"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


ACL Wrap-up

What a weekend! It was unbelivably hot, as usual (108 degrees on Sunday and not a cloud in the sky to block the sun). Last night during Coldplay we were looking at the surreal scene of dust hanging in the air and the only light coming from the round things that are not the moon. But I had a great time - it was fun to catch up with friends, meet new people, and hear wonderful music. It just doesn't get much better than live music in Austin, Texas.

Bands I saw:
Leo Kottke & Mike Gordon, Kasabian, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Spoon, John Prine, Keane, Lyle Lovett, Split Lip Rayfield, The Asylum Street Spankers, Aqualung, Buddy Guy, The Weary Boys, The Frames, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, the Walkmen, The New Amsterdams, Eisley, M83, Rilo Kiley, Brave Combo, The Arcade Fire, Wilco, The Black Keys, and Coldplay.

Festival Highlights:

  • The weather, at least to the extent that Rita turned east and left us with really nice breezes on Friday and Saturday. Our thoughts and prayers are with those whose lives were ripped apart by this nasty storm, though, and festivalgoers were reminded of the tragedy when the president's helicopter flew over during the Frames set (see lowlights, below) on Saturday afternoon.
  • Steve Earle singing "F the CC" and "Condi, Condi," as well as his wonderful duet on "Comin' Around" with new wife Alison Moorer (whose music I've loved for the last four years and whose version of "Moonshiner" you need to hear).
  • John Prine singing his entirely appropriate, 35-year-old song, "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore" with the best lyrics ever. And also his lovely "Angel from Montgomery."
  • Seeing Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen sing "The Front Porch Song" together. That was on my list of things to do before dying, and I'm glad I finally got the chance. No idea why it took this long.
  • Split Lip Rayfield. Period. Any band that 1) has a bass made out of an old Mercury engine, and 2) has lyrics that say, "Oh, I wish I had a truck on blocks, but my Daddy's BMW is in the way" has my vote.
  • The Asylum Street Spankers' rap tunes. My gosh. I don't know when I've been so offended. Or so amused.
  • Buddy Guy, all around, but especially his amazing "Damn Right I've Got the Blues." Now if only those old people hadn't been bumping and grinding next to us to ruin the moment.
  • Wilco's Saturday night show at Stubb's. Naturally. The Sunday night festival show was also good, but they just played a shortened version of Saturday's set list. Suzanne accused me of being a Wilco nerd. All I have to say about that is that I am not the one who can predict the song before it starts based on which guitar Jeff Tweedy is holding. Ahem.
  • The Black Keys were amazing. How can that just be two guys? Really cool.

Festival Lowlights

  • The weather. 108 on Sunday. It was so miserable. So, so miserable. For the love, put the festival on a later weekend. There are away games in October. It could work.
  • The Frames. They're unoriginal and entirely predictable. I don't care what the KLBJ people thought about their Antone's SXSW show. I was there. They aren't offensive, but they are not worthy of covering "Ring of Fire."
  • Neither is Coldplay.
  • Robert Randolph & the Family Band was really disappointing. I heard they just weren't quite on their game, so I'll see them again sometime.
  • The dust. Ugh.

I'll post some pictures and such later on. Given that I was out until 3 on Saturday and 2 last night, it might be awhile.


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