One of my fondest festival memories ever is the time that Elbow played at sunset on one of the smaller stages at ACL. An overcast humid day had a front blow through mid-set. Wind gusts forced a stop in the action to lower a banner. As the hardware dropped, the band played a soundtrack and banter abounded. I will say that Elbow frontman Guy Garvey may possibly be the most charming person to front a band in the history of music. You ever get that fuzzy-eyed, smiling like an idiot zombie moment at a show? Everyone, old fans and new, delighted.
“Magnificient (She Says)” is the first song from the next album, Little Fictions, due on February 3rd. To say the least, I am delighted to report this is as good. This band will be on my festival season must-see list, but still hoping for an actual show here in Austin (ACL Live, please make that happen).
I have a festival hangover. After seeing hundreds of bands in just a few months, it gets hard to get up for going out to hit shows, especially when living the photo guy festival life is so not like the real world. It is an alternate universe that is easy to get used to, the rhythm of shoot band, run into friends, get supplies, rinse, repeat. With an approval for Day for Night already in hand, festival season isn’t over yet. But Aphex Twin! I know you all feel very sympathetic for our struggle.
One of the Austin bands making the run to DfN is Night Drive. They are an Austin favorite and go-to dance party for the ATH team. Rodney and Brandon love all the things we love about dark dance-pop, from pulsating beats to grainy synths and brooding chords living underneath the plinks and big beats. They will release a full-length in February, self-titled, that has a few new songs, a few re-recorded hits and they are using this jam as the lead single. I’ve heard this gem live a few times. It is so good.
Just before the madness of Sound on Sound Fest (roundup and galleries coming soon), ATH records hosted a little get together at Cheer Up for Mean Jolene’s Salty.
Half of the band, Jolie and Adam, were still on a Cubs related high. What better way to celebrate a historic World Series win than by releasing a record? Will and Ben may or may not have been hungover. The band had too many friends and too much fun. Tiger tall boys. Tater tots. Satin jackets. Flying earrings.
Joining in on the festivities were Talkies, The Bond Twins, HeyBaby and Summer Salt, so pics after the break. Sorry to Summer Salt for hitting the wall after a long day.
Austin just went through another “festival” with what appears to have been a rather successful Formula One race weekend. I am an F1 fan and the three days out at the circuit are treated as a staycation for the wife and I. Why am I telling you this? I do not know.
Back on topic, The final batch of photos from ACL are ready for your consumption. Sunday was a sleeper day. The fest was sneeky-fun and I had a great day with my photo friends. The weather was amazing again and we had some big WE2 exclusives.
First, I did not go anywhere near that crowd for Willie. It was INSANE!!! A friend went up in a cherry picker and took twenty some-odd wide angle photos and stitched them together into an impressive panorama. Instead, I watched the set via festival TV and relaxed. Ra Ra Riot, on the other hand, was an early in the day highlight of festival hits. Amasa Hines was the surprise, think blues guys doing Interpol covers. Also on the BMI stage, Atlas Genius drew the biggest crowd I have ever seen at our favorite stage at ACL. NF did an Eminem impression, just grabbed photos on the way to Pete Yorn. Local Natives ooh-ahh’ed straight into our hearts. St. Paul and The Broken Bones brought the soul review to life, though I was concerned the Saint’s jaw would unhinge and swallow one of us whole. Miike Snow filled a gap; too much fog. Young the Giant got sexy and dirty to a fanatical crowd obsessed by frontman Sameer Gadhia while the band seemingly went through the motions.
And finally the second bucket-list shoot, LCD Soundsystem gave us the end-of-the-fest dance party. Seeing their set two weekends in a row, you realize that it is scripted and I guess that is understandable given the number of synth, percussion and instrument changes required. Didn’t stop WE2’s dance party from being any less awesome…
Click through for the pretty photos.
Saturday may not have been the strongest lineup, but it was awfully photogenic.
Slaves was a pure musical highlight for me; British punk rock from two individuals that believe in the songs and enjoy what they do. More on that after the break. JR JR was the surprise set of the day, far more fun than I imagined it would be, shiny things. Saint Motel has left the ATH behind, now a solid fest headliner after we spring-boarded the band with a Stubb’s Inside booking, sarcasm. Andra Day is terribly talented, but not my jam. LL Cool J was the throwback performance we deserved. The Naked and Famous used black and white outfits and high energy from the crowd to fill a memory card. #jumpshot Blue Healer won the day for the locals, strong set getting the crowd to stop and listen. Two Door Cinema Club put down the best festival set, admitting the crowd, in spite of how favorably they responded to the new songs, wanted bangers. Finally, I finished with a little Connor Oberst before heading out.
Read on past the break and then look at the pretty pictures.
Are you ready to reminisce?
Let’s kick off more photos from the front for Austin City Limits on Weekend Two. Friday was the day. Let’s name drop – Radiohead, Die Antwoord, M83, Foals and more. A whole day of headliners for me and I was super excited. I had one “break” where I decided to get photos of Banks and Steelz to fill in the gap. Oofah. Do I have a story.
How about you read past the break? I had to suffer for my art. Heh.
#pukeandrally #radiohead #cantstopmenow
Kicking off some official ACL coverage beyond our social media blitzes from the world. Weekend One was the version of ACL where we get to see bands, spend time with friends and get snarky about the future of America and the music industry.
This gallery will feature some artists, mostly crowd related action and some highlights, calling out Lucy Dacus. Lucy’s set at the BMI stage was great. She and the band were sweet people and we’re fans.
Click through for the shots and a couple of random notes…
Team ATH had posted “What Once Was” and “Dorothy” not but a few months ago, Her’s is back with another gem called “Marcel”. If you missed the deets on the band from back then, they are a two-piece, Stephen Fitzpatrick and Audun Laading, that met while in school Liverpool. There is a lovely progression and dreamy feel of great pop contrasted with the low-toned vocal that continues the lullaby into a smile. This song is no different and exactly why we like the band.
We went to Weekend One, so you didn’t have to. Now snap up one of those wristbands out there on your bookface feed and come dance. I’m taking photos this weekend, ready to be in my head space and spending the first three up front.
- Radiohead – Get up close or surround yourself with fellow fans to drown out and shelter yourself from show talkers. Their set is gorgeous and while they didn’t play “Let Down” for me, I am hopeful for a little set list revision to make all my Radiohead dreams come true.
- Die Antwoord – Just do it. It is a special kind of crazy that is so authentic and genuine that it cannot be denied. Yolandi and Ninja are joined by DJ Hi-Tek and dancers sporting furry costumes and inflatable fertility dolls. It is glorious.
- Willie Nelson – We didn’t get Willie last weekend. I am more than happy to see Willie instead of Chris Stapleton. WE2 also gets Ra Ra Riot.
- Local Natives – The weather will be great, set up the chairs, put down the blanket and get a bottle of Rose from the Wine Down and be ready for a great festival set.
- Foals – Sweaty mess. Lose a shoe during the jams, find it again during the builders.
- Two Door Cinema Club – Channel you inner brit-pop screaming girl and sing along. “To the basement, people, to the basement. Many surprises await you.” The rainbow thing happened just before their set.
- LL Cool J – Come for hit montage, stay for the slightly more obscure hits you ain’t never heard live.
- LCD Soundsystem – Where are your friends tonight? You may have lost them by 8pm on Sunday. Make new ones and dance to banger after banger from the party factory. #DFA You will likely lose something, make it memorable.
Other random thoughts: Be polite while crossing through groups that have set up living rooms on the lawn. Being rude as you walk through reinforces the dickish behavior of claiming turf with a chair circle and caution tape. The new layout is great with the exception of sound bleed-over from Cirrus to Miller Lite (minimized later in the day when more ear holes suck up the sounds, but the bottleneck between the beer hall and the rock island is gone. The park is kind of like a giant skating rink, move around the outside, slow down and lollygag at the stages. Hydrate. Get up front at least once, stay further back at least once. Less phone, more fun.
In the lead up to the release of Okkervil River’s Away, Will talked a lot about his new indifference towards rock n’ roll, so I approached the show on Wednesday night with just a little bit of trepidation. There were some hits, and some misses and then there were Brian’s photos.