Free Week is great. The concept of having people fill venues so bartenders and stage crews have a little cash in their pockets is totally a get-behind theme. Now, my epic level of cynicism that creeps in from time to time means that I will give the evil eye to anyone mad about one-in-one-out at a venue. These bands are playing all over town, all year long and sometimes opening for a touring band you would think is too expensive to go see. #value Let’s go, Austin, spend that twelve bucks.
My Free Week rant is over. Let’s get on to some notables and photos. A. Sinclair is a constant fave for rock and or roll. Abram Shook lends credibility to any music catalog. That performance had two-thirds of Feverbones; they are wicked excited for the new record, naturally so are we. Tres Oui‘s invisible bass player had a killer set (#sarcasm). Space-sparse of Soft Healer was a reset. I got to see The Infinites at Beerland as a full band. I do miss a little of the DIY nature of looping to fill sounds, but the layered gazy post punk sounded really rad with guitars filling the room. Fave thing of the time I spent Red Rivering.
Peep the gallery. I spent time taking photos of friends and the people that make Free Week go. I even used a flash. Crazy right?
I love y’all.
Bauhaus was a genre defining band. BUT, it was Love and Rockets, Bauhaus minus one Peter Murphy, that I really fanned out about. And then, Tone On Tail, Love and Rockets minus one David J., that created and whole new thing to one-up friends. The curious case where a group minus a member could improve or be a complete thing unto itself was on full display last Thursday night at The Mohawk when Poptone, Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins with Haskins’s daughter Diva Dompe, brought songs to life that I never thought I would get to see live. The fuzzed out basslines, the distant nearly monotone vocal, the ringing twelve-string or echoed out saxophone – this was as important a show to me as Belle and Sebastian would be to Nathan.
Click through for the rest of my thoughts and so many pics of not just Poptone, but the opener Geneva Jacuzzi and her girl in the bubble performance. …and holy crap it was cold.
The other Sound on Sound makeup show we ventured out for was to catch Japandroids and Cloud Nothings at Emo’s.
We interviewed Cloud Nothings several years back during Fun Fun Fun Fest, six whole years back, and several albums ago. They were a highlight, winning best drummer award, as I recall.
I last saw Japandroids open for Iggy Pop. That was pretty nuts. They even knew they were speed-bump on the way to the spectacle.
Click through for a few thoughts and the photos.
We all shed a tear when we learned that Sound On Sound was cancelled. We have a lot of good friends that put so much effort into making this year’s festival amazing, a quantum leap over last year.nnWe will not debate the valor of their efforts to save the festival or lament the missed opportunity of seeing Iggy Pop surrounded by a Ren Fair here.
The thing we may not understand about the festival circuit is that bands are on tour and need to use the festivals to home base around a few stops nearby before and after. Knowing this, the SoS team was able to schedule a few makeup shows to accommodate the travelers. One such show was for Lindstrom, a guy from Norway that was travelling a long way to hang with us. This set was high on my list for standing in a field with friends vibing. We replace the open spaces and axe-throwing for the friendly confines of Cheer Up Charlie’s.
Head past the break for more details and notes on DJ sets from Cap’n Tits and The Juan Maclean.
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.
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.
Nicole and I are going to tag team coverage for The War on Drugs with Land of Talk at Stubb’s plus bonus coverage of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard at Mohawk.
NB: Saturday night was another one for the books as Austin was lit up as ever with great bands and crazy antics on Red River. My main event was at Stubb’s for The War on Drugs, touring incredible latest album, A Deeper Understanding. B. Gray was on double duty–taking killer shots of The War on Drugs and then bouncing over to The Mohawk to catch King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard. Follow the jump to see his pretty pics and read some brief thoughts on a night at the gravel pit.
BG: Click through, y’all.
We are suckers for a good pop song, especially of the British variety. I don’t think there is a band doing better work in a live setting than Two Door Cinema Club. They have been touring pretty much non-stop for the last year hitting ACL last year early in the record release cycle, now back at the end of the finishing out the festival junket.
I figured I might as well take an opportunity to get some photos, shimmy and channel my inner tween. They brought Circa Waves along. They are from Liverpyyoool.
Click through, I kinda dig these photos. I was playing with shutter speeds in stroby lights. Plus, this is the best sounding setting possible, thanks ACL Live.
Nostalgia acts are difficult. Ticket prices are usually higher, merch is prominent, meet and greets are “a thing” and expectations can be low. I have had several great experiences lately with bands I loved years ago coming in and performing at an insanely high level including two recent shows at 3ten with The Fixx and Midge Ure.
The Church, more to the point Steve Kilbey and a slowly evolving support band, last came through Austin for SxSW. I was always overlapped and didn’t have the chance to catch them along the way. When I saw the announcement for The Church to headline a show at 3ten, my interest level was sufficient to go on radar. When I saw the announcement that The Helio Sequence would open, I was locked in as they are one of my favorite things.
It was a good show, but not without issues. That is what we call a teaser. Click through for notes and all the pics.
Today’s collection of thoughts and photographs is centered around a gathering viewing proceedings on the inside stage at Stubb’s. Lucy Dacus brought her smoky lyrics underpinned by clever organic pop to life for an appreciative crowd of music fans out on a Monday night. The music people also were treated to Cowboy Crisis and The Diamond Center. Pretty varied lineup…
Click through for the rest of the story in words and pictures.