10/2-10/4/09…Austin City Limits Music Festival @ Zilker Park

Austin City Limits Music Festival 2009

Austin City Limits Music Festival 2009

This would be my first ACL experience just over a year after I had moved to Austin.  I wasn’t prepared nor knowledgeable enough to plan for this festival when I first moved to Austin in August 2008.  But upon suggestion from a friendly stranger I met at Threadgill’s, I got my shite together and made it happen for 2009.  I registered to be a volunteer at the festival and because of the four-hour shift that I offered up each day, I was able to have free access to every day of music.  I was in HEAVEN!!  Because I registered late, I didn’t pick up the most ideal shifts everyday.  But I was just happy to have the chance to see some of the bands that I did.  Let’s break it down…

DAY ONE:  October 2, 2009
I did my first day’s shift from 11-3.  I was a greeter, passing out free programs to patrons as they walked through the gates.  This was so much fun.  Although the sun was BRUTAL!!  Time passed very slowly.  But when it was time to go, I hit it.  I had a very clear band agenda.  First stop, Dr. Dog.  I had discovered this band while still living in NYC.  They’re not very well-known, but I really appreciate their musical sensibility.  I enjoyed their set, but I could tell that they’re a better band in a smaller setting. Here’s a taste of  “Hang On”:

After this show, I cruised over to another stage to catch a very different act, Raphael Saadiq.  I was super excited to see him.  Yet, I was even more impressed when he hit the stage in a fly suit.  Ooo, he looked so slick.  And those dance moves…yeah, he’s got it.  There was actually room to move around in this crowd.  So many people missed out on such a great show.  He was one of my favorite performers all weekend.  He played his solo stuff, Lucy Pearl stuff, & he even threw in some Tony! Toni! Toné!  ” Let’s Take A Walk” shows him jamming after he had stripped down from his full suit.

After enjoying this energy-packed show, I ran over to catch just a bit of Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3.  I only got to see a few of his quirky songs before I had to run away for Thievery Corporation.  Robyn Hitchcock just made me laugh.  He’s a true original.  I got to Thievery Corporation just in time.  I was curious to see how they would pull off this type of music live.  But, I really shouldn’t have been worried, because they were really incredible.  They had a stage full of musicians and a couple of different vocalists rotated front-man duties.  And of course, the two main guys were up on stage working their magic.  And they were the perfect lead-in to the next band I saw.  On a side note, later that evening after the festival ended, I had taken the shuttle back to downtown Austin.  As I was walking to find a cab to take me back to my car, I ran into one of the percussionists from Thievery outside Lanai.  I walked up to him & told him I recognized him from the show and said how much I liked their performance.  He just smiled at me (he seemed kind of surprised) and thanked me.  And that was that.  Anyway, back to ACL.  The next band that I chose to see specifically was Los Amigos Invisibles.  They’re a super-fun band from Venezuela that I had been into for the past few years.  Man, I’m so glad I went to this show.  This was literally the BEST time I had all weekend.  These guys had the audience jumping up and down, dancing and singing from the first song.  I was swept away and was dancing right along with everyone.  This is the kind of band that you would fall in love with at a live performance even if you weren’t familiar with their music.  It was tremendous!  See for yourself…

After they were done, I moseyed on over to the main stage for some Kings Of Leon.  I wanted to catch at least the beginning of their set.  I was hoping they would entertain me more than when I had first seen them in NYC back in ’03.  But alas, after experiencing such a high-energy show from Los Amigos Invisibles, KOL once again disappointed me.  I don’t know what it is about their live shows.  They just don’t seem to emit the right kind of energy for me.  Here’s their set list for that night:

  1. Crawl
  2. Charmer
  3. Be Somebody
  4. Taper Jean Girl
  5. Molly’s Chambers
  6. Fans
  7. Revelry
  8. Milk
  9. I Want You
  10. Four Kicks
  11. The Bucket
  12. Sex on Fire
  13. Notion
  14. Manhattan
  15. On Call
  16. Cold Desert
  17. Knocked Up
  18. Use Somebody
  19. Black Thumbnail
  20. Slow Night, So Long
(with Eddie Vedder)

And dammit if I’m just now finding out that I missed their duet with Eddie Vedder.  MAN, that sucks!!  Oh well.  After I heard “Molly’s Chambers”, I booked on over to catch, at least, the end of Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs.  Here’s a clip Of KOL:

I really wished I had just gone to see them.  I think I would’ve enjoyed them more.  I missed pretty much all of Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs set.  I was able to catch their last two songs, which included “Maps”:

That’s one of my favorite songs by them, so that made me happy.  Here’s what their full set list looked like:

  1. Runaway
  2. Dull Life
  3. Honeybear
  4. Pin
  5. Gold Lion
  6. Zero
  7. Miles Away
  8. Skeletons
  9. Soft Shock
  10. Cheated Hearts
  11. Maps
  12. Heads Will Roll
  13. Date with the Night

Once that song finished, I started walking out of the festival.  The good thing was the line for the shuttle moved right alongside the stage the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs were on, so I could finish listening to their last two songs.  Overall, Day One proved to be very impressive.  It was a fabulous day of fun & music.  I couldn’t wait for Day Two.

DAY TWO:  October 3, 2009
My second day of ACL turned out to be a bit of a dud.  The good news was that I worked my volunteer shift from 11-3 again.  So I was happy to be off early to see some shows.  The bad news was that it had started raining today.  And the rain continued when it was time for me to go see some music.  I was completely exhausted from such a long and adrenaline-filled day before.  So by the time I walked over to see Grizzly Bear I was ready to sit down.  But because of the rain, I couldn’t really do that.  So I miserably stuck out the rest of their set when all I really wanted to do was go take a nap.  I couldn’t even really enjoy them.    After they were done, I begrudgingly walked over to check out Citizen Cope.  I thought they had the potential to wake me up.  But no, after a couple of songs and the ongoing rain, I finally threw in the towel.  Yes, I know, I’m lame.  But I couldn’t hack it.  I bailed.  I went home and ended up watching the documentary about the metal group, Anvil.  And ya know what?  I really enjoyed it.  AND, I got to sleep in the next day because I had a later volunteer shift.

DAY THREE:  October 4, 2009
So I  really meant to get to the festival earlier than I did.  But when I got up, it was STILL raining.  UGH!!  So I waited till a little bit later in the afternoon and I got there just in time for the sun to come out and to see Arctic Monkeys.  The worst part of walking on to the festival grounds today was all the disgusting mud.  I literally sank into it as I walked around.  NASTY!!  I am so happy I caught the Arctic Monkeys’ set.  I wasn’t sure they would be great live, but they really impressed me.  I completely enjoyed their performance.  Here’s a look at their set list:

  1. Dance Little Liar
  2. Brianstorm
  3. Crying Lightning
  4. The View From the Afternoon
  5. Cornerstone
  6. This House Is a Circus
  7. Still Take You Home
  8. I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor
  9. Pretty Visitors
  10. Do Me a Favour
  11. Dangerous Animals
  12. Red Right Hand
(Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds cover)
  13. Fluorescent Adolescent
  14. If You Were There, Beware

And here’s a snippet of their fourth song of the day “The View From The Afternoon”:

After they were done with their rockin’ set, I walked over to see Passion Pit.  I have to admit, I expected way more from this band.  After about three songs, their whiny front man started to annoy me.  I decided I had to move on.  So I trudged through the mud to check out one of the smaller stages. I ended up catching a bit of Rebirth Brass Band.  It was a nice little break in the day.  But there was one more band I was DYING to see before I had to start my volunteer shift at 6pm and that was The Dead Weather.  I could not wait to see Jack White’s new band!!  The sad part is that I started my volunteer shift not long after they started playing, so I only got to see a few songs.  But seeing Jack White on drums and Allison Mosshart rocking out HARD for just a few songs gave me a taste of their raw & dirty rock.  I loved every moment I spent with them.  Here’s their full set list:

  1. 60 Feet Tall
  2. Hang You From The Heavens
  3. Jawbreaker
  4. You Just Can’t Win
(Them cover)
  5. So Far From Your Weapon
  6. Rocking Horse
  7. No Horse
  8. Forever My Queen
(Pentagram cover)
  9. New Pony
(Bob Dylan cover)
  10. I Cut Like A Buffalo
  11. Treat Me Like Your Mother
  12. Will There Be Enough Water?

Their second song “Hang You From The Heavens” was the song that really drew me in and made me want to stay forever:

If only I didn’t have to go to work.  I was so tempted to blow off my shift, but I didn’t want to screw up my future chances to volunteer.  TORN…but I ended up being responsible and leaving shortly after the third song.    You really can’t blame me for wanting to stay. Luckily my volunteer shift put me right next to the stage where Girl Talk was about to perform.  WOW!!  This dude blew me away.  The way he puts songs together is truly a party and a half.  He stirs the audience into a wild frenzy.  And I completely understand how & why it happens.  With every new song that comes into his mash-ups, comes the recognition, then the excitement, and then the mania.  People were frothing at the mouth for more.  I’m not kidding!!  I really wish I could’ve been in the audience enjoying this set from start to finish, but I had to work.  BOOOO!!  At least, I caught a bit of this joyful scene from the sidelines.  I’m grateful for at least that.  What a great way to say goodbye to the sun and hello to the night, Girl Talk Style:

The final band of the evening was Pearl Jam.  They had the park to themselves by the time they went on.  Unfortunately for me, the stage they performed on was clear across the park from where I was volunteering.  So not only could I not see them, but I could barely hear them.  I was so sad.  But what could I do??  I know they put on a great show.  Ben Harper joined them on a few songs, which made me even sadder.  To have seen them play one more time would have capped off my first ACL experience with a bang.  But instead my night ended with a lot of mud.  I actually had to drive home in my socks because there was no way I was entering my car with all the mud that had accumulated on my shoes.  YUCK!!  At least I learned that I wanted all my volunteer shifts to be early for next year’s festival.  And that’s life.  You live and you learn.

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