Sturgill Simpson performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park on Saturday October 10, 2015. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
As Sturgill Simpson took the stage for his set, with those next-gen country lyrics, about drugs, cheatin’ and lovin’, a pot dealer was doing excellent business in front of me at the Honda stage.
It was a fascinating scene on Saturday. Hippies smoking weed over there, hipsters tappin’ their toes, and a ton of guys in sport team shirts who definitely were here to see country’s quotable man of the hour.
The crowd was hot and subdued. But that doesn’t mean Sturgill was. Quite the contrary, he was juiced up and obviously having fun. He had a huge grin on his face, added a few shouts out to the crowd’s curious iconography:
“That’s a very nice penis you have sir!” He said, to the owner of what we suspect (and hope) was a flag in the crowd. “I want to commend you.” The crowd had a good laugh at that.
At one point, Sturgill explained his tour bus had a close call en route back to Austin. “We had flat fire and almost died, so we’re really glad to be here Austin! That s**t would suck.”
The crowd was definitely grateful he was still alive and well enough to be here with them. They definitely skewed a little older, into the late 20s, early 40s. And they were comfortable, in fact, more like the usual chatty crowd at an Austin club show. Two guys in the crowd started ironically yelling, “Save country music!” They know that the lyrics in country music haven’t been this strong in ages, but a bit of yelling never hurt.