Austin City Limits Music Festival - Live!
September 17, 2011 2:17 PM   Subscribe

Live from Zilker park - the Austin City Limits Music Festival! Now playing: Alison Krauss & Union Station, and on the other channel Young the Giant. Live on YouTube.
posted by evilmomlady (14 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
posted by swift at 2:39 PM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hey, thanks, this is neat.

I'm currently hiding out in my house about three-quarters of a mile from ACL Fest, because these days I'm a cynical local who hates traffic and tourists and all that, and besides which tickets are really expensive. But I went three or four times back in my roadie days, and let me tell you, back when it wasn't quite so crazy-big and when I had a musician wristband, it was quite a trip.

Many of the smaller-stage musicians are sort of the local Usual Suspects. The woman I worked for was old friends with Charlie Jones, the mastermind behind the thing. (here's a sort of scattershot interview with the founders and some local music scene types about the festival. The formatting is uniquely terrible but it's not a bad article.) They don't get on the YouTube livecasts or whatever, and back in the day there was sort of a two years on, one year off gentlemen's agreement so that people could rotate through a bit. But it's a good way for some small artists who have the right friends to get up in front of really a lot of people, even if those people are just wandering past on the way to beer.

It's really too big for me now - I don't do well in crowds - but I remember seeing a bunch of neat stuff when I could get close enough to a stage. Polyphonic Spree, G Love and Special Sauce, Modest Mouse, Howie Day doing his solo loop-machine act, which I much prefer, REM (from backstage, which really only meant that I could see nothing but wasn't getting stepped on,) the Johnny Cash tribute (hastily pulled together because he had died a week prior, so Roseanne Cash, who was scheduled to play, of course canceled.)

Here's a pretty good account of that set - it was something special.
It began with a reprise of Cash’s harrowing video for his cover of the Nine Inch Nails song “Hurt”, projected on the big screen beside the stage. To follow, nearly a score of musicians from different bands acknowledged the Man In Black’s influence on their art the best way they knew how.

Emceed by Asleep At The Wheel frontman Ray Benson, the hastily assembled memorial (all the more moving for its impromptu nature) found Tift Merritt singing Johnny’s “I Still Miss Someone” and Rosanne’s “Seven Year Ache”. The North Mississippi Allstars, in an acoustic configuration, performed “Big River” and “Home Of The Blues”. The Drive-By Truckers essayed “Give My Love To Rose” and “I Walk The Line” (after singer Patterson Hood evoked a moving vision of Cash and June Carter Cash reunited at a feast in heaven). The Old 97’s wound things up with “Let The Train Blow The Whistle” (one of Cash’s myriad train songs) and an ensemble rendition of “Ring Of Fire”.
All this with access to free massages, all the bottled water I could drink, and free, if terrible, beer. It was totally worth the madness of loading in, setting up, shooting pictures during the set, tearing down, and loading out in the midst of sheer logistical chaos. They've got it down to a science, now, and the entire city knows to brace for three days of hordes of people toting lawn chairs and parking in the oddest of places. It's nice to be able to sit at home and watch it on YouTube and remember the good old days.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:46 PM on September 17, 2011 [6 favorites]

The worst sushi I've ever eaten in my life was eaten at ACLFest one year. But the fact that there were stalls selling sushi outside on a 90-something+ degree day made it worth it.

Other things I did that day:
- met a friendly artist
- watched a tourist chase dragonflies around the park with the biggest grin on his face
- listened to Indian folk/rock with happy teenage stoners
- lazed around in soft grass with a various assortment of agreeable weirdos, including an elderly hippie couple I later predictably saw with the happy teenage stoners

I have lots of good memories of ACLFest, most of which are these little incidental details that just made me really happy. I saw the Pixies there, too. They were terrible, but I mean, I saw the Pixies. I was this close -> [-] (<- that close) to Frank Black's beautifully bald, sweaty head. It was neat.
posted by byanyothername at 4:22 PM on September 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

these days I'm a cynical local who hates traffic and tourists and all that,

Ha, I'm so old I can remember when ACL was called Austin Aquafest. SRV played one hell of a show there is '86 or so, & Joe King Carrasco always ruled the Rock stage. I met an ex-wife at the intermediate festival, the T-birds Riverfest in 1991. Austin has always loved its festivals.

Posted from deep inside my Brykerwoods bunker.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:31 PM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have a more or less open invite for a free pass every year, but I couldn't find enough that interested me to make the 3 hour drive this year. I found the lineup to be disappointing compared to previous years. It just seems so Adult Contemporary or something. Maybe it's all the christian rap, maybe it's this personal vendetta I have against Coldplay, I don't know. There's always next year, though.
posted by item at 4:34 PM on September 17, 2011

Metafilter: personal vendetta against Coldplay
posted by Horselover Phattie at 5:42 PM on September 17, 2011

item: Christian rap? Where? You make it sound like there's a lot or something. (Then again I am basically 60/40 on knowing the lineup so hey.. 40% would be a lot!)
posted by Askiba at 5:47 PM on September 17, 2011

It rained on my yard today!!! First time in about eight months (I stood outside talking to my neighbor about it for about ten minutes and didn't need to change shirts, so no exactly a gully washer, but it was moist!!).

I thank ACL for at least trying (I'm about six miles from Zilker) and, like Restless Nomad, I thank them for great times back before I was a broke old fart, and was a broke young fart who'd spend money I didn't have to get in. (After six you can't taste the beer anyway, and the reason for the spice on the barbecue and in the chilli is to had the fact it's been out so long, plus the age makes for a good purge.)
posted by Webnym at 6:34 PM on September 17, 2011

I'm in Austin this weekend ... for an academic conference. Probably the most poorly timed academic conference ever. I'm a poor starving grad student, so I'm staying at a hostel while I'm here. The stoned ACLers come in around 5 AM, I leave around 7 AM. Nobody's very happy with anybody!
posted by ChuraChura at 8:47 PM on September 17, 2011

Yay rain! I have lived in Austin all but 2 years of my life and I have yet to go to ACL fest or SXSW. Not once! Jeeeeeeeeeeeeze. Wait.... wait there was that one time i was somewhere and there was music and funnel cake... hmm. Marley fest?

I did party at liberty lunch when it still existed though! I even have a scar on my ear from getting kicked in the head in the mosh pit at this really crazy hardcore band NOFX. OK! So NOFX is cheesy. whatever i still got a scar. Er, lump rather. Somehow after partying at Emo's and Flamingo Cantina and the like a crapload in highschool i turned really old by 19 and loud music hurts my ears and psyche. Surprisingly, I don't have any cats yet or knit... i should get on that. What else should a nearly 30 year old elderly person do besides cause troubles and mayhems on the interwebs?

I did go to see Bright Eyes outside somewhere--- was that ACL last year? Fireworks!!!

Thanks for the video! Austin pride!
posted by xarnop at 9:00 PM on September 17, 2011

I was this close . . . to Frank Black's beautifully bald, sweaty head

Beautifully bald? This confirms my suspicion that the man has a spare head.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 7:58 AM on September 18, 2011

This year is the worst one so far (not counting the fact that their are only 3 bands I wanted to see).

The aural bleed-over is amazingly bad.
While listening to one band you can hear three others. Not good music listening.
posted by Seamus at 8:03 AM on September 18, 2011

Heh. Just walked to the corner store for my morning caffeine and saw a guy in a pickup with "ACL rides" soaped on the windows. Clever way to spend a tank of gas on a Sunday, for sure.

Bleed-over was a big problem at some of the stages back in the day - it's a shame they haven't figured out a way to fix it.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:27 AM on September 18, 2011

It's never been good, but yesterday at Gilliam Welch on the side furthest from the 2 other nearest stages, 30 feet back from the speakers, I could hear Skrillex better than Gilliam. Definitely worse this year.

Plus they started blasting sound checks yesterday at 7 AM.
My neighbors were pissed.

I wouldn't put money on ACL lasting another decade (or even 5 years) with the bad sound and the bad will.
posted by Seamus at 8:39 AM on September 18, 2011

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