Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Cooling off

I'm back in St. Paul and the temperature today reached a chilly 52 degrees, about 45 degrees cooler than Austin's temp this past weekend during the 2006 Austin City Limits Music Festival. Hot and muggy as it may have been in Austin, the temps were significantly milder than years past. However, the experience itself was anything but...we had a joyfully tiring marathon filled with set after set of thrilling music, bonding with friends and family and just hanging out in my hometown.

For the record, here's a quick rundown of how things ended up...

Schedule: Ted Leo, Wolf Parade, Gnarls Barkley, Okkervil River, Thievery Corporation, Sparklehorse and Van Morrison.

Set of the day: Wolf Parade

Wish I could have seen: Cat Power

Surprises of the day:
(1) Carrying a flag made from empty beer cans taped together draws a lot of attention.
(2) Sparklehorse can rock.
(3) Van Morrison sounded damn good despite my originally low expectations.

Disappointment of the day:
When you stay until the end, suddenly 65,000 people attempt to leave the park at the same time. Complications ensue. We gave up on the shuttles/cab lines and walked back to our car across town. Needless to say, sandals were not the best choice of footwear.

Schedule: Murder by Death, Phoenix, Ghostland Observatory, TV on the Radio, The Shins, Aimee Mann, The Raconteurs, Iron & Wine and Willie Nelson.

Set of the day: TV on the Radio

Wish I could have seen: Ben Kweller perform with a tampon up his nose, Explosions in the Sky, Massive Attack

Surprises of the day:
(1) Two great new band discoveries in Murder by Death and Ghostland Observatory.
(2) The Raconteurs - their album didn't draw my interest but their live chops are incredible.
(3) I never expected the Willie Nelson set to be my favorite moment of the festival...I'm not Willie's biggest fan but for some reason, everything just fell into place. The music, the place and the people. It was a perfect moment of intangible glee. Hard to describe the feeling but it encapsulated why music, especially live music, is so important to me. And it wasn't even drug-induced. Ok, a wee bit of alcohol, but that's it.

Disappointment of the day:
One complaint I have for the fest this year is the sound mix. Numerous sets were hurt by either bad mix or low volume.

Schedule: Damian Marley, Jose Gonzalez, Matisyahu, The New Pornographers, The Flaming Lips, BoDeans and Tom Petty, followed by aftershow featuring What Made Milwaukee Famous and TV on the Radio

Set of the day: The New Pornographers

Wish I could have seen: Anathallo, The Black Angels, Ben Harper

Surprise of the day:
(1) Our jaws literally dropped when we noticed Neko Case on stage as the New Pornographers prepared to start their set. She hasn't been touring with the New Pornos this year so we never expected for a moment to see her at ACL. On a mission, my wife immediately plowed through the crowd to just near the stage as I struggled to keep up behind her. And so there we were, up front and center, watching the New Pornos fire through their set of power-pop led by Neko's amazing voice and presence. She's amazing!
(2) We made it through Day 3 and still managed to have energy to catch an aftershow. In fact, I danced the most I had all weekend during TVOTR. Go figure.

Disappointment of the day:
The end.

All in all, this was the best ACL yet. The producers and staff who put it all together truly do an amazing job. I don't know how it all runs so smoothly but it does year after year. While I'm giving acknowledgments, here's a thanks to Project DU for the two free 3-day passes via their blogging contest.

Check out much more professional pictures and coverage of the festival at Austin360, the official ACL site as well as at Stereogum, Gorilla vs. Bear and Muzzle of Bees to name a few.

1 comment:

~miah said...

keep rubbing it in buddy...sounded like something i shouldn't have missed. but i suspected that before i sold out!