Field trips to Houston and San Antonio, to see people coming to our own field in September
Remember this equation: Lollapalooza plus Lucinda equals the 2005 ACL Music Festival. It's not quite that simple you first have to factor in a lot more hippies and legends like Buddy Guy and Jimmy Cliff but it's clearer than ever that the local festival is now comfortably among America's elite. Coming to Zilker Park, Sept. 23-25:
Field of Dreams
BUZZ BIN: Wilco, Arcade Fire, Death Cab for Cutie, Bob Mould, Built to Spill, Sleater-Kinney, Tortoise, Black Keys, Walkmen, Rilo Kiley, Secret Machines, Decemberists, the Bravery, Mates of State, Fiery Furnaces, M83, Ambulance LTD, Tegan & Sara, Blue October, Eisley
BRITPACK: Coldplay, Oasis, Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand, Futureheads, Kasabian, Keane, Doves, Frames, Aqualung, Jet (Australian branch)
NAPPY ROOTS: Widespread Panic, Black Crowes, Allman Brothers, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Buddy Guy, Jimmy Cliff, Gov't Mule, Zap Mama, Mike Gordon & Leo Kottke, Kermit Ruffins, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Slightly Stoopid, deSoL, Mofro
TWANG THANG: Lyle Lovett, Lucinda Williams, John Prine, Kevin Fowler, Dierks Bentley, Asleep at the Wheel, Steve Earle & the Dukes, Robert Earl Keen, Bruce Robison, Rick Trevino, Mindy Smith, Kathleen Edwards, Split Lip Rayfield, Bobby Bare Jr., Dave Alvin, Lost Trailers, Ruthie Foster
AUSTIN STORIES: Spoon, Grady, Zykos, Soundteam, Pong, Weary Boys, Asylum Street Spankers, Oliver Future, Real Heroes, South Austin Jug Band, Hairy Apes, Bukka Allen, Kacy Crowley, Maneja Beto, Casey McPherson
Full list and ticket info available at www.aclfestival.com
Since the smoking-ban ballot initiative is all he (and every other bar owner in Austin) has been thinking about, Beerland's Randall Stockton is amazed to discover some people haven't even heard of it. "You don't understand how many people live under a rock here," he sighs while canvassing UT's West Mall. "Even people in the hospitality industry don't know about it." So, once and for all: There's an election Saturday. It's very important. If you didn't vote early, locate the voter-verification part of the Travis County Tax Office Web site (www.traviscountytax.org/goVoters.do), find out where your precinct votes, and go. Don't plead a hangover, either: Polls stay open until 7pm.
Curious for an outside perspective, and already on the phone with Rilo Kiley drummer Jason Boesel (see "Music Listings"), TCB asked him how California's 1998 indoor smoking ban has affected the L.A. scene. His answer reflected what many in Austin already suspect: Certain clubs would be in immediate danger, but the scene itself would live.
"I would say the only effect it's had is all the clubs that have survived have set up outdoor smoking areas," says Boesel. "There's one called Spaceland that's converted this glassed-in room to a smoking room. They've all evolved and adapted."
Houston is many things: world-class port city, strip-club nirvana, Atlanta's only serious rival for Southern hip-hop capital. Unlike Austin, though, it's hardly prime Wilco territory. Space City's oft-lauded appreciation of the arts doesn't usually extend to brainy, difficult rock bands.
En route from Jazz Fest to Coachella, the Chicago sextet's April 23 show at the sold-out Verizon Wireless Theater downtown was that much more remarkable, not least because it nearly fell apart. Frontman Jeff Tweedy was visibly on edge all night, later to cite his deficient sound equipment and nicotine patch, and he finally snapped late in the main set, interrupting "Reservations" to exasperatedly entreat a fan down front to "shut the fuck up."
It was a jarring breach of performer-fan decorum, and yet completely understandable: She was hooting incessantly for Being There's "The Lonely 1." For a moment, the earlier triumphs of "Hummingbird" and "Jesus, etc." hung uncertain in the air, until Tweedy essentially shrugged his shoulders and finished the song. It seemed to be all the catharsis he needed, because the band burned like Crazy Horse on formidable finisher "Spiders (Kidsmoke)."
Fittingly, the crowd half Houstonian, half Austin and Dallas weekenders screamed itself hoarse. Tweedy came back out, sheepishly gave a quitting-smoking spiel, and everyone had a good laugh. The all-rock remainder ("The Late Greats," "I'm a Wheel," "Passenger Side," "Kingpin," "Misunderstood") didn't feel conciliatory at all, more like both band and crowd could finally relax. Perhaps there's hope for Wilco in H-town yet.
No, that's not a new Austin City Limits backdrop framing the Arc Angels (above). It's the real Mission San Antonio de Valero, slightly better known as the Alamo. It's at least famous enough to be one of a dozen sites chosen for the Wonders of the World DVD concert series, alongside the Eiffel Tower, Gorky Park, Mount Rushmore, and paging Gang of Four the Great Wall of China.
Angels of the Alamo
Monday's $100 tickets were steep even for an Arc Angels show, but they also bought Los Lobos, Lyle Lovett, pained multiculti comedy from emcee Paul Rodriguez, and solving the dilemma of awarding the last slot to Mexico or Texas an unbilled appearance by the Gipsy Kings. Los Lobos had white and brown alike dancing the cumbia, but Lovett (below) was the most visibly affected, reading Col. William B. Travis' "Victory or Death" letter before whipping out crowd-pleasing swinger "San Antonio Girl."
Charlie, Doyle II, and Double Trouble, meanwhile, conquered early sound problems to deliver dependably stout versions of "Sent by Angels" and "Livin' in a Dream." Fun fact: The word "alamo" means "cottonwood" in Spanish. Fun rumor: ZZ Top was approached to play, but wanted too much money up front.
TCB took over the KLBJ-FM studios for an hour Monday afternoon as part of their new monthly "Maniac Monday" promotion. The damage:
"Rocky," Thin Lizzy
"Obstacle 1," Interpol
"The Day John Henry Died," Drive-by Truckers
"Love and War 11/11/46," Rilo Kiley
"Darts of Pleasure," Franz Ferdinand
"What I'm Trying to Say," Stars
"The Rest Will Follow," Trail of Dead
"I Turn My Camera On," Spoon
"Another Wound," Ponys
"Fast Car," U2
"Ace of Spades," Motörhead
Saints preserve us: Eric Johnson has finished an album, Bloom, due June 14 on Steve Vai's Favored Nations label. Featuring a cover of Bob Dylan's "My Back Pages" and a tribute to Jerry Reed, Bloom is a springboard to summer dates with Buddy Guy and a turning of the hourglass toward counting the years until the next one.
BULLET THE BLUE SKY
Honky-tonk smoothie D.B. Harris confirms he's pulling up stakes for Music Row. "Yes, I'm sadly leaving for Nashville in June for some songwriting opportunities and to continue my act there. I'll be coming back to Austin at least every six months though! We're planning to stay in Nashville for hopefully no more than five to seven years and getting back to Texas ASAP!" Say farewell Friday at the Continental Club.
It's prom season, kids, and being out of high school doesn't mean mothballing that corsage. KVRX promises photographers and chaperones Saturday at Iron Gate Studios, 2205 E. Fifth St., plus music from Clap! Clap! and station deejays. 8pm; $5.
Enrollment for the much-discussed Health Alliance for Austin Musicians is going on now. Get an application at MusicMakers, Waterloo Records, Ruta Maya, or online at www.healthallianceforaustinmusicians.org. Then call the SIMS Foundation at 322-5177 to set up an eligibility interview at their spanking-new headquarters at 54 Chicon St.
Loose ends from last week: The Octopus Project's Erik Bogle turned out to have an especially pernicious stomach virus, but was fit as a fiddle at Saturday's Emo's homecoming. And the Arclight Records album with the litany of guests is the new Book of Knots, not Players Club, although they do share a member.