I just got back from Austin City Limits Festival, and it was really awesome! I couldn’t make it on Saturday because of Plano Symphony, but it ended up working out in my favor anyway. The main reason to go Saturday would have been for The White Stripes, but they ended up bailing because Meg got sick or something. So I met my friend Gerry in Austin on Sunday morning and we stayed all day. Donna said Sunday was the best day overall.
We heard The National, and they were pretty good. Then we went over to hear STS9 and they were cool. They seem to be all instrumental electronic, which was cool. They also seem to attract all the crazy Xers who were clearly enjoying the show with some additional chemical assistance. Then we went to hear Ben Kweller, but it was really boring so we stopped by Robert Earl Keen for a few minutes but were not into it either, so we took a break to get water and rest for a bit. Then headed over to hear Common. I’m not really into hip-hop at all, but it was still a pretty fun show. Then it was off to hear Bloc Party. They were definitely the best show up to this point. They sounded really good, even though they kind of apologized a couple times and mentioned how they were not really used to the heat of Texas. It was only around 90F, but as they said they’re used to a cold rainy island. Apparently last year it got up to around 108F! Bloc Party sounded really, really close to their CDs I thought. After they finished we tried to see Regina Spektor, but it was too hard to hear her. She was just singing with piano, and her music was too soft and at the nearest other stage was a band called Rose Hill Drive, and they were very loud and seemed to drown out Regina Spektor from where we were standing. But the crowd around Regina Spektor’s stage was enormous.
So we took a really long break at this point and skipped the next concert block so we’d be well-rested and ready for The Decemberists. I’m really glad we did, too, because it was a fantastic show. We got a really good place kind of near the front and could see really well. Looking out behind us there were obviously tens of thousands of people there. Donna said she couldn’t get anywhere near the Decemberists stage, she and her friends were stuck way off to the right. But the show was incredible, and was very easily the best show of the day. The audience was really into it; you can tell the Decemberists are really loved in Austin. In fact before we went to ACL we stopped for lunch at Hula Hut for lunch and we heard them play a Decemberists song. That was pretty cool. I never hear good music anywhere around Dallas it seems.
The day ended with Bob Dylan, so we stayed to hear him play a couple songs. But he was just so unbelievably terrible that we left almost immediately. He really sounded like he could barely sing. I’m not really sure what happened to his voice.