Sunday, October 02, 2005
ACL: Day One:The Post
Well it's been a week and I'm finally posting on ACL in depth. I'll just start by saying each year seems to get better.
Day One: We almost made our 5:00a.m. departure time if okryan had stuck to the plan but even with that little glitch we were still on the road by 5:15. PG's ipod was put on shuffle and the ride down flew by with no worries. We were anticipating problems in Dallas but flew through the city with no slow downs at all. We made it to Austin around 12:30 and headed straight to the show trusting the outback to a meter that was destined to expire long before we made it back. Once again the bus system that ACL has set up ran flawlessly and we were quickly on the festival grounds. Having seen Kasabien a couple of weeks before (and being very impressed with their show) we opted to catch Mofro. We had just happened across mofro at the festival the previous year and had been blow away enough by their set to buy their albums when we got back home(yea buy not download). We got pretty good places for the show and were treated to another great set highlighted by "Fireflies" and "dirtfloorcracker" a song that JJ explained the meaning behind.
After Mofro we wandered over to Steve Earle's set for a few minutes. He was good but we were determined to stake out a good spot for the Mates of State. They were awesome. I was familiar with a few of their songs but everything they played sounded great. PG, whose musical tastes lean to the jam side of things, was impressed as well. We eventually took off to catch part of Nic Armstrong and the Thieves who okryan really wanted to see, but with the sound of the Mates of State still ringing in my ears I left the group there and ran back to see the rest of the Mates set.
PG recommended Robert Earl Keen, a guy he had seen several times before and had popped up on the ipod a couple of times on the way up. He was really good. We were treated to a song about a cross dressing Hank Williams that was hilarious.
Spoon was up next, we were getting a bit nervous at this point in the day because we still had to check into our hotel and get to Stubb's for the Black Keys /Arcade Fire show and had debated skiping the set completely, but the new album is so good we decided to stay for a few minutes. Once they started we could barely leave. We actually ended up staying for almost the entire set. Everytime we would get ready to leave they would play another song we loved. But we did finally, reluctantly leave. Discovering that the outback was ticket free.
I should say at this point it was close to 6:30 in the evening and the weather was Rita free, being in the mid to high 90s most of the day. The temperature had dropped quite a bit by the time we left the festival and there was a very welcome breeze. We found our hotel (which was completely full) and quickly learned that the "limited" in Ramada Inn Limited wasn't a good thing like we had expected. From what I could discern the "limited" referred to the fact that amenities, politeness and repairs to the hotel itself were actually "limited". But the beds were clean and we would soon find out that the breakfast included donuts!
We made our way to Stubb's with no major problems(damn you free hotel map). But it was during this drive that the ipod started acting up, eventually quitting altogether. This was the first time any of us had been to this famous Austin venue. I was surprised at how small it was. But that was a good thing. The outdoor concert area was very cool, they even had a booth that sold their famous sandwiches so we were able to eat while waiting for the show to start. The show opened with a local act Milwaukees most Famous. They were nervous but ended up rocking. The Black Keys (one of my favorites) were up next and they didn't disappoint. (We had seen them a few months before and had a spot right against the drum kit. In fact everytime a stick broke we would catch it or get hit by it and eventually ended up passing a few to people behind us. But being a little farther back this time allowed me to hear more of the vocals.) It's hard to believe that that voice comes out of Dan(who we met in Tulsa, he is unbelievably nice.) And then it was time for The Arcade Fire. At this point everyone has heard the hype surrounding them so I expected a good show but not the show we received. It's hard to put into words how amazing they are live. I wouldn't hesitate to say tht it was the best show I've seen. They had the same kind of overwhelming stage energy and sense of fun that you get from a Flaming Lips show but with more intensity. The crowd was so into it, I bounced at least as much as G! At the White Stripes show, something I haven't done at a show in quite awhile. The sheer easy musicianship easily rivals Willie Nelson or Phish. (Really that doesn't do the show justice and all references are to shows I've been to so i hope they make sense.) They opened with a Dylan cover and played everything I wanted to hear. We made it back to the hotel all exhausted and excited about the Arcade Fire show and were quickly asleep.