Austin City Limits Music Festival
Austin, TX – Music festivals come with a bag full of issues, sound issues and drunk fucks are to be expected and there were plenty of each on Day 1 of Austin City Limits 2012 music festival. The surprises are the payoffs and Day 1 provided many.
Black Lips’ hardcore fans took many moments to yell Weezer Sucks! between songs, while Terrence Malick was ‘secretly’ filming a scene with Ryan Gosling and Rooney Mara, literally, also, while the Atlanta punk rockers blazed through a set of songs on an opposing stage at the same time as Weezer. A strange, unexpected festival highlight at best. I left their set and ACL performance a new fan.
The Afghan Whigs drew a large crowd, surprisingly, to the AMD Stage, one of the festivals larger stages. I never knew the iconic 90s rockers had a following that large, good for them, but judging by the talkers, people were there to hear themselves instead of classic cuts from their 90s catalog.
Justin Jones and his band played a heartfelt, bluesy, Americana set earlier in the afternoon to an attentive smaller crowd— one of Day 1’s highlights.
Trampled By Turtles had a large crowd for their set but sound issues sadly limited their live performance, which relies on tight harmonies, acoustic melodies and a fiddle that passes for percussion at times. Sad to say I couldn’t catch much that struck and stuck a chord for me this time around.
Word is Alabama Shakes had the same sound problems but we couldn’t get near the stage which made their Thursday night Stubbs performance all the more important for music lovers who were lucky enough to see them there instead of on the festival grounds.
Ben Howard drew a huge crowd, performing what I’d consider to be David Gray’s C-sides. Hmm.
M. Ward: Great backing band for a great songwriter, guitar player and performer. The band accommodated sound issues by playing a raucous set, turning typical Ward’s folk songs and a cover of Austin native, Daniel Johnston’s To Go Home, into fun, electric musical explorations. M. Ward’s players, Mike Coykendahl and Chris Scruggs, deserve performance badges for making due with metal bass fuzz issues that could have ruined the night cap set at the Austin Ventures stage. I didn’t stick around for the Black Keys, who headlined day 1, because I’d rather see them in a bar instead of with 75,000 people— about 70,000 of them don’t really like music is an observational assumption… blah, blah, blah, I’m a jerk but I’m probably right— sadly.
OVERALL: The Black Lips earned the we’ve got nothing to lose, go fuck yourself badge. A Day 1 ACL 2012 highlight.
Andy Whorehall (SM)
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