Living in the Live Music Capital of the World

I’m driving home from lunch, rocking out, because the radio is playing Junior Brown’s Highway Patrol.  Junior, the announcer says at the end of the song, will be at Antone’s Saturday night.

Wow, I think.  I like Junior Brown.  I like Antone’s, too.  Hey!  Maybe my husband and I will go hear him Saturday night.

End of fantasy.  End of self-delusion.  End of rocking out (a subtle movement, in any event, when performed by a 58-year-old rhythm-free woman trying to navigate the freeway).

How long have we lived in Austin, the self-proclaimed “Live Music Capital of the World”?  Ten years, this time around. 

How many live music events have we been to?  I’m pretty sure I have enough fingers on one hand to count.  (One of those fingers refers to the single time I went to Antone’s.)

“You know,” a visitor from New Zealand and music fanatic once told us, “Austin’s really wasted on you.”  (I’m not sure that anyone from New Zealand, which is referred to in the book I’m reading, The Uncommon Reader  by Alan Bennett, as “that land of sheep and Sunday afternoons,” should be passing judgment on any creatures that don’t grow wool on their backs, but there you are.)

The Austin City Limits music festival comes and goes, year after year.  So does South by Southwest.  I’m sure they’re very nice events, based on all the rumors I hear.  In fact, my husband went to ACL one year, dragged along by his brother.  He got back several hours later, sunburned and dust-clogged and loudly proclaiming his enthusiasm.  But that was two or three years ago, and he still hasn’t been back.  (Although that experience, I believe, was much better than the outdoor music festival he once went to in Lewisville 35 years ago, which brought on an asthma attack.)

It isn’t that I don’t like music.  I do.  I just don’t like suffering for it (e.g., traipsing through parking lots, waiting in line, using outdoor toilets, being in crowds, getting a heatstroke, having to wear wristbands, etc.)  I would blame it on my advancing years (as I do virtually everything else), but even that’s not really true.

“Do you all like to go to listen to music?” one of us asked our 25-year-old daughter and 21-year-old son a few months ago.  They exchanged glances, then shook their heads.  “It’s too much trouble,” one of them said.  “Too crowded,” said the other.

Huh, I thought.  No need for DNA tests at our house.  These kids are definitely ours.

(Copyright 2008 by Ruth Pennebaker)

2 comments… add one
  • Girls! Yeehaw that so many of us are out here, schlogging through the midlife mud! We’re so glad you found us (The Midlife Gals)…and that you live in AUSTIN for Gawd’s sake and that you’re from MIDLAND, for pity’s sake…Bulldog or Reb?

    Love your blog except for the server-not-found issue! What do you do and why is your sister in Poland?

    Onward through the fog, right?…………

    KK and SalGal

  • What does Austin Texas not have and Niagara Falls NY does have? You’ve got many many live music venues and we have three. You don’t have 15 million tourists and we do. You’d think there would be a marriage of sorts here. To marry the Live Music Capital of the World with the Honeymoon Capital of the World.
    Just think for a moment..Austin cannot support all their musicians. Musicians can’t even pay their own rents. But if Austin musicians migrated up here for the summer they could earn boatloads of moolah and then head back home for the winter.
    Millions of Canadians come over the Rainbow Bridge every summer with monies in their hands looking for entertainment and find zilch. Plus we have a brand new airport capable of landing jumbo jets. Anyone care to contact Southwest Airlines so we can establish a pipeline of tourism to and fro Austin and Niagara Falls? Anyone down there have enough influence to do that?
    I lived in Austin for 13 years. Loved the music scene. Didn’t enjoy 105 degree summer days though. High summer temp. here is about 80 degrees plus we have the mist from the Falls.
    C’mon up and cool off.

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