I was pretty excited to be heading back out to my first show in three weeks. I was definitely experiencing live music withdrawal. After everything that had gone down in my apartment, I was finally ready to get back in the game. I decided to check out the original location of Kick Butt Coffee since I had already seen a cool, hip-hop show at the Triangle location (now closed). What I didn’t know was that it was in such a weird spot. It’s in a little strip mall with no real inviting storefronts to attract you in. In fact, driving down Airport Blvd, I passed by a decrepit, run-down, boarded-up IHOP. Yuck. So not appetizing. But I was looking forward to seeing the teen artist Jenna McDaniel, so I ignored the exterior of the neighborhood and ducked in to Kick Butt. To my surprise, the first person I saw, immediately upon walking in, was a former classmate. Now, let me just throw out there, the last time I had seen this classmate, he & I were no longer on speaking terms. I don’t want to go into the details of why, but let’s just say, this is NOT a happy person. I know I can bring the “angry” out of people, but this guy has a permanent layer of seething. I will refer to him as “Angry Man”. When we first saw each other, we were both so shocked that I think we BOTH forgot that we weren’t talking to each other. Granted, I haven’t seen him since last year, so it would’ve been bad form to just completely ignore him. So we started talking, catching up in a manner of speaking, and it was then that I found out that he worked there and that Jenna McDaniel wasn’t going on till 7pm. The website said 5:30 pm, or so I thought. The Reverbnation widget that appears on top of the Kick Butt Coffee website shows that the first showtime is 5:30, but it has the artists in descending order of headliner to opener. It doesn’t show each artist’s performance time, so it’s a little confusing. I never thought to scroll down, but apparently if you do, there’s ANOTHER calendar showing each artist that is performing and their start time. UGH!! Someone needs to redo this website. So now, not only do I run into the last person I want to see, but the show I wanted to see starts 90 minutes later than I had thought. No way I was gonna stick around. Usually when I go out I’m at a venue for no more than an hour and that all depends on how much I like the spot and the artist performing. The guy that actually did go on at 5:30 was not my cup of tea…at all!! I’m not even sure why they left this location open and closed the Triangle location. This spot seemed more rundown and smaller…but maybe that was just the feeling of the walls closing in on me. But what do I know? I guess it all comes down to numbers. And according to Angry Man, this location does better. After talking to Angry Man for a while, I realized that he was still as angry and arrogant and clueless as ever. It started to get uncomfortable and he was ready to leave, so I decided to make my escape. He said he was about to leave, so I innocently said I was gonna leave too, “Let’s go.” He got all bent out of shape as if I was inviting him somewhere. Ummm, I was just gonna walk out with him. So awkward!!!! Needless to say, I don’t plan on going back to this location, if only because I absolutely do NOT want to run into Angry Man again. I hope that Badd InFluinz, Petey Popoff, & their crew can find a more deserving spot to showcase themselves. I think they can do way better!! As for anyone else interested in seeing music in a small coffee bar with duct-taped booths, go for it. Kick Butt Coffee is your joint.
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Hip-Hop music at the coffee shop. Yup, only in Austin. But definitely one of the reasons I do love Austin so. When I was scoping out venues for the week, I almost overlooked Kick Butt because I thought to myself, ‘they can’t really have music at a coffee shop.’ Yeah, shows how much I know. I got even more excited when I saw that they host a hip-hop show the first Saturday of every month. It’s in a perfect location too, surrounded by college housing. I had yet to see hip-hop in any format since I moved to Austin, with the only exception being at the bigger festivals like ACL and SXSW. And what a shame, considering the audience there is for this type of music. I give a ton of props to Petey Popoff who produces this monthly show. Not only does he put together the show, but he performs as well. When I first got to Kick Butt there were a lot of people hanging out in front of the shop. I walked in and made my way to the stage. It really is a true coffee shop, but at night the lights are down and they have the bar going. There’s seating closer to the stage which is in the back corner of the space. There were a fair amount of people inside already enjoying the performance going on. I couldn’t really tell you the names of the people who performed aside from Petey because there was a good rotation of acts coming up and doing their thing. Although I didn’t catch everyone’s name, I can say that the 4 acts I did catch were all good in very different ways. The first group of guys (4 in total) had an older emcee who was very old school. So old school, in fact, they called him Mr. Old School. I think he was my favorite only because he really broke down a good story. I liked what he had to say. Once these guys were done, Petey came on and performed with another guy. They had a lot of energy and the beats were pretty great. It was obvious they were having some fun up there. There were 3 little kids jammin’ out in front of the stage and Petey made their night when he focused his attention on them, giving ‘em high fives and shaking their hands. That made my night too, just seeing those kids having the time of their lives. The next guy that came out was a Bahamian from NYC (I think that’s what I caught from his lyrics) and he added a ton of flavor to the show. He seriously got the crowd going and anyone that had been hanging out outside came in when he was performing. He is definitely on to something. The next couple guys that came on, were more thoughtful rappers with slower beats, akin to Paul Wall. After all the energy from the previous performance, the slow-down kinda pushed me out the door, but only because I had an early morning ahead of me. I’m hoping that after making this hip-hop discovery, I’m able to find out where else these shows are going on. It was such a nice change of pace. It’s so easy to find good rock shows around Austin, but with such a range of venues it would be nice to change it up now and then. I also need to make it back to The Triangle during the day. It seems like a cool little area. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really get a good read in the dark. But the one thing I could read in the dark was the sign that said “2 Hour Parking”, so I was confident I wouldn’t come to back to my car and find a ticket. ;p