Long live rock, I need it every night

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

ACL Day 2: Area Man Attends Music Festival

You read that title correctly. I, Jumbo Slice, went to Austin City Limits and it was all like awesome and shit. And the rest of Rock Club was there too - kick ass!

Okay, I was going to write this whole review as if I was an idiot frat guy but there's no way I could keep it up after a paragraph or two.

We managed to see 5 very different acts on Saturday. They ranged from Retro-Soul to a wide variety of Rock (British, Classic, Space, and Indie). Let's take them one at a time:

The Fratellis

We arrived at Zilker Park as The Fratellis were performing at one of the "large but not quite a main stage" stages. These guys are best known for their song, "Flathead" which was used in an iPod commercial. We didn't really get too close for their set. I have their first album and I'm not a big fan but they struck me as a decent festival band. They had the crowd fired up early in the day.

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

I was the only one genuinely excited to see Sharon Jones. In our ACL Injuries preview of the festival we debate whether to watch Sharon Jones or The Drive By Truckers. Sharon's win was due more to our lack of enthusiasm for DBT than anything else. In the end it was a good decision. She has been described as the female James Brown [malapropism alert: during her set I kept referring to her as "Sharon Brown"]. She even got a James Brown style introduction from the Dap Kings. She was a flurry of energy as she strutted about the stage and invited people to dance onstage with her. Having never seen a band like the Dap Kings, I really enjoyed the set. Sharon is an incredible performer and easily won over the crowd with Tina Turner-esque sassiness.

While watching her set a funny and distinctly Austin moment occurred. Some guys next to me were sitting down as they smoked a joint. It didn't take long before they were approached by a man working security. He apologized for interrupting them and politely reminded them they were in a standing only section. He then wished them a good day and went on his way. Lesson learned: Smoking pot = Okay. Sitting = not okay. Pay attention youth of America.

Siesta at Barton Springs

When presented with the choice of Man Man or CSS we chose a swim at Barton Springs. Why more people don't take a break from the music for a dip in the pool is beyond me. It's relaxing, refreshing, and a great place for people watching. It's also not uncommon for the ladies to sun bath topless...if you're into boobs.

I was glad to read that at least one of the performers thinks like I do. David Byrne blogged about Barton Springs and said "The water is chilly, but you get used to it. Other towns should do this if they can — if they cleaned up their rivers, they could create secure walled-in areas of river water or even ocean water, as they do in Australian cities."


Feeling energized from Barton Springs we got back in time for Spiritualized's entire set. This was yet another band that won an ACL Injuries battle. Opting to see them over MGMT was definitely the right call. The rest of Rock Club was more familiar with the band than me but I left a fan. They mixed spacey psychedelic rock with a bit of gospel on tracks such as "Come Together" and "Walking with Jesus".

John Fogerty

Potsy and I tried to get a decent spot for John Fogerty and failed miserably. After getting stuck in a sea of chairs we decided to abort the mission. Getting out proved even harder than getting in. We finally escaped and met back up with Jimbromski and Sacklunch. We were far from the stage but got to hear him play "Fortunate Son" and "Proud Mary". As a recent convert to classic rock, that's all I really needed.


Beck was one of the headliners of the evening (Robert Plant and Allison Krauss were the others). Having decided to skip The Black Keys were got to the stage early to stake out some real estate. It didn't take long for it to get crowded. Really crowded. At this point I was feeling a little out of it so I excused myself from the masses. I found a seat against a fence where I could enjoy the show. I couldn't see the stage but sitting down was 1000% better than being packed in a massive crowd.

Beck's set was like a "Best Of" album. He played one hit after another. Even those who are lukewarm on Beck have to admit the guy has put out a lot of good songs. He played "Loser", "Nausea", "Gamma Ray", "Where It's At", and "E-Pro" among others. He even played a Rock Club approved cover - Dylan's "Leopard-Skin Pill Box Hat".

After Beck's set the real adventure began. Our car was parked at the exact opposite end of Zilker Park. Working our way through the throngs of people in the dark was no easy feat. However, even in my impaired state it was kind of fun. We eventually made it back and headed downtown to see Sunset Rubdown at Mohawk.

I tried (unsucessfully) to keep the reviews short so I could to include a list of "do's and don'ts" while the festival is (somewhat) fresh in my mind. If I missed any, please leave a note in the comment section.

Lessons From ACL

- It's better to set up camp, a home base if you will. Bring a blanket, some chairs and get a decent spot by the stage featuring the bands you're most interested in. You can still visit other stages and you'll always have a meeting spot and a place to relax.

- Siestas at Barton Springs is an absolute must.

- Utilize the left flank. I have to give credit to my good friend Callie (aka Show Lush) for this tip. The best way to get close to the stage is to scoot up the left side and then make your way to the middle. It's a simple strategy but it works.

- Don't wait until the dinner rush to get food. Especially if you want to get the Chicken in a Cone. The line for Hudson on the Bend was ridiculous. Luckily there were lots of good options with short lines. We settled for some delicious fish tacos.

- Most importantly, if you are not used to partaking of certain herbal products, a large music festival is probably not the best place to give them a try.

1 comment:

sacklunch said...

It's been like 2 weeks since Austin and I have already forgot a lot of what happened. Thank you for the recap.

I agree the siesta at Barton Springs was excellent and must for anyone attending ACL in the future. You forgot to mention my awesome diving skills.

Saturday was a great, albeit long, day.

In regards to the food, i will add that the fish tacos I got were quite fresh and tasty. I wish I had eaten a greater variety of foodstuffs at the festival as everything looked pretty good.

Watching you sit on the ground during Beck was even making me miserable. Next time, just say no.