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Live music preview: Top Free Week shows you should not miss this weekend

When Austin music fans attend music festivals South by Southwest, Austin City Limits and Fun Fun Fun Fest there are always a few local bands on the bill. Free Week is an entirely different sort of animal. Instead of a smattering of Austin bands amid a schedule laden with national acts and thousands of out-of-town visitors, the event is nearly exclusive to performers hailing from the "Live Music Capital." Every imaginable genre is represented; Latin, afrobeat, psych rock and everything in between. The week runs from today to January 11. We chose several must see Free Week shows to highlight this weekend and provided links to a few more.

Free Week Austin 2014 Weekend 1 show posters
Austin Vida
Free Week Austin 2014 poster
Transmission Events

Free Week began in 2003 when Transmission Events founder, Graham Williams was booking bands at the old Emo's. Looking to fill the slow week after Christmas with bands, Williams got the idea to make all the shows free and book as many Austin bands as he could convince to participate. After Williams left Emo's he launched Transmission and began booking clubs along Red River like The Mohawk, Red 7 and Club De Ville. Soon those venues and more across the city announced Free Week events as well. Ten years later the week-long music frenzy has hundreds of bands performing at over 25 locations.

Thursday, January 2

Austin Vida / Good Music Club - Money Chicha, El Tule, Gina Chavez - Spiderhouse - 9 p.m.

The week kicks off with a great Latin music show from our friends at Austin Vida and The Good Music Club. Money Chicha plays a fusion of Cumbia, psychrock, South American and traditional Latin rhythms. The band features members of Grupo Fantasma, Ocote Soul Sounds and Brownout. More importantly the group is packed with amazingly talented artists. Money Chicha is reason enough to head to Spiderhouse tonight but El Tule are bringing their Latin funk along with singer-songwriter Gina Chavez which makes this a juggernaut of a show. Los Banditos Comicos with members of Peligrosa and Afrofreque open.

Set times:

Los Banditos Cosmicos 9 p.m.
Gina Chavez 10 p.m.
Money Chicha 11 p.m.
El Tule 12 p.m.

Other notable shows tonight:

Smoke and Feathers, Venus Illuminato, Think No Think, Burnning Avalanche

Isaiah the Mosaic w/ Baker Family, Shrines, Ruby Fray

Friday, January 3

What Made Milwaukee Famous, Hard Proof, Residual Kid, Casual Strangers, The Harms and more - Mohawk - 8 p.m.

Maybe you are thinking how the hell can so many bands play Mohawk on one night? The answer is two stages, inside and the 'Hawk's killer outdoor setup. Indie rockers, What Made Milwaukee Famous head up an eclectic roster outside that includes our favorite afrobeat act, Hard Proof. WMMF have their first album in five years out, "Gone and Done It Now" that was released in November. Inside, Residual Kid, Casual Strangers and The Harms will all give you a reason to cram into the space in front of the smaller stage. Residual Kid feature three musicians from the Austin area, all under the age of 15. Good things are happening for these indie-punkers who head out of town next week to record with Dinosaur Jr. legend, J. Mascis. Catch them before they outgrow Austin.

Other notable shows:

Whiskey Shivers w/ Holiday Mountain, Borrisokane, Alex Napping

Church Shoes w/ Zlam Dunk (reunion), Otis the Destroyer (formerly The Couch), Knifight

Saturday, January 4

Ringo Deathstarr w/ The Boxing Lesson, Purple, Nation States - The Belmont - 8 p.m.

Frenchie Smith Records hosts noise rockers, Ringo Deathstarr who headline a hard-to-beat bill with Examiner psychrock faves, The Boxing Lesson and Beaumont indie band, Purple. Ringo Deathstarr have been compared to My Bloody Valentine but with a dose of shoegaze. The Boxing Lesson are arguably the best psychrock band in Austin and Purple has a crazy, hot, blond drummer. All three acts deliver energetic sets that will make you wonder why you have not seen them before. If you have seen them, then you know what we are talking about. Nation States opens.

Other notable shows:

Marmalakes w/ Walter Lukens and the Sidearms, Roger Sellers, Hello Wheels and lots more

Boss Battle w/ Megafauna, My Empty Phantom, Little Radar, Fulton Read

Sunday, January 5

Only Human w/ My Education, Captive, Tremble Out - The North Door - 8 p.m.

Austin Chronicle film critic Marc Savlov and The Austin School of Film along with The Loyalty Firm present a roster of postrock, instrumental rock or whatever you want to call it. We call it cool when an Austin band like My Education can score a film and play along live as the band has in the past. My Education just completed their first European tour last year and the Austin music scene veterans are looking forward to a big year in 2014. If great visuals along with progressive music are your thing, then head to the North Door for this one.

Other notable shows:

The Bread w/ Sour Bridges, The Baker Family, Berkshire Hounds, Summer Swells, Ali Holder

The Austin Chronicle and Austin-American Statesman list some Free Weeks shows but the most comprehensive list can be found on's Free Week page. Most venues charge $5 to fans under 21.

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