Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Austin City Limits: Day 3

Upon waking up on the third day, the weather report said that it was supposed to rain all day, but that wouldn't stop me, especially because I payed for a three day pass! My first show was Rocky Votolato so when I got inside, I walked to the Heineken Stage and was on the front row for the billionth time. If there is any one piece of advice I would give to someone attending a festival the size of ACL, its to plan ahead and be there first. His first song was Portland Is Leaving (the setlist says something about a blank track but I don't remember that), which I was pretty happy to hear because its one of his songs that I know. I think it really started to rain during She was Only in it for the Rain, and after the song he said "Well if that song wasn't appropriate, then I dunno what is." I'm a big fan of irony. Seeing him in the rain was pretty fun. White Daisy Passing was really good live. I enjoyed his set.

After he was done playing, Kelly, Viv, and I met up with Sean and went mini golfing down the street. Having a three day pass has its benefits!

After we finished and got back to ACL, we tried to catch some of Damien Marley's set but decided to head down to the AT&T stage because The Flaming Lips were playing at 6:30. We got there around 3:30, meaning that we had to sit through, yes, sit through, Matisyahu, which was pretty bad. I had to miss Matt Costa and Jose Gonzalez because we went there so early but I don't mind because The Flaming Lips was a lot of fun! I can't believe that I hadn't been to one of their shows before now. I had seen some pictures before ACL of their performance so I knew what to expect. It looks like a lot of fun in photos, but its a million times better in person. We were on about the third or fourth row. We tried to squeeze through the crowd but that was as far as we got. I'm not disappointed though because I was talking to people around us and they were a lot of fun. Austin is such a different place from Dallas. John and I talked when I got back and we both agree that most people in Dallas, that go to shows at least, are either elitists or they just don't want to talk to you (maybe a little bit of both?)! Anyway, they started the show and Wayne came out in the big, blow-up, plastic ball. That was a lot of fun. They had girls in martian outfits on our side of the stage and people in Santa Clause outfits on the other side of the stage, all of them with flashlights. He talked about the Ben Kweller show at ACL, where he had the terrible nose bleed and he put some girls (un-used) tampon in his nose while he was playing, in order to stop the bleeding. Then, he pulled out his fake blood and poured it on his forehead, and asked all the "brave women" to throw their tampons up to the stage. Suddenly, hundreds of tampons started flying towards the stage. I really have to give it up for the cleaning crew at ACL. Throughout the show, they had two confetti cannons firing and they threw a lot of big, white and yellow balloons into the crowd. It was so much fun! They had super heroes on stage too, a big astronaut, Santa Clause, and a martain, and I think Michael played in a zebra suit minus the head. Wayne also put on his huge hands at one point, and he had the nun puppet. I can't wait to see them again. I can't believe that they have been going since 1983. I wish that they would have had a longer set, but what can you do? Nothing! And its okay because it was amazing!

All in all, Austin City Limits was amazing and I had such a good time. I love my life! I hope the lineup next year is good, which I bet it will be, because I plan on going again!

The Flaming Lips:

Photos, again by Chad Wadsworth @ http://flickr.com/photos/chadwadsworth/

Rocky Votolato's setlist:

The Flaming Lips setlist:

Monday, September 18, 2006

Austin City Limits: Day 2

I'm not even going to talk about the first band that I saw. He/they are not even worth it. I was totally miserable but I had to sit through him/them in order to see Murder By Death. I really wish that I had listened to more of them before the show. I only knew one of the songs that they played but I still enjoyed them. They didn't change my life or anything, like another band did later on in the day, but they were still good. Their cello/keyboard player, Sarah Balliet, was amazing! She can really play and added a nice layer to their music. They really wouldn't be the same without her. Their music feels older than it is. Its got this old, southern feeling (they're from somewhere in the Midwest), like panning for gold, bar room fights, and alcohol.

Since I was staying at the Austin Ventures stage all day, the next band that I saw was I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness. One of the guys (I can't remember his name) from the first day came up to where I was and talked to me about all sorts of things. Most of the people that I met in Austin were pretty nice. I was really happy about that because before now, I had never really been one to approach people, but at ACL I found most people to be open and nice. He told me that I Love You But I've Chose Darkness was pretty good so, naturally, I was expecting good things. They are from Austin and the singer/guitarist had brought his two boys with him. One of them had "blue snow cone lips" as the singer put it, which I thought was pretty funny. They started playing and I thought that they were pretty decent. By looking at him, you'd never really think that he could sing like that. I haven't ever heard a recording of them, but they were okay live. You should check them out if you get the chance to.

Again, staying on the Austin Ventures stage I saw another band that I had never heard of. I wasn't expecting them to be at all what they were like, due to their name, The Blue Van. That seems like a really strange name for a band like them. Before they came on, some radio DJ from Austin came out and said that they were "blowing up in Europe" and inside my head I was thinking bad things, because I thought that they were from Austin. Its weird if you're from America and you blow up in Europe first. But, come to find out, they are from Denmark, so I guess it makes sense. The thing that I liked most about them was their keyboard player. He played an organ that looked like a dresser. It sounds amazing though. He also had a nice beard, which helped too. I don't know what to think about them. I think I need to hear their recorded music.

The next band to play on the Austin Ventures stage was one of the highlights of the entire thing, TV on the Radio. They were one of the two main reasons that I had stayed in my front row center spot all day long. I got their new record, Return To Cookie Mountain, sometime before the show. Its been in constant rotation between my car and my computer. Its their major label debut, and its a different record than their last one, but they haven't changed to fit any mold. I really wish I had a set list because I can't remember exactly what they played. I do know that they played Dreams, Wolf Like Me, Young Liars, Let The Devil In, Dirty Whirl, Wash The Day Away, and Satellite was their final song, which I was so glad to hear because its one of my top five by them and I wasn't expecting them to play it. That's not it, but I just don't remember what else they played and what order it was in. Dave Sitek reminds me of Jamie Stewart from Xiu Xiu. He had little wind chimes on the end of his guitar. I think I was one of the only people who knew the new album and it was kind of weird. I really hope that some good photos come up from their show at ACL because I haven't found any yet. It was beautiful.

After TV On The Radio, I left, which could have been a potentially stupid thing to do, but my plans worked out PERFECTLY. I knew that a bunch of 40 and 50-somethings would be coming to the stage with their chairs and bad dancing, to see Charlie Sexton. I went to the merch tent to pick up a TV On The Radio shirt, which was 20 dollars. I didn't mind though because its on American Apparel which I really like, and I hope the money goes to the band, although I doubt that all of it will. After that, I set down near the Austin Ventures stage and waited for Charlie Sexton to get done playing his bad music. When he was almost done, I started to move my way to the front, and finally got to the second row. When they were done, there was one guy who was going to leave, and he had the front row center spot so I stood behind him and grabbed it right as he stepped away. The next band to play was What Made Milwaukee Famous. They were from Austin and I didn't like them so I'm not going to say anything about them, because when they were done, Explosions in the Sky played.

Explosions in The Sky was one of those life changing moments. It was one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen or heard. Again, I really wish that I knew their setlist, but I do know that they played some of my favorite stuff of theirs. They also played two new songs which I can't wait to hear the recordings for. By the time they played, it had already gotten dark and the stage was so nice. They played in front of these rocks that were lit from underneath, by alternating colors. I can't even really put it all into words. I'm so happy that I got to see them. I don't need to see Xiu Xiu this time around. I'm set for now after Explosions. I had been talking to a lot of people there and we were all pretty excited. When they were done playing, I wanted to give everyone a hug, but I didn't.

Murder By Death:

TV On The Radio:

Explosions In The Sky:

TV On The Radio photo credits go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chadwadsworth/ He's really good and has a ton of photos from the entire weekend. I might use some of the stuff that he shot from The Flaming Lips.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Austin City Limits: Day 1

The first performer of the day was David Ford and he was his own band. He played things through a loop which defeated the purpose of having a backing band. It was really interesting and I love seeing new things being done with music. He was one of the only acts that I saw all day that acknowledged the crowd. He said he thought he should "tread lightly" due to the fact that "our" president is from Texas, but then said "Seeing as how his approval rating is now at 23% or something like that, I suppose I won't have to tread THAT lightly." Being from England, he made the joke that our country kicked his country's collective ass some years ago and he said "It's good to see that that's working out for you all." Sarcasm! Aside from his joking, his music was pretty nice. I had heard some of his songs before and I thought it was him but I realized it was when he played the song "State of the Union". He is kind of a British Ryan Adams. After he was finished, I went to get something to drink, because Texas in September can be extremely hot. I went back to the same stage, because Wolf Parade was on at 4:30 and I had heard that the next band, The Dears, was good.

On my way back to the stage, I was going to sit under this big tree and wait in the shade until I saw that people were coming to the stage, but I saw this one guy standing there by himself at the stage and decided to strike up a conversation with him. Come to find out, he is THE biggest fan of The Dears to ever walk the earth. He seriously knew everything there was to know about him. He was so excited when they did soundcheck. It was funny/good to see someone that was that into something. While he and I were standing there talking, this random guy comes up to us and asks us if he can interview us for his a.m. radio show in Austin. He was pretty spastic and funny. Anyway, I hadn't heard The Dears beforehand, but they were pretty good. Some of the band looked bored out of their minds, but the guitarist and bassist looked like they were having fun. I'm going to have to get some of their music. After they played, I don't really remember what I did, but I was still at that stage because Wolf Parade played after The Dears.

Speaking of Wolf Parade! They were my favorite band of the day. The show was really amazing. They played most of Apologies to the Queen Mary. It was a lot of fun. Wolf Parade had a surprising crowd. I mean, it wasn't the same as Van Morisson or anything (thankfully) but there were a lot of people there. I love the front row by the way. Did I mention that Wolf Parade played the best set of the day? Yeah well they did. I should be able to get a setlist once they post it on the ACL website so I will post that on here as well. I'm also going to steal photos from them since I'm not allowed to take my camera, even though a saw like 100 people with the same kind of camera, without photo credentials. Anyway, they ended with an extended version of Dinner Bells that was really well done. They also played my favorite songs like "You Are A Runner And I Am My Father's Son", "I'll Believe In Anything", and "Modern World", among others.

Update: The Wolf Parade set-list:

It was pretty much impossible to follow Wolf Parade, but next up on my schedule was Okkervil River at the Austin Ventures Stage. Surprisingly enough, they were the first band of the day that was from America, and they just happen to be from Austin. I got to the stage and ended up on the second row, behind some of the most annoying people in Austin. I'm sorry but you would have thought the same thing if you had heard them talking. Okkervil River came out and I enjoyed them. I've listened to a little bit of their music before the show and I enjoyed them. I saw a little bit of Cat Power, who was playing on the AT&T Blue Room stage, with the Memphis Rythm Band. It was way too boring for me, especially after the set that Wolf Parade played, but she does have a really nice voice (not to mention Chan is gorgeous.

I saw Kelley, Viv, and their friend Sean after Cat Power was over and we all walked over to the bigger AT&T stage and caught a few songs from Thievery Corporation. They have a sitar player. I've always wanted to see someone play a sitar! haha. After they were done, we all started to snake our way up to the front, or as close as we could get to the front, for Van Morisson. After a wait that seemed like forever, he and his band came out and played for an hour and a half. It was pretty funny. There were so many drunk people dancing on eachother. This couple next to me was having so much fun (drunk fun) but it was good to see people enjoying themselves.

After Van Morisson, I started to attempt to find my way back to where I was dropped off in the morning. Unfortunately, it was dark, and in the dark I couldn't really recognize anything. There were some people who seemed like they knew where they were going so I just followed them. I ended up walking down the longest, rockiest, trail in Zilker Park. It was 1 1/2(+) mile hike full of twists and turns and steep hills and all those bad things. My legs and feet are still crying. I'm updating about Day 2, tomorrow, after Day 3. I'm way too tired to write a whole new entry today, but just know that Day 2 was amazing and I had one of the highlights of my life.

For now, here are some photos from the ACL website, from some of the shows that I saw.

Wolf Parade:

The Dears:

Okkervil River:

David Ford:

Friday, September 15, 2006

My Brightest Diamond/ Sufjan Stevens

So before I write anything about Austin City Limits, let me talk about Sufjan last night at The Lakewood. I bet that about 1,000 people have already done it but I'm going to anyway. I showed up with Mary Anne at 4:00, and the doors weren't even supposed to open until 7:00! The wait was a lot more enjoyable than I had imagined it. I pictured it to be a brick wall and in direct sunlight. I had such a good laugh in line and inside as well.

When they finally let us in, after what seemed like 100 days of waiting, we all went inside and stood at the front and waited for My Brightest Diamond, which took forever but I'm not blaming anyone because the wait was worth it. I had heard a few of her songs before the show and I liked them but she wasn't an immediate favorite of mine, but after seeing her last night, I realized that she was better than I thought. She did play the one song of hers that I was pretty much infatuated with before the show, Something of an End, and it was amazing. Her voice is a little bit like Regina Spektor's and she did some of those "weird" vocal things like Spektor as well. Her violinists played these tiny little music boxes through the mics on their violins, during one of her last songs. They also sang into them at one point. I love little things like that, that no one else does. It was her grandfather's 90th birthday and he got a huge round of applause. The sound from the drums, that I couldn't see due to the big piano in the middle of the stage, was amazing. It was some of the best live drums that I have ever heard (although that will probably change come Saturday when I see one of my favorites, but that's for another time...).

After another period of time between her set and Sufjan's, his band slowly appeared, piece by piece, he was finally coming on. His band started playing an intro, as opposed to going right into a specific song, which, by the way, I predicted would happen. He mentioned that he is working on a set of songs all about birds. He played two of those for us and I really enjoyed them. The second one, (you will be able to tell when I add the setlist at the bottom of the entry), was sooo long, but it was really really well done. I'm disappointed that he said he would probably never do an album about Texas. I think that would be pretty interesting to hear but who knows. Anyway, his new material is great. His last song in the set was Chicago and it was accompanied by what looked like a Super 8 video of the city. He really does things well. I was surprised by the amount of songs off of Seven Swans. It makes me wish that I had listened to that album a lot more before hand. I really wish that I had taken a chance and brought my camera in with me but John had his and he was able to get some good shots from the balcony. I stole the setlist from Chris at www.gorillavsbear.blogspot.com but I'm sure he wont mind. He also took the video from the encore song, The Dress Looks Nice On You.

1. sister
2. casimir pulaski day
3. detroit, lift up your weary head
4. the lord god bird
5. dear mr. supercomputer
6. the transfiguration
7. jacksonville
8. predatory wasp of the palisades
9. john wayne gacy, jr.
10. a good man is hard to find
11. majesty, snowbird
12. seven swans
13. chicago
14. the dress looks nice on you

The encore video: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3544567693477181762