The Continental Club, frozen in time along Austin’s own South Congress Avenue, has not changed much since it’s opening in 1955. These peeling walls and sticky floors have contained iconic acts such as Stevie Ray Vaughn, Willie Nelson and other countless powerhouse blues and country ensembles. On April 2nd, 2016, the Continental Club was as packed wall to wall as it had ever been. The bones of this old Austin club prepared to usher in two bands that have been continuing to carry the torch for Austin music into a new age.
White Ghost Shivers
Austin’s very own and beloved White Ghost Shivers, started off the night at 10:00 pm. This rag tag swingin’ five piece band, armed with everything from fiddles to kazoos, took all of us back to the turn of the 20th century in a vaudeville-esque flashback, but lucky for us, it was still laced with all of the off-color raunchiness of the 21st century. Front woman and “skirt-liftin’, foley fun havin'” expert, Cella Blue, took us on journey of unrequited love, crazy sex, cocaine habits, and binge drinking. Cella’s burning moonshine sass was supported by violin and vocal extraordinaire, Curtis Thomas, and lead guitarist, Jeremy Slemenda. These unapologetic, over-the-top rockabilly veterans led the Continental Club through a packed, sweaty, high-energy 2 hour set, and never once let off the gas pedal until the last note.
The Haberdashers (C.D. release night)
If the White Ghost Shivers are your shot of Evan Williams, before last call, then The Haberdashers are your gin martini you drink in your best dinner jacket. True to their name, these young Austin folk “up-and-comings” were dapper as ever with their best hats and wardrobes steamed, pressed, and ready to roll. And what better way to begin a Haberdashers set than prompting the audience to all remove their stylish hats, and join the Americana five piece in a sultry, a cappella rendition of the national anthem. It was a big night for The Haberdashers, releasing their self-named seven song C.D. and having to follow such an electric performance before them. As expected though, The Haberdashers did not disappoint.
Songwriting maestro, guitarist and lead singer Jaron Kucera, played the whole crowd’s heartstrings in unison with his brilliant vocals, combining modern tone and with his obvious old-timey inspirations, making for an almost timeless performance. Let’s not forget the rest of this sharp dressed band though, including angelic vocalist and mandolin player, Emma Kate and guitarist Erik Buerkle. The most interesting part about this performance, was not the insanely classy head-wear, or the tastefully melodic acoustic guitar solo work from Erik Buerkle, but the songwriting and how it encapsulated the entire room. Songs like “Love Should Be Outlawed,” and “The World Remains” hypnotized the audience into these layered stories of heartbreak, murder, and even pirates. They managed to use every instrument and every voice as one medium to take the audience on this emotional folk roller-coaster. They made the Americana/Bluegrass sound accessible to every demographic in the room, from the twenty-one year old college student, to the sixty-five year old bluegrass enthusiast. This group should definitely be on your radar in Austin, TX, because they may be clean cut and good looking, but these five artists are ready to take the music world by force. So with that, I tip my hat to you Haberdashers, well done.
-Alex Duck, TipCow