By Erin J. Walter
Editor’s note: This article was originally published December 26, 2013
Ladies Rock Camp end-of-camp showcase, Feb. 18, Cheer Up Charlie’s: At Ladies Rock Camp, women learn an instrument, form a band, write a song and experience the thrill of live performance, all in a transformative three-day weekend. I took the leap and signed up — and life has rocked harder ever since. The highlight of my 2013, period. (Bonus: LRC is a fundraiser for nonprofit Girls Rock Austin.)
Say Anything and Eisley, June 7, Emo’s/The Thermals, June 8, The Mohawk: These back-to-back shows kicked off the summer and high-kicked my love for live music back into overdrive. A totally sweaty, scream-along, dance-like-you-mean-it, this-is-how-life-is-supposed-to-be experience.
Riot Fest, Sept. 13-15, Chicago: No, it wasn’t in Austin, but it was worth the trip — and diehard fans traveled from around the country to see the reunited Replacements (or Blink-182 and Fall Out Boy, depending on your age and tastes). It was my favorite festival in years, if not ever, highlighted by unsung bands screaming in the rain before lunchtime. (Thanks for the memories, the Devil Wears Prada.)
ACL Fest weekend two, Oct. 10-12, Zilker Park and beyond: Friday and Saturday packed so much musical inspiration (from the empowered shredding of fab-femme duo Deap Vally to the Cure’s staggering hit parade) and equally inspired people-watching (hello, bouncing dude in homemade banana costume!), I wasn’t even that crushed when Sunday was rained out.
The Mowgli’s ACL raincheck, Oct. 12: When a deluge prompted the first-ever canceled day of ACL Fest, bands and fans scrambled on Twitter and on foot to score spontaneous pop-up shows. Nobody topped the Mowgli’s. The jangly Cali seven-piece held a sit-in/lovefest in the parking lot across from Austin’s downtown homeless shelter. Fans brought food and diapers to donate, and the band delivered an acoustic show that was almost better than the park.
Honorable mentions: Paramore and Metric, Nov. 1, Austin360 Amphitheater; Dead Music Capitol Band, Oct. 19, Wheatsville South Lamar grand opening; Cruiserweight reunion, Dec. 13, the Mohawk; every end-of-camp showcase from Girls Rock Camp.