Related: See it before they are too famous to do it any more – the Peterson Brothers standing Monday gig at the Continental Club, which is also free.
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