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06 Nov 09 Austin Music Scene from a Connecticut Perspective

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(Editor’s note: The following article appeared in the University of Hartford Informer. TMJ has been given permission to reprint the article by its author, Harris Decker, a student there. You can follow Harris at  We thought you would be interested to see how Austin’s 6th Street is viewed from a Connecticut student perspective.)
Can all that music really be located on one street in the middle of Texas? Turns out it can. Sitting in the lobby the morning we are supposed to leave Texas, I’m somewhat overwhelmed. Just beyond the walls of our hotel is 6th Street, a place crawling with bars, restaurants, clubs and live music venues (sometimes all combined into one).

The amount of live music venues was astonishing. All pounded inside one single street that was about 10 Manhattan blocks long was venue after venue. What made it all the more interesting was that inside each one was a band.
These were not places that ever go quiet. On a relatively quiet, rainy night in Austin, each club had a band residing inside, playing music that ranged from country to jazz to classic rock covers.

For someone who has never explored much music outside the east coast, I am really enjoying the fact that music seems to surround everything here. Even in places like New York and Boston, you have to seek out concerts large and small as opposed to stumbling onto them.

Music fans really don’t know what they are missing. Being able to walk (or stumble at times) from venue to venue, bar to bar and listen to this amazing range of talent makes for the most interesting evenings. One of my favorites was Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar. Set up just like the name suggests, Pete’s offers two piano players alternating songs all while comedically entertaining the crowd and taking requests.

This makes for an enjoyable atmosphere that I’ve never found inside an east coast venue.
Aside from music, I am completely in love with Austin’s food. Especially good was its Tex-Mex eateries, including Iron Cactus. Aside from making fresh table side guacamole, their selection of authentic Mexican dishes is to die for. Personally, my favorite were the fajitas. While here, I had hoped to check out a concert at Emo’s, which is the local rock venue (for larger acts). Ben Kweller was performing but, with zero energy left in my body, it was a tough task. Two nights later, Owl City performed in front of a sold out audience. Although we were unable to make it inside, we did hear the tail end of the smash hit “Fireflies” as we walked by.

It became clear to me that Austin was not a place I could live in, but certainly a place I would visit again. If the food didn’t bring me back, then the music and atmosphere certainly would.

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