82 shows this year! Here are KU’s top 10 most-sung songs and artists for 2015…
1. Portions For Foxes – Rilo Kiley
2. Deceptacon – Le Tigre
3. This Year – The Mountain Goats
4. Last Caress – Misfits
5. Rebel Girl – Bikini Kill
6. Ask – The Smiths
6. At Your Funeral – Saves The Day
6. Psycho Killer – Talking Heads
9. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel
10. Hey – Pixies
10. Lover I Don’t Have To Love – Bright Eyes
3. The Mountain Goats
6. Guided By Voices
7. Rilo Kiley
8. Modest Mouse
8. Velvet Underground
I think KU did more out-of-town shows in 2015 than we did all 11 years before! Thanks to these great clubs and the fun people that came out to sing with us on the road:
Denton, TX – J&J’s Pizza & Riprocks Bar
Lawrence, KS – Replay Lounge
Madison, WI – Mickey’s Tavern & The Red Zone Madison
Gladstone, MI – Terrace Bay Inn & Suites
Chicago, IL – K’s Dugout
Milwaukee, WI – Frank’s Power Plant
Cedar Falls, IA – Octopus College Hill
Kansas City, MO – recordBar & miniBar
Memphis, TN – Hi Tone
San Francisco, CA – Elbo Room & Rickshaw Stop
St. Louis, MO – 2720 Cherokee
Champaign, IL – Mike N Molly’s
St. Paul, MN – Turf Club
Fayetteville, AR – Lightbulb Club
Los Angeles, CA – The Lost Knight
Portland, OR – Twilight Cafe and Bar Music & Booking
Seattle, WA – The Central Saloon
KU played 14 different venues in Austin this year. As in every year since 2008, Nomad Bar on First Saturdays was our home base, big thanks to Miguel, Michael, Davis and everybody there for holding it down! I also host a monthly night for instrumental rock at Nomad, Second Saturday Surf, so these guys get props for putting up with me twice a month.
We added three other monthly shows, and they’ve all been the best non-Nomad regular nights we’ve had for a couple years:
Third Saturdays at Indian Roller
Third Thursdays at Spider House Cafe and Ballroom
Last Sundays at Drinks Lounge
Thanks also to these places for having KU!
Cheer Up Charlies – Several great shows, including the best Austin show of the year
The Highball Austin
Hotel Vegas – Thanksgiving and Christmas shows were so fun!
The Volstead – Long live No Dancing: Sad Bastard Music!
The New Movement – Thanks for hosting SXKU XI!
Finally, five great moments in 2015…
5. On the first night of the February THUNDERSNOW tour in Denton, a potential disaster turned into a great show. Dave Norwood of The Gary (seeing him play solo just about every night was a treat, and it was a pleasure talking about all kinds of stuff with him) was driving with me and opening the shows, but it turned out Riprocks Bar didn’t have a usable PA and we were stuck. But KU fan Austin came through and brought over the PA from his practice space and helped me set it up so we could get the show going. After a slow start, the Mardi Gras crowd started to show up and out in the cold back patio where we were singing. A growing crowd was really energized and by about midnight we had the patio pretty full, but it was almost time to close the bar. New friend Jessie wasn’t hearing that though, and told us to bring everything to her apartment just a couple doors away! We ended up talking and singing until about 4 a.m., a great way to kick off the tour.
4. In October, KU teamed up with Transmission Events and Drinks Lounge for a weekly series of Sunday shows where we gave away Fun Fun Fun Fest passes, building up to a judged contest the Sunday before the fest where the prize was Ultimate Smooth Passes. We hadn’t done a contest for quite a few years and I was a little leery about doing so, but it ended up being a lot of fun. The shows ended up raising about $250 for Girls Rock Camp Austin (through donations for raffle tickets) and the final show contest was much more fun than I expected. Judges Chepo from Karaoke Apocalypse, Sabrina from the Applicators and Morgan from Ovrld were enthusiastic and the contestants did great. KU regular Dylan won the contest pretty indisputably by singing Refused’s “New Noise” everywhere the mic cable would let him reach. I also love doing the FFF events ’cause it’s a great excuse to add new videos by the artists playing the fest.
3. The July Midwest tour in general was amazing. I was on the road with my family, visiting children’s museums and playing at rest stops during the day and then doing the KU shows at night, visiting friends wherever we could. Three shows especially stood out: 2720 Cherokee in St. Louis, where over 100 people came out to a crazy DIY art warehouse space with virtually no promotion; Turf Club in St. Paul, where I got to sing with some very good friends and got to see Ian Rans sing The Circle Jerks on the KU stage after Hannah and I spent close to a year singing at his sorely-missed Punk Karaoke show in Minneapolis in the early ’00s; and finally in Fayetteville, AR at Lightbulb Club, where a packed club came out to see some great female standups open the show and then great singer after great singer rocked the stage. Champaign, Madison, Omaha and KC were all great too, we’re planning to come back to our Midwest roots this May!
2. Teaming up with Girls Rock Camp Austin again for the Sleater-Kinney afterparty at Cheer Up Charlies in April was easily the best Austin show of the year. How could it not be? Hannah and I spent the early part of the night watching Sleater-Kinney at Stubb’s while SAILOR POON, SEA-DRIVE and Kay Odyssey played CUC, then we headed over to set up KU while Carrie and Janet* paid a visit to the club! A few friends got to say hi to them, and then we kicked off the KU portion with a song-for-song set of the entire Dig Me Out album, the energy in the building was immense. We ended up raising about $1800 for GRC -> success!
*I was busy setting things up and didn’t get to see or say hi to the Sleater-Kinneys who came over, and therefore I’m not sure I have the right names.
1. Rickshaw Stop, San Francisco. The two biggest shows of the year, and the one in December was the most people who’ve ever come out to a KU show. April was in some ways more fun for me because it was all new and there was an incredible moment where “Rebel Girl” by Bikini Kill started but the singer had actually meant to sign up for something else, but the crowd was already going crazy and we went ahead with “Rebel Girl” anyway and HOLY SHIT THERE ARE 20 WOMEN ON STAGE ROCKING THE FUCK OUT! December had plenty of great moments too, I loved seeing the whole room full of 400 people thrashing to “New Noise” as sung by my friends Scott and Jonathan, and got up to join my friend Bryan to sing Pup’s “Reservoir.” All this with a giant inflated Santa Claus overlooking the festivities. Merry New Year, y’all!