Austin rocks. Everybody says so.

Austin rocks.  Everybody says so.It’s been an unusual week for me, catching three roadshows in three days. First it was Weezer and the Foo Fighters on Thursday (TimT’s recount here), followed by Son Volt last night (my post here). Not only was it a concentrated dose of excellent music, but it also made it abudantly clear why Austin might struggle with vanity and pretension; because everybody loves us so freaking much.

Throughout the orgy of music, a clear trend of adulation developed. Every city gets the typical “it’s great to be back in St. Louis” or “you guys are the best, Boise” platitudes, but Austin seemed to be singled out for superlatives and lavish praise. In virtual lockstep, each band kissed Austin’s ass eight ways to Sunday with some variation on the “Austin is the best music town in the world” riff. The opening bands were almost embarrassingly effusive, while the established acts leaned towards sardonic appreciation. Dave Grohl proliferated his praise with f-bombs, Jay Farrar barely uttered another word, but the sentiments were the same.

It’s nice of everyone to say, but does Austin really make a great audience? And what makes us more notable than other cities? I don’t think Austin crowds are particularly raucous, but maybe there’s a special appreciation or knowledgeable enthusiasm that translates to the stage. Maybe it’s just attendance, or willingness to pay ever-rising concert prices. Any thoughts?

In any case, Austin certainly gets more than our fair share of great shows and special appearances. The upcoming slate of ACL-inspired showcases is a case in point. Whether it’s based in reality or myth, our reputation is certainly something not to be taken for granted.

1 Comment so far

  1. JM (unregistered) on September 19th, 2005 @ 9:22 am

    A recent transplant, here are my observations:

    1) Seeing a band here is concurrently a worthwhile and worthy endeavor — the quality of the shows is amazing and audiences general revere both the live music experience and Austin’s status as an appreciator of this experience.

    2) People pay attention here — while every city’s music scene is suffering from cell phone abuse and ADD brought on by today’s mass media barrage, Austin fans show a bit more respect and pay closer attention to performances.

    3) Audiences here STAY FOR THE ENTIRE SHOW! So many other places, people have an eye on the exit long before the band hits an encore.

    4) Seeing a band here is a core component of a night out socializing.

    In other places, items #2 and #4 are often mutually exclusive occurrences.

    I couch these points by adding that they’re based on attending shows by popular local and national indie acts. I can’t say these observations hold true when you’re talking about the day-in, day-out club scenes a la Red River, etc.



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