Monday, September 17, 2007

Austin City Limits Day 1

With a hot Texas summer sun beating down on Austin all day long, we managed to catch Peter Bjorn and John, followed by M.I.A. on the first day of ACL 2007. Scheduling conflicts abound, I decided to wait out two less than mediocre openers on the Dell Stage for PB&J, followed by the illustrious M.I.A. I figured that festivals are meant to catch bands that you don't normally get to see, so M.I.A. would be perfect for the day, plus PB&J are pretty amazing live, so why not. Waiting out for these two meant that I had to miss covering and seeing LCD Soundsystem and Blonde Redhead, but one has to make sacrifices.
Peter Bjorn & John played an electrifying set despite the hot weather. They apologized because they normally play in their jackets, (or "yackets") but the apology wasn't needed. A more fitting apology would have been to say that I am sorry that they were not in shorts and t-shirts. Across the field before their set, Pete Yorn played a horrific cover of Young Folks and someone told Peter and he made the joke that the band should be called "Pete Yorn and John". He continued to amuse the crowd with his anecdote about a trip to a pizza parlor in Austin where their waiters name was John and the band could be "Peter Bjorn and Pizza John". The jokes were not the highlight of their performance however, with the band playing through songs on Writers Block, their previous S/T work, and a Concretes and Buzzcocks cover. Members of The Clientele joined the band to play the crowd favorite Young Folks and Mel had to read her part of the song off of a paper plate. The set ended with an explosive Buzzcocks cover and was the perfect opener for the much hyped lady of the day, M.I.A.
I've read a lot about her live performances, some bad, some good, but I went into her set with an open mind. She showed up right on time, ready to show Austin how she does things, and she did just that. We all needed a little dance session to brighten up our moods after calming down from PB&J's electrifying set, waiting an hour in the heat. Backup dancer and DJ were the only other additions to the stage, apart from her large Kala album art banner hanging from the back of the stage, but that's all she needed. They filled the stage with dance moves and 2/3 through the set, the stage was filled with dancing fans (including myself). She informed the crowd that she only had about 4 months left on her visa, which resulted in a large round of boos from the crowd, so go see her while you can. She also told us that the folks at the Late Show With David Letterman made her take out the gun shots in a song of hers, and that she almost walked out, but she did it anyway. She then went back to the DJ booth and hit the button for some much needed gunfire. She later told security to back off and let some people up if they wanted to come, and come they did. The stage was soon filled with kids dancing on each other and trying to get as close to Ms. Maya as possible. She still played through the song like a trooper and we were all escorted off the stage after the end of the song, but no one really minded because when would we ever really get to do that again? I proceeded to watch the rest of the show from the press area on a live feed and she didn't cease to amaze. She rocked it and that's why she was my favorite of the day.Â
Although I only got to see and cover two acts, their stellar perfoarmances made the wait and conflicts worth it. Stay tuned for Day 2's coverage coming soon (I have so many pictures because I figured out midway through Day 1 that I could bring my real camera in since I had a media pass...).

Note: All photos taken by myself, Trent Lesikar, and are copyright of The Grizzly Life, 2007.

Peter Bjorn and John's setlist:
Let's Call it Off
See Through
Far Off, By My Side
Ancient Curse
Paris 2004
Young Folks
Teen Love (Concretes Cover)
Objects of My Affection
Up Against A Wall
Collect, Select, Reflect
Ever Fallen in Love (Buzzcocks Cover)

M.I.A. Setlist:
Bamboo Banga
World Town
Booty Call- Pull Up the People
20 Dollar
10 Dollar
Bucky Done Gone
Bird Flu
Paper Planes

(There was a fire before PB&J's set and you can find more info about it here)

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