I was guided by university students to the Blind Pig pub, who claim to know their stuff when it comes to music bars. Before questioning another of Austin’s weird and wacky titles, we headed upstairs to one of the largest rooftop venues on East Sixth, bordered with a circuit bar, serving drinks as cheap as three dollars.
The urban terrace was decorated with delicate lines of spot lights that hung over the decks. The spot lights highlighted the quote, ‘do the no pants dance’, illustrated on top of the brick wall, heavily sprayed with luminescent paint. The stage consisted of a small area that had been left clear of benches. The first row framed the set against the back drop, giving the spectators a well compromised view of Upper Sixth where radiant lights from other rooftops reflected onto the set, the neon glow sublimely clashing with the blue and red theme. Nonetheless, it still felt like I was watching a separate performance as my feet reacted to the vibrations of the electrical signals, knocking my body into a rhythmic jerk.
Sixth Street is powered with a neon glow from the cogent signs that reflect a different vibe off of each bar. Every building holds historical importance that is modernised by the illuminated signs, drawing in the many citizens from the district. The majority of interior bars are built around a similar, classical layout. They take on the stereotypical, southern build with timber frames, reclaimed steel and swinging doors, sourced locally from Barton’s greenbelt. The bars themselves, made of dark, polished wood, secure an overhang equipped with high stools that complement the Zebrano worktop.
Each neighbouring venue clashes with the musical age of the other. While the blues clubs attract Austin’s traditional folk who enjoy basic chord patterns and a highly sophisticated, rhythmic idiom, the modern bars attract the college students who consume the halcyon vibes performed by the alternative rock bands who have more recently emerged from the independent music underground.
I really hope Austin maintains its live music scene because for me, the iconic musical expression made my visit the experience it was, the weirdest city that I would visit one hundred times over.