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Weekend music preview: Casual Strangers, HAAM Chili Cook-off, Shakey Graves

This weekend is shaping up to be another great one for local live music in Austin. We realize the weather has been cold in Central Texas this week but Saturday forecasters predict a high of 72 degrees. Friday night The Boxing Lesson side project, Casual Strangers play the Mohawk. Music fans can warm up even more Saturday by sampling spicy goodness at the HAAM benefit chili cook-off which will feature music by Chili Cold Blood. Singer-songwriter, Shakey Graves plays Sunday with "Special Guests" at Empire Control Room. We included some more fun show recommendations below as well. After reading this post, you will have good reason to get out of the house and hear great music at little or no cost while enjoying warmer weekend weather.

February 5 Weekend Music Preview
Casual Strangers show poster
Casual Stranger

Friday, February 7

Casual Strangers, Bali Yaaah, Children of Pop - Mohawk - 9 p.m. - $6 ($8 under 21)

Readers of this column know how much we like the insanely good psych-rock The Boxing Lesson make, so it is a no-brainer we included TBL's side project, Casual Strangers in this weekend's preview. They are performing on the cozy, inside stage at The Mohawk. More atmospheric than TBL but no less spacey, Casual Strangers features the incredible guitar work of Paul Waclawsky with vocals by Katey Gunn. Masterful keyboard work by Jaylinn Davidson is featured as well. The band has a few tracks on Soundcloud for you to sample. The group has recorded a yet to be released album with Chris "Frenchie" Smith who produced The Boxing Lesson's acclaimed, "Big Hits" album. If the great live shows TBL delivers are any indication, their set should be fun.

Bali Yaaah and Children of Pop open the show. If you are a ticket holder for the Passion Pit DJ set on the Mohawk outside stage, this show which follows the performance is free. Tickets will be available at the door for everyone else.

Other notable shows:

Russian Circles w/ Ken Mode, Inter Arma at Red 7

Music video release feat. Zeale, Joanna Barbera, Holiday Mountain at Holy Mountain

Saturday, February 8

8th Annual Chili Cold Blood HAAM Chili Cook-off - The White Horse - 3 p.m. - $10 (donation)

One of our favorite East Austin hangouts, The White Horse is hosting the Health Alliance for Austin Muscians (HAAM) Chili Cook-Off. Headliner, Chili Cold Blood will be joined on stage by Barfield, Woodboss and The Neon Hearts starting at 4 p.m. All proceeds from the event will go to support HAAM which serves over 2,000 uninsured Austin musicians.

Besides the opportunity to hear some great music at this fun Eastside honky-tonk, attendees will have the opportunity to sample cook-off entries from up to 20 entrants. Winners will be announced at 8 p.m. The event will also be accepting donations of travel-sized hygiene item such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and soap on behalf of Front Steps and ARCH. For each item donated attendees will receive one chili tasting ticket (tickets also available for purchase: $1/ticket or $5 for 6 tickets).

Other notable shows:

Peterson Brothers w/ Much Love at Speakeasy

Sunday, February 9

3rd Annual Shakey Graves Day w/ Special Guests - Empire Control Room - 7 p.m. - $5

Alejandro Rose-Garcia more familiarly known as Shakey Graves is celebrating his third annual day named just for the lanky alt-country songwriter. We first saw this performer play an astounding set at the Do 512 Lounge a few years back. What's unusual about his show is Graves sings, plays guitar and a kick drum embeded in an antique suitcase (with his foot) simultaneously. A facinating show to watch and his lyrics are thoughtful and well-written.

Heading down to Empire Control Room in the Red River District may be the best option for music fans on Sunday. Tickets are available at the door.

Other notable shows:

The Brewbirds w/ Warren Hood, Emily Gimble and Willie Pipkin at Strange Brew Loungeside

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