Saturday, October 03, 2009

Austin City Limits, Day 1

I got to the festival just as Asleep at the Wheel was finishing up their set with Cotton-Eyed Joe, a diddy and dance that is a sure fire way of getting Texans fired up. I was happy to see that there were a couple of Nashville acts in the lineup – bluegrass singer Sara Watkins and blues singer/songwriter Jonell Mosser. Watkins played first at Austin Ventures and had a great turnout. The music was excellent. Afterwards, we listed to Blitzen Trapper for a bit before settling in to hear Jonell at the BMI stage. BMI is my favorite stage because of all the shade and it’s also never crowded. Great place to cool off. I was really excited about seeing Jonell again. I lived in Nashville for several years and often when to see her when she played at a Third & Lindsley, a small blues club. There wasn’t that many people there for her show. Unfortunately she doesn’t do a lot of shows or festivals so she has a really low profile. But man does she have a voice! After the show, she came out to talk with fans a bit and of course I couldn’t resist saying hello. She was very personable and happy to hear that I had been to several of her shows in Nashville. I told her that she needs to make the trip to Austin more often!

After Jonell’s show we meandered around to hear Todd Snider, Knux, Dr. Dog, before settling in at Walter “Wolfman” Washington’s show at the Wildflower stage. What an awesome show that was – lots of blues, horns, and funk. Wolfman is a great front man and he was snazzily dressed in head to toe RED with a matching guitar. Afterwards, we headed up to AMD/XBOX 360 stage to prepare so that we would have a great spot to see John Legend, Them Crooked Vultures (with John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin) and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Great shows! The Yeah Yeah Yeahs had the best performance hands down. There was a huge eyeball suspended on the stage and big eyeballs floating around the crowd. And KO as usual kept it interesting with her costumes, dancing, and overall performance. She’s incredible. I especially loved her introduction – the music began with a spotlight on her in a hooded robe with tribal markings. I’m a little bummed that I missed Eddie Vedder singing with Kings of Leon but just couldn’t pull away from KO to make the long trek through the crowd. I’ll be see him Sunday night with Pearl Jam.

Overall, it was a great day at ACL. I didn't have to wait long in line for food or beer. However, the bathrooms were a different story. Also, despite the increased number of ticket sales and the City's aggressive marketing campaign encouraging attendees to "bike" to ACL - there wasn't more bike parking. Same number of racks (and trees) as last year. And, all of the ACL jumbotrons were prompting folks to tweet about the festival and post pics but it was nearly impossible to do so - most of my "texts" and attempted tweets failed or were delayed.