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Indie Rock

Moontower Comedy Festival Provides Star-Studded Laughs


Moontower Comedy Fest Review


It seems like every weekend Austin has some major feature or festival planned. Whether it’s a 5k race or SXSW, it is easy for Austinites to become jaded to the parade of festivities that our city regularly hosts. While ACL, SXSW, and Formula 1 are weekends that jut out of the collective consciousness as major calendar events, there are a slew of quality festivals that don’t get nearly as much recognition. Moontower Comedy Festival is, in my opinion, the most criminally underrated festival on the annual Austin calendar. On a trajectory of steady growth and improvement, Moontower Comedy Fest continues to attract major comedian headliners,  but simultaneously puts in the groundwork to fill out it’s undercard with a plethora of talented yet lesser-known comics. 


This year Moontower outdid itself with featured comics like Mike Birbiglia, Judah Friedlander, Maria Bamford, Janeane Garofalo, David Cross, Weird Al, and the red-hot Tiffany Haddish all playing at the prestigious and classic Paramount and Stateside theaters. Moontower revolves around 12 venues that host a variety of shows, screenings, and panels – so while there may be a healthy dose of walking involved, there is always something to attend, leaving little down time.  While the festival lasts from Wednesday-Saturday night, there are countless events and themes that will leave many attendees having to prioritize which event to see. 


With a variety of comics and events jammed into a whirlwind of a weekend, it is an arduous process of selecting the shows that stood a head above the rest, but here three that turned a few heads.


Mike Birbiglia @ Paramount Theater on Thursday Night


Birbiglia seems to be everywhere these days.  Appearances on tv shows, standup specials, and feature films are all under Mike’s belt.  His standup didn’t seem to get pidgeon-holed into any one category, he dabbled in politics, sex, and married life which all coalesced into an incredible show. (His take on the Boston Marathon bombing, while morbid, almost gave me a cracked rib)


The Comedy Resistance @ Paramount Theater on Friday Night


 A group of comics, musicians, and polticians came together to rally against Trump with anecdotes of the election and twisted theories on what’s next.  David Cross, Maria Bamford, Judah Friedlander, Julio Torres, Janelle James and many other performers took the stage for a hodgepodge of political insight and humor.  Friedlander and Cross stole the show with a deluge of crass but hilarious political  bits.  Politician, Gina Ortiz Jones, and musician, Ted Leo, offered some variety but the comics dominated the liberal and willing audience.

Tiffany Haddish @ Paramount Theater on Saturday Night


Still unknown to large swaths of the American public, Tiffany Haddish is quickly becoming a national treasure.  Her appearances in popular film comedies, hosting Saturday Night Live, and her close friendship with Beyonce have established Tiffany as an undebiable talent  that we want to know more about.  Closer to a rock star than comedian, Haddish’s performance was electric, provocative, and viscerally hilarious.  Admitting that she had to scrap what she had written, because the audience is almost all-white, Haddish improvised and riffed on a variety of subjects. While Tiffany shines brightest when talking about sex, it was a bit about stealing a man’s soul that sent many in the crowd falling into the aisles.


While Moontower Comedy Festival doesn’t assume the same gravity that some of the other events in town have, it does offer a perfect triumvirate of affordable prices, professional staff and logistics, and quality talent that returns with consistency.  The festival is a truly unique Austin experience that appeals to an eclectic mix of demographics but all boils down to  the simple fact that it has succeeded in making thousands of people laugh.


 Moontower Festival Photos


Robot Princess celebrates release of energetic garage rock LP at Secret Project Robot 04.28

Hop on the wave, the big buoyant wave of indie rock that is Robot Princess. As much as the band dwells into scrappy punk, it never hesitates to flood its songs with keytar hooks, sugary backing vocals, and bounce along choruses. On a handful of singles from the band’s new album APOCALYPSE + BULLSHIT, out April 28th on Jam Eater Records, the penchant for unabashedly eager garage rock continues uninhibited. You can feel the energy in person that night when Robot Princess headlines a release show at Secret Project Robot. In the meantime, listen to single "Wizards + Mystics" below. – Cameron Carr


Huttch - "Get Up" Music Video, Dakota Tavern 04.25

Huttch are an indie rock band from Windsor. They just released a new track and music video “Get Up”. It’s got some 70’s funkiness going on alongside the 2000’s indie rock style. The outfits and desert setting in the music video are unreal. The music isn’t exactly what I was expecting upon first seeing the setting of the video but both are great nonetheless. The tune was very well put together. Huttch plays the Dakota Tavern on Thursday April 25th. – Kris Gies


Frog brings fuzzy folk rock to Caffeine Underground 04.28

There’s a twangy, almost drawling tone to Dan Bateman’s voice when he sings in Frog. Bateman and bandmate Tom White have a folky hue to their music, as if it came from the American heartland rather than the densely populated streets of New York where the two reside. On paper though, that influence can be a little tricky to point out. Frog plays almost fuzzy indie rock with dashes of keyboard chords and glockenspiel melodies filling in the warm tingle of guitar. Still, the duo’s tender dynamics capture the personal feel of folk music and suit the band to intimate performances. You can see Frog live on April 28th at Caffeine Underground, a fittingly cozy setting for the group, alongside Demure and solo performances from Told Slant and Bedbug. – Cameron Carr


Gentle Leader XIV at Empty Bottle

Dark Synth-Pop trio Gentle Leader XIV have release the first single, “Sick Sick”, from their forthcoming LP, Channels.

You can help Gentle Leader XIV celebrate the release of the new album at Empty Bottle on April 23rd with Ethers and Tourture Love.


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