that time of the year
Well, in the level of preparation I have come to expect from the Austin City Limits Music Festival, last night when I pulled up to the Zilker box office to trade in my ticket for a wristband, I was greeted in my car by a smiling woman who simply proclaimed, "We're out."
"Of what?" I asked.
"Wristbands," she replied, quickly adding, "But we'd like to offer you a cd or dvd from the 2005 festival for your trouble."
So I now own a copy of the 2005 ACL Festival live album. (A quick review: given that I generally 1) hate live albums and 2) hate 90% of the acts that ACL thinks I would like to hear over and over and over and over again, it's okay. There's a great recording of John Prine's "Lake Marie," and Asleep at the Wheel doing "Miles and Miles of Texas." (And that Kaiser Chiefs song that always reminds me of Wilco Ben, but that's another story). But there's a reason they have so many of these left over that they can give them away.
I returned today and the wristbands were back in stock, so we're all good to go. (And, wow, are the wristbands tacky. Like, Vegas-in-lights tacky. And also the kind of plastic that is pretty uncomfortable to wear, that doesn't stretch without tearing, and that doesn't appear to have a frequency chip inside, just a barcode. Whatever could have prompted the change?)
So the ACL festival is this weekend. Longtime readers of Texas in Africa will know that we always enjoy this annual event, in which we pretty much give over our weekend to sitting in the hot sun and listening to as many bands as possible while hanging out with good friends and making catty comments about the poor fashion choices of our fellow festival-goers (see 2005 festival coverage here and 2006 here).
The Librarian will not be at this year's festival, which is sad, because if the fashions are as tacky as the wristbands, it's going to be a great year for fashion-watching, and 23 is probably not going to be up for mocking people's bad outfits in the same spirit, so the last annual tradition may fall by the wayside this time around.
But I digress. On to the music.
By now I'm sure you've heard that the White Stripes are out, simplifying the White Stripes vs. Arcade Fire dilemma that was causing all the cool kids to try to figure out which show would make them seem hipper come Monday morning. They will apparently be replaced by Muse, who will be bumped up to fill that Saturday pm closing spot, but if the organizers are smart, they'll move Arcade Fire over to the AT&T stage to handle the crowds (Really. Who wants to see Muse?). (Then again, when have the ACL organizers ever done anything according to principles of logic or reason?)
There aren't many acts at this year's festival that I am Dying to See, so my plan is to just go with what my friends want to do for most of the acts. I do recommend that you check out
If you want more serious recs, Austin360's are pretty entertaining this time around. That said, here are a few acts you shouldn't miss that won't be the focus of any gushing Pitchfork reviews:
- Zap Mama - I missed her the last time around and will not miss her again if I can help it. Zap Mama is a Congolese rapper based in London. Her sound is totally unique. Just trust me on this one - you won't regret it. Saturday, 5:30, Dell stage.
- Bjork - Come on, whether you like her music or not, girl is completely insane. I'll stick around just to see her outfit. Friday, 8:30, At&T stage.
- Wilco and My Morning Jacket - I am So. Torn. I Hate. The. ACL. Schedulers. That said, one of my colleagues is apparently friends from growing up with MMJ, so if we can swing an in, that's where we'll be. Otherwise, I never get tired of Wilco shows. Sunday, 6:30, the two big stages
- Andy Palacia & the Garifuna Collective are up against LCD Soundsystem and M.I.A. I would like to see all 3. What to do, what to do?
The weather forecast is looking good (not too hot, not too much rain) and there's always something new to see. So freeze your water bottles, pack up your folding chairs, swindle a Rollingwood or Zilker parking permit out of your friends (thank-you Favorite Family!), and text us from the show. See you out there!