Austin City Limits (2009) Day 2 Photos and Review!

7 10 2009

WORDS: Q. Manning

You’d be hard-pressed to imagine a way that Day Two of ACL Fest could have been different from Day One. Whereas the day before had everyone putting on sunblock and buying cowboy hats/sunglasses (I know I had to), Day Two created an ocean of umbrellas and ponchos.

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After the first day, I thought I had a pretty good handle on the supplies necessary to brave ACL Fest. I headed to Wal-Mart at 5:30am and grabbed a new backpack, hand sanitizer, Febreeze, gum, band-aids for my newly acquired blisters and everything else I could think of. I was pretty damn proud of my ability to plan and off we headed to the festival.

But all my planning was for naught, as I forgot the one thing needed most: the poncho. We waked our way to the festival, or in my case, hobbled my way, and as we crossed the Colorado River/Ladybird Lake, all you could see on both sides were rain clouds and drizzling. But we had hope things would let up, and onward we soldiered.

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We started the festival with an interview with the Suckers, a progressive rock-band based out of Brooklyn, New York who played 2009 SXSW here in Austin. The band only has out a single EP of 4 songs, but is currently in the studio finishing up some new material for a full LP release, but more on that during Sunday’s coverage when the band plays.

After the interview, the rain let up and we were able to get out to the Grizzly Bear show at the Dell stage. The crowd was excited with seeing the band away from the bad weather as the sun had finally started to peak its way through the thick quilt of clouds. Grizzly Bear played a solid set, being forced a little back from the front of the stage due to the rain. Grizzly Bear played SXSW already and apparently rocked the house, but this time around, some of the pure musicianship from the album just didn’t translate. Maybe it was the potential of rain or maybe it was the open-air format, but when the mud settled, it felt like some of their magic was lost.

Grizzly Bear

By this time, the sun had come out and we were thinking today would end up being great. The rain wasn’t too bad to have destroyed the landscape and Paul and I were both comfortable taking photos and not being worried about our equipment getting destroyed. Flogging Molly was the next stop for us and the energy and anticipation of the crowd made the air crackle. Or that’s what I thought it was, because about 5 minutes before the band started, the rain went from a drizzle to a torrent and we just couldn’t risk the equipment.

To the chagrin of all in attendance, we had to push our way back out of the crowd and stand on the edge of everything where the band did their thing. From the first note, the crowd was going and many folks there were warning people to go ahead and put their umbrellas away because once the pit started, all rules were off. Big words, but the actions didn’t quite match. Even the diehard who were willing to let the music move them found their spirits a little soggy. But the band never let up, probably because they’re used to this sort of weather in their native Ireland.

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We headed back to the Press area to escape the rain and hopefully wait things out. Luckily for us, a media outlet didn’t show up and their tent was available for some of us to hang out in. After about an hour we checked the weather and it just wasn’t going to let up for the rest of the day, so we made the call to leave for the day and see how things would be the next day. For my purposes, I could watch coverage on Hulu and see some of the bands we wanted to cover. Unfortunately for Paul, photos of his computer screen don’t have quite the same impact.

As for the bands later that night, only Ghostland Observatory was being broadcast on Hulu. Watching the show online was a much lesser experience, but some of GO’s patented badassery still came through. Austin music fans have no doubt seen this distinct duo, but it was nice to think of all the exposure the band would get from Hulu and ACL itself. Electronica fans know who they are, but what about fans of Pearl Jam or Flogging Molly? Now they’d get a chance and Ghostland didn’t let Austin down. Frontman Aaron Behren stalked around the stage like a pro, his high pitched, Freddie Mercury-laden voice echoing throughout the park.

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Right before I hopped into the shower to wash off the funk of the day, Paul told me he had a 103 degree fever and wouldn’t be able to shoot on Day Three. Now I was going to be writing and photo-documenting the event.

All I could hope for was a better climate than Saturday, otherwise, things were going to get really tricky, really fast.




Austin City Limits (2009) Day 1 Photos and Review!

6 10 2009

WORDS: Q. Manning

Day One of ACL was about as picturesque as you could imagine. The sun was out, the grass was lush and the party had started, because, when you get down to it, that’s all any music festival really is. Great food, music, a sea of cowboy hats and and scantily clad genders of your choice.

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We arrived at the festival a little later than we’d planned, not accounting for the massive amounts of traffic in downtown Austin. We hopped on the shuttles and arrived at Zilker Park just in time to head over to the Austin Ventures stage to see The Parlor Mob tear up the stage. I’m a fan of 70’s style rock and these guys brought it. From the wailing vocals to the pounding, tribal drumming, these guys at times invoked the very essence of Led Zeppelin but infused with a modern rock sensibility. I walked away from the set a fan.

The Parlor Mob

Next up we headed over to The Walkmen at the XBOX360 stage. Braving the Austin sun with collared shirts and slacks, the band opened up with a greeting of “Hello music lovers!” and proceeded to infuse the festival with some much needed folk-inspired indie rock. Frontman Paul Maroon may look like Captain America but his voice is a little bit Bob Dylan meets Black Francis with the phrasings of Jeff Tweedy. Their music was infectious, rousing the crowd, and all that was compounded when the guys brought a great horn section to come out and accompany them. Like with The Parlor Mob, the sound wasn’t anything new, but it was definitely something I enjoyed.

The Walkmen

Phoenix was one of the bands everyone in the festival had been buzzing about and the crowd at the large AMD stage was massive, forcing me to hang back on the periphery and enjoy sitting on the soft grass. The French band brought their particular brand synth infused rock to the crowd and the attendees loved it. My exposure to the band had been limited to only their most from their last album, “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix,” and I’ll admit to being a tad disappointed by the set. Much of the energy and style I’d heard in their studio recordings was missing, though I could see I was in the minority.


After Phoenix, we hung out waiting for John Legend to perform and the sounds of Raphael Saadiq came wafting in from the XBOX360 stage across the park. Saadiq’s music was wonderful, classic R&B with a heavy bass line and amazing horn section, he moved the crowd gathered around his stage and most of the people waiting for Legend alongside me.

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Legend started his set by moving along the walkway that bisects the crowds at the larger ACL Fest stages, telling the crowd to “Emancipate yourself!” and went into his set. Never having been a huge John Legend fan, this was my first real exposure to much of his catalog and I found the experience to be similar to what Legend wore on stage that day – safe and toothless. Even his cover of Michael Jackson’s “Remember the Time” was lacking in soul and emotion. When he started I wasn’t a fan and when it was all said and done, my opinion hadn’t been changed.

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But then came one of the biggest surprises of the entire ACL Fest and a band that was much anticipated: supergroup Them Crooked Vultures. I knew Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters & Nirvana fame was in the group, but I wasn’t sure to what capacity. Was he singing? Playing guitar? He was playing drums and the power everyone first heard when Nirvana hit the scene was here in spades.

Them Crooked Vultures

Even more interesting were the other members of this supergroup: Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones on bass & keyboard with Queen of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme. Helping out was QOTSA guitarist Alain Johannes on guitar.

Them Crooked Vultures

If I had to compare the band to another band, I’d have to say Queens of the Stone Age, but more for their pure rocking rather than the vocals of Homme, who didn’t quite sound the way I expected, with his voice often taking on a David Byrne/Talking Heads quality. Most songs play with time signature and cadence, making most songs unpredictable. Everything seems to be driven by Grohl’s power drumming which had the crowd moving and gyrating. Coupled with Jones’ bass lines, the best description for this collection of musicians has to be “churning rock and roll.”

Them Crooked Vultures

Them Crooked Vultures are relentless and tight. Unfortunately, they don’t have an album available, meaning the great songs I heard will have to stay part of my memory rather than in my iTunes. Hopefully the guys will either get into the studio and record or release whatever they’ve done. Right now, the world needs some solid, true rock & roll.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Alas, moving over to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs after Them Crooked Vultures was a let-down. Like many people, the songs “Maps” resonated with me as just a well-crafted song. But I’d never been able to connect with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and a live performance didn’t change that. The vocals for lead singer Karen O needed to be cranked. This is odd considering the subdued music coming from the band. Each song I kept wanting the band to bring it, but it never happened. Karen O puts on a great stage show, however, with some truly fantastic stage presence. If you went in a fan, it was probably great to hear your favorite songs live, but for someone who was wanting to be impressed, the end result was lackluster.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

And such ended the first day of ACL Fest. The sun was hot, but the situation was tolerable. Day Two, however, would be a much different story.


FREE Austin City Limits MP3 Sampler!

10 09 2009

Austin City Limits and iTunes want to give you a free 2009 ACL digital download sampler featuring 16 songs from Thievery Corporation, Bassnectar, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Heartless Bastards, The Walkmen, K’Naan, and more. Go get your free ACL Festival Sampler Now! This freebie expires on Halloween!

Track Listing:Heartless_Bastards_1_-_Felicia_Graham1

BASSNECTAR – Art of Revolution
DR. DOG – The Ark
K’NAAN – Wavin Flag
MISHKA – 3rd Eye Vision
SARAH JAFFE – Ever Born Again
THE DEXATEENS – Granddaddy’s Mouth
THE DODOS – Fables
THE KNUX – Bang! Bang!
THE WALKMEN – On the Water
THIEVERY CORPORATION – Mandala (feat. Anoushka Shankar)
TODD SNIDER – Don’t Tempt Me

Download Here!

More Music Festivals Rolling Through!

2 09 2009

IMG_2424It seems as though music festivals are an endless journey. When one music festival comes to an end, another one commences. Outside Lands came to an end this past Sunday as Burning Man kicked off the same day. What’s up next? Check out these festivals coming up in the next couple of months. Whether you’re a hippy, rocker, hipster or just a fun-lovin’ music geek, there’s a lil something for everyone.

FYF Fest
Sept. 6, 2009 @ Los Angeles State Historic Park
Featuring: Black Lips, Lucero, The Thermals, No Age, Matt Skiba from Alkaline Trio, Peanut Butter Wolf, AA Bondy, Mika Miko, Nobunny, Glass Candy, Telepathe, The Strange Boys and MORE!

Sunset Strip Music Festival
Sept. 10-12, 2009 @ Various Hollywood Venues and Sunset Blvd.
Featuring: OZZY OSBOURNE, KORN, Shiny Toy Guns, Shwayze, LMFAO, The Donnas, Unwritten Law, The Knux, Iglu & Hartly, Iration, The Pricks, and more!

Symbiosis Gathering
Sept. 17-21, 2009 @ Camp Mather, Yosemite, CA
Featuring: Les Claypool, Coco Rosie, Os Mutantes, Yard Dogs Road Show, Amon Tobin, Bassnectar and many more!

New Noise
Oct. 8-10, 2009 @ various seaside Santa Barbara venues
Featuring: Michael Franti & Spearhead, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Mad Caddies, No Use For A Name, Har Mar Superstar, Zach Gill (ALO) & Kyle Hollingsworth (String Cheese Incident), Dead Country, and many more!

Austin City Limits (sold out)
Oct. 2-4, 2009 @ Zilker Park, Austin TX
Featuring: Yeah Yeah Yeah, Pearl Jam, Them Crooked Vultures, The Dead Weather, Dan Auerbach, Andrew Bird, Mos Def, Bon Iver, Citizen Cope, Sonic Youth, and so many more!

Treasure Island Music Festival
Oct. 17-18, 2009 @ Treasure Island, San Francisco
Featuring: MGMT, The Flaming Lips, Girl Talk, Grizzly Bear, The Decemberists, Passion Pit, Yo La Tengo, Dan Deacaon, Tommy Guerrero, and many more!

Las Tortugas Festival
Oct. 29-Nov. 1, 2009 @ Evergreen Lodge, Yosemite, Ca
Featruing: Umphrey’s McGee, Tea Leaf Green, The Mother Hips, Big Light, New Monsoon, Pimps of Joytime, Hot Buttered Rum and more!

Phish Festival 8
Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2009 @ Empire Polo Club, Indio, CA
Featuring: Phish! (duh) They’ll be playing eight sets across three days.

FunFunFun Fest
Nov. 7-8, 2009 @ Waterloo Park, Austin TX
Featuring: Danzing, Of Montreal, No Age, Face to Face, Youth Brigade, King Khan and The BBQ Show, Cool Kids, Mika Miko, Crystal Castles, 7 Seconds, D.R.I., and more!

The Dead Weather

28 05 2009

Dead WeatherIt cracks me up how so many bands do the dark, dreary, I’m gonna scare you kind of steez. That whole look has become quite stale. Nonetheless, The Dark Weather should be pretty badass .  If you haven’t heard, Jack White (of White Stripes) has formed yet another power project, consisting of Alison Mosshart (of the Kills), guitarist Dean Fertita (of Queens of the Stone Age) and bassist Jack Lawrence (of The Raconteurs). The Dead Weather’s debut record titled “Horehound” hits the scene July 14! With a line-up like that, I’m sure it’s going to be pretty sick. Not to mention I absolutely love Alison Mosshart, she’s the coolest thing since Otter Pops.

The first single, “Hang You From The Heavens”, has more Mosshart on the vocals. It’s sexy, sassy and beat rockin’! The b-side cover Gary Numan’s “Are Friends Electric?” is more Jack, a bit quirky, dark carnival-like fun. Both are both pretty sweet, nothing jaw dropping, but enough to leave us hungry for more.

They have a full set of North American tour dates, including three festivals (Outside Lands, Austin City Limits and Street Scene) and a couple dates in Euro. Cop tickets asap, they will sell out:

06.11.2009 –  Coyote at City Block, Louisville, KY
06.24.2009 –  The Forum, London, UK
06.29.2009 –  La Cigale, Paris, FR
07.13.2009 –  9:30 Club, Washington, DCw/ Screaming Females
07.14.2009 –  9:30 Club, Washington, DCw/ Screaming Females
07.16.2009 –  Terminal 5, New York, NYw/ Screaming Females
07.17.2009 –  Terminal 5, New York, NYw/ Screaming FemalesPresale
07.18.2009 –  House of Blues, Boston, MAw/ Screaming Females
07.19.2009 –  Ottawa Blues Festival (Rogers Stage), Ottawa, Canada
07.21.2009 –  Olympia De Montreal, Montreal, Canadaw/ Screaming Females
07.22.2009 –  Kool Haus, Toronto, Canadaw/ Screaming Females
07.24.2009 –  The Fillmore, Detroit, MIw/ Screaming Females
07.25.2009 –  The LC Pavilion, Columbus, OHw/ Screaming Females
07.27.2009 –  First Avenue, Minneapolis, MNw/ Screaming Females
07.28.2009 –  Vic Theatre, Chicago, ILw/ Screaming Females
07.29.2009 –  Vic Theatre, Chicago, ILw/ Screaming Females
07.30.2009 –  War Memorial Auditorium, Nashville, TNw/ Screaming Females
08.17.2009 –  Ogden Theatre, Denver, CO
08.18.2009 –  The Depot, Salt Lake City, UT
08.20.2009 –  Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA
08.21.2009 –  Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, Canada
08.22.2009 –  Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, Canada
08.23.2009 –  Roseland Theater, Portland, OR
08.25.2009 –  Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
08.27.2009 –  Glasshouse, Pomona, CA
08.29.2009 –  Street Scene, San Diego, CA
08.28-30.2009 – Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival, San Francisco, CA
10.2-4.2009 – Austin City Limits Music Festival, Austin, TX

It’s a Roky Erickson Halloween Again

17 09 2008

For all of you that weren’t fortunate enough to catch Roky Erickson last Halloween, the psychedelic rock pioneer will be ghouling all out again this October. Touring with Texas’ very own The Black Angels, a pretty groovy band on the rise, Roky is currently in the studio with these boys. Lucky for them, they’ll be able to cover “Two Headed Dog” and “You’re Gonna Miss Me”, along with some unreleased Erickson material. Both bad ass songs, with “Your Gonna Miss Me” also being the title of Roky’sdocumentary, which you NEED to check out. The shit’s crazy, yet beautiful, it will move you and help you understand this legendary rocker.

Roky will also be be playing the Austin City Limits this coming September 26-28, with my favorite duo The Black Keys and many other great bands. Get on the Roky road ahead and don’t miss any of this good shit, otherwise it’s your loss, so don’t be a mark!

Roky and The Black Angels Tour:

October 4th: Granada Theatre – Dallas, TX

October 28th: The Showbox – Seattle, WA

October 29th: The Wonder Ballroom – Portland, OR

October 31st: El Rey – Los Angeles, CA

November 1st: Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA

November 2nd: Great American Music Hall – San Fransciso, CA

Summer Music Festivals

21 04 2008

Tis the season for a shit load of music festivals. Although, none have completely tickled my fancy. I do plan on attending the Austin City Limits. Their line up rocks and consists of some greats such as Roky Erickson, The Black Keys, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Tegan and Sara, Del, and the list goes on. I prefer this roster over the upcoming Coachella, Bonnaroo and All Points West. But to each their own. Check out this article for more info on all four events.

I don’t know why Slightly Stoopid is on there … that’s just stoops! Well, at least their from San Diego.