Sunday, October 10, 2010

Austin City Limits Festival, Day 2

We learned some things on Day 1 that were helpful on Day 2. For example, there are free water stations onsite and you can bring your own water bottle. Sweet! Big money savings for day 2.

Unfortunately, our sweet free parking garage was charging $10. At least we got one day free.

I discovered about a block from the car that I didn't have my phone with me. We went back to the car, only to discover that I'd left my phone at Cindy's house. D'oh! She had spent Day 1 concerned about her fun new phone (we both just got the new G2), so she grabbed her crappy old phone for day 2. I went without once I discovered we'd have to drive back to her place to get mine.

Here's what we saw yesterday (after arriving later than we wanted to and completely missing Silversun Pickups):

  • Broken Bells. Yes, they were on at the same time as Silversun Pickups, but closer to the gate and at the other end of the park. The guitar player also played keys. Pretty complex sound. They had a trumpet player too. We liked them reasonably well.
  • Kinky. We caught quite a bit of their set inadvertently as we stood in line for food and ate. I don't remember much about them other than they were a dance band, so they weren't really attention grabbing. Or I was hungry and P. Terry's distracted me.
  • Gogol Bordello. My son described them as "gypsy rock," but their first song was definitely reggae influenced. I initially thought the boy didn't know his genres, but as they continued I agreed with his labeling (and he later told me he'd read the description). Pretty frenetic rhythms at times, lots of people up and dancing around. Fun stuff.
  • Monsters of Folk. We walked by on our way from Gogol Bordello to LCD Soundsystem. We didn't stay; they were way too mellow (i.e., sleep inducing). Pretty big crowd there, though, and this was the only band given a two-hour set on Saturday, maybe due to this being a Conor Oberst band.
  • LCD Soundsystem. Dance. Good beat, not too cookie cutter or samey-samey from song to song. They did go a little screamo one song, but only one.
  •  Deadmau5. Holy cow, the BASS. We were a long way back, and it was hitting us pretty hard. Awesome dance groove, great light show (I took several short videos). All the freaks came out to play for this one. It got really samey after 20-30 minutes, and lots of people left to get a spot for 
  • Muse. According to the numbers on the web site, this was the most popular show of the fest. My sister previously told me she liked them better than U2 when she saw them together. I haven't seen U2 live, and this was my first Muse show, but they were amazing. I only own their newest album, but I need to correct that. For the most part Cindy has been really laid-back during the fest. This has been the one time she's put her foot down and said, "Let's move forward," and "We're staying to the end of this set!" Not that I wanted to leave, but it was great to hear that she was really enjoying the set. The lights were fantastic. The sound, honestly, could have been louder. We started out pretty far back, but we were getting some bleed through from M.I.A. clear across the park. Once we got closer it was louder, of course, but we could still talk pretty comfortably. Muse was definitely the best of day 2 by a wide margin, no contest.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Austin City Limits Festival, Day 1

I have a friend who won a pair of tickets to ACL (I love a friend who calls you at times like these!), so we have thrown ourselves into the chaos. And chaos it is! I haven't seen attendance numbers, but it has to be in the tens of thousands.

The bands I've heard of are all playing today and tomorrow, so Cindy and I just wandered around and sampled things yesterday. Don't yell at me about "You haven't heard ?" Now I have. I listen to a LOT of music, but I hadn't gotten around to these before yesterday.  =)

  • Pat Green. Your basic Austin country. He busted out a little U2 at one point ("With or Without You"). Pretty good, but I don't listen to a lot of country.
  • Qbeta. They were on a stage that was shaded -- a naturally attractive prospect in the heat of the day. We only caught their last tune, which was kind of a dance-raggae thing and a lot of fun. I was sad I couldn't hear more.
  • The Band of Heathens. These tied for the best of the day for me. They were a mix of several genres, funky and rocky with great harmonies. As we were walking by, the singer said, "We're gonna have a little church now. Y'all need to have some church, I think!" or something like that. In that crowd, it was pretty funny. Then they broke into a funky praise thing. Lots of people were dancing around with hands in the air. They were fun. But we were actually on our way to
  • Beach House. We listened to them for half a song and decided The Band of Heathens was more fun, so we went back. Still only caught like 3 songs though. Curse the hour-long sets!
  • Slightly Stoopid. Several people said this was a fun band, and they were. Good groove, sort of a rock/reggae vibe.
  • Vampire Weekend. Holy cow, what a huge crowd, and a lot of pot in the crowd.  We were a LONG way back and were still packed in. They were OK, would probably have been better if I owned any of the music (I'd considered buying it but hadn't gotten around to it).
  • Sonic Youth. One friend asked me how I was going to decide between Vampire Weekend and Sonic Youth, so I went to both. We found chairs by SY, which was nice. They were highly sonic, but no longer young, and Cindy and I laughed about the 3 minute outros on several songs. In a one-hour set, that adds up. We kind of wished we'd stayed at Vampire Weekend, but it was really nice to sit down, too.
  • The Strokes. We both loved The Strokes, who I probably should have heard before now. I'm not sure how to categorize their music -- it's rock, but with elements of other stuff thrown in. Their singer had some interesting stage banter. The first thing he said to the crowd was, "If all y'all would come out of the woodwork, maybe we wouldn't be so broke!" I hope he gets his wish. I'll probably buy some stuff.
So that's Day 1. I'll try to keep taking notes and posting so all two of my readers can have some new music to try out on youtube.  My dad will hate all of it (except maybe Pat Green).

Oh, a couple of other comments on the fest: with so many people temporarily in one place, there is no way to use your phone in any real way. I'd love to twitter or facebook updates (and I really tried yesterday), but the network just won't handle that many people. There is no twitter, no facebook, no texting. Calls will usually go, but you can forget about data.

And those porta potties? With that many people onsite (all eating, drinking and what-have-you), those need to be cleaned more than once a day, y'all. For real. Yick.