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Tar Heel musicians tromp through Texas

Upside:
A couple of days of cool weather; Elvis Costello and most of The Attractions proving they can still rock it; jaws dropping as Trailer Bride fans dig The Moaners for the first time; a drop-in by Alejandro Escovedo and a post-downpour double rainbow on view from the porch at Maria's Taco Express; Thad Cockrell and Caitlin Cary singing sweet duets all over town; Chris Stamey Experience backed by the view from the 18th floor; folks in fuzzy animal and large anthropomorphic food costumes roaming the streets; Petty Booka's set closing "Born to be Wild"; the glorious sound crew at The Parish making Merge Night a great listen; the street dude who knew most of "The Charge of the Light Brigade"; the unbelievable hospitality of Austinites; Chatham County Line showin' 'em where they live; cool Flaming Lips documentary (The Fearless Freaks); power naps; cold beer.

Downside:
Hold up in Dubai keeps the band from Tehran (127) from the show; major waves of cynicism over the presence of black-clad cowboys and cowgirls implying the Lincoln Navigator is rock 'n' roll or something; sound guys from hell laying waste to everything from the stand-up bass for Petty Booka to Thad and Caitlin's monitors; singer for overwrought metal band returning to the stage for one more number after diving out a window; the uneasy feeling that those hospitable Austinites feel the festival ain't so much theirs no more; mini-documentary on Robert Plant followed by Robert Plant being interviewed about what it's like to be Robert Plant; not so cold beer.

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