Crazy Horse Spirits and Rain: Austin City Limits Festival 2011 – Day 2

TV On The Radio and My Morning Jacket amongst day 2’s highlights at ACL’s 10 year anniversary.

> Read ACL Day 1 Recap

> Read ACL Day 3 Recap

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Rain came and stuck around for most of the afternoon at Zilker Park, home of ACL’s 2011 Festival.  Along with it came cooler air and well timed Crazy Horse inspired performances by roots-rockers, Phosphorescent and The Moondoggies. Each band performed unfazed by the gray clouds and soft pour, while winning over new fans from their 2010 releases, Here’s To Taking It Easy and  The Tidelands.  Those slowly strolling into the park after Friday’s hip-hop fused kickoff trying to avoid the rain missed some good-ol fashioned rock n’ roll.

Gillian Welch & David Rawlings made the best of a bad scheduling conflict, or stage setting, having to perform country-folk gems up against Skrillex‘s bass from the main stage.  The duo’s Hard Times from The Harrow and the Harvest a soulful, mid-set highlight.   Each performer seemed distracted by the bass-heavy air as much as the audience, making comments of such, but Rawlings’ heavy guitar pickings and soft-support harmonies carried Welch’s dark country ruminations till the rain stopped and the sun started to go down on Zilker.  A masterful performance by the duo despite a bad situation, having to play up against the annoyance of music festival, dance music, being performed at volumes that are unhealthy for a decent human’s taste in music, and body.

TV On The Radio closed off the rain and the Google+ stage before a 100,000 people had to decide between Stevie Wonder or My Morning Jacket.  TOTR performed a soulful-punk inspired set, playing songs as deep in their catalog as Staring at the Sun from Young Liars E.P. to more recent material, Will Do, Second Song, from Nine Types of Light.  What struck me the most was hearing ‘9 Lights” contemplative, studio material performed with volume and passion in a large setting, Repetition especially.  Kyp Malone and Tunde Adebimpe’s vocals bounced between soulful falsettos and primal screams, perfectly in sync with each other—  a festival highlight.

How does 1 choose between Stevie Wonder and My Morning Jacket? Seems easy on paper, Stevie— and it should have been that easy to attend, but by the end of Day 1’s heat and Day 2’s rain, you end up where you sit after being on your feet all day.  My Morning Jacket it was, a tough call, but one I’m more than satisfied with.

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My Morning Jacket gave a knockout performance worthy of air guitar solos, head shaking and goosebumps that the Kentucky based band are known for.  Jim James’ vocals on older songs Golden and Gideon echoed the Austin air; newer material, Victory Dance and Outta My System, from this year’s Circuital, played well too.  MMJ’s performance was all kinds of weird soul, country, rock and flat out fun. Even a cheesy, ‘Karate Kid Kick’ in mid-song form from James couldn’t detour his band’s focus or the crowd’s enjoyment from partaking in a great show.

The legendary, Preservation Hall Jazz Band joined MMJ to close out the night in playful fashion on Holdin Onto Black Metal, Dancefloors and One Big Holiday, but it was the set up to the finale with Smokin From Shootin and Mahgeeta that locked in this festival goer’s attention.

Any doubts I had about not having enough energy to make it 300 yards away to Stevie Wonder’s set were put to bed by My Morning Jacket on day 2’s close.  They played their hearts out, and still managed to make it look like fun, up against a living legend.  Take a listen, recorded live at ACL 2011.

AW

> Read ACL Day 1 Recap

> Read ACL Day 3 Recap

Crazy Horse Spirits and Rain: Austin City Limits Festival 2011 – Day 2Andy Whorehall
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