ACL WE2 – Saturday in Photos

acl-we2-2060Saturday 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.

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ACL WE2 – Friday In Photos

acl-we2-121aAre 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

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ACL 2016: Weekend One From The Crowd

nd4_0348Kicking 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…

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Another Gem from Her’s

14633338_1267952883249992_8552119269101912961_oTeam 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.

ACL Weekend Two Survival Tips

nd4_0723We 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.

Show Pics: A Night On Red River

dsc_0521Every once in a while, I grab the camera knowing there are a few bands playing that will have some friends out and about, on stage or off. Last Friday night was one such night with Tres Oui and Lou Rebecca featured in a record release show for Fort Never at Cheer Up Charlie‘s and Night Drive closing out a night of electronic goodness at Swan Dive (a venue I don’t got to often enough given the lineups recently).

Join me after the break with plenty of pics and quick few thoughts on Tres Oui‘s new jams and revised lineup and my first set in front of Lou Rebecca.

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Have A Nice Weekend

dsc_0472I’ll have some pics up from a little night of shimmy soon, teaser posted. New Tres Oui tacks are so strong live.

ACL is nearly upon us. If you haven’t been reading your email, this year’s fest on the fifteenth Anniversary will bring some of the biggest changes in some time. There will no longer be a stage at the rock island. This will mean hte middle of hte park will be the traffic area and we won’t have the bottleneck on the north side getting from the Stratford side of the park to the biggest stage. No more porta-potties, flushable bliss. Kiddie Limits has an external entry now. Artist and media lounges are moved to where Kiddie area was. Check out all the 411 here, including the new map.

I am going to drop in a jam that had been exclusive elsewhere on the net. It is from Ishi, strong groove, new EP called Juno is available on the bandcamps.

Heathered Pearls Returns

Heathered PearlsJakub Alexander has his mitts in ISO50 (Tycho’s music and design site), co-founded the label Moodgadget and is picking artists for Ghostly International. His music project is called Heathered Pearls and I have featured a few tracks in the past, last year’s Body Complex is a favorite of 2015. There is a delicate balance required to pay homage while moving forward and few electronic artists are doign it as well. This latest single features the claps and backing tones of Detroit while pulling in an elegance and balance letting you zone out or get amped.

Heathered Pearls will be joining Tycho on the road. I expect more new stuff…

Mohawk’s 10th Birthday Photo Show


Those of you that know me probably know that The Mohawk is a near and dear environment for me. I love the place, the people and the shows. Too many great moments for me over the years to count, from seeing how shy and awkward Lauren from CHVRCHES was early on in their first tour to Iggy and The Stooges wanting to be my dog. I was spell bound by Phantogram, shimmied with Twin Shadow, thrown beer on by Hunx and met Thurston Moore. Now you can come and see photos of those moments and so many more as me and several other of the awesome Austin music scene’s best photographers put works up for auction to benefit Austin Music People, never too early to check off a few people from the Christmas list. Full list of Photographers: Brian Gray (that’s me), Chad Wadsworth, Cody Cowan, Daniel Cavazos, David Brendan Hall, Ismael Quintanilla, Jessica Alexander, Maggie Boyd, Mary Rehak, Randy Cremean, Pooneh Ghana, Rick Kern, Roger Ho.

Thursday night, starting 7pm, come hang with the photo nerds and buy stuff for charity. It is free to look, so spend some jack on a printed and framed shot of your favorite artist and show.

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