Daily Music
ACL: Parting Shots
The first thing I see when I walk through the gates Sunday afternoon: An extremely sunburned man with a peace sign shaved into his back hair. I fumbled for my camera, and then he was gone, like Sasquatch. Highlights:

- Lucinda Williams covering the Doors' "Riders on the Storm."

- My Morning Jacket's yacht rock-themed set. (Solos counted: 27.)

- Nels Cline has reinvigorated Wilco with his insanely great guitar playing.

- Has the dancing sign language lady always been at this fest?

- Ghostland Observatory had capes, lazers, and a very large, very enthusiastic crowd. "This reminds me of seeing the Dead in '72," said someone passing by.

See the photo gallery to the right for a few curious ACL fashion choices.

12:49AM Mon. Sep. 17, 2007, Audra Schroeder Read More | Comment »

ACL: Rose Hill Drive
Bands you love whose albums you didn't - on the next Jerry Springer!

Boulder trio Rose Hill Drive left my jaw on the skeezy floor of Emo's front room the first time I saw them several years ago. They've been through Austin regularly since, but I haven't been able to catch up to them. Until today.

As they stormed through their 45-minute set on the Austin Ventures stage just now, steam rolling through their high watt blues-rock rampage like a cross between the Allman Brothers and Cream, I felt bad for my review of their LP studio debut in the Chronicle's ACL preview.

The self-titled disc comes off like a typical first time effort in many ways: a dearth of songs badly produced by a major label veteran. The threepiece rolled out a number of new cuts that buzzed louder and angrier than a rock-breached hornet's nest, though it was their set's penultimate song that rammed home the performance, the Beatles' "Birthday." That wasn't quite the highlight, however.

That honor belongs to that which I said/blogged was the only thing missing from Peter, Bjorn & John's ACL fist-pumping highlight on Friday: a smashed instrument. Bass-playing Sproul brother Jacob, who'd been having equipment problems all show long, promised to destroy his instrument at the end of set, and did just that, bashing it into the stage two or three times before handing the headless guitar to a couple of kids leaning against the stage barricade when he was done. There's an ACL souvenir for you.

Rose Hill Drive's next album may or may not fall prey to the dreaded sophomore slump, but you can be damn sure that I'll get my hands on it quicker than you can say "Whipping Post" and debut it on my home stereo on 11. If it's not as good as the band's live set, then my stereo better quiver and quake lest it end up like Jacob Sproul's poor dead bass...

6:15PM Sun. Sep. 16, 2007, Raoul Hernandez Read More | Comment »

ACL: Life Lessons With Ziggy
“We’ve got to take care of the Earth, kids,” Ziggy Marley prefaced his three-song, all-encompassing history lesson at the Austin Kiddie Limits stage. Bookended with the title tracks of his two latest, 2003’s Dragonfly, an appropriate theme for this weekend’s festivities, and 2006’s Love Is My Religion, Marley’s 12-minute set explored universal truths through timeless reggae classics. “Kids, in case you don’t know, my father’s name is Bob Marley,” Ziggy explained before a meditative version of “Lively Up Yourself.” “All we need is love,” he later concluded. Indeed. Class dismissed.

5:42PM Sun. Sep. 16, 2007, Austin Powell Read More | Comment »

ACL: The Inside Scoop
The Ice Cream Man returned to Austin this weekend for his second consecutive ACL. Matt Allen made the journey in his custom Toyota Yaris, “Bessita,” following stops at MFNW in Portland, Ore. “Does festival season ever end?” he laughs backstage, where he hands out free frozen treats, sponsored by corporations like Levi’s. Allen’s trusty 1969 Chevy Stepvan, “Bessie,” is employed near ICM’s headquarters in Southern California at the Treasure Island Music Festival, where Ghostland Observatory performed this weekend.

10:57AM Sun. Sep. 16, 2007, Austin Powell Read More | Comment »

ACL: Blood on the Tracks
"Now I'm bleeding. I'm always bleeding." That's what Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, said after she ripped the strings off her SG around 4pm Saturday. The Dallas-based multi-instrumentalist stood alone in ripped fishnets and a white dress, the sound from Cold War Kids bleeding all over her too. Still, Clark managed an inspired set as the fest's late add, including a fantastic cover of the Beatles' "Dig a Pony" and a noise-bombed ending to debut Marry Me's "Your Lips Are Red." Her set at the Mohawk tonight promises to sound a little better.

Apparently another fire broke out last night, behind one of the speakers on stage at Bjork. I looked up at one point and saw it, but figured it was just part of her crazy stage show.

10:11PM Sat. Sep. 15, 2007, Audra Schroeder Read More | Comment »

ACL: State of Emergency
“His hair.”
“Yeah, his hair.”
“It’s nice hair.”
“Yeah. Shiny.”

Friday’s fire apparently happened during Pete Yorn’s set, but backstage shortly afterward, two young ladies provided the above dialogue about his hair, in glassy-eyed awe of his wavy, dreamy locks. What fire? Such was the ebb and flow of ACL Friday. Peter, Bjorn & John proved they have more than one song, even pulling out an Undertones cover (“Teenage Kicks”) and a Buzzcocks cover (“Ever Fallen In Love?”). M.I.A.’s late-set impromptu stage bum rush was quickly dispersed, but not before she conveyed her disappointment (“No one brought any weed up here? Damn.”). Surprise of the day: James Hunter. Why isn’t he huge? Revelation of the day: After watching Josh Homme goth dance through the beginning of a song, Queens of the Stone Age could easily cross over genres.

Three words: Bjork. Lazers. Confetti.

More to come ...

12:19AM Sat. Sep. 15, 2007, Audra Schroeder Read More | Comment »

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You got Who in my Jam!

How do you know that Peter, Bjorn & John are European? They know how to turn off the afterburners at a festival. Reports from their sets at SXSW 2007 pegged the Swedes' live show as "cute." Given that their most recent disc is all-too-adorable with melody, that wasn't hard to believe. Their performance here at ACL not more than an hour ago was anything but puppyish.

4:55PM Fri. Sep. 14, 2007, Raoul Hernandez Read More | Comment »

ACL: The Fire Updated
Thank goodness the brief water crisis was resolved. At approximately 2:30pm a large fire broke out in an employee-only area near the Wamu tent and the AT&T stage, where Pete Yorn was performing. The Austin Fire Department was called to the scene and quickly extinguished the fire, whose smoke clouds loomed large over the festival grounds. The fire started in a service recreational vehicle and quickly spread to two 18-wheelers. Four festival workers, described as middle-aged males in a brief press conference, were taken to Brackenridge Hospital. No festival patrons were injured, and emergency services coordinator Troy Officer sincerely thanked the ACL audience for their assistance.

3:13PM Fri. Sep. 14, 2007, Austin Powell Read More | Comment »

ACL: It Has Begun
Taking the scenic route on the Town Lake trail to the ACL Friday morning, the theme from Chariots of Fire seemed to ease through the trees in slow motion. It provided a surreal opening soundtrack to this weekend's marathon festivities. No sooner had the gates opened did the shade promptly disappear, replaced with chairs filled by the elderly,staking their claim at the BMI songwriter's stage, where Sahara Smith surprised most early with her poised performance. Thus far the weather has cooperated, though problems have been reported with the main water line. Stay tuned.

1:22PM Fri. Sep. 14, 2007, Austin Powell Read More | Comment »

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