Nada Surf Show Review @ 3Ten ACL

Sometime in 1996, I bought the first Nada Surf LP. Yes, I bought it for that one song. But, unbeknownst to me, it was the start of my love affair with the band.

But, admittedly, I wouldn’t fall in love with the group until 2003, with the quiet release of Let Go. Notable releases from the same year included Echoes by the Rapture and Meadowlands by the Wrens (among countless others). Somehow, this LP has always stuck by me; of every record released in 2003 it’s the one I still listen to the most (with Ted Leo and the Wrens right behind). It was the perfect pop album, coming at the perfect time in my life.

Saturday night, Nada Surf brought that entire album to life. Surprisingly, I still know every single word to that album, and I sang along throughout the entirety of the first set, other than La Pour Ca (I don’t speak French). Personal favorites like “Blonde on Blonde” sounded as crisp as ever, and I was reminded just how much I love “Killian’s Red.” It’s funny, the ominous tones of that track never quite clicked as much as they did beneath the fog machine and blue lighting of 3Ten. Still, the band went through it in a business-like fashion, never missing a beat, with a few moments of charm added in like Ira and Daniel sharing a mic to open with Blizzard of 77′ backing vocals.

The latter half of the set was filled to the brim with countless numbers from the band’s past and present, even throwing in a Joy Division medley for a moment to charm the audience. And when they ended the evening, it never really ended, as they took it all out to the streets for a late evening serenade. Pretty sure every one left the evening reflective and pleased.

And for what its worth, my night ended with me feeling grateful for all the pop bands still hanging in out there. Nada Surf may never have gotten the critical acclaim, but they just kept writing great songs. They’re still here writing, whilst trends and hip acts have faded away. And as for Saturday night, they gave us a little of it all, reminding me of a never-ending love affair that began in 1996 at the Best Buy near my house.

The ACL Lineup Is Here

One of Austin’s favorite festivals has announced their 2018 Lineup. We already know that ACL Festival will happen on October 5-7 and October 12-14…but now we know what we’re getting! Personal highlights include David Byrne and Metallica/Deftones (I’ve recently been traveling down a secret metal wormhole with a lot of teenage reminiscence). A return of The National is never a bad thing, as they’ve delivered some of my favorite ACL moments in the past. B. Gray will be super stoked on Sylvan Esso and CHVRCHES. We’re also bound to love some of the acts lurking at the bottom of the list, like Sharon Van Etten, or my pick of the fest, Shame! If this whole thing is up your alley, then perhaps you’ll want to grab some tickets right HERE.

BGRAY NOTE: Post was staged before the full announce, let’s take a moment to react. The variation and diversity here is the best it has been in years. Sir Paul McCartney, Metallica, David Byrne, Twin Shadow, St Vincent, The Breeders, Blood Orange, Arctic Monkeys, Sharon Van Etten, Janelle Monae, Childish Gambino, Father John Misty – this is the best lineup on this side of the Atlantic. Get those three days now, cuz who knows if one-days will even be made available.

The Many Faces of Mac DeMarco: ACL Taping + Mohawk Show (2/27+28)

Mac DeMarco has become a household name in the indie rock world– synonymous with silly antics and overall shenanigans he’s done quite well for himself by gaining a cult following. The folks over at ACL got word and decided to have him and his band on to tape an episode for the upcoming season. Mac decided to take this opportunity to dial down the antics and rock’n’roll to generate a more approachable sound for the setting. Not to worry–his victory lap show at the Mohawk brought all that you’d expect from the gentleman; a nearly three hour set with crowd surfing, stage climbing and chaos. Read on to hear my brief thoughts on these two very different evenings and see some lovely photos from the taping from Maggie Boyd.

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BTS: ACL Live and 3TEN

Sometimes, we get invited to little functions here in the business end of the music industry in Austin, TX. We are quite fortunate to have one of the great venues in the world in our backyard, a venue that takes its name from one of the great music television program in the world. ACL Live is coming up on seven years as the home of Austin City Limits show tapings and has not rested on their reputation. Small tweaks have been made throughout the years, but the first major overhaul of the show experience was just completed. The lighting system has been fully revamped, all LED with more and better housings with variable colors, new pattern and motion capabilities and less power consumption and downtime for maintenance.

This seems as good a time as any to take a little tour ACL Live and little brother venue, 3TEN, and learn what’s up in the bat cave.

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Show Pics: Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile @ ACL Live (11/11)

We have a little bonus show coverage today.

While I was eating tacos and getting melt-faced over at Emo’s, we had an opportunity to send in a photographer to take in the magic of Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile performing at ACL Live. I was a little bummed to miss this one, but my priority was with the Sound On Sound team. I was supposed to be out standing in the field, after all.

Anyway, click through. You’ll get to experience the show via the lens of Rick Kern, bearded dude and all-around good human.

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ACL Weekend Two Wrap-Up

No Spoilers.

Admittedly, all the huge buzz leaks out as all the kids party on Weekend One, so attending Weekend Two for the first time, I was curious as to whether or not it could keep the same vibe from its predecessor. Surprisingly, the fest didn’t seem to miss a beat.

We have photos from around the grounds, randoms and portraits, friends and colleagues, bootlickers and signs. We also have plenty of notes rehashing last week’s favorites and highlighting the changes, so read on for highlights.

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ACL 2017 In Pictures: Sunday – Weekend One

The Final round from the photo pit, but first a love letter…

Hopefully, you know the feeling you get when you are on a good team, when all types of different people come together and get things done. Now, my fellow Austin music photographers weren’t shooting for the same outlet. In fact, we mostly compete for your views, but the reality is that each in the group takes care of the other. Whether it is an extra water, pepto tabs, pickle run or a spare memory card, it makes festival life awesome. Truly talented and happy to have them as colleagues and, more importantly, friends. When the Sound on Sound announcement landed, we were crushed, not just for the organizers, but also to lose that chance to just be together all doing what we love.

…and bitching about something the whole way.

Today’s gallery features Deap Vally, Melat, Middle Kids, Charlotte Cardin, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Whitney, Caitlyn Smith, DRAM, First Aid Kit, Run The Jewels, Portugal. The Man and Gorillaz.

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ACL 2017 In Photos: Saturday – Weekend One

Time for more photos from the Great Lawn. Thanks for coming.

The Saturday edition of photos features a new local supergroup, a not local supergroup, some singers and song-writers, local heroes and super dance pop. We also pepper in some tribute time for Tom Petty. We heard plenty of Petty covers over the weekend, but the best thing was shutting down all the stages for a moment to playback his rendition of “Freefallin'” from a headlining set a few years back as skydivers jumped out of plane above the festival and floated down with sparkler boots. It was giant sing-along, lighters up.

Bands captured – Ought, Mobley, Capyac, Traveller, Car Seat Headrest, Dreamcar, Thundercat, Angel Olsen, Cut Copy and Spoon

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ACL 2017 In Photos: Friday – Weekend One

I got photo coverage started with a little gallery in our ACL Weekend One Recap. For me, Weekend One was all about the head down grind of chasing photos. Modern problems, I know, but it is hustling from pit to pit, sweating, lining up to make sure you gain access, attempting to keep everything clean enough and not have dirt ruin “the shot” and not having a panic attack knowing you have three songs to get it all right. It is a strange way to take in a music festival, often oblivious to the actual music as sensory depravation takes over and you enter a tunnel through the viewfinder.

…and loving every minute of it.

The Friday edition includes The Wild Now, Methyl Ethel, (Sandy) Alex G, The Aces, Hamilton Leithauser, Mutemath, Crystal Castles, Lukas Nelson, Bonobo and The XX.

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ACL Weekend One Recap

A fun, exciting, and sometimes exhausting Weekend one of Austin City Limits Festival is officially in the books kids. As always, the organizers managed to run things like a well oiled machine of music festival royalty. We saw some significant changes this year for the first time in awhile, and while many might have been skeptical at first, things still went off without a hitch. For weekend one, myself, Nicole, and BGray were all in attendance frantically covering as much ground as possible. We’ll start some recaps today with thoughts from all three of us and some quick shots from photo man Brian.

Hit the jump for more.

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