Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Venue: The Hole In The Wall

'NITES will eventually do video profiles/interviews to inform y'all about the awesome venues that host all this great music. For now, you'll just have to settle for anecdotal words and still pictures.

Today, I'd like to tell you about The Hole In The Wall. It's across the street from the University of Texas campus. Specifically, it's across the street from the College of Communication complex, where all the film, journalism, and other comm-related students take the bulk of their classes. It's also across the street from where Austin City Limits, the PBS live music giant, is filmed. That said, you'd think Hole In The Wall (which is a pretty accurate name for the place) is teeming with UT students. But it's not, which is pretty refreshing since there are a bunch of frat and sorority houses about two blocks away. A potential drunken-rich-kid disaster.

Instead, Hole In The Wall is consistently filled with some of the best blues, blues-rock, blue grass, punk, and Southern rock you're likely to find in Austin. Case in point: Tuesday night with The Bread, Best Love In Town (a.k.a. Mrs. Glass), and Bob Showdown. This was one of the best shows I've seen in months, and it was FREE. F-R-E-E. Mrs. Glass (a guitar-strumming blues crooner who is actually a dude, not a Ms. or Mrs.) performed one of the dirtiest, grungiest, and compelling-est covers of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" you'll see. And I'm pretty sure I heard a take of The Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up" in there too! WTF. A blues take on electronica, and it worked beautifully. These guys are playing again on October 21. Another freebee with the Best Love (and blues) in town.

The layout is pretty nice too. Hole In The Wall is more like three establishments pasted together, and each has a full bar and stage. Up front, in the main room, you have the modest but tried-and-true window stage. This is a good place to play shuffleboard and drink Shiner on tap. Then, down a couple stairs in another room, there's the middle stage (so-named because it's in the middle of the joint). This is the largest of the stages and usually plays host to bigger weekend shows. In the back, you have the patio area, which is an open-air hangout. The green-felted stage in the back is home to a foosball table most nights, but every once in a while (like during SXSW), the foosball is replaced with live music.

Here's a killer mural found on the side of The Hole In The Wall. I found myself playing this song on repeat when I was living in Dallas this past summer:

Picture taken from Hole In The Wall's Myspace.