As we passed through Austin, we were lucky enough to get the chance to speak with Will Bridges, co-owner of the storied Antone’s Nightclub.
Clifford Antone opened Antone’s Nightclub in 1975 on Sixth Street in downtown Austin. Since then, the club has lived at no less than six locations, with Clifford’s love of the blues ensuring that the club always endured. When it came time for the baton to be passed, Will Bridges and a new ownership team that includes musician Gary Clark Jr and Clifford’s daughter Susan Antone, brought the club back to downtown Austin where it all began.
The club has played host to the likes of Muddy Waters, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, James Brown, and Ray Charles as well as nurturing Stevie Ray Vaughan from his earlier days with Triple Threat through to his time with Double Trouble. As times moved on, Antone’s has hosted artists from a wide range of musical genres whilst never forgetting its blues heritage/roots.
During the interview, we talked about the importance of venues such as Antone’s in the live music ecosystem for artists, fans, and the wider community. It’s clear from our discussion that Will has a deep passion for live music and for Austin’s musical scene. He’s incredibly proud to be part of that scene and, as a co-owner of a venue as iconic as Antone’s, he is without doubt an integral part.
Music runs through the veins of Austin, you can feel it when you arrive, and even walking around an entirely empty Antone’s you can feel that “something” in the air that makes it such an attractive venue to play or visit as a fan. Next time you’re in Austin, be sure to head there for an evening regardless of whether you know the artist playing that night or not. In fact, do that in whatever the local independent venue is in the city in which you live. You might just have the best night of your life!
We are very grateful to Will for taking the time to speak with us.
You can see our interview with Will here, and when you’re finished watching, don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel to catch future content:
You can click here to see our coverage of Chris Shiflett’s show at Antone’s that evening.
To read more about our cross-country fundraising trip for the National Independent Venues Foundation and Musicians On Call, click here. All donations go directly to your chosen organization. To donate to NIVF, click here. To donate to Musicians On Call, click here.