Free Week 2020

Posted by ballerat | Artists/Musicians

Willow Wanders!

January 17, 2020

I’m new to Austin…

Yeah, that’s right, I’m one of the expats invading your precious city. And, I think it’s only an ok place. I like my cities grimy, my ribs with the BBQ sauce ON them, and my air so humid I can swim in it.

I’m Willow! A south Louisiana native, who’s trying to really give Austin a chance and realized I haven’t explored enough. Welcome to the first post of Willow Wanders! Where I peruse Austin with the goal of falling in love.

To wake us from our holiday slumber, the Red River Cultural District brought us Free Week.

From Scratch House to Mohawk, downtown was alive! I did a little legwork and treated it like a festival, and got to experience the shimmery walls of Hotel Vegas and grabbed a fruity drink at The Far Out Lounge. I had fun and these were some of my favorite artists from week:

My first stop on Friday was to Stubb’s Indoor to see Nayome. This R&B singer was easy to groove with. I felt like a rose blossoming with a blunt in my hand. Her voice is dreamy and sultry with a sprinkle of glitter. While she only started pursuing music mid-2018, the release of her EP RECOVERY+ quickly generated buzz and landed her as an official 2019 KUT 98.9 feature during SXSW. So, while having those late-night car conversations, put on ‘Ride.’ Or, dance with me to afrobeat tinged ‘Tonight.’

Nayome: credit

Around the corner at Empire Control Room, the drummer for beloved band SirWoman, stepped into her own light of breath control and excellence as Lunar R.A.E. Lunar R.A.E. gave us Anderson .Paak realness with her drumming skills, with great throwback mixes and flow reminiscent of a west coast Queen Latifa. From her yellow beret to the stank on her funk, the
Berklee alum radiated fun. If partying and bullshit sounds like a good time to you, give a listen to her album Reaching.

Lunar Rae : credit

I needed a healthy way to release my angst, so I headed to Barracuda. There was Darkbird. The 6-person band has been getting me through the hard days lately. If you also need someone to feel with you, front woman Kelly Barnes has got your back. Barnes was escaping heartbreak when she found her collaborator Brian Cole reeling from a tragic house fire, on the musicians craigslist page. With lyrics like ‘Hold me now, today/ right here hold me now before I disappear, find Darkbird at SXSW this year, cause they’re not going anywhere.

Darkbird : Credit

Know of events coming up I should really check out? Email:

This weekend we found ourselves fortunate to be invited to AIM fest aka the Austin instrumental music fest. A one day long musical showcase at the Empire control room with 2 stages and 20 acts. In its third year it has grown from a mere less than 100 in attendance to over 500. The ticket price was $25 and let me tell you, you got your money’s worth.

I didn’t really know what to expect from the music but was blown away by what I heard. From a bit of classical to jazz to heavy metal and some fantastic 8bit music I was not disappointed. My only regret was having to run errands and getting there late. My personal favorite band of the night had to be Bitforce. A power-trio with superhuman abilities that fights the evil of the universe with their tasty nerdcore groove as self-described on their facebook but I agree.

I hope that this fest continues to grow each year, it’s definitely underrated and underappreciated. This is the type of festival that makes Austin such a cool place to keep living in. We at Ballin most certainly cannot wait till next year.

As a long time ska punk fan and a fan of Colorado, I made my way to the mile-high city to rage and riot! At Riot Fest that is!

Riot Fest, originating in Chicago, is a punk rock based festival that has since expanded to a second location in the mile-high city.

Now, just because it is considered a Punk Rock Festival doesn’t mean that it is limited to just the genre; it tends to include a smattering of Ska, Indie Rock (Modest Mouse in 2015 and Death Cab for Cutie in 2016 respectively… WTF?!), Metal, etc. There is definitely something for everyone and anyone… that happens to also like Punk music. The major selling point for 2016? The MISFITS reunion!

Friday kicked off the weekend right! The weather was beautifully sunny, but not too warm (by Texas standards at least). It remained this way all weekend long. Let me say that after years of Warped Tours on asphalt and black top in the Texas heat during my youth; this was amazing. The only time you felt like finding some shade was when you had just had enough sun and never because of getting overheated.

After running into Doug Benson (we love you Doug!) outside the Festival we made our way into the grounds. We scouted the Merch Booth followed by the concession stands, which lead to the first and only real disappointment of the weekend… in a place with craft beer that regularly wins awards like Denver we were limited to Dos Equis and other equally dissatisfying libations. (Get your shit together Riot Fest!) The food choices were solid though.

Friday was filled with a number of bands I had been looking forward to seeing again (or for the first time). The Descendants showed that they still had some rage left! The Aquabats, which is always a fun and family friendly show, instructed the next generation of little rioters on how to properly circle pit by pulling them up on stage! Start them young! (I can think of plenty of older fans that have a hard time grasping the idea. It’s like they are the kid that always tried to fit the square through the circular hole. Idiots.) Fitz and the Tantrums properly lived up to their pun inspired name. NOFX was rad as fuck. Deftones rocked! Janes Addiction (performing Ritual De Lo Habitual) killed it as the closer!

Saturday may have had the least exciting line-up of the weekend for me personally. The Hold Steady (performing Boys & Girls in America) was a damn fine show! Sleater Kinney reminded us (like we needed one) that ladies can perform as good if not better than any group of guys. Ween closed the day out as only they could have.

Sunday was the day I think most everyone was psyched for. This day was really centered around the dueling stages of the Roots Stage and Riot Stage. Notably really starting off with Chevy Metal, a cover band with one sweet name and a sound to back it up. Unfortunately for them they had to compete with Me First and the Gimme Gimmes at the game of covers songs. Let me tell you, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes won hands down! Next up was a superb performance by Pepper! Think that sounds amazing? Bad Religion rocked the shit out of the audience next! Where do you go from there you may ask? The gypsy punk inspired music of Gogol Bordello! When everyone was exhausted from dancing their asses off The Original Misfits made us all remember why we were there in the first place in all of their horror punk rock glory! My Satan it was beautiful!

Thank you Riot Fest for satiating the punk rock void in my life. Until next year!!!



Justin B. Good

Posted by ballerat | Artists/Musicians


Breaking the boundaries of traditional hip hop, Justin B Good (Real name Justin Goodman) creates a unique sound fusing hip hop and rock music. Born in Queens, Justin B Good was halfway to a PhD in psychology when he woke up one morning and decided to drop out to pursue a life of music. Drawing on influences from a wide range of musical acts such as Nas, Eminem, Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, to create a one of a kind sound. Currently working on his first album, One Of A Kind, with a release date of early 2016, Justin B Good has electrified crowds throughout the United States with his cocktail of hip hop and rock. Justin B Good mashes quick witted rhymes with sly guitar licks to create a musical cacophony that leaves the listener feeling inspired and wanting more.

When he’s not in the studio working on his debut album, Justin B Good plays festivals throughout the United States, most recently the 2015 Springboard South Music Festival in Houston, Texas. Justin has competed in multiple competitions and placed in the top 5 in the Breakout Artist Competition in 2014. Justin’s music is inspired by a desire to be different and do what no one has done.

Born in Queens, New York, Justin always had a knack for music and was known to run around the house playing the drums on pots and pans. When his parents divorced at a very young age, Justin needed an outlet and that outlet was music. At age 11, Justin started playing the drums but at age 15 his life changed when he picked up a guitar for the first time. By the time Justin had finished college he had played in multiple bands and recorded a few unreleased EPs. After dropping out of a PhD program, Justin B Good found a home in the New York music scene and is constantly performing throughout the city.