3/2/12…Julie Nolen and Telling Stories @ Rusty’s



This particular show was a last-minute addition to my week.  I had missed a show I was scheduled to attend the night before because I simply ran out of time.  So I found the Julie Nolen show at Rusty’s and the rest is history.  I had never been to Rusty’s and the preview I had of Julie Nolen’s music was really encouraging. I liked the funk in her voice and I was looking forward to hearing more from her.  Well, the bar itself is located sort of in the middle of nowhere on 7th Street.  There’s a parking lot across the street and just east of the venue there’s a homeless shelter & a police station.  Not a real prime spot.  As I walked up to the venue, I noticed there were two entrances.  Rusty’s has two distinct sides…one is more of a bar with a pool table and piped in music and the other side is more of a true music venue.  Once I heard the band playing I knew to go in to the second entrance.  So I walked in and headed straight toward the bar, as the stage was directly in front of it. There were a couple of tables to the side of the stage, but other than bar stools around the bar, that was the only seating.  Since the band was already playing I was mostly focused on them and the music.  The band was made up of five people total.  Julie on vocals and acoustic and then she had a female back-up singer, a bassist (who had a very interesting playing technique), a drummer, and a guitarist.  The thing that makes Julie stand out is her vocals.  That girl can ‘SANG’!!  She would be a perfect candidate for “The Voice”.  She doesn’t have the best image for a performer, but really that voice is all she needs.  I liked her songs too.  She spans several genres in her music…from pop to folk to more of a funky feel.  She has that special kind of ability to sing anything.  So back to the bar.  Once I finally took a minute to look around, I realized that I was in a sea of women.  There were a few guys at the bar, including the bartenders, but otherwise it was all women.  Hmmm.  I was a little surprised.  So I looked up Rusty’s on my phone as a gay bar and sure enough, it’s listed as a gay bar in Austin.  Ok.  Well, I’ve been to gay bars before but never specifically to hear a band.  And never a primarily lesbian bar.  I felt a little out-of-place because I was by myself, but honestly I was enjoying Julie’s band so much that I stayed till they took a break.  Kinda makes me wonder though, where else she plays.  Her brand of music would go over very well at so many other venues that I hope that she’s not limiting herself to a particular segment.  She should definitely branch out.  She has a very outgoing personality and kept asking us how we were doing.  It was her way of getting some audience involvement and having some fun on stage.  So back to Rusty’s.  Right before the band took their break, I wandered to the back of the bar and onto the outside patio, which was AWESOME!!  It was a cool night so there wasn’t anybody out there.  But I could see it packed on a warm night.  There’s great seating out here as well as a third bar.  I loved it and it’s a great addition to the rest of the space. Overall Rusty’s is a pretty low-key, but cool spot.   Who knows, maybe I’ll be back to see some music again.  Life’s full of surprises.

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