Dear Austin hipster: Is West 6th too yuppie? Red River too crowded? East 6th too Portlandia? The dream of the ’90s might be moving to East Riverside along with Emo’s and newest addition Beauty Bar Ballroom. Warning: you cannot park at the Bingo Hall across the street (unless of course you plan on squeezing in a game before the show), also travel in packs because it’s honestly still a bit dodgy over there – just lookin’ out for you, young friends.
Whether we like it or not, Austin is changing, and the venues are dragging us kicking and screaming into the next era of the Austin music scene. There are some nods to the past, though. Some have compared the new Beauty Bar to the old Catfish Station (’90s hip hop venue). This 700 capacity, 3-level corporate chain (yep, really) has also been called another Mercury Room (NYC venue) but with more glitter and mannequins. One positive to traveling southeast for music is that most shows end around 12:30 leaving plenty of time to make last call at another bar.
Last Friday marked the official grand opening weekend for the sparkly new Beauty Bar Ballroom. X-marked hands in the air proved the over-all underaged-ness of the crowd. Genre-blending pop-hop (new genre, I just invented) Theophilus London brought the crowd to their feet with hits like “Fools Gold”, “All Around the World” and “Humdrum Town” . With lyrics like “The rain falls down in this humdrum town” Brooklyn-based Theophilus London is perhaps the only MC out there with a Morrisey-inspired jam. Let us not overthink this, as intended it made the sold out crowds’ booties shake. Treasure Fingers kept the dance party going until closing time.
If you want to pay your respects to the old Beauty Bar, make sure to visit before March. Rumor has it that the 7th and Red River location will close sometime after South By Southwest. As Austin sees her skyline change, expect more condos downtown and more venues migrating east. What’s next? Mohawk – Del Valle?