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A long rambling post about my weekend at Austin City Limits

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Yeah, so I went to Austin City Limits this past weekend with my girlfriend Elizabeth. I just got home about 10 minutes ago, and the first thing I do is run to my computer and start to type up a long rambling post about it. Actually, the first thing I did when I got home was take a piss, but this is the second thing.


Anyway, to sum up, it was absolutely fuckin' amazing. The tickets were about $120 each and the quality of venue and music was just...absolutely superb. The food and beverages and merchandise were all relatively cheap. It was extremely hot on Friday, but cooled off to about 78 or so Sat. and Sun. The rules stated that you could bring in two 1-liter bottles of water per person, but they didn't really enforce it, as people were bringing in gallons of water and various other beverages-Gatorade and the like...liqour, too. They sold water for like...2 bucks, iced tea for 3 bucks, beer for...like....5 bucks...I don't know, neither of us drink, and they had a buncha cheap food. As far as merchandise, I bought an Elvis Perkins album and shirts for my parents. I bought Elizabeth Mezzanine and the first Iron and Wine CD for her birthday. She bought a new TV on the Radio shirt. It's yellow and has a picture of a duck and says "Me and My Little Duck :wub: TVOTR". I also bought a shirt at the Sufjan Stevens concert we went to. Now, because it's late and I'm hopped up on green tea, I'll make general observations about each day of the festival and the bands we watched.




We rolled into Austin at about 9:30 AM and got to the actual festival at 11. There wasn't anybody playing that we absolutely wanted to see for a little bit, so we wandered around stopping in on various bands. I tried to catch some of The Dears, but they had so many people watching mainly because they were the first somewhat well-known band playing that day that it was damn near impossible to get a good view. The first band that we really watched was Deadboy and the Elephantmen, featuring Dax Riggs formerly of Acid Bath & Agents of Oblivion. I kinda know him from when I lived in Louisiana, and my buddy Joey Dupre's brother was in the original incarnation of Deadboy before Dax got all weird and stuff. So, anyway, they were ok, but we also say them last year at ACL and they were much better last year, mainly because Dax didn't talk to the crowd or anything so nobody could tell what a jackass he was. In the words of my buddy Joey Dupre: "Dax Riggs is a fuckin' sonofabitch." Yeah, so anyway...they were pretty ok. Next, we rolled over to watch Wolf Parade. They were awesome as Hell. Really energetic show, despite the bass player's absence. Apparently, he got E Coli on their last US tour. But still, they were great. They played most of the songs off their CD and brought the energy. One thing I noticed during thier set that continued to fascinate me throughout the festival was that off to the side of the stage, they had a sign language interpreter doing sign language for the songs. I now know how to sign "Pretend it's whales keeping their voices down." After Wolf Parade, we saw Gnarls Barkely. Cee-Lo is the oddest black man I've ever seen. They had Cee-Lo, DangerMouse, a live band, backup singers, and a string section. They came out wearing white lab coats and plaid shirts and Cee-Lo introduced them as "John Glass and the Beautiful Minds". They started off with a cover of "She Blinded Me With Science". They also played a Doors' song and "Gone Daddy Gone". Cee-Lo tried to get chicks to show their boobs, but I saw nary a boob. After Gnarls, we caught some of Cat Power and then left to go back to downtown Austin to see Sufjan Stevens. We saw Sufjan in a venue called the Paramount Theatre, which is a converted theatre from the 1920s where they have concerts and plays. The show was one of the greatest shows I've ever seen. Seriously. It was gorgeously wonderful. Sufjan's opening act was good. She plays guitar and sings in his band. She kinda sounds like Kate Bush and Fiona Apple mixed together. I bought her CD. Yeah, but Sufjan was great and the venue was great. I mean, you could eat JuJubes and watch Sufjan Stevens at the same time. The band was extremely tight and great. There was something like 16 musicians on stage and they were absolutely perfect. The show started with "Sister" and went on from there. Sufjan also played a new song from an album he's recording about birds. Elizabeth cried alot during the show. I only cried during "Casimir Pulaski Day" cuz that song's really sad and stuff. For an encore, Sufjan and three other guys did "John Wayne Gacy". Sufjan forgot what city he was in. Elizabeth wants to make out with him. I said she can date Sufjan if I can date Neko Case.




We got to the festival at about 1:30 and halfway listened to I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness, a local Austin act. The first set we actually watched was TV on the Radio. That was easily the best 45 minutes of the whole festival. It's just unfair how much better TVOTR is than any other band right now. They're unfuckwithable. They mixed in some of their new songs with stuff of "Desperate Youth". They didn't do the beatbox version of "Ambulance". They had horns. The bass player still didn't face the crowd. The only disappointment of the festival was that they only played for 45 minutes. I guess since they were a last-minute replacement, they didn't get as much time as they should have, but...man...TV on the Radio is the best thing going right now. More on them later. After TVOTR, we decided not to go see The Shins, because I don't really care for the Shins or their "tight rolled-up jeans and stupid engineer hat wearing" fans. Instead, we watched Elvis Perkins. He's the son of Anthony Perkins and really good. He kinda sounds like Rufus Wainwright except less orchestrated and less homosexual. I was happy with the decision to see him over The Shins. Next, I forced Elizabeth to come see Guy Clark with me. Guy Clarke is an outlaw country singer in the tradition of Townes Van Zandt. He's the second most famous musician from Austin outside of Willie Nelson. He played accompanied by one other guy and was really great. Elizabeth ended up enjoying it, and I learned that the only two things in this world that money can't buy are true love and home-grown tomatoes. Next, we caught some of the Raconteurs. They were ok, but I don't think Jack White brought his A-game. Most people started to leave before their set was over. After that, we went to go see Iron and Wine. Sam Beam's beard is ridiculous. So ridiculous that it should've gotten seperate billing. His beard and Doug Martsch's beard should fight for the title of "Best Beard in Rock Music". Anyway, he played with a full-on live band, and I was surprised at how well his solo songs translated to the live band set-up. Elizabeth and I snuggled to "Naked As We Came". After Iron and Wine, we were gonna go see Willie Nelson, but I've seen Willie Nelson before and he doesn't really change his setlist, so we caught some of Massive Attack. They had a nice light show. Halfway between Willie and Massive Attack, you could hear both at the same time. They should collaborate on a mash-up of "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" and "Teardrops". Elizabeth liked Massive Attack. We left a little before they finished so we could beat the rush back to the shuttle. It didn't work.




We got to the park at about 1:30 and I bought a kick-ass Colombian hat. Then we went to go see Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley. He ripped shit up. Elizabeth's been with me for 6 years, but she never knew I had so much rhythym. I got down. He brought about 15 of his brothers on stage and they had a guy whose sole purpose was to run across the stage waving the Jamaican flag. They ended with a cover of "Could You Be Loved". Lots of people were smoking dope. We weren't, but still it was great. Then, we went to see Jose Gonzalez, who, unlike Sam Beam, played solo. Just him and an acoustic guitar. He didn't talk to the audience once. The last song he played was "Heartbeats". I like Jose Gonzalez. Really mellow and a nice comedown after Jr Gong. Then we moved over to watch Matisyahu. I don't really care for him, but he was ok enough. I bet his Hasidic Jew clothes got hot in the Austin heat. After that, we went to check out The New Pornographers because I have a secret crush on Neko Case. Elizabeth thinks her face looks funny. We stayed for two songs and went over to watch Son Volt for about 5 minutes and then went to get some food. While we were eating, we were listening to this Mexicali band called Los Amigos Invisbles. They fuckin' rocked. I wish we would've watched their whole show. After we ate, we went to see the Flaming Lips. They put on...the oddest spectacle I have ever seen. Wayne Coyne came out in a giant balloon and rolled over the crowd. Their stage ensemble consisted of people dressed up like superheros including Captain America, Wonder Woman, and Space Ghost, kids dressed up like Santa Claus, women dressed up like the woman from Lost in Space, giant inflatable astronauts and aliens and a Hell of a lot of confetti. They opened with the first song off of "The Soft Bulletin". Then Wayne Coyne told a long story about how the day before Ben Kweller's nose started to bleed during his set, so he stuffed it with a tampon from the audience and he didn't wanna be outdone, so then he took out a bottle of fake blood and dumped it over his head and then told all the women to throw tampons on stage. They played mostly stuff off of "Yoshimi". "Ego Trippin' at the Gates of Hell" was a highlight. They closed out the set by doing a combo of "She Don't Use Jelly" and a spectacular version of "Do You Realize??" Excellent stuff. We left before Tom Petty because I have to go to work and school in about 7 hours. After we rode the shuttle back into downtown Austin, we tried to walk a few blocks to this club where TV on the Radio were playing. We were walking around the outside looking for scalpers selling tickets. Around back, we saw the drummer for TVOTR hanging out on a fire escape. He saw us and saw my TVOTR shirt and gave me the "head nod". Yeah...the fuckin' head nod. Anyway, we couldn't get tickets, so we came back to Houston. ACL was great this year, as it was last year. Personally, I think it's the best festival going in the US in the best city for live music in the US. There's just so many different kinds of bands both at the festival and in the city that anybody could find something to like. I recommend it to everyone. We plan to go next year and my backseat can hold 4 people or so, so if anybody wants to go...Yeah.


And now...here's the top 6 acts we saw this weekend:


1. Sufjan Stevens

2. TV on the Radio

3. Jr. Gong and The Flaming Lips tied

4. Iron and Wine

5. Gnarls Barkley

6. Massive Attack


And thus ends my long rant about my weekend in Austin. I'm going to bed. Later, homies.

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I've never been to a giant festival. Sounds pretty marvelous, though the write-up would have been better if your girl was named something like Elvira or Persephone, something that's really funny to see written a bunch of times.

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Guest Agent of Oblivion

What did you mean by "Before Dax got all weird"? Guy made a career out of overdosing and writing lyrics about coathanger abortion gone awry.

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By Dax getting all weird, I don't mean like...lyrically weird. I mean, he started making a concerted effort on stage to act weird. Like...he started to ramble and say dumb things. I know Dax a little bit, and he's always been an odd fellow. I remember seeing him play at this club in Houma, LA called Toucan's in like...1994, back before Audie died. He used to keep his hand in his pocket and masturbate while singing. He lived like...way out in the sticks in a place called Cut Off with his dad who he referred to as Pops. One day, out of the blue, he called up my brother and asked if he wanted to come over and eat some spaghetti. This other time, Dax was riding in the backseat of one of my old buddy Brent's car and he was all hopped up on something and was trying to suck himself off back there. Then from like...1998-2000, he went off the deep end and got really, really bad into drugs. The last time I saw him in Houma before I moved down here was at the mall. He was coming out of the antique Cajun paraphenalia store carrying this gigantic cuckoo clock. He looked like he weighed about 95 pounds. I don't have a problem with Dax and his weird lyrics. I think he occasionally takes it too far with his Jim Morrison/Marc Bolan/Townes Van Zandt fetish, but, as a person, he just seems like he tries too hard to get people to think he's weird. Yeah, but I'm glad to see he's becoming somewhat successful. Right around the time Audie died, Acid Bath was about to break huge all over the country. It's a shame that Acid Bath didn't blow up, because I personally like them better than anything he's done since.


And I'll try to get Elizabeth to change her name to Persephone before we go next year so the write-up can be funnier. I doubt she'll go for it, but I'll work her over pretty good.

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