AUG. 9, 2002
On an early Saturday morning about a month ago the Black Cat Lounge was destroyed by fire, marking a rather dramatic end to one of the most impressive runs on Sixth Street. In dog years the Black Cat was well over the hill, but in club years – Sixth Street club years, it was positively ancient. The original Black Cat was opened in 1985 by Paul Sessums. It was a biker bar first and foremost, but the fact that Sessums booked original bands gave the club a larger appeal. In 1988, Sessums moved the bar to its current location where it continued to thrive even after his death in a car accident in 1998. An extension of Sessums himself, the Black Cat was a no-frills, no bullshit venue. There was no air-conditioning, no roof, and the bathrooms were only for the truly desperate. Nonetheless, the beer was cheap, there were free hotdogs, and the bands took 100 percent of the door. Sessums also took chances on bands that couldn’t get a break elsewhere. Sometimes he was dreadfully, painfully wrong but most times he was right. Among those who played the Black Cat are a veritable who’s-who list of Austin music: Two Hoots and a Holler, Kelly Willis, Bruce Robison, Charlie Robison, Chapparral, Chris Duarte, Ian Moore, Soulhat, Sister 7, Bob Schneider, Dale Watson, Pushmonkey and more recently, the Flametrick Subs. In fact, the Subs, along with several other bands lost a considerable amount of equipment when the Black Cat burned. This Sunday from Noon to 8:30, Emo’s is hosting a benefit for those bands that features an all star lineup: Shorty Long, Django Walker, The John Evans Band, Basin Street and the Flametrick Subs with Satan’s Cheerleaders. There will also be free food and happy hour drink specials, but you won’t want to miss this one because it may be your last chance to toast(?) the end of an era.