Friday, September 14, 2007

ACL 2007 Friday

Friday was easily one of the best ACL days we have had in years. In fact is seemed like one of the shortest days we've had. But by the time we left the Saxon Pub, at 12:30am, it was nearly one of the longest.

ACL started, as it normally does, about 15 minutes late, with the theme from Star Wars blaring. After a quick shopping spree at theACL tent (t-shirts where so-so this year, which is better than last year, but the poster is a lot better, which isn't saying much), we headed over to see Sahara Smith who was about half way through her set. She seemed pretty good, at times a bit like Beth Orton. I've got a short snippet below.

Seattle has it's cows (I think it is cows) and some other city somewhere I believe has pigs. But Austin, one of the coolest cities in the U.S. has an art project with guitars.

Then it was off to the big stage for one of the highlights of the day and maybe the weekend. Jesse Malin rocked the small crowd that gathered like only a New Jersey boy can. Hey Mike, what the hell is it? Is there something in the water? With only an hour to play, Jesse kept up the pace not to mention the passion, giving us easily the most exuberant and exciting set of the day. He did slow down for a ballad or two, but watching him perform, he never seems to be really slowing down. What a potent rocker he is. Do not miss this guy the next time he is in town.

Once again our favorite photographer was here. It only took one shot with my camera to get this wonderful picture of her. No need to stalk her this year. :-)
ACL is all about decisions, and we made a difficult one after Jesse's set. As we walked across the field we could hear Joseph Arthur just starting up. It sounded real good and maybe it was a mistake passing him by, but we really can't complain. Because... our next show was the Heartless Bastards and we got a set that almost equaled the quality of their name. Playing a set of I guess you can call it alternative rock, what you will walk away with is the lead singer's voice. Just when it starts to sound like a lot of modern bands, she will dig down deep and just blow you away. A very good set. I'm still not sure if I'm buying their CD. We'll see how the rest of the weekend goes. :-)

It was time for a quick bite and for me, the luck continued. Salt Lick, one of the best BBQ places in Austin is at the festival this year. I had a sausage wrap (high protein, low carbs... oh whatever) and it was very good. The girls had the sandwiches which weren't nearly as good as getting them at their restaurant. Meanwhile, one of the propane tanks exploded in a trailer behind the park causing a huge plume of smoke to rise. A couple of people were seriously injured (workers I believe).

After lunch, we headed to the Austin Ventures stage for Will Hoge. If you like the Black Crows you will like this band. They are young and hungry enough to really give it all they got, and we were lovin' it. He had one of the funniest comments of the day. Looking out at the smoke he said, "I hear a trailer caught fire. I'm sorry to hear that. Being from Tennessee, I can completely relate".

A decision was made... We wanted to get nice and close for Crowded House, so we ditched Blonde Redhead and made our way very close to the front, right on the middle rail (I did run over and snap a few pics though). This worked out perfectly because Blonde Redhead was playing right across the way. Their full, at times almost lush sounds bounced across the hills, sounding really good. After a while though her Yoko Ono type voice starts to get to you.

If Jesse Malin wasn't the highlight of the day, Crowded House was. Putting on a very short 1 hour set, they always remind us of how great pop rock can be when it is written with intelligence, wit and charm. There was very little time for banter, and Deb thought they should have left the ballads at home (being a festival, you need to crank it up a bit), but no one argued that they sounded great (much better than they did at the Glass House earlier this year). The video I shot was really really short. The videonazis were out jumping into the crowd to stop people from video taping the show. Idiots. But that is a rant for another time.

The weather, did I mention the weather yet? It was a beautiful day. Never got over 93 and the humidity was relatively low. But as Crowded House started playing, a few rain drops found there way onto us. The band noticed, and of course, do I have to tell you what they played next? It was a perfect time to hear, "Weather with You". They left us, as any great band should, wanting so much more.
After the show, we headed over to the Waterloo tent to start buying CDs where I caught up on my Jesse Malin collection. It was there that we ran into Guy, one of our lurkers. Guy has plenty of music in his head and really should chime in more often. This is what you get for emailing me Guy. :-) We had a great chat waiting for Spoon to start up. The crowd was pretty big for Spoon so we stayed as far back as we could. And maybe that was okay. They were a bit disappointing to us. Although I like their music, the energy never seemed to get off the ground (or stage); even with a horn section (I think there was a horn section... that's what Deb said).

We left the show early, sorry Bjork, grabbed some tacos at taco X press, and headed over to the Saxon Pub for Jimmy LaFave. Up first was a guy we may check out today, Mario Matteoli put on a good set of roots based rock.

We then got really rocked by Dustin Welsh. His wall of sounds band was really hot. Notice I said "sounds". Dustin plays banjo and dobro. He's got a violin player (she plays a lot of lead) and a female backing vocal. There is also an acoustic guitar. They all sing harmonies. The drums of course. And then, a metal styled guitar player, right down to his unisex shirt with holes in it and necklace. He played a classic big auditorium rock guitar. The merging sounds were great. It is too bad the room was so small and the mix had too much of the guitar in it. They would have been even better.

And finally, to end the evening, Jimmy Lafave. He has such a unique style and he brings it to all the songs he plays; even covers. And there were some great covers, from Dylan to Donovon to Bruuuuuuuuce. But live, he hardly notices the crowd and even said thank you out of the side of his mouth. The guitarist and keyboardist were hot, trading leads and really thrilling the crowd with the smooth solid delivery. Maybe expectations were too high and we were too tired. The evening ended on a great note with Jimmy covering "The Weight", one of my favorite songs. And now Deb is yelling for us to get in the car, so off we go for day 2.


At 11:35 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Just love reading your reviews and knowing how much fun you are having. I love many things about you, but one of the most important things I love is how much you enjoy life and all the music it has to offer.
I miss you, M


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