Thursday, May 18, 2006

ACL rundown

The 2006 Austin City Limits Music Festival lineup was announced last night, albeit with a bit of a whimper after an online leak a few days earlier, not to mention that many of the big-name artists were confirmed weeks ago. But now it is official:

Aimee Mann, Alexi Murdoch, Anathallo, The Anointed Voicez, Asheba, Asleep at the Wheel, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Ben Kweller, Benevento Russo Duo, Beto and the Fairlanes The Biscuit Brothers, The Black Angels, BoDeans, Brazilian Girls, Buckwheat Zydeco, Calexico, Cat Power and the Memphis Rhythm Band, Centro-matic, Charlie Sexton, Claire Small, Damian Marley, Damien Rice, Daniella Cotton, deadboy & The Elephantmen, Del Castillo, Donavon Frankenreiter

The Durdens, Eli Young Band, Elvis Perkins, Explosions in the Sky, Federico Aubele, Feist, Fields, The Flaming Lips, G. Love & Special Sauce, Galactic, Ghandaia, Gnarls Barkely, Goldfrapp, Gomez, The Gospel Silvertones, The Greencards, Greyhounds, Guster, Guy Clark, Husky Rescue, I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness?, Ian McLagan and The Bump Band, Imagination Movers, Iron & Wine, Jack Ingram, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe McDermott and the Smart Little Creatures, John Mayer, The Jones Family Singers

Jose Gonzalez, Joy Davis, Kasey Chambers, Kathleen Edwards, Kings of Leon, KT Tunstall, The Long Winters, Los Amigos Invisibles, Los Lonely Boys, Lou Ann Barton, Marah, Massive Attack, Matisyahu, Matt Costa, Matt Nathanson, Melissa Reaves, Murder by Death, Nada Surf, New Monsoon, The New Orleans Social Club, The New Pornographers, The New Soul Invaders, Nickel Creek, Okkervil River, Oliver Mtukudzi & Black Spirits, The Palm Elementary School Choir, Paolo Nutini, Patrice Pike

Peter Dawson, Phoenix, Pierre Guimard, The Raconteurs, Randy Rogers Band, Ray Lamontagne, Robyn Ludwick, The Rocket Summer, Rocky Votolato, Rodney Hayden, Sam Roberts, Sara Hickman, The Secret Machines, The Shins, Son Volt, South Austin Jug Band, Sparklehorse, Sparta, Star Kids Yoga, Stars, Sterling Lands and The Warrior Gospel Band, The Stills, String Cheese Incident

The Subdudes, Sylvia St. James and The Gospel Stars, Ted Leo/Pharmacists, Terri Hendrix, Thievery Corporation, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, The Tragically Hip, Trish Murphy, Troy Campbell Band, Van Morrison, Ween, What Made Milwaukee Famous, The White Ghost Shivers, Willie Nelson, Wolf Parade

There you have it. As you've probably noticed, I've been ranting and raving about ACL all year. My very first post on this here blog was an exuberant recap of my 2005 ACL experience. I regularly talk it up to friends and on this very site. I even helped encourage a couple of friends to snatch up their 3-day passes early before any lineup inklings had been released. I was that confident. And now the lineup is released...and my initial reaction is mixed. More of a 'bleh' than the expected 'fuck yeah!' Have my expectations grown too high? ACL has always been unique from the other big festivals, showcasing a wide array of local talent, older vintage bands, a good mix of indie bands and of course, the standard fest-oriented jam bands. It is also just a great festival experience. But still...

As I review the acts over and over I can't seem to find even one act that makes my mouth water with anticipation. Last year I had a truly geeky excitement to see The Arcade Fire, The Fiery Furnaces, Wilco, Built to Spill and Lucinda Williams. The year before, it was Wilco (again), Neko Case, My Morning Jacket, and best of all, The fuckin' Pixies! This year, I don't know...The Flaming Lips and Willie Nelson are the only two that even raise my eyebrows. There are plenty of other bands I like in that line-up, but for some reason or another they just don't give me the hard-on I was hoping for. I mean Bonnaroo has Radiohead so that's no contest, the rest is icing. Lollapalooza has Wilco, Sonic Youth, RHCP, Sleater-Kinney, Kanye West, Queens of the Stone Age and Broken Social Scene. ACL has Van Morrison as a headliner?! Don't get me wrong, I like a good Van tune like the next guy, but I have sickening feeling that my parents would be more interested in this year's lineup than I am. And that disturbs me.

I say again, there are some damn fine artists in there: Wolf Parade, Sparklehorse, New Pornos, Iron&Wine, Cat Power, Ted Leo, Gnarls Barkley, The Shins, etc. But still, none of them get me truly excited for that live experience that I'm badly craving. I'll still go of course. I'll still have a great time and maybe now I'll be pleasantly surprised with my expectations lowered. And I'll take any excuse to make a trip to Austin, TX. I'll suck it up and suffer through it. Guess this just means that I'll have to go to Lollapalooza, too in order to get the fix I'm looking for. What can ya do? Life is tough.

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