Wednesday, October 13, 2010

RIP: T Lavitz

Really sad news, T Lavitz, keyboardist extraordinaire passed away last Thursday. I had seen him perform too many times with the Dregs/Dixie Dregs at the Chance in Poughkeepsie, to count. Never got to see him with Jazz is Dead or Boston T Party, and missed seeing him with the Bluesbusters (they had someone sub'ing for him that night).

I'm speechless, and am off to go listen to Unsong Heroes and Boston T Party now.

ACL Festival 2010 - Day 3

Late Start

On this third and final day of ACL, I chose to watch my Ravens dismantle the Donkeys, first. So I arrived late at around 4PM.


I don't remember too much about this band. They sounded alright.

Flaming Lips

I found these guys annoying like Gogol, and didn't bother to try and get close to the stage. In the picture below, you will notice the lead singer, Wayne Coyne, crowd surfing inside of a transparent bubble or ball. Flaming Lips

Nora Jones

Nora was everything I expected, and I'm disappointed that I wasn't able to get a picture. I had just met up with my friend Ron, and was finding the extra 10K people to be very annoying.

I think the scheduler was a little brain dead. Having Nora right before the Eagles, insured that no one was able to move in that half of Zilker.

The Eagles

Well these guys are legends. Although I don't own a single Eagles album, FM Radio from 1978 on pretty much made certain that I knew every song in their catalog.

I had a great time, stayed for the whole set, and am embarrassed to admit that I found myself singing along with some of their songs. ( I did cry when Old Yeller died too, so there! ;)

One thing I did find interesting is that Joe Walsh chose to play several James Gang songs, and his most famous solo song, Life's been good to me so far. Don Henley also performed some solo material, but Glenn Frey did not. I found this setlist and it seems relatively accurate.

In conclusion, let me say that it was a lot better than Bob Dylan a few years back, but it felt like a State Fair or Six Flags show. The Eagles The Eagles

ACL Festival 2010 - Day 2

First Aid Kit

I arrived early again Saturday morning. I guess this is something that comes with old age ;) The first band I heard was a Swedish duo, First Aid Kit. They were fantastic vocalists, playing acoustic music. It was interesting, but a little slow and subdued for my taste. Nonetheless, they were both excellent performers.

First Aid Kit

Towards the end of their set, they had to deal with bleed-over from the AMD stage and the next act:

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Grace Potter is beautiful tall blonde with a great voice, who also plays Hammond Organ. With all that going for her, I wish she had better music. Perhaps I'm in the minority though, but I don't dig hearing covers of Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit. The rest of her set sounded like some 80's vintage Heart songs that didn't make the final cut for the album, and got left on the studio floor.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Pete Yorn

What can I say? Pete is fantastic, as is his band. He is an Austin favorite, and very clearly enjoys playing ACL.

Pete Yorn

the Gaslight Anthem, Manchester Orchestra and Kinky

I was unable to get acceptable pictures of these bands. I also ran into people I knew at both the Gaslight Anthem and Manchester Orchestra sets. The fact that I was engaged in conversation rather than listening, probably says something about my assessment of these bands.

I did find Kinky very interesting, however. There is a bit of buzz about them in Austin and other locales. I may have to check out one of their shows soon. They play an eclectic mix of Latin, Funk, Electronic and Dance music. They killed under the Pavilion formerly known as the WAMU.

Gogol Bordello

I met up with my friends, Ron and Alissa, and we trekked over to hear this band based upon a recommendation. I can sum them up this way: Take Frank Zappa and his band, lower the overall level of musicianship several fold, and make the humor a lot more annoying, and you have Gogol. Once per lifetime is enough for this crew. Gogol Bordello


After several aborted attempts, I was finally able to see Muse live. They very definitely killed during their set, and the crowd was rocking. Although they are often mentioned with Porcupine Tree, I don't see the connection there. They are most certainly not Prog.

The best description I can think of is that they are Depeche Mode with more guitar, and more upbeat lyrics. Rhythmically, they're kind of vanilla, with everything having a dance music kind of feel (which may explain the prevalence of female fans).

The leader of the band is Matthew Bellamy, and he is Muse. He is Freddy Mercury (with a similar incredible vocal range) and Tommy Morello (from Rage Against Machine) all rolled up into one. The other 3 members of the band (bass, drums and keys) could be easily replaced, without any impact.

Other notable things about their performance were the kick-ass light show. They do use a lot of sequencers in their show, but it's somewhat forgivable. Muse

Monday, October 11, 2010

ACL Festival 2010 - Day 1


Unlike last year, I made it a point to get to Zilker a bit early. I managed to catch a few shots of the nearly empty grounds as I arrived. You knew it wasn't going to stay like this. Zilker, Oct 8, 2010 The Calm Before the Storm The AMD Stage


I worked my way over towards the AMD stage, but since I was about an hour early for the Wheel, I decided to catch the Givers. They are a rather young pop act from Louisiana. It was well performed, but I didn't find them particularly engaging. Givers

Asleep at the Wheel

If there's one constant at the ACL Festival it's Asleep at the Wheel opening on the first day. To date there have been 9 ACL Festivals, and the Wheel has played every one of them.

They filled the air with favorites like Route 66, Miles and Miles of Texas and Hot Rod Lincoln. They also played a generous helping of songs from their last 2 CDs, including one of my favorites, the Bob Wills tribute recording, Willie and the Wheel.

I was disappointed to discover that the Wheel will be celebrating a 40th Anniversary Show at the Long Center, with Willie on Nov 5th. Unfortunately, it conflicts with Fun Fun Fun Fest. Will have to see if I can swizzle my schedule accordingly.

Barton Springs, Oct 8, 2010

One thing I like about these early shows is that the crowd is still sparse, and it's easy to move around. As a result, I was able to walk all of the way up front to the rail in front of the stage, and get some shots of Ray and the band.

Early Crowd for Asleep at the Wheel Roy Benson and Jason Roberts

Donavon Frankenreiter

I was unfamiliar with this artist, but penciled it in after listening to the samples on the ACL site. This was a very tight band, and particularly liked what I heard the keyboard player doing. Donavon himself was a very good songwriter, and the music fit the mood for the great weather that we were experiencing.

Donovan Frankenreiter

Those Darlins

I caught 2 or 3 songs of this predominantly female band. They reminded me of the Ramones with a country twang.

Blues Traveler

Even though John Popper seems to have an endless supply of Blues Harps, I've never felt this band was particularly Bluesy. They played their basic Greatest Hits set. The highlight was local 15 year old fiddler, Ruby Jane, joining the band on stage to trade 4's and 8's with Popper.

Also of note, by mid-afternoon the closest I could manage to get to the stage was behind the sound booth. I had heard that this year, 10K additional tickets were sold. It was becoming apparent that is was a bit more crowded than normal. (As the weekend progressed, it got worse ;( Ruby Jane and John Popper

Kings Go Forth

This was a kick-ass 70's soul/funk band. I wish that I had gotten a reasonable picture of them.

Angus & Julie Stone

I was very pleasantly surprised by this act, and would rank them as one of the best of the festival. They are a brother and sister act from Sydney, Australia. Both are excellent vocalists, and Julia is multi-instrumentalist to boot.

I'll just say that at the completion of their set, I had music crush on Julia. Would love to hear more from this act, and I would recommend them to anyone. Julia and Angus Stone


A raucous Sicilian based band, that followed the King under the Clear Pavilion. Instead of Latin feel, it had a similar Sicilian influence. The crowd ate them up. I must say that I enjoyed them too. Qbeta


Local favorites Spoon, had one of the early evening headlining slots on the big AMD stage. I'm not sure I can say I saw Spoon, although I heard them. Basically, it was too much of a hassle to get close to the stage. I recognized many of the songs from the ACL taping I attended in July. I also noticed that my friend, Wayne Meyers was playing in their horn section again, on the big video monitors.

Sonic Youth

The extra 10K people were readily apparent, as it was exceedingly difficult to get close to several of the stages. I have several of Sonic Youth's CD in my collection (purchased after hearing Steve Reich talk about them), but I must confess that I don't really get them. Nothing about their performance at ACL changed anything for me. Sonic Youth


I stayed for the first 40 minutes of Phish's set. Honestly, I'm not a Jam Band fan, and didn't become one during this show. They did do one reasonable cover of the Talking Heads' song, Cities.

Not being particularly engaged by Phish, I headed for the shuttles and listened to the Strokes as I waited in line. Phish