Sounds of Summer
The changing of the seasons is slowly but surely on its way, and as the warm weather finally appears on the horizon, the Paramount Theatre turns to its summer season.
While a few of the acts are return visits, Executive Director Jennie Knoebel said the theater strives to mix in new performers to attract all kinds of audiences.
“We are really trying hard to bring in musicians and bands and events that have never otherwise happened at the Paramount … to hopefully appeal to a more diverse audience,” she said.
While she has her eyes set on variety and new acts, Knoebel said the Paramount is mostly concerned with hosting performances people in the area can come and enjoy.
“That’s really what a lot of the offerings are,” she said. “They’re just a chance for people to go out and have fun during the summer days.”
The entertainment-packed month of May kicks off with The Whitesidewalls, a group known for its 50s- and 60s-style doo-wop and rock and roll. While the group has played before in Austin, Paramount Executive Director Jennie Knoebel said the concert will take on a new, drama-based form.
“It’s going to be a theatrical show,” Knoebel said. “This actually has a story line with it.”
The Whitesidewalls will perform their show, titled “Love Potion No. 10,” at 7:30 p.m. May 2. Tickets are $20 in advance and $22 at the door.
A week later, Austin High School’s own set of actors will take the stage for the first time to perform “The Rehearsal.” AHS students typically hold their plays in the school’s Christgau Hall, Knoebel said, making this a new experience.
The play’s director, Jen Wiebrand, said the differences between the venues make the Paramount more fitting for the upcoming performance, and will give students the opportunity to try out a new workspace and a more professional atmosphere.
“There’s already the built-in technical needs that we have,” Wiebrand said. “It’s just an opportunity for students to learn in a new space.”
“The Rehearsal” starts at 7:30 p.m. May 9. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students.
Just two days later, the cover band Powerballadz comes to town for a sing along full of 80s rock hits. Songs by Journey, Poison, Bon Jovi and Styx are features in the band’s setlist, and lyrics will appear on-screen to encourage the audience to join in.
“We’ve never done a show like this before,” Knoebel said.
Powerballadz plays at 7:30 p.m May 11. Tickets are $20 in advance and $22 at the door.
The Paramount will shift musical gears when summer officially arrives in June.
The month starts with indie rock and a touch of folk as Bethany Larson and the Bees Knees pair up with Bella Ruse for a double feature at 7:30 p.m. June 8.
“This is the second time Bethany has played at the Paramount,” Knoebel said, adding both the Bees Knees frontwoman and her bandmate and brother Chris are Austin natives.
Bella Ruse, a vocalist and guitarist duo boasting a mixture of crunchy pop and airy folk, has played a coffee-shop show in Austin once before but will appear at the Paramount for the first time.
The following week, Switchback, a band that tours across the country and performs American roots and Celtic music, will visit Austin for the first time. The show takes place at 7:30 p.m. June 13. Advance tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students, with door prices $2 more.
Later in the month, the Paramount will be a first-time host to a country-style battle of the bands. The Texaco Country Showdown Talent Competition, which takes place across the nation, will bring in about 15 singers and bands to compete for who will move on to statewide level.
“We’re the local venue,” Knoebel said, adding the statewide winners would win $1,000 and move on to the regional level.
The competition will be held in partnership with KQAQ 970 AM in Albert Lea at the Paramount at 7 p.m. on June 22. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.
As the peak of summer hits, a 10-piece Twin Cities-based band will return to the Paramount stage. Power of 10, which last came to the Austin area several years ago, brings along keyboard, horn, drums and vocal lines for a big sound.
“They’re just a lot of fun,” Knoebel said. “Should be a great show.”
The show takes place at 7:30 p.m. July 12. Advance tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students, with prices $2 higher at the door.
A diverse summer season wraps up in late August with the musical feature to this year’s Austin ArtWorks Festival: Martin Zellar and Cloud Cult at Marcussen Park.
Martin Zellar is a country rock singer who has played in bands from Fallout to Gear Daddies for more than 30 years. Cloud Cult brings an experimental edge to the chamber instrumentation.
During the shows, two painters will create artwork on stage live before the audience. Tickets are available for $20.