Compare and contrast: live music in Seattle vs. Austin

Austin may bill itself as the Live Music Capital of the World, but it seems Seattle is more aligned with my particular tastes. Since arriving here in January, I’ve gone to more concerts than I did in my final year in Austin.

Classical music certainly has more of a presence here. Austin’s live music scene dwarfed the local arts scene, and I never once felt compelled to go to an Austin Symphony concert. By comparison, I’ve subscribed to the Seattle Symphony.

New music also seems to have an audience in Seattle. Kronos Quartet recorded its Neptune Theatre performance for a live album, and Alarm Will Sound stopped by Town Hall. Seattle Symphony also schedules a number of premieres, such as a new work by Nico Muhly back in February.

I haven’t delved into the local scene that much, which is where Austin trumps Seattle. Austinites really get behind their local talent, whereas I don’t get that same sense in Seattle.

But there are touring shows a-plenty here. Most of the ones I’ve seen were held at the big theatres — Paramount, Moore and Neptune.

I’ve scaled back the number of shows I’m attending now that I have a better handle on how broke I am from paycheck to paycheck. But as the following list shows, I think Seattle’s music scene and I will get along.

Concerts attended (or to attend) since moving to Seattle, Jan. 2012 – July 2012:

  • Seattle Symphony (Nico Muhly premiere), Jan. 28
  • Wayne Horvitz/Robin Holcomb, Smokestack Arias, Feb. 4
  • Bob Mould, Feb. 18
  • Reneé Fleming, March 16
  • Kronos Quartet, March 23
  • Explosions in the Sky, April 10
  • Jeff Mangum, April 17
  • Alarm Will Sound, April 26
  • The Drums, May 9
  • Matt Alber, May 12
  • Death Cab for Cutie, May 13
  • Seattle Symphony (Mozart: Requiem), May 19
  • UW Contemporary Ensemble (Crumb: Black Angels), May 23
  • Natalie Merchant, June 22
  • Seattle Symphony (Holst: The Planets), July 14

And here’s what I saw in Austin in 2011:

  • Bang on a Can All-Stars, Jan. 26
  • SXSW 2011 (Duran Duran, Emmylou Harris, MO’SOME TONEBENDER), March 16-18
  • eighth blackbird, March 23
  • Arcade Fire, May 4
  • Explosions in the Sky, June 17
  • Emmylou Harris, June 26
  • Sade, Sept. 8
  • Molotov, Sept. 29