Photos - Austin City Limits Day 1





When it comes to the Austin City Limits Music Festival, there are nearly as many ways to describe and report, as there are patrons of the fest itself. This is one patron's account.


Words by Kyle Rother
Photos by Jacqueline Fernandez & Daniel Perlaky

Day One:

[by Daniel Perlaky]

Soaked from my annual pre-fest waterlogging ritual, I arrived at day one of the 7th annual ACL Fest. Full was my backpack with sunscreen, schedules, camera, extra water and towels, and mid-range were my hopes for this year's fest. Unlike previous years, the line-up for 2008 was sparse with brow-raising acts, but I took this as a good thing, for it is when you least expect it that you will be pleasantly surprised.


[Hot Chip by Daniel Perlaky]

First stop of the weekend was the Dell stage with the hip global sounds of Yeasayer. Friends and acquaintances have been gushing over the Brooklyn quartet for some months now, attempting to sway my apathetic interest in their debut LP, All Hour Cymbals. I must say though, that upon witnessing their tribal-infused beats and their wild echoed yelping I was impressed. If there is some sort of accusatory criticism to be made of them, it's not that they seem to have just thrown a dart at the map and formed a band therein, it's that maybe they should screen David Lynch's DUNE, while they perform. For those that aren't immediately drawn in by Yeasayer's oddly mesmerizing melodies and vast cyber-safari landscape of aural pleasure, then maybe the Master of odd himself can shine a light for them. Good act to start the day, or at least the first 30 minutes of the day, as our course charted a path toward the Austin Ventures stage to catch what was to be the unexpected highlight of the afternoon, The Strange Boys.


[Yeasayer by Daniel Perlaky]


[by Daniel Perlaky]


[by Daniel Perlaky]


[by Daniel Perlaky]

Hailing originally from Dallas (but don't hold that against them), these relatively new Austin-ites have slowly and steadily carved out a perfect niche for themselves in that most classic of pop genres, Rock/R&B. The Stones, The Kinks and The Yardbirds took it from Little Richard and Chuck Berry, and now The Strange Boys are bringing it back home seemingly with ease. Made up of four (stress: young) friends - two of them brothers - they are proving themselves able to rock n' roll with the best of them, and they showed it Friday afternoon to a slowly expanding audience all ready to twist and shake. Most unique about the group is the sloppiness with which front man Ryan Sambol slurs through his verse, with a voice somewhere between early Dylan and pre-pubescence. Not to be outdone, and hardly able to be discounted is the literal hammering of the skins that drummer Matt Hammer (yeah, I know) provides. Perhaps the strangest thing about their spot on the day and their overall reception amongst those paying attention is that they outdid a certain couple of "big name" acts before (Yeasayer) and after (Vampire Weekend) by enjoyable leaps and bounds, yet they've not got an official release to their name, let alone anything to be considered a full length.


[The Strange Boys by Jacqueline Fernandez]


[by Jacqueline Fernandez]


[by Daniel Perlaky]


[by Jacqueline Fernandez]

Onto bigger yet maybe not better things, the third act of Friday brought the heat of the day to the big AMD stage for Vampire Weekend. There's not much to say of the foursome that hasn't already been said. I've seen them twice now and one thing I must say is that they don't really need to be playing festivals. It's nothing against them personally and I understand that they need a big stage for the amount of traffic they're generating, but their sound is too small and stripped down. They are much more suited for the likes of a club, or a backyard college party. Despite bringing on local classical troupe Tosca String Quartet for some much needed texture, the hype was hard to deliver upon for a group standing as far back as we were, and we decided to make an early exit to catch what would be another surprising standout of the first day.


[Vampire Weekend by Daniel Perlaky]


[by Jacqueline Fernandez]


[by Daniel Perlaky]

I will go on record as saying that I know next to nothing about Hip-Hop. I've got my few records that I listen to with glee, but beyond that, I couldn't tell you much of anything with regards to the genre. I was, however, quite impressed with the one Hip-Hop act from last year, Common, so the prospect of seeing another this year was highly anticipated. Even more exciting was that Del tha Funky Homosapien was to be the act in question. Del is, luckily, one of the few Hip-Hop acts I am somewhat familiar with, especially with regards to his work in Hieroglyphics, a sort of collective in the West Coast Hip-Hop community. He is an oddity in his realm, but one that fully embraces his quirk and flows with it easily.


[Del by Jacqueline Fernandez]


[by Daniel Perlaky]

After 15 minutes of hype from a local rapper and one of Del's crew, he finally hit the stage with A+ (APLUS) from Souls Of Mischief and proceeded to break into a set filled with hits from his great underground catalog, most notably from albums like I Wish My Brother George Was Here, Deltron 3030, and his newest offering, Eleventh Hour. He even flowed over an extended cut of his work on the Gorillaz track "Clint Eastwood." Another highlight I have to mention was when A+ was allowed to indulge us with a clip from one of his group's most well known tracks, and probably my favorite Hip-Hop song of all time, "93 Till Infinity." Overall, it was an eye-opening surprise for most of those gathered at the AT&T Blue Room stage, and a well-informed look into one of the true talents of the Hip-Hop community.


[by Daniel Perlaky]


[by Daniel Perlaky]


[by Jacqueline Fernandez]

Still riding the high Del and his crew inflated within us, we made our way to Gogol Bordello (with a quick stop for a couple Lone Star tallboys) and what would be the craziest show of the fest for sure.

It's no secret that Eugene Hütz and his crew in Gogol Bordello are most likely batshit crazy. One needs look no further than their stage presence to gather enough evidence to support that theory. One thing that might be overlooked in the process though, is how absolutely talented the bunch is. Combining elements of Gypsy, Punk, Dub, Rock and Hip-Hop can be a confusingly distorted job, but the crazy gypsies of Gogol's outfit manage it with relative ease, and a bucket load of fun. There was nary a moment during Hütz's insane orchestrations where someone in close proximity wasn't smiling or dancing arm in arm with a fellow drunken comrade; and for as far back as we were, that's a statement. I've heard arguments ripe with criticism of them, and I've tried to sway opinion, but all one really needs to do to understand what is at the heart of Hütz's movement is to attend a show and let yourself go, because it will be one of the most fun things you can do. And if you're still not convinced, check out the doc The Pied Piper of Hützovina, it's another great look into the strange genius of Eugene Hütz.

[Gogol Bordello by Daniel Perlaky]


[by Daniel Perlaky]

Next up for us was a move from Gogol's gypsy revolution to the food tent, then back to the AT&T stage for a good spot in wait for David Byrne. Only really familiar with some of the hits of Talking Heads, I was more interested in hearing a couple tracks from his latest collaboration with electronic whiz Brian Eno, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. And fancy that, when the first track he comes onstage with is the first single from that album, "Strange Overtones." It is vintage Byrne, covering all ground from his work in Talking Heads through to the present day. The rest of the set was as bright as the sun setting in Byrne's face. Moving through solo material and a Heads song here and there, I was surprised to see how youthful and exuberant he still seems. Allowing the odd trio of background dancers to bound and twirl about behind him and even manage to join in the fun every now and then, Byrne won over the crowd from the get go and managed to please all, especially with what was probably the highlight of the act, "Once In A Lifetime." I hate to spoil the next two days' worth of coverage, but David Byrne could have, and should have headlined the whole shebang. He easily and effortlessly closed down Friday night right in the face of the weekend, taunting and teasing for the rest of the closers to rival his set.


[David Byrne by Jacqueline Fernandez]


[by Daniel Perlaky]


[by Jacqueline Fernandez]


[by Daniel Perlaky]

It was a first day that exceeded expectations. How would day two compare?


[by Daniel Perlaky]


[M Ward by Jacqueline Fernandez]


[Mars Volta by Daniel Perlaky]


[by Daniel Perlaky]


[by Daniel Perlaky]


[by Daniel Perlaky]


[A Young Spectator by Jacqueline Fernandez]

Austin City Limits Music Festival

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Photos - Austin City Limits Day 1