My Morning Jacket – Smokin’ From Shootin’ at ACL

Here’s My Morning Jacket performing “Smokin From Shootin” at last weekend’s ACL Festival. MMJ have just announced a set of tour dates with both Band of Horses and Delta Spirit – basically my wet dream of a show. But alas, Phoenix, Arizona is once again not on the radar. So I’ll need to live through amazing live HD clips like this. Gotta love the age we’re living in when anyone anywhere can share the live experience… it ain’t the real thing, but it’s as close as you can get.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCqhOqeeyb0&w=560&h=315

Cults at ACL

I couldn’t make it to ACL this past weekend, but thanks to the Youtube webcast, I caught a number of acts from the comfort of my office chair. One of the bands new to me was Cults, who performed on Friday. Led by singer Madeline Follin and guitarist Brian Oblivion, they have sort of a 60’s girl group meets indie pop/electronic vibe.

“Oh My God” really got my attention. A definite earworm, but the good kind…

Visit: CultsCultsCults.com

Buy: Cults

Super Tuesday: Band of Horses, Stones, ACL lineup

May 18th – a date I’ve have had marked on my calendar most of this year, since learning that…

a) Infinite Arms, the third album by Band of Horses, is released (check out the CD or the Deluxe Box Set on Amazon).

b) The remastered edition of the Stones classic Exile on Main Street is released (check out the deluxe version or thr Super Deluxe Edition on Amazon).

c) The Austin City Limits Music Festival – which I will be attending for the third time – releases its lineup (check out the ACL Festival site). Pre-announcement rumors are pointing to Phish, the Eagles, Muse, and the Flaming Lips, among others. In fact, USA Today posted this on Monday night.

Phish + ACL Music Festival? Yes. Please.

If this rumor turns out to be true, then it’s clear to me that the music gods are on my side. A few weeks ago, I tried for a ticket (one ticket) to see Phish play Telluride’s Town Park in August. My folks live there during the summer, my first Phish show was in Colorado twenty years ago, yada yada yada…

I would even have forfeited my October trip to the Austin City Limits Music Festival.

But I had no luck. Telluride tickets sold out in minutes. “It wasn’t to be,” I sighed and told myself.

So the ACL Festival it was. I secured my three day pass on April 20th, booked my flight and hotel, and all was well. I’ll be returning for my third ACL…

And NOW look – straight from the rumor mill – it’s looking like Phish could be announced as one of the headliners for ACL! Could this be any more perfect (other than a lineup also including Springsteen, Prince, 70’s Stones, and a resurrected Joe Strummer and Elvis Presley)?

Phish. ACL Festival. Yes. Let it be.

Source: Coventry Music: – Phishy Rumor: 2010 Austin City Limits Music Festival

Austin City Limits 2009 Lineup Announced

http://ickmusic.com/pics/ACL2009Lineup1.png

If you’ve been hiding under a rock for fear of contracting the Swine Flu, you might have missed the lineup announcement for this year’s installment of the Austin City Limits festival (Official Link) – and it looks to be a hell of a lineup. They are clearly going for a certain demographic (which I am fairly certain that I belong to), and at $185 for a 3-day Pass it comes in less per-day than seeing any of the headliners solo. The festival takes place October 2-4, 2009 at Zilker Park in Austin, TX.

http://ickmusic.com/pics/ACL2009Lineup2.png

Austin City Limits and a Band of Horses

I think I have enough energy to muster up an ACL post tonight. There’s so much to get transferred from brain to keyboard that it’s a little overwhelming. So I’m starting with baby steps, people.

First, who did I see? Well, it goes exactly like this:

Friday: The Jones Family Singers, Dan Dyer, Rodney Crowell, Yeasayers, Strange Boys, Vampire Weekend, Gogol Bordello, David Byrne, Antibalas, and Manu Chao.

Saturday: Old 97’s, the Fratellis, Back Door Slam, Erykah Badu, John Fogerty, Robert Plant & Allison Krauss

Sunday: Octopus Project, Against Me!, Blues Traveler, Band of Horses, Foo Fighters

I’ll give you a day by day breakdown later. Tonight, I focus my brainpower on the highlight of my weekend: Band of Horses.

BAND of HORSES

Okay, anyone who knows the music geek in me is aware of my fondness for this band, and therefore won’t be surprised when I say BoH was the highlight of my trip to Austin. Until Sunday, I had never seen BoH live, and quite frankly, this set stood out since I first saw the ACL lineup earlier in the year. So my expectations were pretty damn high. And? Well, they jumped leaps and bounds beyond those expectations with their Sunday night set.

I managed to squeeze my old(er) butt down to the front of the stage, about four rows back. Yup, nuts to butts. I was looking straight on to center stage. I was primed.

Just after the sun set, the band strode out on stage, and singer/guitarist Ben Bridwell – shades on – squatted on the stool before his pedal steel. The first song of the night was, well, “The First Song”, from their debut Everything All The Time. That was all the sitting Ben would do for the set. He grabbed his guitar, launched into my 2 year old’s favorite tune, “Is There a Ghost”, and we were off…

For the next hour, the band showed us why they’re so great – building up and launching into those great guitar-driven crescendos on songs like “The Great Salt Lake”, “The Funeral”, and “No One’s Gonna Love You”, and slaying the crowd with the gorgeous, ethereal harmonies of Bridwell and keys-man Ryan Monroe on songs like “Marry Song” and the new ditty “Why You Never Get Older” (see the video below).

We got Bridwell banging away on his tambourine for the fun “The General Specific”. And we got great tunes like “Island on the Coast” and “Ode to LRC”. I don’t have the set list yet. If anyone can help me track it down (or a recording of the show), I’d appreciate it.

The final tune was a great one called “Am I A Good Man”, a cover by an R&B group called Them Two, who have no web presence at all, it seems. In the final moments, Ben jumped down among us, right in front of me (the person holding the camera in this picture probably took this video).

The live Band of Horse experience was everything I wanted, folks, and left me and the thousands and thousands of others fully satisfied. There’s something about their energy – and Bridwell’s voice in particular – that taps into my soul. Sounds about as corny as you can get, but it’s true.

We stumbled over to the Foo Fighters with smiles on our faces.

The Morning After: So the next morning, I guess it was about 10am, I was sitting at my gate at the Austin airport. I put my feet up on my carry on bag, and launched into ‘Cease to Begin’ (the second and latest Band of Horses album) on my iPhone. I think I was listening to “No One’s Gonna Love You”, having some great flashbacks to the night before, when who walks by? Ben Bridwell.

Have you ever been sitting around listening to one of your favorite artists, when he walks by right in front of you? It’s pretty cool, let me tell ya.

So, I decided not to be shy, and I followed Ben, his wife/girlfriend (?) and cute little infant over to the food stand. I walked up and asked politely – and rhetorically, I guess – “Excuse me, are you Ben Bridwell?” I told him there were some cosmic forces at work, and showed him my iPhone with the ‘Cease to Begin’ album cover, telling him how strange it was to watch him walk by as I listened to his music. He really could not have been cooler. He was very gracious and appreciative, and was kind enough to snap a photo with me (taken by his wife/girlfriend).

It was the morning after ACL, so you have to excuse our exhausted demeanors…

Lots more to come on ACL, just a few things here…

Check out some live vid-action I shot of their unreleased tune “Why You Never Get Older” (which I’m only assuming is the title).

Check out some more photos of their ACL set at Brooklyn Vegan.

For the love of all that is good in this world, buy these two albums if you don’t own them…

::

If you want a great video introduction to Band of Horses, watch their entire in-store performance at Amoeba Records in Hollywood from last year.

Visit their web site: Band of Horses.com

Yes. I am a fan.

Oh, biggest regret of the weekend? Missing the Band of Horses surprise gig at the Parish on Saturday night – a club I walked by every night on my way back to the hotel! Bill Murray was there hanging out too (big BoH fan, I hear)…

Ickmusic @ ACL: Day Three Recap

Here’s the last of the Austin City Limits Festival recaps: Day Three comin’ at ya!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Yo La Tengo – This was the perfect way to kick off the day. We had a late Denny’s breakfast, with a couple cups of coffee. It turned out that no caffeine was needed, though. The Yo La Tengo wall of sound tore through us like a jet engine. We showed up in time to hear their take on the Beach Boys’ “Little Honda”, one of my faves from their ’97 album, I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One.

The jet engine experience came during the last song of their set , as the trio tore into “The Story of Yo La Tango” [yes “Tango”]. It was fun to watch Ira Kaplan enter “the zone” during these feedback and distortion frenzies. Georgia Hubley, Kaplan’s wife, kept the rhythm, and burly bassist James McNew laid down those steady bass lines that made my first live – albeit brief – Yo La Tengo experience a memorable one.

The Story of Yo La Tango (mp3)

Here they are doing “Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind” at ACL..

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The National – We caught the first few songs from Brooklyn’s The National. The only exposure I really have to them is through their latest album, The Boxer. I picked it up on eMusic a few months ago. Matt Berninger’s vocals remind me of that Peter Murphy type vibe. I got to hear my favorite, “Slow Show”.

Here they are singing “Mr. November” @ ACL…

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Sound Tribe Sector Nine – I wish I could have seen the full set by electronic jam band STS9. I may be wrong, but I think they’re all instrumental, right? We only dropped by for a couple – late in the set – and we already felt like we were late to the party, so off we went….

STS9 ACL Snippet

Ben Kweller – ..We saw the first three or four tunes of Ben’s set. Ben’s got some chops on guitar, and he had the power trio thing going too. He’s 26, but looks like he’s under 20 (form a distance). He has some great rock star moves, thrashing and flailing about like a red-maned 21st century Leif Garrett. There was an overabundance of upper teen-aged girls there for his set, too – which I had no problem with at all, mind you. But alas, my bro and I were soon off to our next musical adventure…

Here’s Ben slowing it down with “Old Hat”…

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals – We only caught a couple of tunes this time around, but my wife and I enjoyed a Grace & the Nocturnals set back in April at the McDowell Mountain Music Festival here in Arizona. So we had enough time to catch her on the Hammond B3, and rockin’ the Flying V front and center. Talented singer and a talented band. But… I don’t know. I just don’t get a”WOW” out of the experience like a lot of others do.

Common – One of the two full sets of the day that we caught was Common. I’ve seen a few hip hop shows in my day – well, pre-90’s hip-hop that is. The last hip-show I probably saw the “Jam ’88 Tour”- which was LL Cool J , Public Enemy, Whodini, and Run D.M.C (among some others that I can’t remember).

But it was worth the wait, because Common is one of the few hip-hop artists today that I can enjoy. Kanye’s a huge talent, but just too much of an ass. Others I hear are just too cliche – money, violence, misogyny.. it’s been played out for a while now. I’m sure there’s a ton out there I would like if given the chance though.

Common was a late announcement to ACL. Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela were slated to perform, but cancelled the week before. A number of people, then, were probably expecting R&G on the stage, when out popped Common. There were other gospel, R&B, and soul acts performing at ACL, but it was great of the organizers to bring in the intelligent hip-hop sound.

Common brought along a DJ, a drummer, and a keyboard player. The “band” hip-hop feel, a la the Roots, probably won over a lot of the crowd from the start. But it was Common’s smooth, slick lyrical flow that endeared the crowd to him. Performing songs like “Black Maybe”, “Drivin’ Me Wild” (with Lily Allen samples in the background), and “Go”, Common was in charge, commanding respect from the overflowing crowd at the Dell stage. Even my bro, who has little history with the rap/hip-hop genre, was converted.

Here he is rockin’ da (mostly) white folks with “The Light”…

Lucinda Williams – My intention going in to the festival was to enjoy Lucinda way up close, but as we found out quickly, ACL has a way of scheduling your time for you, rather than the other way around. So, while we caught a good part of Lucinda’s set, it was from far back in the grass, closer to the nearest beer tent than to the stage. We heard some good ones. Among them, “Joy”, “Essence” and a cover of the Doors’ “Riders on the Storm”.

Amos Lee – Favorite set of the day went to Philly soul-folkster Amos Lee. My whole family has loved “Arms of a Woman” ever since I snuck it on to a Wiggles CD (along with Metallica’s “Whiskey in the Jar”- get’ em started young) a couple years ago. It’s the perfectly crafted, perfectly sung, soulful love song. Like Amos Lee himself, the song is criminally under appreciated.

I hate to be an advocate for the placement of a song in a commercial, movie, or TV show, but if any song can appeal to a wide demographic of people, this one is it. This one’s a HIT folks!

From the moment Amos came out on stage with his Fender and went into “Dreamin”, the crowd was his. There is no other reaction than to be awed when you get to experience a voice like this live. The mainstream/ MTV / popular radio world seems so distant, otherworldly, and laughable when you hear a person like Amos sing. Effortless, smooth, and heavenly, quite frankly. For me, he’s on the same level as a Raul Malo: a voice from the gods, yet somehow managing to exist just below the radar.

It really hit home toward the end of the set, when Amos sang a steamy Isley Brothers ballad. The ACL setlist page lists it as “I Wanna Know”, but I think it may have been ” I Wanna Be With You”. Regardless, it transfixed the crowd. After the show, my bro remarked how he didn’t want that song to end.

Amos closed the set with a killer version of “Arms of a Woman”. Here’s a funny “It’s a Small Youtube world” moment: the first Youtube video I found of “Arms of a Woman” was shot directly behind me. I was shooting my own video (it ended up being too large for Youtube). My large melon is the centerpiece of this clip (and a sobering reminder that I’m losing my hair!):

My Morning Jacket – I have to admit my expectations were probably a bit high for this set. I was front and center a couple of years ago at the Henry Fonda Theater in L.A., where MMJ came out and blew the roof off the place. The acoustics were perfect, my positioning was ideal, and I guess I was spoiled. For the ACL set, we were behind the soundboard to the right, and it covered about half of the stage (the sound quality could have been better too).

MMJ is definitely an entertaining bunch. This set featured a beach backdrop, the band decked out in tropical beachwear (including a long blonde wig on lead singer / guitarist Jim James), a metal detector guy roaming the stage for the whole set, and a half dozen hula girls holding pineapples. Sure, it was funny and different, but unnecessary, I thought. Maybe it was just me, but I found that it distracted from the music. But that’s not to say it wasn’t enjoyable. Andrew Bird joined in for a great version of “Golden”, a beautiful acoustic MMJ tune. They played some off their most recent studio release, Z. And the highlight for me: the majestic rocker “One Big Holiday”.

Here, MMJ sings “Lay Low” at ACL….

dead link

Wilco – I had only one gripe about ACL: My Morning Jacket and Wilco came on at the same time. Our decision was to start with MMJ and catch the last portion of Wilco’s set.

As we walked up to Wilco’s set, and heard them wrapping up “I’m the Man Who Loves You”, I immediately regretted not devoting all of my time to them. Live and learn I guess.

We saw the last few songs, which reached back to A.M. and Being There: “Red Eyed & Blue”, “I Got You”, “Casino Queen”, and “Outtasite (Outta Mind)”. I can’t get enough of Tweedy, Cline and the boys, and look forward to their return to the Arizona desert.

Here’s a cool sidestage view of Wilco doing “Handshake Drugs”…

Bob Dylan – As the festival headliner, Bob was the last one to go on. We made an attempt to get somewhat close to the stage, but found very quickly that it was futile to try. Tens of thousands of people were jockeying for a decent position to check out the legend. So we settled for a couple football fields back, and hoped to at least check out the large stage video screens. Well, guess what Bob didn’t allow for his set? Close-ups.

So as “Rainy Day Women..” kicked in from a distance, and I mean a distance, and all we could see on the giant screens was a distant shot of the stage. We gave it a few verses and called it a festival.

Wrapup: More than a week has passed since the festival wrapped up, and I still have that “post-good time” depression that we experience from time to time.

ACL was the one of the most well organized, seamless festivals I’ve ever attended.

  • Every act started and ended exactly as scheduled.
  • No cars / parking allowed anywhere near Zilker Park.
  • An army of shuttle buses zipped the tens of thousands of us between the park and downtown Austin with little delay.
  • Volunteers were available throughout the park to help anyone with any question.
  • The abundance of BAR tents made getting a beer a BREEZE. $4 for a 16 ouncer. $7 for a larger souvenir cup.
  • Plenty of port-o-potties, even without the few that got torched on day one. I still feel for the ladies though, as some of these toilets were looking quite nasty by the end of the days.
  • Note to self: hit the merchandise tent on Day 1 next year. I waited till the last day and couldn’t find any shirts for myself or my kids (the wife got one, don’t worry).
  • The Waterloo Records Tent gave fans the opportunity to get autographs and pictures with some of their favorites. I got the chance to meet Steve Earle. Can’t beat that!
  • The Eats area was awesome. Plenty of variety along the long line of food tents.
  • The giant mist-spraying fans were a godsend in the 95 degree heat.

I already miss the experience. If you love music, add this to your list of things to do before you move on to the great festival in the sky. Or if you’re like me, join me every year for the foreseeable future!

Thanks again ACL and Austin, Texas. See ya next year.

My Previous ACL Posts: Thanks Austin | Day 1 Recap | Day 2 Recap

Official ACL Festival Site: http://www.aclfestival.com

Ickmusic @ ACL: Day Two Recap

With the cancellation of the White Stripes, Saturday’s headliner, many called this the weakest day of the festival lineup-wise. But for me, it turned out to be my favorite. Here’s why:

Raul Malo – What can be said about Raul Malo, other than he has the voice from the heavens and could sing the phone book and it would sound great. The former singer for the Mavericks kicked off the early afternoon with a fantastic set at the Dell stage, peppering in Mavericks classics like the barnburner “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down” and “Dance the Night Away”, with the steamy Latin love song “Besame Mucho”, a cover of Dwight Yoakam’s “It Only Hurts Me When I Cry”, and the mambo classic “Sway”.

Raul Malo at ACL 2007

One of the great things about seeing Raul Malo live is his sunny disposition. The guy seems to always be in a great mood on stage, and it’s rare not to see that beaming smile throughout his set. He has a way of putting the audience in a good place, and that good nature comes through in his music. Dammit I feel all warm and fuzzy just talking about it.

Here’s some sweet vid I shot of Raul and band doing “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down”:

Watch an interview of Raul at the ACL festival.

Steve Earle – Having been tuned into Steve Earle’s new album with Dust Brother producer John King, I wasn’t surprised to see a couple of mic stands and a DJ rig set up for Steve’s ACL set. But it was a sight that probably made a few people go “hmmm.” The first few songs were just Steve and his gee-tars. He walked out and told his Townes Van Zandt / Amigo the Horse / Crested Butte story that prefaced Townes’ “Rex’s Blues” into “Fort Worth Blues”. Then he reached back to “Tom Ames Prayer”, “Rich Man’s War”, and “Copperhead Road”.

THEN, up crept DJ Neil, who laid down a funky lil’ beat which led into “Tennessee Blues”. I was front and center, and I heard some laughter and sounds of surprise from a lot of the crowd as they tried to comprehend what they were seeing: not Steve Earle & the Dukes, or Steve Earle solo, or Steve and the Del McCoury Band, but Steve Earle and a DJ. Two turntables and an acoustic guitar? Damn straight!

The Steve-DJ Neil portion of the set was dedicated solely to Steve’s new material from Washington Square Serenade (out September 25th). He played 8 of the 12 songs from the album. His wife Alison Moorer came out for a few songs (“Down Here Below”, “City of Immigrants”, and “Days Aren’t Long Enough”), looking radiant in green…

When the set ended, and we were shuffling off to the next stage, I overheard a young lady say “That was weird.” I don’t think she meant it in a good way. For me, it’s the weirdness and unpredictability that attracts me to artists like Steve Earle, and I know a lot of people agreed with me on that day. It’s the courage to try something new, instead of sticking with the same formula. The same courage that inspired Bruce to release Tunnel of Love after Born in the U.S.A. (or head off on tour with the Seeger Sessions Band), or Prince to follow Purple Rain with Around the World in a Day. It may shake off some fans, but those of us who are interested in following artists along on their journey – wherever they may go – are in for a thrill.

Steve Earle carries himself like he’s sporting a perpetual middle finger to “what’s expected” of someone. Watching him strum along with the manufactured beats and samples of the DJ certainly was different than my past Steve Earle experiences, but was a lot of fun to watch. I caught a couple of moments where Steve and DJ Neil were interacting, and you could sense genuine happiness on Steve’s face – the joy of kicking down the walls and trying something completely new. Keep on going, Steve – I’ll be following along.

Set List

1. Story About Townes Van Zandt
2. Rex’s Blues
3. Ft.Worth Blues
4. Tom Ames’Prayer
5. Rich Man’s War
6. Transcendental Blues
7. Copperhead Road
8. Intro
9. Tennessee Blues#
10. Satellite Radio#
11. Oxycontin Blues#
12. Down Here Below#*
13. City Of Immigrants#*
14. Days Aren’t Long Enough*
15. Steve’s Hammer#
16. Way Down In The Hole#

# w/ Neil McDonald a.k.a “DJ Duke”
* w/ Alison Moorer

Youtube snippet from ACL | Another one

Beausoleil – I regret not being better positioned for the Beausoleil set. We were off to the side, just far enough to miss out on the full Beausoleil experience. But we treated to some great traditional Cajun sounds, with leader Michael Doucet’s great voice and fiddle playing. I need to see them when they pass through Phoenix, but like a lot of the bands and artists I admire, Phoenix isn’t part of the tour itinerary. I think I need to be a promoter and pull in some of these acts. No Wilco? No Arcade Fire? No Beausoleil? And I could go on and on. I guess it has to do with the local radio market too, which is saturated with your run of the mill country, classic rock, “lite” jazz, and talk stations. And people are satisfied with this? Blechh… sometimes I feel like I live in a town with no fucking soul. I guess I feel especially sensitive to this right now because I just returned from Austin. But it’s always there. Of course, I’ve chosen to live out in suburbia in the land of cookie cutter houses, SUV’s, everybody and their uncle on their damn cell phones all the time (talking to their little bluetooth headsets), no sense of community. Did I say blechh? Let me say it again: blechh.

Arctic Monkeys – These Brits are a favorite of the music critics out there, and there are a lot of devoted fans – probably a lot of you – but they didn’t click with me. I can appreciate and admire the energy and creativity with their Brit-pop-rock-punk stylings, but I need a melody. I wasn’t hearing one. Not that they’re pitted against each other, but gimme Kaiser Chiefs!

Youtube snippet from ACL.

Arcade Fire – Many people have asked about who I enjoyed most at ACL. “Arcade Fire” is my answer. It’s often followed by “Arcade who?” or “What kind of music do they play?”. I never know how to answer the “what kind of music” question. That’s why I struggle with reviewing records. It seems in order to write an accurate review, you have to pigeonhole artists into categories. I’m guilty of it by lumping every post of mine into genre categories. But I hate to define music. It’s so subjective. And people like me who appreciate every kind of music under the sun have a hard time putting it to words. “What kind of music do you listen to, Pete?” – Um, everything?

So how to answer the Arcade Fire question? I try with words like gypsy rock, high energy, Montreal, indie, Epic (with a capital E)…. does that do it justice? No. For one person, I pulled out my iPod and had her listen to “Intervention”. That’s Arcade Fire.

Ever since I first heard “Old Flame” about three years ago, I’ve chomped at the bit to see Arcade Fire live. Win Butler’s amazing vocals and the unique instrumentation promised for a great live experience. And great it was. We weren’t too far from the stage at all – a little to the front and left of the soundboard. We were in a sea of people with not too much room to move (my bro wasn’t too fond of the sixty-something, writhing hippie with an affinity for pouring water on his head to cool off). But when the music started, it turned into an intimate, communal experience.

They’re a seven piece ensemble. And they’re not the reserved bunch. Richard Parry flails around like a wild banshee, banging drums, crashing cymbals, and I think I saw him hitting a motorcycle helmet with wild abandon. Régine Chassagne, Win’s wife, played some wild looking instrument with a crank, played keyboards, played drums, and acted out lyrics at different times. Holding them all together is Win Butler. There’s something about the guy. I don’t know, some sort of wise and spiritual aura. Whatever it is, I can’t get enough of his voice.

My highlight was “Intervention”, which has to be my favorite song of the year. Goosebumps.

And the communal craziness of their encore, “Wake Up”, is evident here:

But enough of my yakkin’, you can download the show here.

Thanks to the boys at Hidden Track for hipping me to the ACL Downloads Page at Largehearted Boy .

Ickmusic @ ACL: Day One Recap

Here’s a brief recap of my first day at ACL: Friday, September 14th….

Jesse Malin – my bro and I walked in part way into Jesse’s set. Jesse gets instant cred in my book because he pulled the Boss in to his new album to sing “Broken Radio” with him. He’s got the east coast pure rock n’ roll vibe going, and he delivered with his set. One of those acts that I need to see in a small club. I’ll be catching him next time he hits Phoenix.

Youtube snippet from ACL.

Joseph Arthur & the Lonely Astronauts – far be it from me to be a superficial, “typical male”, but the bass player for Joseph Arthur & the Lonely Astronauts enhanced the show for me. Her name is Sybil Buck, turns out she’s a model for Yves St. Laurent, and she shakes and shimmies like she stepped out of a Robert Palmer video. The Astronauts set was a favorite of both my brother and I. Buck and the other female in the group, killer lead guitarist Jen Turner, laid down some sweet harmonies – making some of the tunes sound very ethereal and even Pixies-like at times. A great set, and it made me re-listen to their latest release, Let’s Just Be, with a new appreciation. Hail hail Joseph & the Astronauts…

Sybil Buck at ACL 2007

Will Hoge – the mid-afternoon, post fire set by Will Hoge at the Austin Venures stage was a nice well kept secret among the throngs at the festival. A relatively small crowd got treated to some down home rock n roll, often reminiscent of the Black Crowes (at least to these ears). Hoge even busted out some trademark Chris Robinson moves at times, complete with some handclaps and mic-stand staggers. Good set.

will hoge at acl

Blonde Redhead -We only caught a couple songs before getting positioned for Crowded House, but what I did hear sounded interesting. I’ll have to dig into some of their stuff.

Youtube snippet from ACL.

Crowded House – my bro’s highlight of the weekend was seeing Crowded House, who he hadn’t seen since the early 90’s in Minneapolis. It was my first time seeing Neil Finn, Nick Seymour and the band. It was a solid, tight set that was the last of their six week North American tour. Hearing familiar tunes like “Weather With You” and “Don’t Dream It’s Over” was mighty nice.

Youtube snippet from ACL.

M.I.A. – We were stuck behind the soundboard for Maya’s packed set, so we cut it a bit short after a few songs. But I watched some video screen action of M.I.A. and her dance partner jump around to the likes of “Bucky Done Gun”, “Sunshowers”, “Boyz”, and “World Town”. I should’ve pre-positioned myself for this one, if you know what I mean (huh?)…

(photo courtesy of Mark C. Austin on Flickr)

Youtube snippet from ACL (“Bucky Done Gone”)

Spoon – okay we were about 2 football fields back and I laid down and closed my eyes for a while, then we were off to see the Kaiser Chiefs. But I did hear some cool tunes off the new album, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, like “The Underdog”, “Don’t You Evah” and “The Ghost of You Lingers”.

Youtube snippet from ACL.

Kaiser Chiefs – These guys tore it up. All I really needed was “I Predict a Riot”, in which lead singer Ricky Wilson scaled the scaffolding, came down, jumped around, and then proceeded to twist his ankle. That didn’t dampen his spirits though. He hopped around on one leg for the remainder of the show; a set list filled with high energy British rock from start to finish.

Reverend Horton Heat – I’ve seen the Rev a multitude of times over the years, so it wasn’t a priority to catch the whole set. But we did manage to catch the last several tunes, which gave us “Psychobilly Freakout”, “Bales of Cocaine”, “It’s Martini Time”, Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”, “Greensleeves”, and “Folsom Prison Blues”. It’s always good to see the Rev and his Gretsch, Jimbo and his stand up bass, and their latest drummer.

But I missed “400 Bucks“!

The Killers (from a diiistaaance) – We gave it a shot, but couldn’t get anywhere near the stage. So I can’t say I truly got to take in any of the Killers. We decided to head out.

Recaps of Days Two and Three coming soon.