Saturday, September 16, 2006

ACL 2006 - Friday

It was in the mid 90's as we entered day one of ACL 5. After buying t-shirts and posters, we were drawn by the siren's song of Claire Small. Our first of 2 finds for the day. Claire has a beautiful voice and we all really enjoyed her songs. We will be looking for her CDs in the Waterloo tent.

Thursday night we ran into a woman at the Continental Club who looked our age but maybe a bit crazier. She had driven from East Texas (I'm told that is a long drive) by herself and was attending the festival alone because her husband is into fishin' not music. She told us to check out a guy named Paolo Nutini. A quick check that night online told us she wasn't too drunk (unlike the guy we met who went to grade school with Deb... what are the odds of that?), and so off we went to check him out. This 19 year old beer drinker from Scotland (someone yelled out, "You aren't old enough to drink", as he took a swig of beer, and he said, "It makes it taste even better") was really special. He can sing, he can have fun (covered Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy"), his songs have a modern feel with good melodies (guaranteed airplay in previous eras) and a sense of music history (he did a wonderful cover of John Sebastian/Lovin' Spoonful's "Daydream"). Oh and I'm told he is really cute. Another CD to buy at Waterloo.

Every year we keep an eye out for our favorite photographer and she hung right by us at the Paolo Nutini show, so I got a nice shot. Speaking of which, I hear I was on TV this year; as the camera panned the crowed during Paolo's show and my red shirt stuck out.

Having missed Mishka at the Continentle Club the night before (we are becoming lightweights), we decided to check out a bit of his set; the highlight of which was his introduction which was given by Matthew McConaughey (his manager). Not that there was anything wrong with Mishka. He does a slow, spiritual form of reggae. We needed a bit more energy, so we headed over to the food court for some BBQ and sweet tea.

Last year we saw Tristan Prettyman solo. This year she had her band behind her and she sounded great. She has one of those cute voices that just makes you feel better when you hear her sing. All of the songs sounded great. Another trip to the Waterloo tent?

At around this time I heard that the reporter from Indie 103 in L.A. was whining about the heat. What a wimp. It was hot, but the sun screen hadn't started bubbling on my skin like previous years, so life was good.

I was looking forward to Nickle Creek. I've never seen them and I understand that time is running out. As everyone who has ever told me about them says, they are just amazing to watch. You start with a country/bluegrass base, then throw in classical training and finish it off with a joy of playing that is contagious and you have the ingredients for my favorite show of the day. Watching these guys (and gal) go from intense solos into even more intense runs played similtaneously is just amazing. It was everything I thought it would be; and more. Their version of "Toxic" just has to be seen to be truly appreciated, with Chris getting Brittany's moves down perfectly. And the jig on a mic'd floor during the medley that included The Band's classic, "The Weight", was just a pure joy to watch. What an excellent show.

When last we saw Cat Power (two years ago I believe) she was solo and melting down (left the stage early). But it was a different breed of Cat this year. She has her "Memphis Band" (about a dozen of them at least) and a new happier attitude. It made for a fun hour as this sturdy band lead Cat through most of her latest CD, "The Greatest" along with classics like her very unique rendition of "Satisfaction" (which included a little rooster walk a la Mick).

We finished off the day watching (and listening) to Trish Murphy. Her southern rock is potent and fun, and she easily wins this years butt shot (although we'll see if she can compete with Lucinda when she's 50... I'm betting she can).

The real crowds finally arrived and it was time to leave. Every stage was heavily packed we decided to get to La Zona Rosa early to get up front for Guster and Gomez. There was no reason to hurry. We weren't the only ones with this idea. By the time we found the place (4th and Rio Grande) the line was all the way down the street, so we headed over to Hut's for a burger. We got to LZR at about 10pm and Gomez arrived 10 minutes later. Well, it was more like exploded, as they put on a blistering hour and a half set that left us wondering if Guster could compete. These guys are so talented, with three good singers and three good guitar players and lots of fun and energy. They just wore us out. Which may be why we were just not nearly impressed with Guster when they arrived onstage at about 12:15am. They later said that this was the latest they ever remember playing (obviously they've never played the NYC bar scene). Guster was good, but I really believe they should have gone first.

And that is all the energy I have left for this... On to day two.


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