Monday, September 28, 2015

Live music preview: 12 bands you should see at ACL Festival 2015 part II

With this second-half installment of our Austin City Limits Music Festival 2015 (ACL Fest) recommendations the emphasis is on the middle-tier acts booked. To our sensibility that is where the gold is found. A good example is TV on the Radio who played an exceptional Lollapalooza set last month. The group was booked on a second-tier stage at sundown. Their performance was spellbinding. They may not get the attention of acts like the Foo Fighters but they get plenty of respect from musicians and hard core music fans. The bulk of our recommendations reflect that sentiment.

The lone exception to our list might be... Continue reading

Monday, September 21, 2015

Live music preview: 12 bands you should see at ACL Festival 2015 part I

We are 13 days from the 14th Austin City Limits Music Festival which means it is time to take a look at the weekend one schedule and plot your attack. The festival is top loaded with talent on Friday which means you are going to have to make some choices on which acts to catch. The bright side is Friday tends to be the least crowded of the three-day event making stage hopping a possibility for those ambitious enough.
We put together a list of a dozen recommended bands. The bands run the gamut genre-wise. There is soul, hip-hop, psych-rock, folk, Americana and punk represented and that's only half of our picks. With the festival safely tucked away in October, chances are high festival goers will encounter ideal fall conditions. According to the National Weather Service the long-range forecast calls for... Continue reading

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Professional Boxing: Kenton Sippio-Cook first Austin brawler in 10 years to get title fight Friday

Kenton Sippio-Cook (right) of Austin, Texas

It has been over ten years since an Austin-based boxer had an opportunity to become a title-holder but that is exactly what is happening this Friday when Kenton Sippio-Cook takes on undefeated Khiary Gray for the vacated UBF Northeast Light-Middleweight title in Lincoln, Rhode Island. There has not been an Austin title-holder in professional boxing since lightweight, Jesus Chavez won the IBF Lightweight World Championship in 2005. Friday's bout is a rare opportunity for a fighter from Austin to bring a championship belt home.

I asked Sippio-Cook what it means to be the first Austin boxer with a title fight since Chavez. Here's his reply:
"It means greatness is a possibility now... an option in my path. Though this is merely a start, I'm grateful to be able to have one. We have a job to do and I plan to do it well. A seek and destroy mission [is] at hand. This guy picked the wrong opponent..."
Kenton Sippio-Cook
On the surface it appears Gray's 8-0 record gives him an advantage over the 6-2 Sippio-Cook but looks can be deceiving. The majority of Gray's previous opponents held losing records while Sippio-Cook's fights have been against generally stronger opponents. Additionally, Gray has not gone past four rounds in any professional bout. The fighter from Austin has fought more rounds than Gray in several previous matches going the full eight rounds in one of his fights.

Sippio-Cook fired the first jab before the contest issuing a statement prior to a press conference held late last month in Gray's hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts. While it may seem like a typical barb traded by boxers before a big fight, Sippio-Cook appears ernest in his belief that Gray's people have not done their homework in selecting an opponent for this fight:
“Somebody in Khiary’s team either got lazy with their work in finding an opponent or really just doesn’t care about Khiary. It’s as simple as that.”
 Gray responded:
“On Sept. 18, he’s going to feel everything,” Gray told the cheering crowd. “He’s going to see me box, he’s going to see me punch, he’s not going to be able to touch me on Sept. 18. The title is coming back to Worcester, and that’s it.”
While Sippio-Cook has lost his last two bouts on judges' decisions, he is more experienced at longer fights against stronger fighters. Gray does not have the equivalent of professional experience and is largely untested. It stands to reason Sippio-Cook is hungrier, looking to avenge his two losses (one was a questionable decision) while taking advantage of the opportunity to win a title in front of his opponent's fans in the Northeast. If he does take the title it will be that much sweeter knowing he did it in hostile territory.

Sippio-Cook is managed by Austin amateur boxer and legacy tattoo artist, Keith Underwood. Originally from Chicago, Underwood relocated to Austin after marrying Texas native, Kindel Lee Underwood several years ago. Underwood has owned the highly regarded Austin Tattoo Company since 2009.

While the fight is being broadcast locally in the Rhode Island area, it is not clear a live stream will be available Friday night for Texas fans. Follow promoter, CES Boxing on Twitter for live updates and results on fight night. Fans can follow Sippio-Cook on Twitter and Facebook.

Want to see this fighter in the ring? Check out this slick Sippio-Cook promo video:

  Kenton Sippio-Cook: All Work Is Easy Work from Illest Flight on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Live music review: Utopiafest VII doubled down on Leftover Salmon and won

Leftover Salmon - acoustic set at Utopiafest
Curating a music festival can be challenging. Festival organizers have their wish list of acts, a list of available bands and in the case of Utopiafest, a modest budget compared to Austin City Limits Festival or even the mid-sized Fun Fun Fun Fest to work with. The event is a limited attendance music festival held at a 1000 acre private ranch about 90 minutes southwest of San Antonio. Festival founder Travis Sutherland and his partner Aaron Brown doubled down on... Continue reading