Austin City Limits, Day 1

Arriving in Austin to sun and 90 degrees was only the beginning of an amazing weekend after leaving a gray and blustery Philadelphia behind. I stepped out of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, soaking in the sun and admiring the native cacti growing freely, not a sight I’m used to. I soaked in the city’s sights via the 350 and 331 buses (oh yeah) and was beyond stoked for kicking off Austin City Limits with the Paste pre-party at Emo’s.

media wristband

media wristband

After partying into the early hours with other media people, music lovers, and PopWreckoning staff, I headed back to Driver F’s pad to catch some sleep before heading to the bus station to pick up Editor Joshua at 6am (ugh, so early!). After some nappage upon returning from the bus station, Josh and I prepared ourselves for the promising first day of Austin City Limits. We scored some breakfast at Mr. Natural, a delicious 100% vegetarian ‘fast food’ restaurant on South Lamar Boulevard before walking the couple miles to Zilker Park.

Once we’d arrived at the park, Josh and I stopped by Press Check-In to get our wristbands for the weekend and headed into the park to catch some music we loved and some music we’d never heard of. There was a bit of a snafu with photo passes, so we don’t have great photos, but we’ve hooked up with new friends at Quiet Color to use some of their shots.

1:30-2:30 // Yeasayer // Dell Stage
Yeasayer was awesome. These experimental Brooklyn kids know how to put on a show. They definitely set the mood for the weekend, which is why I’d planned on catching them first. Their energy grew with each song, in turn pumping up the crowd for a rowdy weekend of music amongst the masses.

Having seen Vampire Weekend at Popped! Philadelphia and not having been super impressed with them there, Josh and I made our way to the media tent for some cold beverages and exited the park to a soundtrack of “Oxford Comma,” which sounded great, but not enough to deter us from our quest of Mango Green Tea Sweet Tea and XXX Vitamin Water.

2:30-3:30 // Jakob Dylan & the Gold Mountain Rebels // AT&T Stage
We happened back into the park as Jakob Dylan and the Gold Mountain Rebels were owning the AT&T Stage. Dylan, straying from success maker The Wallflowers‘ path, sounds strikingly like his famous father. Both Josh and I were absolutely impressed with the folksy tunes that flowed from the stage across Zilker Park.

3:30-4:30 // Del Tha Funkee Homosapien // AT&T Blue Room Stage
Nee Teren Delvon Jones, this man kept it old school and breathed new life into the air as one of the few hip hop acts on the festival’s 130 band roster. Admittedly new to loving hip hop, it wasn’t until Gorillaz‘s “Clint Eastwood” back in 2001 that I first heard his rhymes. As recently as a few months ago, I scored Delton 3030 and knew that Del tha Funkee Homosapien was not to be missed.

Later in the day, I happened to be hanging out in the media area while Del was being interviewed. He is a very cool guy. Following Del’s interview, Gogol Bordello was had a photo shoot at the Paste tent, so Josh snapped some pictures while I sipped on a Tito’s and Red Bull.

4:30-5:15 // M. Ward // WaMu Stage
Matt Ward was born to play the guitar. While it was nothing short of having seen him play twice previously this summer at Virgin Mobile and in Philadelphia, it was nice to see Ward shine on his own without the beautiful distraction that is Zooey Deschanel, the She to his Him.

M. Ward, Photo: Jessica McGinley

5:15-6:00 // Mates of State // Austin Ventures Stage
Having seen them the previous night, I was more excited to hang in the media tent for happy hour, but lingered long enough to hear this duo’s delicious pop sounds.

5:45-6:45 // Jenny Lewis // WaMu Stage
Ms. Rilo Kiley herself played a strikingly beautiful set aided by friends such as Jonathan Rice as her backing band. Jenny belted with an enviable set of pipes as she played mostly songs from her recently released sophomore solo album Acid Tongue. Notables from the performance include the album’s title track, “Carpetbaggers” and “Fernando,” but then I also find those to be album highlights.

Zander, Quiet Color

Photo: Zander, Quiet Color

The crowd, not surprisingly, adored her. While it’s come to my attention that there are two camps of Jenny fans, those who praise her solo efforts and those who believe she’s only great with fellow Rilo Kiley band mate Blake Sennett, I can only say that her live performance is dynamic and should not be missed regardless of your thoughts on her albums.

Jenny Lewis

Photo: Jenny Lewis

6:30-7:30 // N.E.R.D. // AMD Stage
Following the lovely Ms. Lewis, I wandered past the Austin Ventures to catch a quick listen of Eli Young Band as I headed over to the AMD Stage for N.E.R.D.  who were just amazing! Pharrell, Chad Hugo and Shay Haley killed. The crowd was totally into it both on and off stage, as Pharell invited some ladies on stage to dance.

7:30-8:30 // The Swell Season // AT&T Blue Room Stage
I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about The Swell Season, but actually found them to be quite boring at Austin City Limits. The audience was massive and the light show was fantastic, but I just never got into the music. I’d try my hand at an indoor Swell Season show, but I was left unimpressed.

Neither Josh nor I had any interest in The Mars Volta or Manu Chao, and though I was urged by a cab driver earlier that morning to check out Alejandro Escovedo, we split. A hot and dusty day in Zilker Park required showering and dolling up before we could hit downtown Austin for after parties galore.

9:00-11:59 // Gnarls Barkley // Stubb’s BBQ
On our way to the Antics after party at 508 House, featuring a DJ set by CSS, we stopped at Stubb’s to catch a brief chunk of Gnarls Barkley’s set. Josh and I knew we’d catch them Sunday, so we didn’t stick around long, preferring to hit up the Antics party instead.

10:00-?? // Antics After Party feat. CSS // 508 House
Kickin’ it to 508 House was so worth every single second spent there. The line was around the corner for a good part of the night and with good reason. We hadn’t realized that “House” in the name was so apt — we were literally at a house party. Tito’s had some handmade vodka free-flowing, Antics/Toyota were set up making shirts on the far and of the yard, chicks were hanging out of windows, CSS was DJing as kids danced madly and Wayne Coyne (yeah, that guy from The Flaming Lips) sat in a patio chair sipping a drink and casually chatting.

Following CSS’ sweet DJ set, we were treated to a new set which include cheesy dance jams “Vogue” and “Bootylicious.” Once we’d danced our faces out, we hit the streets of downtown again, wandering 6th Street in hopes of a new form of entertainment, but were mostly surprised to find a lot of bros and hos. Bored and slightly annoyed at the bro/ho-deo, we high-tailed it back to chez Driver F for some sleep to prepare for day 2!

Austin City Limits: website

Up next: Day 2


3 Responses

  1. The Mars Volta, fine, but how could you guys skip out on Manu Chao?!?!?! I bet that woulda been a very colorful performance!!!

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