Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Rockin' Austin

After the conference’s closing banquet we wandered down to Cedar Street. The outdoor stage was jammed with a younger crowd, undeterred by the $5 cover charge or the lateness of the hour--- it was past ten on a weeknight. Could it be that there were hundreds of Austiners who didn’t care about showing up half asleep at their class or job?

The Spazmatics had started their act. The skill of their singing and dexterity of their drumming, guitar-whaling, and dancing belied the geekiness of their thick eyeglasses, sweater vests, pocket protectors, and superficially awkward, spasmodic movements.

The music was loud but not ear-splittingly painful, high-octane rock with a strong rhythm. Of course, the observer’s perceptions could have been dulled by the onset of age and the quantity of alcohol coursing through his veins. Does music have objective standards or is it the audience reaction that determines the music’s quality? Wow, heavy thoughts, dude.

Atrophied muscles involuntarily twitched as semi-arthritic hips responded to the beat. Arms waved, holding half-filled glasses of chardonnay. The barkeep didn’t frown; spillage boosted sales. Midnight arrived quickly, and sad experience advised that I should get back. I still had to pack for a 6 a.m. bus to the airport.

Most in our group didn’t return till 3, after late-night noshing on pizza and beer. I heard later that they had trouble staying awake the following day, and a few even cut their meetings altogether. When in Austin, do as Austiners do. © 2007 Stephen Yuen

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