10. Austin, Texas, USA


Confidently billing itself as ‘the live music capital of the world’,  Austin is without doubt one of the most prominent rock ‘n’ roll cities in the world.

The State capital of Texas has played a key role in the rise of outlaw country, with the legendary Willie Nelson and several like-minded artists relocating to this liberal minded city  in the early 1970s.

In the late 196os Roky Eriksson and his 13th Floor Elevators practically invented psychedelic rock as we know it, and probably went a long way to earning Austin its welcomed reputation for weirdness.

Stevie Ray Vaughan was a big hitter on the local and the national blues scene in the 1980s, until his untimely demise in a helicopter crash in 1990 saw the mourning city erect a statue in his honour.

Also in the 1980s the talented singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston emerged on the Austin scene, with his lo-fi tapes and emotional performances earning him a devoted cult following. Bipolar sufferer Johnston would go on to achieve national recognition after featuring on an MTV documentary and being heralded by indie heavyweights like Thurston Moore and Kurt Cobain. His heartfelt songs would be covered by artists as diverse as Tom Waits and Yo La Tengo.

The caustic Scratch Acid emerged from the Austin underground too, with their thrilling noise-rock and frontman David Yow’s wild stage antics.

Recent years have seen a plethora of acclaimed indie bands arise out of Austin, including critical darlings Spoon and Okkervil River.

Perhaps most famously, the city hosts the world famous South By Southwest and Austin City Limits music festivals (to name just two) as well as an international film festival and comedy circuits, and boasts more live music venues per capita than any other city in the world.

The late, rock-music loving comedian Bill Hicks regularly played the Austin scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s (including the Laff Stop), whilst a part of the Texas Outlaw Comics Group.

Associated acts: Spoon, Willie Nelson, The 13th Floor Elevators, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Daniel Johnston, Scratch Acid, Lucinda Williams, Okkervil River, Patti Griffin, Big Boys, …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead

Landmarks: Armadillo World Headquarters, Stevie Ray Vaughan statue, Willie Nelson statue, “Jeremiah The Innocent” wall