by zander(s)

ACL so far has exceeded all of my expectations. From the media tent, to the unkempt grass, to the amazing lineup. Everything has been, in a word, awesome. We arrived at the festival grounds yesterday at about 12:30. Just enough time to get some snacks and beers and settle in. Two sets of hands typed the words you’re about to read, but we’ve lost track of who witnessed what and what experiences were our own.


Brooklyn’s Yeasayer kicked off our fest, emanating sounds of tribal indie rock across the grounds. They launched the perfect vibe to us festival goers, priming us for the day ahead. Each of the band’s songs offer something unique to appreciate and all four members contribute on vocals periodically. The energy rose from start to finish and culminated with performances of “Waiting for Summer” and “Sunrise”. Yeasayer is band on the rise whose popularity and crowd size will continue to snowball. Definitely one of the top acts of the day.

After some drinks in the media area (and my daily fruit leather stock up), we made our way over to Vampire Weekend. It’s their final U.S. tour date for a while before heading to Europe for a concert run with Ra Ra Riot and El Guincho (awesome trio!). Their crowd was huge as they ripped through their usual, albeit limited catalog. The group definitely needs to hit the studio after their mega tour, evident by front man Ezra Koenig‘s quip “after this next song, we’ll have played every song we know.” But I definitely don’t want to take anything away from these guys. Regardless of their concert odyssey, they always bring it to the stage and seem to appreciate their fandom. They concluded with “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance” and “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa.”

Around 4, we wandered over to the AT&T stage, and through the massive crowd watching Gogol Bordello. Oh my lord, it was like crack taking musical form. I had heard from friends that Gogol put on a fun show, but fun isn’t exactly the way I would describe it. It was gypsy mania. Outfitted with an old irish man on an acordian, another with a fiddle, what looked like an icelandic boy on coke, and two asian girls dressed in green sequined dresses romping around on stage doing back up vocals. I swear, it was like a fucked up dream. Or a cartoon. Either or.

And then it was onto my favorite show of Day 1. Hot Chip literally rocked my face off. I’ve always been ill fated and have missed them on various occasions. But not today my friend, not today. They killed it with a set list that was right out of my Hot Chip top ten with tracks such as “Boy From School,” “Ready for the Floor,” “Over and Over,” “Out at the Pictures” and “Privacy of Our Love.” They were feeling the love from the crowd, at one point saying “thank you guys, you’ve made it really fun to be on stage today.” We want to thank them for the much needed dance party and the best set of the day.

HOT CHIP @ AUSTIN CITY LIMITS from Quiet Color on Vimeo.

It was nearing 6PM and I realized I had to make my way over to Jenny Lewis. I’ve seen her perform a few times with her band Rilo Kiley, but this was my first time catching her solo act. To put it bluntly, this girl really rocks my world. She is just so goddamn talented. Set up in what was basically a reconstructed barn, Jenny waltzed across the stage in her little denim onesy, occasionally resting her beer on the piano, and had the whole crowd quickly falling in love. Performing songs “Handle Me With Care”, “Rise Up With Fists” and everyone’s new favorite track off her latest album, “Acid Tongue,” it was definitely the best show I’ve ever seen while sitting on a haystack. Coincidentally, the photos I took of Jenny came out great, and Alex said, “you can tell in your pictures when you really like an artist.” Nicely put my friend.


And finally the award for best overall presentation goes to David Byrne. Dressed in all white and wearing mirrored sunglasses, he looked like a fucking God, sun beating down on him as he commanded the crowd. He was surrounded by dancers, also clad in white, tumbling and writhing around him – at one point a male dancer was even crawling through his legs. This was more than a performance, it was a freaking etheral experience. He played songs from his solo catalog, highlighted by “Strange Overtones,” the lead single off his new release with Brian Eno.

After David Byrne, we took a much needed rest in the media tent. Not having any real desire to brave the crowds again for Manu Chao, we decided to head back downtown to hang and see Heartless Bastards at Emo’s. I love seeing them live in tiny, red lit bars. Erica Wennerstrom always brings the the power chords and vocals to jolt the loiterers. They played some songs off the new album which I’m highly anticipating. I like what I’m hearing, so I want the lowdown and some tracks asap.

We were 3/4′s of a functioning mind at that point. We proceeded to get tickets for j-walking and were dangerously close to spending the night at some rich, speech stricken yuppy’s house. One of us had a moment of sanity and realized that was fuckin insane. So we took a cab back to this badass hotel in the mountains. We woke up happier people. Alive and well to cover ACL day 2.

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