Photos - Austin City Limits Day 2





Saturday was by far the most crowded of the fest, with a sold out attendance quickly piling into Zilker Park over the course of the day. There were some good things, some not so good things, and some downright ugly things throughout.


Words by Kyle Rother
Photos by Daniel Perlaky

Day Two:

[by Jacqueline Fernandez]

The Good

Fleet Foxes. The first act of the day turned out to be the perfect start to the second installment of the fest and although the last thing I usually think of when it comes to standing out in 90+ degree heat is CSNY/Beach Boys inspired harmonies and soft rock fit for wintry forests, Fleet Foxes managed to ease the collective stress on the hearts of everyone in attendance. Nearly forgotten was the fact that today would be the most crowded day of the fest. Almost gone was any worry of trekking from stage to stage in hopes of catching half a set here or there. Singer Robin Pecknold & crew breezed though their hour-long opening of the massive AMD stage with an ease that betrayed their humbled yet witty banter.


[Fleet Foxes]

"We're just not a festival band," drummer J. Tillman mused.


[Fleet Foxes]

"I don't know how to communicate on a scale this big," Pecknold agreed. But despite these statements, communicate they did with an impressive display of musicianship rarely this well translated from album to stage. With a solid set comprised largely of tracks from their self-titled LP they dazzled with sun-drenched harmonies and closed a promising start to day two with set highlight "Mykonos" off their 2008 release, Sun Giant EP.


[Fleet Foxes]

Spiritualized. At any music festival there are inevitably scheduling conflicts. This year was no different as there was a choice to be made between relative new kids on the block, MGMT and veteran space conductor Jason Pierce, better known as J. Spaceman, the creative force behind UK establishment Spiritualized. The choice here came down to a personal promise made to myself after spending the better part of a year with Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space as the soundtrack to every daily activity of mine. In the years since that promise I've attempted to amass the entirety of the Spiritualized catalogue and well, this small bit of loyalty and history ultimately won out over the current mass adoration of MGMT. I heard their set was pretty impressive though.


[Spiritualized]

With a spot staked out front and center I was fortunate enough to be witness to what I'd like to refer to as the loudest show of the fest. Opening with a distortion heavy cover of "Amazing Grace," Pierce, accompanied by his backing band and gospel singers, set the tone for the rest of the set that would call upon influences ranging from Gospel and Soul to Blues and Rock; and from intergalactic travel to outright faith in God/drugs.


[Spiritualized]


[Spiritualized]

The set list covered many tracks from Pierce's nearly 20 year career but highlights were definitely pulled from that breakout '97 album whose title track left nothing but chills running down my spine. By the time the distortion faded on "Come Together" Pierce & Co. left the stage in a hail of cheers and well-deserved applause. It was a set that I would hear rumblings about for the rest of the weekend, and one that definitely landed high on the list of favorites of the fest.


[Spiritualized]

The Not As Good (I'm just saying)

Man Man. I was hoping for quite a bit from Philly's experimental troupe Man Man. I was hoping for looney tunes, insanity, maybe a trip down the rabbit hole into the deep, dark and wild underbelly of hell. I got exactly what I was hoping for, it just turns out that I wasn't as satisfied as I thought I'd be when I got it. There was a healthy dose of tracks from their latest release Rabbit Habbits, including personal favorites "The Ballad of Butter Beans" and "Top Drawer" which sounded great and were played with technical precision, but like I said, not as satisfying as I'd thought it would be. I think I might have been the only one in a crowd of hundreds who felt this way, and I'm not sure what it was. Maybe I didn't have on tight enough jorts, or enough white face paint. Maybe I wasn't close enough, or maybe I wasn't stoned enough. I'm just saying.


[Man Man]


[Man Man]


[Man Man]

Bavu Blakes and The Extra Plairs. I don't want to dis Bavu because we're from the same town, and I don't want to dis Bavu because he's obviously having fun doing what he does. Furthermore, it's hard to dis Bavu because he's a nice guy that works his ass off to be where he's at and for the following he's amassed here in Austin. With that said, it was equally as hard to enjoy the set from Bavu at ACL that was poorly managed time-wise and hardly able to measure up to the previous day's Hip-Hop act, Del tha Funky Homosapien. Not only that, but he managed to absolutely fail to make use of his ace in the hole, one of the best-kept secrets of Austin, the young bluesman Gary Clarke, Jr. The set was a little on the bland side, and his rendition of Kate Perry's "I Kissed A Girl" was more cheesy than cheeky. Even coming out in an Obama mask to open the set seemed way cheesier than I'm sure it's intended effect was. Like I said, I don't want to dis Bavu. I'm just saying.

The Ugly: Allergies and the Case of the Mud Boogers

In a repeat of 2005's Coldplay headlined fest, day two ended with a severe case of bloodshot eyes (though not from the avenues you'd hope), a hacking cough and enough snot congested in the nose to fill a Lone Star tallboy.


[Erykah Badu]


[Erykah Badu]


[Erykah Badu]

It was nobody's fault in particular though. C3, in all their power and glory, did everything they could to hydrate the grounds in preparation, but no matter how prepped you are, you still have upwards of 80,000 pairs of feet tramping from stage to stage in the dry heat of a Texas summer.


[Drive By Truckers]


[Drive by Truckers]


[Jose Gonzalez]


[Jose Gonzalez]

The result was something not entirely foreign to the region's historical fashions, as bandanas were brandished across the park in an effort to filter out the thickening dust. Wherever you turned it looked like a massive parade of Butch & Sundance impersonators. That practical use of the bandana outside of hipster fashion trends would actually be quite cool if it weren't for the ugly cause of its use to begin with. After all, there's nothing like looking down into your Kleenex late in the day to find that a hefty amount of nose fertilizer has been caked along your nostrils. No wonder it'd been so hard to breath all day. There's nothing like the smell of mud boogers in the evening.


[The Lee Boys]


[The Lee Boys]


[The Lee Boys]


[Yonder Mountain String Band]


[Yonder Mountain String Band]

All of this would at least be slightly tolerable if it didn't all hit you in the middle of The Black Keys set, influencing a sudden decision to miss glimpses of Roky Erickson, Iron & Wine and the entirety of Beck's closing slot. I'm sure it was all really cool though. At least my photographer felt good enough to stick it through.


[Beck]


[Beck]


[Beck]


[Beck]

But let's end on a good note: Mason Jennings and Black Joe Lewis both rocked the Austin Ventures stage in their own respective ways. Jennings with his uniquely voiced singer-songwriter bliss and Lewis in all his vociferous, James Brown-praised glory. Both were supporting upcoming full-length releases and both inspired their own unique praise, be that an easy sway and sing-along, or a raucous twist and shout. Besides, how could you not completely fall in love with Lewis' hit, "Bitch, I Love You" while chowing down on a massive bratwurst?


[Black Joe Lewis]


[Black Joe Lewis]


[Mason Jennings]


[Mason Jennings]

Austin City Limits Music Festival

Posted:
Photos - Austin City Limits Day 2