The Tale of Three Cities

By Denise Marrufo
Music Journalist

Photo by Dennise Maruffo.
Photo by Denise Marrufo.

As a Dallas native, it would always upset me when bands toured Texas and only made a stop in Austin, which led me to believe shows in Austin would be more fun than any other city in Texas. Once I actually started going to shows in different cities, I was surprised at how different they were from my expectations.

In Austin, the crowds are predominantly older and most of the crowd is people with cups in their hand watching the band instead of dancing. One wouldn’t expect this type of reaction from the live music capital of the world. This probably has to do with the fact that so many people live there and it’s just apart of their lifestyle to go to a show that they’re not hardcore fans of. Don’t get me wrong, of course, at some shows, the crowd is rowdy but at others that one would expect people to be super into it, they aren’t. For Neon Indian, a band that produces electronic tracks that would make anyone stop and dance, the crowd was a group of people just standing around in one place.

I feel there’s a secret rivalry between San Antonio and Austin. San Antonio wants to prove they are just as fun as Austin. They are and they are usually fans of the band playing so there is more energy coming from the crowd. They’ll dance to everything even to more ambient type of music like to Froth, a shoe-gaze band from Los Angeles, that you would usually do a little swaying back and forth to was instead everyone dancing and singing along together. A very popular venue there is Paper Tiger which also always happens to be extremely hot but this doesn’t stop the crowd from dancing despite being drenched in sweat.

In comparison, Dallas is more conservative in all aspects. There is mostly kids in the crowd but the security are less tolerant of crowdsurfing and moshing. This leads to altercations between bands and the security. Just recently The Orwells, a rock and roll band from Chicago got kicked out of Trees (the infamous venue that beat up Kurt Cobain in the ‘90s) for continuously bringing kids on stage to stage dive. Another time, Nathan Williams, the lead singer of surf rock band Wavves had to stop the show and ask the security if he was going to let people enjoy the show. Throughout the night, the security wouldn’t stop shining their blinding flashlight at people moshing and blocking the stage to where no one could see.

In my opinion, I think you should dance and try to have a good time even if you are a number one fan or just heard the band 20 minutes before the show. Most bands could agree that they feed off of the crowd’s energy, so if you want to see a show that’s one for the books, make it a show that’s for the books.

James Jordan II

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