Saturday, September 27, 2008

ACL 2008 Day 2

My friend Dan and I arrived relatively early again. Weather was nice (a bit on the warm side), but it was crowded. Still plenty of dust and ragweed to go around too!

The Black & White Years

I had met two of the people in this band at an AMF Mixer about 2 years ago. They are basically an early 80's new-wave band. Shades of Oingo Boingo, and the Cars.

The Black & White Years

Fleet Foxes

This was really laid back acoustic act with incredible 4 part harmonies. They seemed like festival first timers, since they took quite a bit of time between songs. I was impressed with the fact the lead singer was out talking to the crowd afterward.

The Fratellis

I witnessed this band from the AMD stage, since my friend and I decided to go for good positioning for Sharon Jones. What I heard was great, reminiscent of Cheap Trick, with a slightly more British edge. Wish the schedule hadn't conspired against me.

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

I had a heads-up about this band from Andrew Dubber on one of his blogs about a year ago. They also played at Antones, but I missed the show. The band lived up to the hype,

This is an unbelievably good Motown style band. No words can do this band justice, they are great. Sharon owned the crowd.

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears

I had to go see these guys, if only to see this bearded fellow playing keys.
Ian Varley with Black Joe Lewis

Black Joe Lewis

Les Freres Guisse

An incredible West African group from Senegal. I wish I had been able to catch the whole show, rather than the last 3 songs.

The Nachito Herrera All Stars

Nachito's bio says he is Piano virtuoso, after seeing him play I agree. There was one big problem, he needs to learn how to play with his band, rather than over top or plowing through them.

John Fogerty

Solid set of CCR and Fogerty solo material. I was pleasantly surprised to see drummer extraordinaire, Kenny Aronoff. The whole crowd (filled with gray ponytails) was singing along, always a good sign.

John Fogerty

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

Homerun number two of the night. Well worth the extra 45 minute wait in order to get a good position near the front of the stage.

This show was like an encyclopedia of different types of American "roots" music. In addition to the two stars, we had T-bone Burnett on guitar. The set included an amazing rendition of Black Dog and the Battle of Evermore. Hearing it alfresco on a clear Austin night, priceless.
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

Friday, September 26, 2008

ACL 2008 Day 1

Long day, great weather, some dust, and pollen or ragweed ;( My friend Dan, and I arrived early, parked near Antones and touch the shuttle.

The Calm Before the Storm
AMD Stage - Cable Tray and Snakes

Asleep at the Wheel

How else would you kick off an ACL Festival? This year, Ray had a younger girl (who couldn't have been more than 15 years old) on stage as the 2nd fiddle player. She's a great player now, I can only imagine where she'll be in 10 years.

Other highlights of the show included a great rendition of Hot Rod Lincoln.

Asleep at the Wheel

What Made Milwaukee Famous

An Austin band that I had never seen before. Good, but not my cup of tea.

Jakob Dylan and the Gold Mountain Rebels

Jakob appeared on the same stage that his father had last year. I have seen him several times with the Wallflowers, and can honestly say, I liked that band better.

The first two songs of this set were played very tentatively. If I had to hazard a guess, it seemed like there was a problem with the on-stage monitors. This was quickly remedied, and they finished with the type of Singer/Songwriter set that you would expect.

The Freddy Jones Band

I caught these guys in the WaMu (wonder who the new sponsor will be next year?) pavilion. These guys were a really tight and experienced band, playing "Adult oriented" Pop/Rock. Enjoyable, but the genre is not something that would compel me to buy an album.

The Freddy Jones Band

Patty Griffin

Patty was one of the recommended act, and was fantastic. She lives in Austin, but apparently tours quite a bit. Fantastic band, including a old friend, Mike Longoria, on drums. I'm not usually one to listen to much Americana, but I have made a mental note to catch her, the next time she plays here in Austin.

Patty Griffin

David Byrne

Holy crap, David hit it out of the park with this show. Easily the best show of the day, and could quite possibly be the best show of the Festival when it's all over.

At the beginning of the set their were 8 people on stage, David on lead guitar, keys, bass, drums, percussion and 3 backup singers, all dressed in white. They were joined on stage by 3 dancers (also in white), around the third song. The entire set was a well choreographed show, integrating music and dance throughout. As an observer, I could not help but think of Stop Making Sense.

I can't say enough good things about the Rhythm Section in this band. They were fucking awesome; the best I'd seen in a long while. Everyone in the crowd was visibly dancing or boppin' along to the backbeat. The show also consisted of a well rounded selection of Byrne's solo material and a healthy serving of reworked Talking Heads songs.

Two thumbs up for this one! I also just realized, that all of the Talking Heads albums in my collection are on vinyl. Time to refresh the collection with digital.

David Byrne

Evening Wrap Up


I caught about half of the set, from this NYC based funk band. Probably would have listened to more of their set, but they were on the way across Zilker.

Alejandro Escavedo

Supposedly Alejandro's first ACL. I listened to two numbers before proceeding back towards the AMD stage. I've seen him enough at SxSW to not feel like I was missing anything.

The Swell Season

I probably should have listened to the previews of this band. I caught two numbers from this act, and wished I had seen the whole set.

Mars Volta

I've tried to get into this band on the recommendation of other Prog fans, particularly King Crimson fans. I don't hear any similarity, and have never found them that interesting. Hearing them live, changed nothing. I'm just not in to them.

Manu Chao

Sounded fine and had a good band. Another case where I can't understand what all the fuss is about though. Seems to play a hodgepodge of World Music, but always seems to end up on the Reggae/Ska end of the genre spectrum

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I have the Wristband

I picked up my ACL Wristband tonight, and took the opportunity to take a picture of the gate, with my phone.

Old West Austin, Sep 24, 2008

Looking forward to a great weekend of music.