Monday, September 29, 2008

Austin City Limits 2008

Too much travel, not enough sleep = sick me. Missed work and slept 18 hours out of 24 for a few days. I was still feeling tired and mucous-y when ACL started so I missed most of 1st day including half of David Byrne's all-Eno-collaboration set. Dang dang dang. Like most years, I skipped out on the headliners which was a definite necessity this year. At least the copious mucous trapped the particles from the ubiquitous dust clouds.

Fatigue curtailed my note-taking this year so I just have a few impressions and quotes. The best of the festival for me was the Neko Case show where she noted this was the last date of her Fox Confessor tour (and quite a long one too). She'd been through Texas before on this tour but I wasn't able to attend. So glad I got to hear these songs before she inevitably retired a good chunk in favor of new material.

Despite their statements to the contrary, Fleet Foxes easily take to festival performance and delivered my other favorite show of the festival. Relaxed presence, superlative musicianship, and entertaining banter all contributed to a great set. Fleet Foxes put out a wonderful EP and debut album this year and I expect great things from them in the future.

Jose Gonzalez:
Not a likely festival performer, but thankfully people kept relatively quiet. I almost corrected the exceedingly pompous guy behind me when he loudly informed his girlfriend that Gonzalez wrote "Heartbeats" and his "original vision" was clearly superior to The Knife's. I let it go. She was doubtful anyway.

The Kills:
"Come see us when it's dark. This is bullshit." Huh, from where I was standing the bullshit was clearly centered on your lame backing tracks, ridiculous faux-worn cowboy accoutrements, and general air of insolence.

Comments from the stage moved from "The bottled water has sodium in it. It will make you thirstier," to frontman Torquil referring to it as "poison water." Uh no, a little sodium is good when you're sweating so much. Brawndo, electrolytes, all that.

Really looking forward to this show as I looove several songs on their album and like most of the others. I was concerned that it wouldn't work on a festival stage, sadly it was worse than I feared. Far too wanky and lame for most of the set. "Electric Touch" was the highlight with "Kids" as a close second. Managed to summon the energy to dance a bit and wore myself out quickly.

Yet again Austin is confirmed as a big little city when I randomly bumped into five people I know, including two high school classmates. Seems like it's more challenging to not find run into an acquaintance.

Gillian Welch:
Marvelous as always. Alison Krauss came out to sing on "Didn't Leave Nobody but the Baby" which was nice as I wasn't sticking around for her and Robert Plant's set.

In past years I've documented the various Here I Am! flags, but couldn't work up the enthusiasm this time. I did note with approval the perennial Beer Mug, Don't Tread On Me, and Bear Pride flags.

Uh, that's it I guess.

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