Archive for the 'ACL Festival 2008' Category
Better late than never, someone once said. Is that really true though? I guess it depends on the situation.
The most anticipated festival of the year for me had finally arrived, and as the day presented to opportunity to see a few acts that I hadn’t been witness to as of yet, the main interest for me today lay in one of the last acts of the day, The National. More on that later. Read more2 comments
A First Timer at ACL:
While I am from Texas, I haven’t been living in Austin for very long. So of course, I was excited about the prospect of going to City Limits when I moved here back in August.
It was three days of sun, sweat, Sweet Leaf Tea and of course, some pretty amazing music. The majority of my ACL picks managed to deliver, and pleasantly surprised by a few other bands as well. So here’s a bit of a recap of my weekend:
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in terms of performances, as well as crowd size and what can only be described as a sea of flags.
The most surprising performance of the day was Vampire Weekend. I tend to steer away from bands that are surrounded by so much hype but I found their music to be pretty decent, along with their show. I thought they held their own and it did make me want some of their music.
The lackluster performance of the day award goes to Hot Chip. While I’ve always liked some of their brand of techno indie beats, I simply wasn’t impressed. Also, they closed their set with a cover of Sinéad O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U”, which was a little strange and that not well done. I’m sure somewhere that day, Sinéad was ripping a picture of Alexis Taylor.
Best performance of the day, hands down, was Gogol Bordello. I’ve heard stories of how ridiculously amazing they can be live, and I wasn’t disappointed. Not a lot of bands can pull of a crazy, eclectic mix of international hardcore punk, complete with violin and accordion. They never lacked energy and their performance was a non-stop riot. Had I been closer to the stage, I’m sure I would have been caught up in the throws of a rather large mosh pit.
Another hot day, fortunately with brief periods of relief due to the clouds. This is also the day I realized that I owed my hydration (possibly my life) to Pomegranate Green Tea.
Surprisingly good today was The Fratellis. I’m going to be honest and say that I’m not incredibly familiar with their music past their singles but it seemed like a good enough bet early in the day and I was pleasantly surprised. The music was good, as was the energy. Unfortunately, I couldn’t understand a word their leader singer was saying when he attempted to interact with the crowd. This was mostly likely due to his ridiculous Scottish accent and the fact that he was probably incredibly hung-over.
Today’s disappointment was Beck. I didn’t know what to expect and apparently, you shouldn’t expect too much from the likes of the music world’s first andryonyous indie kids. (Side note: Does anyone else think this guy is immortal? He looked the same way he does now when I was 10.) Somehow he managed to squeeze in his well-known hits before walking off the stage 20 minutes before his set actually ended. Thinking there would be an encore, I imagine those who had fought their way to the front were disappointed to see roadies come out and immediately take things down. Not cool, Beck. Not cool.
Best band of the day: MGMT, surprisingly enough. Another hyped band that I had little to no expectations of, another relatively good performance. The crowd that I was surrounded by was rather ridiculous, and I guess for good reason. Points to MGMT for pulling off a pretty good live show.
Surprisingly good: The Kills. I didn’t have much to go on other than a good friend’s single-minded adoration of their music and performances, so I tried to be open-minded. Other than Allison Mosshart’s adversion to the sun (and unfortunately, they played on the hottest of all three days), I really like their gritty take on indie rock. Consider me a fan.
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Rather lackluster was Silversun Pickups. Maybe their vocalist is subdued on their records (which I rather like), but there’s something about his voice that is so high and grating live that it sounds like he’s about to bust a vocal cord. Yet another band that probably isn’t meant to be enjoyed live. Oh well.
For me personally, I have a first and second place for best band(s) of the day. 2nd place goes to Stars, who thankfully did not disappoint me and made the most of their hour-long set. They never slowed down too much and jokingly acknowledged that Against Me!, who had the same time slot as they did on the Dell stage, sounded like a much more energetic show. But they played a nice mix of old and new; it was nice also to be showered with water and rose petals between songs.
1st place of course, goes to The Foo. Say what you will about mainstream rock, but I’ve seen The Foo Fighters live before and I only wish I was as cool as Dave Grohl. And for such a big name band, I wish others would follow his example and have that much passion about putting on a good show. Between my favorite songs and the best triangle solo anyone will ever hear, I was glad that I ended ACL on such a high note.1 comment
It’s been one whole week since Austin’s Zilker Park was hosting one of the more popular music festivals in North America, bringing both legendary performers of many genres as well as some of the most hyped bands of the year to music fans from around the country. As this week has passed, I’ve found myself evaluating the festival, the current music scene, as well as my feelings on festivals in general.
When people asked me previous to the festival, if I was excited about the festival, I of course replied with a yes, but when asked who I was the most excited about seeing, I couldn’t really muster up much excitment about any one particular band. Sure there were bands that I was looking forward to seeing, most of which I have already seen on multiple occasions, and a few that I had not, but no one artist stood out. With that being said, my thoughts on ACL 2008.
I can’t help but to be excited about the festival on day one, if just for the simple fact that it’s three days of music possibilities, and I don’t have to work my regular job for a few days.
As I make my way into the park, I can’t help but noticed that there is already quite the crowd gathered by 1:00 when I arrive, which I have found not to be the case in years past. Good for the festival itself, because people = $$. It could be for the fact that one of the year’s biggest buzz bands Vampire Weekend, has a 3:00 spot on one of the headliner stages.
Yeasayer draws a much larger than anticipated crowd during their 1:30 set, on the Dell Stage. The band is always solid live bringing their unique blend of world music ala indie rock to a level that compliments the recorded material well. They somehow manage to escape the pitfall of sound issues that plaque the stage much throughout the weekend.
I decide to give Vampire Weekend another shot at proving to me why they are on the lips of many, as well as on the cover of many a music mag, and once again I fail to get the appeal. The large crowd consisting of many a young female fan, who vocalize their love for the band in unison shrill, seem satisfied with the performance. Myself, the aging indie rock fan, walk away thinking that there are at least a half a dozen bands in this town more talented and more exciting to watch on stage, they just don’t have the right haircuts or sense of style.
The one artist that I was really excited to see, M. Ward, eluded me. Eluded me, for the simple fact that there were so many people in the WAMU tent when I arrived my only option was try to watch from the side of the stage outside of the tent. If the sounds of Gogol Bordello from across the park weren’t carrying so far, it might have been doable, but the delicate lo-fi sounds of M. Ward were no match.
Running into a friend and his 3 youngsters, who were also trying to see M. Ward, we convinced the kids to go watch rock-n-roll pirates, referring to the band that call themselves Gogol Bordello. What rock band is better suited to entertain kids better than the Gogol Bordello? Maybe the Flaming Lips, as long as they keep it a bit more kid friendly than their Sasquatch performance?
The end of the day left me with a decision to make between two artists, both of which had not seen before, Mars Volta and Manu Chao. Mars Volta started a bit earlier so I decided to give them a chance to prove why they have such a diehard fan base. The band came out looking good, looking like rock stars, and launched into their first song, which I couldn’t tell you the name of, and proceeded to put on an energetic tight performance. As I watched guitarist Omar Rodriguez -Lopez and vocalist Cedric Bixler – Zavala perform, thoughts of what it was like to see Page and Plant perform together in their early years, and what if Mars Volta existed at the same time? My thoughts began to drift because the first song began to drift….drift into minutes of drum solo, guitar solo, a saxophone solo, and a lot of shaking, dancing, and acrobatics by Cedric with no end in site. Manu Chao it is!
It’s easy to see why Manu Chao has such a worldwide appeal. He delivers a latin influenced style of rock with a passion sometimes politically charged, full of enthusiasm, and completely genuine.
I left day one somewhat disappointed in what I had experienced musically at the festival, content with the friend connections that I had made that day, and looking forward to a late night set by Dead Confederate @ Emo’s in hopes that they might restore my faith in rock-n-roll.
Saturday: Read moreNo comments
This is the last set of photos from ACL 2008, and I think that Valerie did a pretty good job for her first BIG Festival. Check back for a couple of different posts reflecting back on this year’s ACL.2 comments
I know I’ve only had post-festival stuff up so far, and yes I’ve been at the festival the past two days and am heading back out here in a few, but I promise that more will come soon enough.
Band of Horses played the Parish on Saturday night to celebrate the launch of the new online music site Blurt, and to raise money for the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians Foundation. HAAM is a local non-profit that provides low cost health care for working Austin musicians. Great idea, great foundation, and Austin musicians are lucky to have them around.
Not only was it a pleasure to see Band of Horses @ the Parish playing for an enthusiastic crowd raising money for a great foundation, but I got to shake Bill Murray’s hand. I’m not one for being too interested in celebrities, but it was Bill Murray!
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Band of Horses play the Dell Stage @ 7:30 Sunday @ ACL.No comments
photo : michael maly
As the dust settles in Zilker park (and my lungs) on day one of ACL 2008, I leave the most enjoyable set of the day, being performed by Manu Chao, a bit early to make sure that I make it to Emo’s to catch that band from Athen’s GA, Dead Confederate. For anyone that visits this site on any regular basis or who knows me in person, you know I’m a big fan of these guys, both as musicians and as people. They’re good folk, and they make some damn fine rock.
Two songs into the set, I realized why I like this band as much as I do…they put on one of the best rock shows around right now. Bold statement, I know, but I stand by my words.
Dead Confederate rumbled, growled, and screamed their way through a haze covered set that converted any doubter or newcomer into a believer of the DC. The band covered some of the best territory from their full length debut Wrecking Ball, including “Yer Circus”, “All the Angels”, and “Start Me Laughing”. Even the more listener friendly “The Rat” which I’ve listen to more times than I dare admit since it first surfaced on the band’s EP sounded as great as the first time I heard the song.
Wrecking Ball just hit shelves on September 16th and the band is currently on the road well into the end of November, finding them all across the U.S. States. They make a visit with Conan O’Brien on Oct 10th.
Tour dates @ Dead Confederate Myspace
MP3> Dead Confederate ‘It Was A Rose’1 comment
The Swell Season is the name of a 1975 novel written by Czech author Josef Skovrecky.
It is also the name of an album recorded in 2006 by Glen Hansard (also of The Frames) and Marketa Irglova, a classically trained Czech musician.
Now, it is the name the duo often use when performing together since the release of a film called ‘Once”, which they both starred in.
Did I mention they also won an Academy Award for Best Original Song?
Naturally since then, the duo has gone on to play prominent gigs like Coachella and Bonnaroo, along with their own extensive tour. After ACL, they’ll be playing a handful of shows with Iron and Wine.
Hansard and Irglova both share vocal and songwriting duties, with Hansard on acoustic guitar and Irglova on piano. The combination creates wonderfully melodic indie rock. Every song I have by them, from both the film and from their album, is worth listening to.
I have yet to see them in concert, but I’ve only ever heard positive comments about their live performances. You’ll definitely find me at the AT&T Blue Room on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
MP3> The Swell Season ‘Falling Slowly’No comments
Another young band from the south that’s doing their part to keep rock-n-roll alive, Colour Revolt have been a favorite of mine for a good part of the year. Armed with 3 guitars and Jesse Coppenbarger’s intense, often despair riddled, and constantly questioning lyrics, this band deserves many an attention. Complex arrangements, which some compare to math rock, require a committed listen to understand the quality and depth of the material.
The band signed to Fat Possum Records after releasing their self-titled EP, and released their full length debut Plunder, Beg, and Curse earlier this year. Putting off much touring until the band members could finish up their college commitment, summer finds the band both scholastic graduates and freshman in the music world. Put on your serious face and prepare to be bludgeoned by the music of Colour Revolt.
Colour Revolt play the BMI Stage on Sunday @ 4:40
MP3> Colour Revolt ‘Moses Of The South’No comments
Although not playing the ACL Festival, Athen’s Dead Confederate find themselves playing and official ACL aftershow on Friday night with another favorite band of mine, Heartless Bastards. Dead Confederate haven’t been back in Austin since their SXSW 2008 debut that found the band opening for another Athen’s, G.A. band @ Stubbs, R.E.M. Pretty decent company to find yourself in, early in your career, with only an EP to show for your work.
Since then, the band has been readying the Mike McCarty produced debut full length Wrecking Ball which just hit shelves September 16th. The recording is dark, it’s heavy and intense, and although the band wears it’s influences on it’s sleeve, it’s on of the most powerful rock records to be released in awhile. Faith in serious guitar driven rock wrapped around lyrical angst, personal protest, and dark imagery has been restored.
I’m confident in saying that the live show won’t disappoint for those who aren’t afraid of a little heavy rock that is a bit psychedelic at times. I’ve seen them a few times, and this is one of the more highly anticipated shows of the weekend.
Heartless Bastards w/Dead Confederate and Wax Fang @ Emo’s Inside 9.26 Doors @ 10 Tickets
MP3> Dead Confederate ‘The Rat’1 comment
ANTICS is very proud to be hosting the official Austin City Limits afterparty on Friday September 26th at 508 House in Austin. We’ll have a stunning DJ sets from CSS and special guests, as well as delicious free drinks courtesy of the good people at Blackstone Winery, Glaceau Water, Heineken Light, and Tito’s Vodka so RSVP now!
RSVP Here: ACL 2008 Kick Off Party
It’s open to the public and it’s FREE! I know you people like FREE!
I’m going to try to curb my feelings on this subject as much as I can, but seriously…what the F***? If you are that interested in the debate or football game, then stay the f*** home! It’s not that I don’t care about either, but I’m at a music festival for the music, the music that takes me away from and separates me from the population that invests too much time and energy into politics and sports. I could spend an unnecessary amount of time and keystrokes on this subject, but choose not to do so. It pains me nonetheless.
I’m not going to reveal the details.1 comment