Day three began just as lightheartedly and nonchalantly as the days before. There must be something in the water here in Austin (or maybe it’s the Budweiser), because you guys are just a little too relaxed and its making us drop our NYC guards, which might result in terrible, regrettable mistakes! All of this drinking Budweiser and jumping rope double dutch-style (just kidding about that part) is going to have to stop tomorrow, but we took today for what it was worth. Devendra Banhart was one of the first to take the stage against a murmur of confused onlookers. “Who that man?” The confusion was a direct result of a new-found coiffure for the usually straggly-looking musician. And his wardrobe wasn’t anything special—just a plain blue tee-shirt and olive pants. But regardless of the norm wear, his trademark idiosyncrasies were definitely present. In an unprecedented festival move, Devendra asked the crowd if anyone out there had a song they’d written that they always wanted to perform live. One very lucky guy (a guy we happened to had already met, shirtless, at the Black Lips stage just a day ago) got up on stage and behind Devendra’s guitar, and probably had a psychological meltdown as his wildest dreams came true in front of thousands of people. Afterwards the kid and Devendra kind of locked heads in a cosmic embrace, and that was that. Some of the performance, like the clothes, were more traditional than we would have expected, but Banhart and his band, the Grogs, really shined on songs like “Carmensita,” “I Feel Just Like A Child,” and a great cover of Roxy Music.
Gayngs, who we were all anticipating, had their bus stolen from downtown Austin, and despite their efforts, they were without the crucial gear necessary for an eleven-thirteen person band to perform. We discovered this the more confusing way—by walking up to the scheduled stage and eyeing the Rastafarian flag draped over the stage. Nope, not Gayngs—but instead, a little stoner outfit called Lance Herbstrong.
Instead, we headed to see The Morning Benders, a seriously young and youthfully serious band out of San Francisco. Surprised by how technically strong they were on their instruments, we could sense a psychadelic/experimental undercurrent running through their basically indie pop hits. We’re totally curious to know what’s next for these dudes, after festival season is over.