Live: Robert Earl Keen, Austin

Robert Earl Keen is always a favorite in Austin. (Photo by Lily Angelle)

Editor’s Note: Our Austin correspondent Lily Angelle has been busy with classes and writing for her, ahem, new blog … so we’re grateful she wrote us a short review of a visit by Texas singer/songwriter Robert Earl Keen to Stubb’s in Austin.

Every now and then, it can be quite refreshing to check out popular local acts in the Austin area. The sold-out rock show gets tiring after a while, and sometimes you just need to change things up a bit. I am in no way an avid country music fan, so I did not know what to expect when I went to Stubb’s last week to see the Texas singer/songwriter Robert Earl Keen.

I noticed from the get-go that the scene was much different from what I’m used to – there were no lines wrapped around the venue, anxiously waiting to stampede toward the stage once the gates opened. In fact, much of the crowd did not even arrive until after the opening act.

When Keen and his band appeared onstage, opening with “What I Really Mean,” I immediately sensed a very chilled-out, personable aura about their music and demeanor. They made eye contact with the audience, smiling as people sang along to songs and clapped with the beats. I would describe the show in its entirety as quite humble and friendly. Even though I knew none of his music, I could not help but nod my head along with the soothing acoustic guitar melodies.

The crowd consisted of young and old fans, and was rather relaxed, giving each other respectable amounts of space. However, there are always a few drunk trouble-makers, and halfway through their set a small fight broke out in the middle of the crowd. Security was quick to step in, and soon peace was reestablished and the crowd continued singing along.

Obviously, the crowd went wild when Keen closed with the popular favorite, “The Road Goes On Forever.” They reappeared onstage for an encore to play “Dreadful Selfish Crime” and “I Know You Rider.”

As a Texas A&M graduate and former Austin resident, Robert Earl Keen is a cherished local act among many fans in the area. Austin’s local music scene is always growing, and besides Keen, artists such as Bob Schneider, Alejandro Escovedo, and Spoon have established a strong fan base here in Austin. When long lines and sold-out shows get you down, it may be a nice change of pace to check out your area’s local music scene.

Robert Earl Keen always turns in a relaxed, accomplished show. (Photo by Lily Angelle)

Robert Earl Keen official website

2 Responses to “Live: Robert Earl Keen, Austin”

  1. Thanks for the review of the show, and for the pictures!
    It should be noted, however, that Robert Earl Keen is a NATIONAL touring artist (who happens to be from Texas) and has been selling out shows all over the country for more than twenty years.

  2. 30daysout Says:

    You are certainly right bg, in fact all of the artists mentioned in the article are indeed national touring artists. We have been told by people like Alejandro Escovedo that the reception they receive in Texas is like no place else. It’s cool that we (Texas) can claim artists like REK, Escovedo and Joe Ely among others as “local” artists. Sorry for that little bit of provincalism, but we like to (pro)claim our own!

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