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)…