3 Live Music Venues in Austin, Texas
In the month of September, I attended three live music concerts in my hometown of Austin, Texas, each in separate venues with different vibes that you should definitely check out whether you are a local or a visitor.
1. Germania Insurance Amphitheater at Circuit of the Americas: Rüfüs Du Sol
One of the most anticipated shows of the fall in Austin was Rüfüs Du Sol, at the outdoor Germania Insurance Amphitheater at the racetrack east of the airport where the annual Formula 1 race is held.
I don't normally attend concerts out at Germania Insurance Amphitheater, because the Circuit of the Americas is quite a far drive for me from my house. However, I decided to go ahead and get over myself, make the 45-minute drive, and I was in for a treat.
The Australian act completely sold out the 12,000 seat venue, and seats were going for $200+ in the resale market leading up to and on the night of the show.
I decided to purchase upgraded parking in parking lot C for $26 (including all taxes and fees from Ticketmaster) which meant that I had a very short walk to and from the front entrance of the show.
Seating for the concert was entirely general admission, dividing into four areas: Pit, GA100, GA200 and Lawn. Doors opened at 6.30 for a 7.30pm start of the show, and when I arrived at 5.30 there were already people waiting in line to grab their preferred spot in the standing-room only pit, seats in the G100 or G200 sections or lawn spots. I even met a couple who had driven all the way from New Orleans earlier that day to attend the concert.
As we waited in throngs in the 95-degree heat for the event staff to open the gates, I heard a thud behind me.
A young concertgoer had fainted in the heat and hit the ground head-first right in front me. He was unconscious and might have been having a seizure.
All of us in line began calling for help and the manager of the event staff came racing over to attend to the young man.
He gradually regained consciousness as the staff cradled his body and fed him water from a water bottle. We were all stunned that it took the paramedics over 10 minutes to arrive and attend to him, but incredibly thankful when it looked like he was getting better.
Please drink water out in this heat and while at live music events! I myself have been a victim of severe dehydration, and it is NO JOKE.
Once inside the venue, I walked through the carnival-style concourse complete with Ferris wheel, games and fair-like concessions.
I was early, and I secured the front row of the GA100 level seats with a perfect view of the stage.
At 8.45, Rüfüs Du Sol came on and played a 2 and a half hour set - and then they were headed to Concourse Project to play a two-hour after-hours set starting at midnight.
Here is a video from my Social Musings by Austin TikTok account, which you can find here.
My favorite points of the show were the songs “Innerbloom” and “Underwater”
As I was walking out of the concert, I walked past the young man who had collapsed in line earlier. He was recovered, smiling and enjoying himself.
2. Emo’s on East Riverside: The Knocks X Cannons
My next show was a more intimate affair at Emo’s located south and east of downtown Austin.
The Emo’s concert was a co-headlined show with The Knocks and Cannons with Juliana Madrid as the opening act.
Similar to the Rufus Du Sol Show, it was general admission-only and when I arrived close to 7pm when the doors were set to open, the line to enter was already 300 people long.
Juliana Madrid, the opening act, has a new 7-song album on Apple Music and was wearing a fluorescent yellow dress that was eliciting cheers from the crowd.
With a mix of acoustic and electric guitar, this singer/songwriter delighted the crowd when she declared she was “from Texas.”
Next up was Cannons, a band from Los Angeles, whose lithe blonde lead singer brought an energy to the audience as she danced around the stage. Cannons played for an hour from 9-10pm.
Finally, I snuck all the way up front for The Knocks, who are an electronic duo from the Northeast US.
Their show began at 10.30pm and went until 12.30pm. Similar to Rüfüs Du Sol, The Knocks were off to play an after-hours show as well, which seems to be the "in" thing to do these days when coming to play in Austin on a Thursday night.
Here is the TikTok video I created for The Knocks, which their TikTok account liked.
The highlight of their show for me was their dance track, “Lucky Me,” which had the amped-up crowd bouncing up and down and shaking its collective booty.
3. LBJ Lawn (next to the UT Football Stadium): Flo-Rida and Nelly
Whoever came up with the idea of Longhorn City Limits is a GENIUS.
Combining college football, tailgating and world-class live music in a festival atmosphere is never a bad idea, and it is about time that Austin’s status as the live music capital of the world left its imprint on game day on the Forty Acres.
That combination is Longhorn City Limits, which started several seasons ago and is now fully hitting its stride.
The Longhorn City Limits shows are on the LBJ Lawn, next to the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and directly to the northeast of Texas Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium.
This FREE live performance before or after each UT football home game (depending on kickoff time) is first-come, first-serve admission on the LBJ Lawn.
Immediately after the conclusion of the Alabama game on September 10th, 2022, the scheduled performer at Longhorn City Limits was American rapper Flo Rida.
I arrived about 45 minutes before showtime and secured a spot within striking distance of the stage; however, the field was already starting to fill up with spectators watching the final two minutes of the game and jockeying for position on the lawn.
When Flo Rida came on stage, he was wearing a burnt orange UT Football jersey with a number 1 and his name “Flo Rida” on back.
His good vibes set was exactly what the crowd needed after witnessing Texas fall short vs. Alabama at the very last moment.
At no point was the energy higher than Flo Rida’s 2005 smash hit, “Low.” Flo Rida invited an entire stage full of women up from the crowd to dance with him for several songs, culminating in his gem “Low.”
I captured this moment on my Social Musings by Austin TikTok, which you can find here.
Not to be outdone, Flo Rida then invited the men up for a song to show off their dance moves.
All in all, it was not only an equal opportunity set, but also an inspirational one, as the audience experienced Flo Rida's authentic positive energy and his expressed gratitude at the opportunity to perform on one on of the biggest days of the year for Austinites.
All in all, his performance lasted about an hour.
After such an amazing experience, I had no idea that I would be back to Longhorn City Limits only three weeks later to see Nelly, the Grammy-award winning superstar, whose show was even more crowded than Flo Rida.
This past weekend before the West Virginia game, I arrived less than 15 minutes before the show was scheduled to start, but I was able to weave my way forward through the assembled crowd to a good vantage point (just not as good as Flo Rida).
Nelly also sported a burnt orange number 1 personalized jersey and roamed back and forth on the stage as he progressed through his blockbuster hits.
Nelly's highly-attended performance shows that Longhorn City Limits is here to stay - crowds are multiplying beyond belief, and suddenly there is now an additional buzz to game day that didn't exist five years ago.
Overall, I thought the crowd’s energy for Flo Rida was a slightly better vibe, but Nelly was noticeably more crowded - there was no chance you were getting on the lawn if you arrived after the performance begun, which highlighted that Longhorn City Limits is rapidly becoming a live music destination for University of Texas fans, Austin residents and visitors to our great city alike.
In fact, Longhorn City Limits is an incredible way to watch world-class recording artists whether or not you attend the game.
For information on future concerts at Longhorn City Limits, visit TexasSports.com or follow @TexasLonghorns on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates.
If you want to read more of my reviews of legendary concerts, please check out The Year in Music section on this website.