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.

ACL Day 2 Gandersman - 30

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.




Free Ghostland Observatory Show in San Diego!

22 07 2009

ghostland_observatoryCalling all you hipsters in North Park!  Ghostland Observatory will headline the Southern Comfort Presents: underCOVER show on Aug. 20 at Birch North Park Theatre. Sponsored Lyric Opera San Diego, Ghostland Observatory will give an up close and personal look into their musical influences, paying tribute to the artists and covering the very songs that helped forge the sounds you hear today.  DJ Lord of Public Enemy will open the show mashing up old school beats with new school hits.

While the concert is free, fans must text “SAN DIEGO” to 68405 to receive the show’s ticket code.  The code actually clues people in on who Ghostland Observatory will be covering that night.  Doors open at 7 p.m. with DJ Lord’s opening set beginning at 8 p.m.  For continued updates about underCOVER, please visit and  Must be 21!

PS – The underCOVER event will feature an illuminating UV surprise incorporating the stage, band, fans and the venue itself, a take-home limited edition show poster, and specially designed sunglasses for the UV reveal.  Attendees will also get to vote on-site for a song for the band to cover during the encore.  To get into this show, fans will need to show the text code on their phone, proper ID and make a $5 donation towards North Park Main Street.

Coachella 2009 Day 1

23 04 2009

So I wake up Friday morning with my ears still ringing from the fuzzy-psychedelic-fantastic Black Keys performance I caught the night before at the Glass House. With happy butterflies dancing around in my tummy, I’m stoked to endure three more full-days of ringing ear syndrome as Friday, April 17 marks the first day of Coachella 2009. Celebrating 10 glorious years of this premier music festival, probably the world’s best, Goldenvoice put on a stellar line-up and I was adamant about seeing all the bands on my Coachooser.  Ha! That’s a laugh now.

sirpaulUnfortunately, I got a very late start on my first day of Coachella. Being the nice friend that I am, my buddy’s flight was delayed by several hours and I had to wait for his arrival before we embarked on our journey to the devil’s armpit. Needless to say, I missed my beloved Black Keys performance. But from what I heard from a few friends that attended their show with me the night before, it was nothing in comparison. I guess the sound wasn’t that great either, which I can totally understand because I encountered some pretty shotty sound on the Coachella stage during a couple late afternoon / early evening performances. The Black Keys are made for an intimate sound stage, however I’ve seen them rock it out like it’s the end of the world on a couple large stages.

moz1Somewhere in-between exploring our luxurious diggs, pre-partying, getting lost and then getting stuck in the mad Coachella traffic, my Havaianas finally touched the Empire Polo Fields (Coachella) right as Morrissey was taking center stage. Rolling about 15 deep, we marked our territory for the weekend in the VIP area and commenced on a Coachella weekend to go set to go down in the books!

Vodka/Red Bull in hand, friends all-around and a big smile on my face I was in pure bliss. The Moz was so beautiful in his radiant essence as he serenaded us with songs from both his solo career, and The Smiths. Pushing 50, “this charming man” played songs such as “Girlfriend in a Coma,” “Ask Me” and “How Soon Is Now,” as though he were in his prime. Apparently, the British Sinatra actually stormed off stage for a hot-minute due to the stench of red meat on the barbi! “I can smell burning flesh and I hope to God it’s human” he said as he left the stage midway through “Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others.” But no worries, the Mozz returned in full effect.

Now onto the highlight of Day 1, or should I say the highlight of Coachella 2009? Sir Paul McCartney represented!!! I came in with a bit of a negative mindset towards his performance but he most definitely turned it around into the most positive of the whole event. The man was amazing! And at his age, how in the world did he play just about three hours and some four or five encores? Whatever fountain of youth pill he’s been taking, I want in on.

McCartney was epic and I am so grateful that I got to see this legendary Beatle perform. The universal feeling all around was like a natural high. From toddlers to sweet old couples fit to be my grandparents, McCartney united the crowd from every age group. Yes, he did play some of his tunes from his latest album “The Fireman,” but he killed it with his Beatles and other classic pieces. There was Wings’ “Band on the Run” and “Live and Let Die” (with fireworks, yet) and the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” “Paperback Writer,” Hey Jude” and “Get Back,” as well as a quite emotional mid-set “My Love” at the piano, in memory of late wife Linda.

I can’t explain the flurry of emotion running through me during his set. And I couldn’t have shared it with a better person but the one person I used to chill out to “Revolver” with while we smoked some greens and ate pizza in my junior high bedroom.  McCartney evoked such sweet nostalgia, uncontrollable happiness where I danced till my feet got soar, all the way to bitter sweet melancholy as I tried to hold back the tears. It was just beautiful, the music, the feelings and the reality. Additionally, the fireworks added to all this glorious emotion. Check it below: “Live and Let Die” with fireworks spectaculoso!

So who was on my Day 1 Coachooser you ask?

  • M. Ward
  • The Black Keys
  • Franz Ferdinand
  • N.A.S.A.
  • Ghostland Observatory
  • Morrissey
  • Silversun Pickups
  • Paul McCartney
  • The Presets
  • The Crystal Method

Who did I see of that list?

  • Paul McCartney
  • Morrissey
  • The Presets (Saw about five minutes worth and the sound was way to loud by the way)

Here’s a few pics of Coachella Day 1: