The Moody Center (photo by Jana Birchum)
Almost 45 years after the opening of the Frank Erwin Centerhis replacement is ready on MLK.
Like its predecessor, the Moody Center provides a premier venue in Austin for major concerts and events, as well as a playground for Longhorns basketball. Nestled between I-35 and the football stadium in an old Utah parking lot, the stadium’s flexible layout will accommodate more than 15,000 seats. (The Erwin lists its highest attendance at 17,829 for a 1978 John Denver Pin up.)
After a private event with Earth, Wind & Fire Tuesday, the Moody’s dives into a busy opening week of John Mayer, Bon Joviand justin bieber. Other reservations like WHO, Leon Bridges, Iron Maiden, Roxy Music, and professional riding extends through December. While the Erwin was originally designed to increase UT basketball attendance, the Moody was customized with concerts in mind.
Decades show in the design. To contrast with the “Superdrum’s” fortified exterior, the sinuous lines of the Moody’s let in natural light from both sides thanks to the glass that envelops it. While the architects behind Erwin helped build the astrodomethe new Moody was imagined by the local branch of the company peopleveterans of Stage Q2 and the Northside Estate. During a media preview on Monday, Gensler’s manager David Lynch emphasized the curved composite wood panels, which extend from the prominent overhanging roof to the interior hallways.
The project received a $130 million grant from the Moody Foundation, the same family behind all other Moody building names in Austin. With construction kicking off in 2019, the multipurpose site was costing taxpayers or students nothing thanks to private funding provided by Oak View Group, Live Nation/C3 presentsUniversity of Texas, and Matthew McConaughey. Live Nation-owned Austin promoters C3 are also programming partners of Waterloo Parkfrom 2021-open moody amphitheaterand continue to expand their reach with a new Riverside project (more info below).
While Live Nation has a stake in the arena, the Moody Center is open to other promoters. Founder of C3 Charles Attal confirmed Monday. AEG presentsthe concert industry’s second-largest promotional entity after Live Nation, offers Wednesdays justin bieber Pin up. Meanwhile, the official grand opening of the Moody Center next week is booked by the Austin-based company Messina Tourism Group. Both nights, April 29 and 30, feature George Strait, willy Nelson and his familyand Randy Rogers Group.
Attal emphasized the customizable capability in the new arena, adding, “Flexibility is key in these rooms. You need to be able to go from 4,000 to 16,000”. Huge white panels attached to the roof can open and close to reveal the 6,000 seats on the mezzanine. On the ground floor, planner Dan Valiant of AAC icon cited the forum in Los Angeles as the inspiration for the arena’s large hollow floor, which will allow for the removal of risers for standing student sections during basketball games.
With a sunken bowl shape, the audience actually descends to the best seats after entering at street level, shortening the rise of the cheap seat. Fans upstairs in the mezzanine access a huge outdoor balcony, with panoramic views encompassing the State Capitol, UT Tower, football stadium, and athletic field. The balcony and front plaza will host food trucks and other activations during UT football games, as well as an outdoor stage featuring all-local performers.
“Lots of food and drink, the big ceilings — you want people to feel like they’re in a place where they can hang out, not just rush in and out,” Attal said. “The nosebleed isn’t even a nosebleed anymore.”
Around the finished building, the surrounding access roads are still under construction. The work is blocking Robert Dedman Drive in both directions, as well as the ongoing closure of Red River Street – which has been rerouted to accommodate the arena. The Moody Center website actually recommends carpool drops off the I-35 southbound frontage road between MLK and 15th Street on the east side of the Erwin Center. Attendees can purchase parking in advance at a few UT garages — ranging from $26 to $62.
The doomed Erwin lot will eventually make way for the expansion of the UT Dell School of Medicine, with no destruction date yet set. Having already hosted its last games, the Erwin is still booked for UT’s graduation ceremonies in late May.
Mono at the newly opened parish at 501 Brushy (photo by Rachel Rascoe)
Opening of a new parish concept in the old north gate
A renamed, relocated Parish opened last week at 501 Brushy, former residence of the North Gate. The mid-size venue represents the cooperative venture of two of Austin’s leading independent concert promoters, Heard and Resonate Gifts. This new concept removes “the” from the old identity of Sixth Street in the Parish – just like this scene in The social network.
After hosting comedy programming for the Moon Tower Just for Laughs festival, Parish’s debut gig landed on Saturday with intense Japanese post-rock experimenters Mono. The renovations placed a larger stage, previously in the corner, in the center of the hall’s western rear wall. Under a large disco ball, the quartet put the new venue to the test with abrupt sound dynamics, a flashing light show and thick smoke.
All succeeded in the old, high-ceilinged soundstage, with some guests standing against the railings of the renovated upstairs balcony, albeit with limited visibility. Parish has yet to launch a separate but connected bar called My oh my, in the second smaller room of the building. Under Resound’s calendar management, upcoming acts include Carl Craig, Lunar Holidaysand buffalo hunt.
The old parish, purchased by Empire Control Room Heard in 2018, abruptly closed last October after owner Matt Repert changed the locks and barricaded the windows. According to a lawsuit filed by venue owners seeking more than $1 million in damages, the owner “has hatched a conspiracy to commandeer the business.” According to Parish partners, the new location began to take shape within days of closing and they were able to secure a 10-year lease on Brushy Street.
A mural teasing the Rolling Stones tour on the side of the old La Bare building in February 2020. (Photo by Gary Miller)
C3 and a co-owner of the Vegas Back Riverside Electronic Club Hotel
The long vacant site of the former men’s strip club The Bar will reopen as a new club backed by prominent names in Austin entertainment. As originally reported by Austin Business Journalthe building near the intersection of East Riverside and South Congress – which at one time housed a second iteration of the famous Sixth Street Steamboat – is now leased by NoCo Hospitalityfrom the downtown bar higher ground. The group is led by Charles Ferraro (co-owner of Hotel Las Vegas, Volstead Loungeand LoLo) and Paolo Soriano (co-owner of Rainey’s Queen). The project at 110 E. Riverside Dr. is also finding funding from Elevate development partners and C3 Presents, which will exclusively book the club under the direction of Bobby Clay. The talent scout told the news site Axios the new venue will specialize in electronic music.