Thursday, January 24, 2019

Keeping Austin ACTUALLY Weird vs.Commercially Weird

As I am currently campaigning the " Outsider Music Showcase " ( with The Best Worst Band Ever - COMPLETE and The Goat and Your Mom ) , I am noticing many interesting tidbits and articles about the current Austin lifestyle. Now, as far back as I remember, my visits to Austin as a young child were mesmerizing and absolutely glorious. I fell in love with the city in the late 80s during our cheap family vacations.  I moved south of Austin with the dawn of the new millennium while attending Southwest Texas in San Marcos ( Now Texas State) with the intentions of eventually moving to  Austin. Well, that has yet to happen; and I can no longer afford such a luxury. You see, something happened in the early 2000s. I started seeing this logo that stated " Keep Austin Weird".  It didn't quite phase nor surprise me, but rather, left me in a state of confusion. I mean, was the city losing it's weirdness? Was there a secret society of seriousness hellbent on punishing the doers of weird? Jokes aside, I sensed a foreboding gloom despite the ballsiness of such a slogan.

 Of course Austin was considerably unique at the time.  I think the intention of the slogan may have been something to celebrate and differentiate Austin's originality. However,  it is now 2019 and people are asking, "Austin still weird?".  Ok, let's get one thing straight here. What makes up the identity of any city are the people that reside within it's walls. Now that I got that out of the way let us observe what has occurred in the past decade ( at least what I have observed).  Austin has received a massive amount of attention and popularity. We have seen it grow exponentially. The weird little town now becomes THE place to be. This in part, was due to another slogan, "Live music Capital ".  I'm not certain, as to what a city has to do to call itself that. I mean, how many Sublime Cover bands does it take to get you to that point? So all of a sudden, you see things on Rolling Stone mentioning Austin. SXSW this, ACL that. Hey, did you know that Frodo Baggins lives in Austin? How about Sandra Bullock? So what happens next? The kids start moving into the neighborhood, and I mean lots of them - kids with money, kids deprived of attention. Where are they coming from? Mostly California, I'm pretty sure  ( not picking on Californians, just stating a fact). It is said that an estimated 20,000 young Californians have moved to Austin in the past 7 years.   Austin welcomed them with open arms. Austin also was happy to see so much green paper coming it's way it was willing to undergo a makeover. I saw it happen. A historical East Austin spot now becomes a cool place to get Fusion Tacos, overpriced ramen, or whatever becomes trendy to people that have the audacity to call themselves "Foodies".  So in that sense, yes.. Austin is in fact, weird. But everyone that made it unique went into hiding. Austin was always welcoming to the strange outcast.  Austin was the hidden lair for secret wonders. Now everyone wants in on it.

As a result, I've seen the rapid decline of show attendance with regards to punk, metal, industrial, or anything underground. I am not solely blaming the millennial invasion because there are so many other contributing factors to this.  There's difficulties with online promotion, difficulties with so-called promoters, high ticket prices and general laziness due to at-home conveniences and modern, technological luxuries. I'm here to fight it not only because I believe in actual, productive and creative change, but also because I believe in making people feel uncomfortable and dare I say, weird? Terranodon Media stands proudly next to the obscure, the forgotten, and forlorn. I will gladly make my contributions to help combat mediocrity and pretentiousness. I will encourage all wannabes to be better (and move somewhere else).  I apologize for sounding so cynically bitter, but everything points to the fact that the Austin we once knew and loved is losing is identity to "The" business.  The authenticity is convoluted and perhaps the ore has lost its luster. One can only hope that with surging housing prices, inflation, and over saturation of mainstream garbage the "Hipster's Rome" will implode and the creatures of the night will take back the glory land.   Til then, I will do my part to  keep Austin weird, even if certain cliques, scenes, and social groups have moved on. Perhaps, the change is for the better. Perhaps, a new yellow rose might bloom ( *not a strip club reference).

 Now, let's get real. Let's keep Austin real. The Outsider Music Showcase will feature The Goat and Your Mom, Complete ( The Best Worst Band Ever?), Worm Suicide, Ponytrap, Charm, and the Steve n Steve band. This is open to all.  I invite those who have taken exception to some of the things I said. Those that thought, " Wait a minute. I'm from California, and I'm not one of those jerks. I support the Scene!!!" So to you,   I offer a challenge to show up, SUPPORT,  and see the raw, primal forces that make up some of the most unique bands in the world. Prove me wrong, and revel in my incompetence. Show me there is a chance for everyone to be authentic.   It's exciting to know that this night will be a historic event that will go down in Austin music history. That being said,   I don't expect a crazy amount of people to attend on February 2nd, 2019 at Texas Mist; those people( the original gangsters) just aren't  around for the most part. But the light still lingers and those that do go....they know.. oh they know, man.