Saturday, October 03, 2009

ACL 2009 - Day 2

... and it rained
Today was very reminiscent of SxSW 98(?), where it rained non-stop for most of the music festival. While welcome by the drought sufferers for sure, it really put the whammy on the festival. I had rain gear, but declared defeat at around 5:30PM, and headed home. Here's a summary of what I was able to see during this shortened day:

The Henry Clay People

They were listed as Pop/Punk, but they sounded more like a late 60's group to me. Towards the end of their set, the played of cover of Bang a Gong, by T Rex

The Virgins

A NY dance rock band, kind of like the Velvet Underground meets the New York Dolls. They were entertaining, and seemed to appeal to the under 25 crowd.
The Virgins


Had to cancel their show. They were replaced by a totally forgettable band from Austin, that took their place. My friend Dan and I both agreed to move on after hearing one song.

Soul Stirrers

An absolutely kick ass gospel/soul band. Quite the rhythm section!
Soul Stirrers

Bell X1

This was a great Irish pop band sitting somewhere between U2 and Van Morrison. The piano player was quite exceptional. I'd go see these guys again, for certain. Bell X1

Sam Roberts Band

A fantastic band from Montreal. They sounded somewhat like 3 Doors Down. Excellent vocals and musicianship. Made passing the time in the pouring rain, tolerable.
Sam Roberts Band

The Airborne Toxic Event

Another very competent pop band.
Airborne Toxic Event

The weather

At this point in time, I was cold and starting to get soaked, even though I had a Poncho on. I decided to make it the end of the day.

Friday, October 02, 2009

ACL 2009 - Day 1

Got up fairly late today, and decided to trek on over to Kerbey Lane for some Gingerbread Pancakes, before heading downtown. As a result, I was only able to hear the last chorus of Asleep at the Wheel's last song, as I entered the gate.

After checking out the new lawn in Zilker, and filling up my Camel Pack with water, I headed over to the Dell Stage for Blitzen Trapper. As I arrived in the area, the lead singer was doing his best Robert Plant impersonation, but the rest of the show slowly wound down into some fairly uninteresting music.

Medeshi, Martin & Wood

The Livestrong stage was the next stop of the day. Medeshi, Martin & Wood is a trio, consisting of keys (mainly B3), bass, and drums. They were listed as a Jam Band, and I feel that was a fairly accurate description. Unfortunately, I can't say I'm a big Jam Band fan. I would have preferred hearing a trio like this in a pure Prog context.
Livestrong Stage
Medeshi, Martin & Wood

Coheed and Cambria

This a Metal Prog band from the Mid-Hudson Valley area of NY, my old stomping grounds. They are a fairly competent Prog/Metal band, and fortunately do not do the Cookie Monster vocals.

They drew a very respectable crowd, and played a cover The Church's song, Under the Milkyway towards the end of the set. Given the age of the crowd, I'm not sure how many present recognized it, even after the band acknowledged the band.
Coheed and Cambria

Robyn Hitchcock and the Venus 3

A good set of British Power Pop band, with Bill Rieflin on drums. A very nice change of pace for the afternoon.
Robyn Hitchcock and the Venus 3

The Greencards

The Greencards are a Bluegrass band from Australia, from what I could gather, they were all very accomplished musicians. There was a big problem however with sound bleed over, from the other stage. It was impossible to hear some of their songs, because the song from the Livestrong stage was drowning it out.
The Greencards

Them Crooked Vultures

Ok, they're supposed to be a super-group. I found this band to be pretty uninteresting, and it seemed like they mailed it in to me. Of course, I was only 1000 rows back from the stage. Actually standing on top of the hill in front of the AMD stage, in order to watch the video.

I'm a big Led Zep fan, but not a fan of Nirvana, the Foo Fighters, or Queens of the Stone Age. I find the latter 3 bands tiring, at best. Sorry, but I don't get this band, nor do I get the hype. These guys are no Chickenfoot. (LOL)

Yeah, yeah, yeah

The last band of the day. All I could say was No, no, no. Dan and I amscrayed during the middle of the set.


For some reason, several of the stages (XBox, Livestrong, BMI) seemed noticeably smaller. However, the PAs certainly weren't. In fact, there were multiple problems with bleed over. It was impossible to hear anything from the BMI stage, if Livestrong had something. Sound was also leaking from the Austin Ventures, to the AMD. This was truly annoying!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

ACL 2009 - The Quickening

It's that time of the year again. Friday 1100, be there, aloha!

Rosedale, Sep 30, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ravens vs. the Browns - week 3

As part of my very extended weekend trip, I was present at M&T Bank Stadium, to watch my Ravens slaughter the Browns, 34 - 3.

After raining all morning, the sky cleared up just before kick-off, and we had nothing but blue skys. As luck would have it, my friend and I were able to swap our upper deck tickets for seats in the Club Level. What a great exclamation point, to punctuate the trip with.

Sharp Leadenhal, Sep 27, 2009 Sharp Leadenhal, Sep 27, 2009

Porcupine Tree x2

PT is presently one of my favorite rock bands. When the tour to support The Incident was announced, I was a little disappointed that I would have to fly to see them (again). I originally bought the tickets for the Philadelphia show, back in April. Things looked like they were working out well for me, since I could also visit my family, and catch a Ravens game during the same trip. I had also arranged to meet up with some friends from Austin, who were flying to see them in Philly, as well.

Several months later, a Baltimore show was added on Friday night, making my (and my friend's) schedule a bit more complicated. As a result, I ended up having to drive from Leonardtown to Baltimore, catch the PT show, drive to Philly the next day for the second show, then get up at 4:30 AM to drive back to Baltimore to tailgate, on Sunday morning. Needless to say, it was exhausting, but I made it. Fortunately, next weekend will be nice and relaxing with just the ACL Festival (LOL ;)

Rams Head Live - Baltimore, MD - Friday 9/25

In hindsight, this may have been the show of the year for me. It was the better venue and performance of the two shows. The only slight minus was the lack of seating. It's a GA venue, with one web site listing the capacity at about 1600 people. If it wasn't a sell-out, it was close, because the club was packed.

The openers, Kings X, played for approximately an hour, followed by 2 sets of an hour each, by PT. For this tour, the first hour set consisted of a complete performance of the Incident, with the 2nd set consisting of a rotation of some older material.

The band had posted a No pictures or recoding request at the venue, and I complied with their request, for both shows. I was able to secure a position, right behind the sound board for this show, which made for an excellent listening experience.

Afterwards some members of PT were out and about. In particular, John Wesley, Colin Edwin, and Richard Barbieri. I'm not much of an autograph collector, but I did get to chat with Colin for a second. I noticed Richard Barbieri high tailed it quickly out of there, and that unlike Houston in 2007, Steven Wilson was nowhere to be found. I asked Colin to talk the band into playing Texas more, and in particular Austin. It sounds like their agent is deliberately restricting them to large metros, because of concerns about the US economy.

Electric Factory - Philadelphia, PA - Saturday 9/26

This venue was also GA, and a bit bigger, holding approximately 2000 to 2500 people. The sound was good, but not exceptional. In general, there's a certain vibe that comes with attending a Philly/South Jersey show that detracts from the experience. True to form, a fight did break out during the show. I called it about 2 minutes before it happened, to my friends. It's kind of sad that this wasn't a surprise.

There were quite a few faces in the crowd that I recognized from the previous night, and this show was the first indication for me, that PT is becoming very popular. The set list was essentially the same, with some differences in the second set, as had been noted on the PT boards. One surprise however, was Normal from the EP, Nil Recurring.

I did talk to several people who mentioned that on previous tours, PT had played the Keswick when they came to Philly (where I saw King Crimson and which has seating). I also noticed, that there were a significant number of females in the audience, which is noteworthy for any band that might even tangentially have the label Prog associated with it. Perhaps this shouldn't be surprising since although they are labeled, Neo-Prog, they seem to be able to attract fans from the Prog, Metal, and Pop worlds in a way I've never seen before.

Opening Act - Kings X

My friends, Ron and Alissa, have raved about this band for a while. They are actually from Houston, and after seeing them twice, I am now sorry I didn't go see them at the Red Eyed Fly in Austin. The lead singer/bass player, Brother Doug, is awesome. The guy is one of those classic rock scream/singers like Robert Plant or Ian Gillian, but takes it to a new level.

I will go see these guys, next time the return to Austin.

Good News

Steven Wilson mentioned a Spring Tour! Here's hoping for a stop in TX.


PT has a blog and pictures from the Electric Factory show