Friday Bottom 5: ACL 2009

1009top5coverSo just as I did last year, I’m going to take a minute to be a negative nancy and focus on some of the downer moments of our ACL weekend.  As always, the positives greatly outweigh the negatives and I still enjoyed my festival experience (no matter how much it rained).  You’ll notice that most of my list consists of things that no one can really do anything about so that leaves me hopeful that next year will be near perfection.  I’m willing to bet that you can guess my #1 & #2 slots, but damnit if that weather wasn’t the worst I can ever remember.  Yes it may even top the 107 degree heat and the dust from hell.  So follow the jump for my bottom 5 of ACL 2009.

mosdef5. Mos Def

This set reminded me why I’ve just about given up on ever seeing a good rap/hip-hop show ever again.  Seriously.  I mean could you even be more cliche?  The guy starts his set 20 minutes late and then doesn’t say a word until he’s done with his 10 minute percussion solo.  What a load of crap this was.  When the best song you play is a Radiohead cover (All I Need), you are doing nothing but wasting my time.  Stick to your acting career man because you obviously have no idea how to put on a show.


dellstage4. Sound On The Dell Stage

How does this seem to happen on at least one stage every year?  Every year we all talk about that one stage that sounded like poo poo all weekend long.  This year, for me, it was the Dell stage.  It all began with the popping, crackling and general quietness of the Blitzen Trapper set on Friday.  Then Dr. Dog sounded like a muddled car stero in a 95 Honda Accord.  Granted the sound sort of improved by the last day when I watched Dirty Projectors, but that doesn’t make up for the lackluster quality on Friday and Saturday.  I have friends who can run sound better than that.  No really, that is not a joke.


byebyezilker3. Bye Bye Zilker

So before I get into the disaster that was the weather of ACL weekend, I’ll mention my frustration with the Zilker shut down for the next month.  I know I know, the weather was bad and we need to re-build the thing.  I’m just a big cry baby.  Wah wah.  But seriously, we already waited around for this beautiful grass to be laid and now we’ll be another month without?  Damnit.  By the time Zilker re-opens it’ll be too cold outside to even enjoy it and they’ll start throwing up that lame trail of lights BS.  Now where am I going to play ULTIMATE!?!?!


dillodirt2. Dillo Dirt

Me: “Man this place is super muddy today.”

Friend: “Yeah no kidding…”

Me: “JESUS!  And it really smells like shit!”

Friend: “You’ve obviously never heard of dillo dirt”

So by now you’ve heard of this new “dillo dirt” and how it’s composed of old lawn clippings and sewer sludge.  Maybe I don’t know much about lawn care, but would you really want to use sewer waste when sodding a public park?  I know I wouldn’t want it in my yard.  I mean when it rains and then it’s hot like on Sunday, you’re left with a steaming pile of excrement.  Literally.  Sunday at ACL we were all walking around in one big steaming pile of shit.  My favorite moments on Sunday were revealing the secret of dillo dirt to individuals who had just rubbed some of the stuff on their body and/or face.  “Wha!?!  You mean I just covered myself in what could be my own shit!?!”.  Man that was fun.  Only one thing could top the warm brown pudding from Sunday…


DMBonsaturday1. Saturday

Saturday at ACL can be marked down as my worst single day festival experience in my 8 year history of attending ACL.  I honestly don’t even know where to begin here.  The weather was terrible ALL day long.  The music was mostly sub-par all day long.  My only real highlight for the day came from the danceable set from !!!.  That was at 1:30.  The day only took a huge turn for the worse after that.  The low point of my day was during the Flogging Molly set when the rain came down harder than ever and I took refuge under an ATM tent drenched from head to toe.  Okay, I’ll stop bitching and leave you with some quotes from random people during my day in chronological order.  Maybe it will lighten my memories from Saturday.

– “Nice rain gear dumbass” (I wore a white t-shirt)

– “God Grizzly Bear is so boring.  I’m taking refuge under a tree.”

– “Dude, have you ever seen Dave Matthews live?”

– “It’s raining again!!!!”

– “Man this would be really cool if it wasn’t raining”

– “Mind if I stand next to this ATM with you?”

– “How is it still raining!?!?!”

– “Anyone got a clean pair of socks?”

– “I’m never leaving this tent.”

– “Fuck Mos Def.  I left my tent for this?”

– “They’re playing Hazards of Love from start to finish!?!!?”

– “I’m going to watch the OU game.”

– “When is Ghostland going to put out some new music worth a damn?”


Have a funny story you want to share?  You still have a special place in my heart ACL festival and I’ll be back for more next year.

Honorable Mention: The Hazards of Love by Decemberists, DMB fans, children covered in dillo dirt from head to toe, off-roading strollers, long lines for food, no local beer love


  • There was no reason to leave that tent and every reason to stay…

    I’d like to give a shout out to all my die-hard stoner friends. They themselves may have been completely saturated, but gosh darn-it if their green wasn’t perfectly dry and protected better than the Crown Jewels. Made my Saturday A-OK.

  • Yes, the weather was shitty. But not all the music was. And the Dillo Dirt stunk like ass. But the other danceable acts like STS9, Eek-A-Mouse and !!! were great. Saturday left a lot to be desired. Prior to the Fest it looked to be the weakest line-up of the weekend. And it was.

    Overall, ACL was pretty impressive musically. From Medeski, Martin & Wood on Fri. to Pearl Jam’s electric performance on Sunday, there was plenty of great tunes to hear. Did anyone catch Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band? . . . .Damn, they were good. And what a show! Never saw anyone play a burning washboard B4.

  • I got one. A scheduling decision.

    My biggest beef is starving to death on Friday since they decided to have Phoenix end at 6:00 with nothing at all following it, thus sending everybody to the food court at once for dinner. $$$

    Its a shame, too. Since that stuff looked good, had 30,000 people not decided at once to go eat.

  • Sounds like you had a bad time.. so, why take it out on the musicians and blame them for bad sound/weather? They work hard, travel far, show up, set up, and play despite the weather and sound problems that they have no control over once they start performing.. So, yes.. you sound like a “negative nancy”. Why even post this? I am sure there were people who had fun, despite it all. Also, the photo you posted of Dr. dog is one of a “fill-in” drummer. Their real drummer couldn’t make it there and didn’t play. Dr. dog must have sounded better than your review, as many other reviews said they were a highlight and they were even invited to play an impromptu show at another venue for tonight. They are a great, upcoming band, and you just made them seem lame because of the sound/weather, which they had no control over after traveling from Phila. to perform there. I am sure that all of the bands that you said negative things about feel the same way. Why make a bad thing out of a good time for many and hard work from all of the performers? You are a downer….

  • @phan-

    I think you’re missing the point re: Dr. Dog. The point being that the writer likes Dr. Dog, and they DESERVED better sound than what they were given at the festival. The writer is coming to their defense. It’s certainly not the bands fault… I would be pissed too if I “worked hard, traveled far, showed up, set up and played despite the weather” and then had shitty sound. It’s not fair to the bands, and that was the point.

    Go and read the heaps of praise for Dr. Dog’s music on this site. Do your research before you throw a fit. Hell, Fate made #16 on their top albums of the year list and the album was 1/2 a star away from a perfect rating:

  • Yeah Phan you are totally missing the point here man. No one is blaming Dr. Dog. We actually love Dr. Dog on this site and made a point to see them at the festival. I am trying to bring attention to a sound problem that seems to happen every year on one stage at the festival. Did you even read the article or just see something negative about Dr. Dog and get your panties in a wad?

    As Raygun said, my point is that Dr. Dog is a band that doesn’t deserve to have crappy sound and we want festival planners to realize that.

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