Austin TX – Zilker Park. Finally, the 2010 ACL festival had arrived and this time the weather was like the 5th Beatle (stole this line from a local DJ…..so what). It was that awesome.
So, my entourage (indulge me) and I were at the ACL gates that Friday morning waiting with anticipation like all of the other fellow music lovers to my left and right. Kind of funny too, for a moment, we all looked like a bunch of “soccer mom’s” waiting in line for the doors to open on “Black Friday” ready to run to our spot. Good times. Who do you want to see, why, and do they rock was the typical waiting in line banter. Here we go.
Friday, one of the first shows happened upon was Denver’s own, “Vonnegut”, and in a word, energy. A theme much of the day, this rap/ska style band launched into one of their signature songs, “Evacuation” and it totally blew the audience away, which was pretty impressive since it was one of the first shows of the day. Great guitar hooks, clever lyrics, and tight timing, were all on display. On another of their tunes, I really liked the line they borrowed from a Carly Simon song, “I bet you think this song is about you”, then their heavily rapped response….”it is”. Pretty cool, gonna be a good day……and we’re walking.
To do ACL fest, is to have a plan, or not. See what I mean, the idea is there is no this way or that. I had an idea of who I wanted to check out, but the really cool thing about this festival is the act of wandering around and letting the music guide your steps. Heavy, right (indulge me)? So, checked out Robert Randolph & The Family, Ryan Bingham, Two Tons of Steel, all of which were great shows. The Strokes brought their NYC garage rock sound thankfully. Dude, Blues Traveler killed it, just saying. A slimmed down John Popper played harmonica like it was the mid 90’s again, and his band, rocking it hard, drank from the same fountain of youth, or keg. How about Beach House? BH, with their dreamy Brian Wilson style orchestrations, sounds like a band you could have playing at a backyard BBQ while you’re effortlessly talking to the hot chick(s). I do like the reggae though and the musical sounds wafting through the air guided my steps to listen in on “Slightly Stoopid”. I’d never seen this band before but after a friend turned me on to them, it was high on my “must check out” list. Score. SS has that Long Beach “Sublime” sound, with a funky reggae/rap twist. The SS show was a blast. Saw some dancing, did some dancing, flashed a smile, and got one (several) back. You see, it’s the mood at ACL that brings it home, and on this day/night, all was well in the Austin skies and the universe we call ACL fest day 1. Onward.