Bat Fest – Hank III, Lukas Nelson, Reckless Kelly & more by Jerry Milton

The 9th Annual Bat Fest that takes place every year on the Congress Avenue bridge lived up to the billing once again, thanks to Adam Brewer.  It is always cool to be able to roam up and down the bridge, sans traffic and take in the jewel that is Town Lake (any Austinite worth their salt will NEVER refer to it as Lady Bird Lake).

I played it right by rolling up on my bicycle, as parking wasn’t a problem, duh!  And with the sun showing it’s blazing power, I wasted no time in procuring my credentials and heading for the covered backstage oasis.  It wasn’t long before The Heroine was lighting up the stage with San Antone southern fried rock and roll. From the looks of their facebook page, these boys get around.  Check ’em out there or tunage at Reverb Nation.ND7_4166small


Next up was Black Queen Speaks from Hell Town, who won some sorta contest on Reverb Nation to get this spot. Their facebook page description reads Neo Classic Rock, Roll, and Soul.  The singer has one hell of a voice, that drew me outta backstage area that shit out. Their mention of Jane’s Addiction is no surprise. Check ’em out dude. ND7_4184small

Next up, a crowd favorites, the hometown boys Reckless Kelly. All of the sudden the VIP pit area was starting to get crowded…I think they mentioned something about just getting off tour. They are a crowd pleaser for sure, but I already had Lukas and Hank on my mind. ND7_4214small


Now that the sun was set, and the Bats had taken flight, it was time for Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real.  Having seen Lukas during SXSW at the Saxon Pub (what a lineup that was w/ Ray Wylie Hubbard, Billy Joe Shaver, Shooter Jennings, and Lukas). I got to check him out a month later at Antone’s.  Upon seeing him at Bat Fest, it was a reminder how quickly young folks can grow their hair, haha.  He had just wacked it all off prior to SXSW.  Anyway, his sit here was more bluesy and loose than his “tour set” mentality I witnessed last year.  Plenty of covers….it would seem he only played “Forever is a 4 Letter Word” becuz folks expected saying, “you might recognize this from when I played on David Letterman”.  He then proceded to play a MUCH different version of the polished sound he gave David.  I’m always telling folks Lukas sounds like a 20 year old version of his dad, vocal wise, with a side of Stevie Ray Vaughn on guitar thrown in for good measure. ND7_4296small


and THEN it was time for HANK III !! no surprise those in attendance were almost as loud as Hank singing the lyrics each and every song.  Obviously folks were more than happy Adam Brewer was able to wrangle Shelton down Austin way. Hank mentioned right off the bat that it was time to get down to business as he only had an hour and a half or so to play and was used to doing 3 hour sets. And get down to biz he did.  In only they way that the III can my friend.  Good times were had by ALL, on this I have no doubt. ND7_4392small


For more pics from BAT FEST….be sure and check out the rest on Flickr.


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