The Guide to Hot Summer Nights

Bring on the Hot Summer Nights, 'cause we're ready for 'em.

In addition to still sweating copious amounts after the sun has gone down, Hot Summer Nights means seeing a great many bands playing tons of shows on Red River over the span of several evenings. Now in its second year, Hot Summer Nights is back to turn late July into one of the most fun stretches of live music of the entire year. 

Because there's going to be so many awesome shows happening in the Red River Cultural District, we thought we'd put together a little guide showing what we're most excited to see, as well as picks for where to eat, drink, or just hang out between the music. 

Check out our Guide to Hot Summer Nights below.


Listen to our Hot Summer Nights 

Spotify Playlist while you read!



Holy Wave, Annabelle Chairlegs, & More at Barracuda - 7/26

July 26th, the first kickoff of Hot Summer Nights is looking to be one of the more psychedelic nights in recent memory over at Barracuda. With both hometown heroes Holy Wave and Annabelle Chairlegs (along with a few not-yet-announced bands) slated to take the stage, it's a safe bet that everyone in attendance is going to be far too entranced with the kaleidoscopic flurry of sounds happening to tell how hot it is. 

Hovvdy, Why Bonnie, & More at Cheer Up Charlies - 7/26

Hovvdy's slow-fi take on garage rock is generally characterized by a kind of pleasant melancholy - one that's refreshingly at odds with the majority of Austin's more brazen acts. Where many bands in this city would prefer to evoke images of shooting whiskey and breathing fire, Hovvdy's musical energy is more akin to, say, a slow morphine drip and lucid dreaming. This is not to suggest any sort of numbness on their part, however. More than anything else, Hovvdy appears to be a musical project that's guided and motivated by deeply felt emotions. It's key in how they're able to imbue their songs with such arrestingly honest sentiment. 

Riverboat Gamblers, Sealion, Dentist, & More at Cheer Up Charlies - 7/27

If you're in the mood to sweat your ass off to some foul-mouthed rock and roll courtesy of a roster which includes one of Austin's foremost rowdy bands, you're going to want to head to the Riverboat Gamblers show at Cheer Up Charlies. You're not likely to find a more high octane exploration of punk rock at this year's Hot Summer Night's. Just remember to hydrate, Y'all.

Golden Dawn Arkestra w/ Mamafesta, Hard Proof at Stubb's - 7/27

God rest your soul if you happened to walk into a Golden Dawn Arkestra show and didn't know anything about them. You'd be completely forgiven for mistakenly thinking you walked into some sort musical occult ceremony. The combination of costumes and sounds that come out of this band when they get grooving are legitimately otherworldly... And yet, somehow completely grounded in something communal, groovy, and unmistakably human. If you're looking to really lose yourself to music, this would be the show to go to.

Big Bill, Moving Panoramas, Leather Girls & Special Guest at Barracuda - 7/28

Big Bill's weird relationship with food is both inexplicable and entertaining. "Last Meal" is their second music video from last years Stand By Your Bill that bizarrely ruminates about the concept of eating. As we've pointed out before, the band has a habit of repeating a single line with devout exuberance, eventually to the point of complete semantic satiation. The clever trick here, of course, is that you, the listener, will inevitably be parroting this line in your head all day long - whether you like it or not. Make no mistake about it, Big Bill is carrying the torch of weirdo rock alive in Austin. They're even weirder and better live, by the way.

Ringo Deathstarr, Growl, Shmu, Sailor Poon & More at Barracuda - 7/28

Truth be told, a bill that features Ringo Deathstarr, Growl, Shmu, AND Sailor Poon should be cause for alarm. That's a lineup that should instill a sickly sweet mixture of fear and excitement in a music fan. If you're going to this show (which you definitely should) make sure that you prepare your body and mind for the following:

  • Ringo Deathstarr's glorious, full-volume fuzz pop.
  • Growl's formidable, melodic garage rock.
  • Shmu's hypnotically tropical electronic sequencing.
  • Sailor Poon's feminist surf-punk fury.



710 Red River St.

In Norse mythology, Valhalla was a magnificent hall located in heavenly Asgard, ruled over by the bearded battle-god Odin. In the real world, Valhalla is a curiously understated dive bar on Red River, run by the not-quite-so-fearsome, but likewise bearded owner Seth Levy. As one might expect when comparing myth to reality, the shared namesake is where the similarities end. Where the Norse version was said to be populated by the countless souls of warriors slain in glorious combat, Red River's Valhalla is typically inhabited by people looking to grab a few beers before or after a concert at one of the streets many music venues.

The Side Bar 

602 E 7th St. 

You ain't a Red River rat until you've gasped at the astonishing liquor-to-soda ratio in one of Side Bar's mixed drinks. This place invented the term 'heavy pour.' No really, the term "Sidebar Pour" is a thing. The scenery and patio make this a great hang out if you’re taking it easy or killing time before a show.


611 Red River St. 

"Lose Yourself To Dance" should be the unofficial slogan for Barbarella. With several bars inside, a great light show, and even better tunes cranking out the speakers. This is your chance to bring out all of those Patrick Swayze dance moves you’ve been practicing since you were a kid. Make this your nightcap.

Photo Credit: Pelon's 

Pelon’s Tex-Mex 

802 Red River St. 

It wouldn’t be Austin without Mexican food on every corner and in between. Pelon’s offers a great choice of traditional Tex-Mex offerings from fajitas to mouthwatering shrimp tacos. They also offer a delightful drink menu with several different margaritas and cocktails.

Hoboken Pie 

718 Red River St. 

A slice of Jersey right here in Texas, Hoboken Pie offers an array of toppings to choose from on their quality pizzas. Cranking out large pies or by the slice, they’re sure to get you your fix after a night out. Hoboken will even deliver to you if you’re in the area or too tipsy to make it down the street. 

Photo Credit: Arlo's Facebook


900 Red River St

There are an unbelievable amount of delicious things on Arlo's all-vegan or vegetarian menu, but we'll just stick to describing our favorite, the Bac’n Cheeze Burger. It consists of an unbelievably good house-made patty topped with seitan bac’n, melted cheeze (yes, with a “z”), vegan mayo, and the typical burger toppings. It makes for one hell of a dinner, and an equally good late-night cure for the drunchies. While beef-obsessed skeptics may scoff at that description, one bite is enough to convert any carnivore… at least for a day.

Photo Credit: Shawarma Point

Shawarma Point

2011 Whitis Ave

There's just something about spicy food when you're out on the town. Shawarma Point is not only located out on the town (Red River, as it were), it's one of the tastiest damn spots for Middle Eastern food in the entire city. Don't know what to get? Well, you can't go wrong with the chicken Shawarma. It's right there in the name, after all.

Photo Credit: Instagram user @vegetariangastronomy


621 E. 7th St.

If you’re trying to ditch the grease or want a healthier option, Koriente is the place for you. Offering Asian-Fusion dishes without the MSG or excess salt and sugar, Koriente makes it their mission to offer healthy and affordable dishes along with several different teas. From smoked salmon rolls to Obake bowls, grab a Cinnamon Iced tea and check out the garden surrounding the beautiful building all planted by the owner's mother. 

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Hot Summer Nights,

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