11:45-12:30 // AA Bondy // Dell Stage
Despite a burning desire to sleep till noon, I rolled out of bed at 9:30 (that’s early for a Sunday!) to make sure Josh and I were at Zilker in time to catch Alabama folk singer AA Bondy. He reminded me a great deal of Bob Dylan with a tinge of Rocky Votolato, although almost any modern folk singer with an acoustic guitar and harmonica reminds me of Votolato. Regardless of any comparisons, Bondy’s set was quite lovely, despite not being tight in the least.
Angela of Sybris
11:45-12:30 // Sybris // AT&T Blue Room Stage
Only knowing that I needed to see Bondy at 11:45, I hadn’t paid attention to anything else on the schedule, knowing I’d figure it out more or less when I arrived at the park…and had a chance to actually wake up. Initally I’d thought that Bondy was on the Austin Ventures stage, but as we neared, I could have sworn I heard the fantastic musical stylings of Ohio duo mr. Gnome. Discovering my mistake, I was delighted to find that the tunes actually belonged to the reverb-loving foursome from Chicago known as Sybris.
Though not playing to a sizable crowd (opening slot is tough), Sybris rocked out hard and most certainly drew a great performance. Those in attendance loved every second of the high energy shoegaze (oxymoron?) set. Once their set ended, Josh and I headed over to the AMD stage for Nicole Atkins and the Sea, happening upon a large spot of lawn covered in a mass of glitter. It had us thinking that Tilly and the Wall performed a secret set at ACL, and if that’s true, we’re not too happy about missing the memo on that one.
12:30-1:30 // Nicole Atkins & the Sea // AMD Stage
As a member of local public radio station WXPN (which, if you’re a regular here, you know I pimp as often as poss.), I’d long heard of Nicole Atkins and the Sea, but this past weekend was my first chance at seeing the outfit perform live. Just the first few seconds of the set alone had me understanding why XPN loves this woman so much and I was blown away myself. Atkins has a rich and transfixing voice, intermittently punctuated with a squeal belonging to a rocker from the 50s a la Barrett Strong or even a James Brown.
Nicole Atkins and her sea swelled with great intensity as they produce poppy dance rock jams that had the crowd (most certainly me included) dancing along in the afternoon Austin heat. To do “as the Austinites do,” Atkins played a rather catchy country song she’d written as part of her set. Not a fan of country due to the twang in the vocals, I actually rather enjoyed Nicole’s rendition of a country song seeing as it lacked the twang and was just as hooky as every other song in the set. For sure an act I’ll catch in a more intimate setting, and not only because Atkins is beautiful, sassy, and I have a girl crush on her.
Day 3 was by far the hottest of the fest, so Josh and I made our way to the other side of the park to enjoy some Rock Band, football and air conditioning in the AT&T Oasis, and an oasis it was. On the way to the Oasis, we were treated to a bit of Abigail Washburn & the Sparrow Quartet‘s set, featuring legendary banjo player Bela Fleck. Man, that Bela wails on the banjo. Switching gears (and how!), as a long time fan of The Octopus Project, I mandated we leave the oasis and head to the Dell Stage as to not the Austin locals’ set.
1:30-2:30 // Octopus Project // Dell Stage
Arriving only a bit tardy, I was pleasantly surprised to find a middle school band on stage playing and dancing along with The Octopus Project. No other electronica pop band has ever had a more lush sound than The Octopus Project did on Sunday. I was delighted with the upbeat set, the band’s energy as they moved around and took turns playing the others’ instruments, and Yvonne Lambert‘s adorable sky blue dress. Lyrically, the band was slim, but they more than made up for it with huge electro-poppy melodies.
Later in the day, I briefly chatted up the band in the media area as they made the press rounds. They’re absolute dolls!
1:50-2:30 // Pricilla Ahn // Austin Ventures Stage
Sunday was the day of forming girl crushes, but honestly, you listen to Pricilla Ahn for five minutes and tell me you’re not in love. She has the sweetest voice and was simply enchanting in between songs as she bantered on the stage. Another cute dress noted, Ahn wore a flowy, yellow halter dress that made her shine even brighter.
1:30-2:30 // The Kills // AT&T Blue Room Stage
The Kills’ feminine half, Alison “VV” Mosshart looked just like Jack White as she took the stage, decked out in tight pants, a floppy hat and long dark hair in her face. Despite my initial judgement of her outfit (side note: I used to work for a fashion magazine, thus all the clothes talk), I was happy to find The Kills nailing an energetic performance chock full of fun rock songs.
2:30-3:30 // Gillian Welch // AMD Stage
Josh had been looking forward to checking out Gillian Welch all weekend so we swung by the AMD Stage on our way to land a spot for Stars while in search of friends of mine. As we happened by the stage Gillian played on, we heard her announce a special guest joining her on stage, so needless to say, we stopped dead in our tracks. Lucky for us we passed by at that time, because Alison Krauss joined Welch for a beautiful cover along with one of Gillian’s guitarists.
2:50-3:30 // Tristan Prettyman // Austin Ventures
Still on the way to catch Stars, we briefly walked past Tristan Prettyman’s performance and, man, what a beautiful voice. Girlfriend can sing it.
3:30-4:30 // Stars // AT&T Blue Room Stage
Never having seen Stars, I was ridiculously excited to catch them at ACL. They were absolutely amazing — which is really all I have to say about them — though I had the nagging feeling that they’d be much more enjoyable at an indoor venue. This thought was later confirmed when Josh told me that they’re better indoors. Solid.
What turned out to not be as regrettably as I’d initially assumed, Josh and I left Stars’ set early to chat with Sybris and Five Times August in the media area. Brad of Five Times August was lovely and Sybris was a wild ride. Following an interview in which Josh and I did shots with the band and they beat on each other, we hung out backstage with them, scored some free shoes, sat in on a video interview they had to give at their behest (I became the tambourine player and Josh, the bassist) and just had a hell of a time.
5:30-6:30 // Okkervil River // AT&T Blue Room Stage
Sybris had to take some things back to their bus, so the antics ended and Josh and I caught the last quarter of Okkervil River’s set. They put on a wildly energetic set that you should make your business to see.
The Raconteurs, Photo: Nick Davis
6:30-7:45 // The Racounteurs // AMD Stage
Josh, and the rest of the world pretty much, could not shut up about how amazing The Raconteurs are live. Honestly, I was bored. Granted, by 6:30pm on the 3rd day of a music festival, maybe my tolerance for great music had hit an all time high or I was beginning to suffer from A.D.D. as a result of sleep deprivation. For whatever reason, I was totally bored out of my mind and just wanted to leave The Raconteurs set.
6:30-7:30 // Gnarls Barkley // AT&T Stage
Despite having lost the hype for Gnarls a while ago, I was excited to catch their set on the other side of the park since Jack [White] and Brendan [Benson] had only managed to bore me. Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse, I thought, were a more entertaining duo that day. They exceeded my expectations from the last time I saw them, but then again, I hadn’t just been blown away by The Roots. Following “Crazy,” Josh and I snuck back into the AT&T Oasis for a little R&R.
7:30-8:30 // Band of Horses // Dell Stage
Thousands of people flocked to the Dell Stage for Band of Horses late set. Josh and I scoped out a spot after leaving Gnarls a bit early, only to be told that I was going to get my throat stepped on by a Mets (boo fucking hoo, you should hate your life) fan because the Phillies clinched the division and I’m a Phillies fan (go Phils!). Fearing for my trachea, Josh and I stayed for only a few songs, including the hugely commericially popular “Is There A Ghost,” before heading back to the media area to listen to the set in piece and with way better accomodations than the dusty parkgrounds had to offer.
Band of Horses
8:30-10:00 // Foo Fighters // AT&T Stage
I’d seen the Foo Fighters for the very first time with photographer Ajay at this year’s Virgin Mobile Festival in Baltimore and was thrilled at the chance to catch them live again — had never seen them in my 23 years and then see them twice in the same summer, crazy. Dave Grohl is as dynamic a personality as they come and he is nothing but entertaining in every aspect of his stage show from hilarious and out there stage banter to just rocking the fuck out.
If you’ve never seen the Foo Fighters live, regardless of how much you like or dislike their music, I feel sorry for you that they’re going on hiatus. Foo Fighters definitely rival for a top spot in best shows I’ve seen this summer.
Dave Grohl on the JumboTron, Photo: Quiet Color
Taylor Hawkins on the JumboTron, Photo: Quiet Color
a prettier one, Photo: Ben Watts
10:00-2:00 // Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band w/ Jenny Lewis & M. Ward // La Zona Rosa
So much went on here that you’ll have to check back for another post! It was amazing.
Austin is an amazing city and Austin City Limits is one of the best festivals I’ve been to, hands down. Shout out to all the fantastic people I met and thank you to Sandee and Marcy for such a wonderful time! Here’s looking at ACL 2009.
Austin City Limits: website | day 1 | day 2
Filed under: concerts | Tagged: aa bondy, abigail washburn, Add new tag, alison krauss, Alison Mosshart, austin, Austin City Limits, Band of Horses, bela fleck, brendan benson, cee-lo, conor oberst, danger mouse, dave grohl, five times august, foo fighters, gilian welch, gnarls barkley, jack white, jenny lewis, m. ward, mystic valley band, nicole atkins and the sea, octopus project, Okkervil River, pricilla ahn, stars, sybris, the raconteurs, tristan prettyman, wxpn, yvonne lambert | 3 Comments »