ACL 2013 Recap – Sunday (10/6)

I am not going to lie: Saturday was my least favorite day of ACL. Aside from Parquet courts and The Cure (interestingly the first and last bands I saw on Saturday), no one really blew me away and the line-up was meh. But Sunday. Oh it was perfect.

Click through to see my highlights from the first Sunday of ACL.

Foxygen: Everyone has a story about this band, and more about singer Sam France in general. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew I was going to witness it. The band’s intended hour long set was punctuated by long pauses in between songs where France would talk about the chemicals in vegetables and the state of economy, or stopping to ask audience members to stop filming. Despite using a cane to move around due to a broken leg sustained on tour, France and the rest of the band played a good show. I thought the music came across well and I was generally impressed. I just wish they had played more of it. After the many aforementioned breaks, the band ended their set about 20 minutes early.

Noah and the Whale: Even though there was no Laura Marling performing with these suavely dressed Brits, I was extremely thrilled to see them. Charlie Fink was charming as ever and sitting on the hill in between the Honda and AMD stage on blankets with friends made it the perfect afternoon set. I proudly sang and danced along when they finished with “5 Years Time.”

Tame Impala: So when I said Depeche Mode was my most anticipated band of ACL, I was sort of lying. It was also really these guys. I have listened to Lonerism more times than any other album this past year and I missed seeing them when they played at the Stubbs in Austin. Photog man and I agreed the sound mixing was a bit off at first. Vocals were too faint, not enough drums, but I moved closer and the sound got better and with a more defined backbone. This band so dreamily mixes the psychodelic with electronic elements and it somehow all comes together perfectly in the live setting. Listening to Parker and then other band members maintain the steady whisper in “Gotta Be Above It” and then playing new crossover sensation song, “Elephant” was truly a festival favorite for me.

Phoenix: I can tell you one thing is for certain- ACL organizers messed up by putting Phoenix at the Bud Light stage. After leaving Tame Impala, I ventured over to that side of the festival hoping to catch as much of Phoenix as I could before Atoms for Peace, and it was like all of Zilker was in front of the Bud Light stage. Next time put them on a bigger stage. Unfortunately I could not really get close enough to the band (or even within half a mile), but I could thankfully hear and see from afar Thomas Mars and clan. Playing “Lisztomania,” “If I Ever Feel Better” and “Too Young” was nice, and the band did sound really great from what I could tell, but I was honestly too distracted by the throngs of people and I lamented the smaller crowd at Tame Impala.

Atoms for Peace: Thom York? Flea?! Having been an avid Radiohead fan since high school, there was no debate on missing this show. Sorry, Lionel, I will catch you next time (but probably not). I quickly noticed that the AMD stage was shockingly empty compared to the two previous nights for Depeche Mode and The Cure, and it was because everyone was watching Phoenix. The Frenchmen are wonderful, really, but if you go to ACL part deux, skip them to see all of Atoms for Peace. I promise, you will not regret it. The lights, Thom’s voice, his incredible style of martial arts-inspired dancing, Flea practically losing his mind and giving himself whiplash, Mauro Refosco playing every type of percussion imaginable in the background. It was amazing. As I stood closer to the stage than I had been for any other show at AMD this weekend, surrounded by open space and a sparcely populated audience, I realized ending the weekend by myself, watching this group of men come together in such a clash of sounds, was how I was meant to end ACL. They played a surprisingly long encore, and even when I moved backwards to try and glimpse a sound of Lionel, Thom and his haunting beats drowned out everything else, almost teasing festival organizers for not crowning him king of the line-up.

–Words by Stephanie Yeargan

Quick note from Brian – Lionel Richie was outstanding. The Commodores jams had all dancing. The wife started a Conga line to “All Night Long” that grew to over a hundred revelers. Take that Thom…

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