Remembering Clifford Antone

Malford and EJAustin music icons gathered to remember Clifford Antone last night at the club that bears his name. It’s hard to imagine a more appropriate tribute than for those who graced Antone’s stage through the years to do so en masse in celebration of his legacy.

The line that stretched around the block before the 4pm opening persisted well into the night, although it moved relatively quickly as early arrivals made way for the late-comers. By the time I entered the club, an all-star jam was in full swing, with Jimmie Vaughan joining Charlie Sexton, WC Clark, Double Trouble, and Derek O’Brien in an effortlessly tight musical free-for-all. Malford Milligan and Eric Johnson later filled the spotlight, with Cyril Neville taking the stage around 1am. The mood was almost uniformly upbeat, the performers revelling in their own 8-bar group therapy while patrons swapped memories of Clifford and his club(s).

The crowd was an interesting mish-mash of bar hounds, minor celebrities, and out-of-towners wondering at all the hub-bub. Judy Maggio got off the KVUE night beat in time to join the festivities (looking quite sharp, I must say). There were the musical fringe and hangers-on of friends of friends of people in The Biz. And just as every Dead show has had its whirling hippie dervish crowd, this blues show had the requisite composition of goofy white guys gyrating to beats that were utterly unreconcilable with anything happening on stage. But for everyone there, our internal metronomes were all beating in time, churning in appreciation for the music that Antone’s helped make an indelible part of Austin.

A second tribute is being organized in conjunction with the city for June 3rd at the Palmer Events Center.

Photos: I have a smattering of picts from last night on Flickr. Given the continuous cascade of flashes from the crowd, I assume there will be mountains of others appearing shortly.

Update: In addition to musical tributes, you can also pay your respects to Clifford at the Cook-Walden Funeral Home at 6100 North Lamar. Public visitation will be taking place this Thursday and Friday.

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