611 East 7th Street
Austin, TX 78701
Written by: Art B. Levy
Red 7 changed Austin’s 7th Street. The strip lay long dormant of entertainment, with bail bond offices and automotive garages dotting the block. The club revitalized the area, becoming a premier destination for both local and touring bands when it opened in 2006. As the Red River music scene has grown, so has Red 7, boasting a dependable DIY presence for all manner of genres: fiery punk rock to underground hip-hop, often sharing artists with its sister company, Transmission Entertainment.
That DIY ethos is due to the club’s work force. Tyson Swindell, Red 7’s manager, claims that most of his staff has played and toured in bands around the country. Tyson states that he “wanted to bring that spirit to a music venue,” and he succeeded. From the tongue-in-cheek communist iconography gracing the walls to the small stages, it’s reminiscent of a basement recreation room—in other words, perfectly suited to the passionate acts that grace Red 7.
The list of artists who have performed at Red 7 includes current favorites like Dum Dum Girls and Pains of Being Pure at Heart, as well as heavy hitters like Green Day, who played a packed secret show in 2011. Tyson’s most memorable show? “That’d have to be NoFX,” he laughs. Lead singer Fat Mike was upset about their long tour, so the group donned the moniker “HalfFX”—they played only a verse and chorus of a song before moving on to the next one, repeatedly. It’s that kind of anything-goes attitude that will keep Red 7 in the spotlight for years to come.