Archive for September, 2007

ACL 2007 Day 2 and 3 Recap: Angry Dad

1397696008_af849185f5_m.jpgSince soccer season started on Saturday, we arrived at Zilker Park in the late afternoon to the sounds of Blue October and Stephen Marley. After grabbing food, we parked ourselves between the AMD and AT&T Blue Room stages. Andrew Bird was a decent discovery while we waited for Arctic Monkeys. I can’t say the same about Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah, who followed Andrew Bird. As others have noted, the singer’s voice took on an annoying quality in the sound mix. Arctic Monkeys gave a good performance, but nothing that blew me away. I wasn’t close enough to see, but I suspect the large white lights behind them were borrowed from Arcade Fire’s stage decorations. The family and I parted ways for Arcade Fire since they didn’t want to miss any of Muse. I stayed to watch what I consider the best performance of the festival of the acts that I saw. Arcade Fire mixed great visuals with an amazing performance. I’d heard a few of their songs, two of which they played (“Black Mirror” and “No Cars Go”). The red lighting and kinescope-like images added well to the mood of the performance. It was often difficult to count the number of band members on stage, but the average seemed to be around 10. One guy pointlessly pounded the crap out of a cymbal for an entire song that none of us could hear, but poor sound at the AMD stage was a problem throughout the festival. I was impressed by multi-instrumentalist, RĂ©gine Chassagne, who played drums, accordian, and pipe organ among other things. I left Arcade Fire in time to catch Muse’s last few songs. They stepped into the headliner slot after The White Stripes canceled and they did an admirable job. I’m not a big fan of theirs from what I heard on the radio, but they impressed me Saturday night.

Sunday was our only full day at the festival. We arrived at noon to catch Fionn Regan at the Austin Ventures stage. His song, “Put a Penny in the Slot”, was an iTunes free download several weeks ago and I liked it enough to check him out. He put on a good show, but I found myself being distracted by the cacophony that Yo La Tengo was putting out from the AMD stage. This was the first of two times that I wished I could be two places at once on Sunday. After Fionn Regan, we relaxed at the “beach”, had lunch and let the kids run amok at Austin Kiddie Limits.
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ACL 2007 Day 1 Recap

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Austinist and the Statesman have got many more feet on the ground and they don’t have kids, so go there for the full coverage. Here’s my bullet point take:

  • We brought coozies for the cans this year only to find that they’d done away with cans and switched to cups. Why? I can’t think that they’re better from an environmental sense. It’s aluminum versus plastic. Did they get a better deal on kegs? It was much easier to carry the cans around. Maybe they’re trying to cut down on beer consumption? Anyone?
  • Gotan Project seems to be the consensus winner of Friday.
  • Queens of the Stone Age were good.
  • LCD Soundsystem isn’t my bag generally, but they were good.
  • We liked checking out Reverend Horton Heat, but they were drowned out by Kaiser Chiefs and what was up with the cover medley? Play your own stuff.
  • Bjork was a good closer. I’d never seen her before. Very orchestral.
  • It was damn crowded yesterday. We arrived at 3:30 to a mob trying to enter. That’s the first time that I’ve waited to get in to the festival.
  • They should bring back the patrolling festival staff to kick people off the beach who don’t have kids. It was a welcome respite for families in past years and there were a lot of jerks stealing chairs without asking.

Cooling-off period

Those visitors to Austin crashing at a location without a pool are reminded that, although people will say much about Barton Springs, the pool at Big Stacy Park is nearly as close and it’s free. Not far from the attractions of South Congress, this little oasis is a refreshing home away from home for many. It has always been a daytime favorite of musicians who are couch-surfing in town and like to get to know a bit more about their temporary neighbors.

Music in a lower key, on a smaller scale

Austin’s local Fiestas Patrias committee, bringing all of Austin programs of music, dance, and other cultural events today and tomorrow in observance of Mexican Independence Day, once again has planned a full schedule for Fiesta Gardens. At this event for all ages, the evening headliners will be Tejano stars Emilio Navaira and Rio (tonight at 9 and again at 11) and Grupo Mazz with Jimmy Gonzalez (tomorrow evening at 9:30). I love it that so many of the attractions will play twice. We love Ricky Naranjo y los Gamblers and Carta Blanca (Jorge y Mague), but our great favorites are Los Dos Gilbertos, because we love so many of their song originals (especially “Por Una Mala Mujer“). At $6 for adult admission before 6 pm and $8 thereafter, this is a bargain event (a dollar of the admission price is to cover the City’s charge for use of the park). Children are usually admitted free. There will be a car show, food, and mariachi music (as well as beer). There’s a covered pavilion for the bandstand and dance floor, with bleacher seating (and people may bring their own folding chairs). The info hotline is 531-1351. There are other events marking El Diez y Seis, but this is the homegrown one with the longstanding history.

M.I.A. rocks H.M.A. in November

mia.jpgThe UT PAC just confirmed via their website that M.I.A. will be playing Hogg Auditorium November 3rd. Tickets go on sale on the 21st. I’ve been wanting to get into the Sri Lankan badass’s music for awhile now and am totally excited to get to see her live. Sweeeeet. The last time M.I.A. was in town was the ’06 ACL fest, unless I’m mistaken.

Anyone seen her live? How is she?

White Stripes on Strike, citing “Icky Thump”

white.jpgAccording to austin360 the White Stripes have pulled out from their ACL spot and Stubb’s show due to “Medical Reasons”. It is as yet unreported who will be taking their place.

I suspect Win Butler and Co. of foul play. Who put up the White Stripes against Arcade Fire anyhow? On the other hand, if AF’s not your forte you can at least beat the crowd out to 6th street.

(I kid, Win. Call me.)

Update (2007.09.12 15:14 CDT): MTV reports that they pulled out due to Meg White’s “acute anxiety”. They’re canceling their entire U.S. tour. Muse, who was already scheduled to play ACL, has been moved into their spot and the schedule for that day has been shuffled around.

But it plays a tune

greetings from AustinIt’s more of a sparkle-and-bat globe than a snow globe, and it’s large. Gift-giving season has begun early and I’m now the proud possessor of the signature souvenir sold in the Austin City Store. Genial (and candid) Mr. Gene Smith greeted us this morning (doors open at 10 am and don’t close until 7 pm, six days a week). He’s a great salesman and we didn’t get away without buying some presents: Austin music, photo books of the Austin that will soon vanish at the rate we’re going, and a couple of fridge magnets for the homestead (to join bug sign Willie N. Festus and a couple of other Ave Bonar specials) plus more for gifts. Mr. Smith’s salesmanship convinced us that life isn’t worth living without a wind-up tumbling ladybug, a wind-up bathtub swimmer, and a wind-up inchworm. In fact, this shop is a very decent little toy store. News reports suggest that, for various reasons known to most of us, this little store may not be with us for long. The Web site gives no true picture of the inventory. I’m sorry it took me so long to check it out. The bat-globe melody? “Deep in the Heart of Texas,” music-box style.

Update: The City has announced that, pursuant to a vote by the city council, this little shop will be closed at the end of business on Saturday, September 29. I wonder who has dibs on this space for offices.

Chefs return; they’re still cooking

I’m so happy that the Breakfast Club is back on the air at KAZI 88.7-FM. Friday mornings between 8 and 9 o’clock just weren’t the same during the hiatus. The fare is still hot and there’s never any Pablum. My favorite non-print ways to learn what’s going on around town are Channel 6 replays of public hearings, Sam and Bob on KVET, the growing local news coverage on Univision TV and radio stations, and the Breakfast Club. Callers have the latest news and do not hesitate to broadcast their views on anything and everything, while Tommy Wyatt (editor and publisher of The Villager newspaper) and Akwasi Evans (editor and publisher of NOKOA: The Observer) bring their own peerless mix of news-gathering and political intelligence every week. This is true conversation, which of course is not lacking on any of the Wake-Up Call shows on KAZI starting at 7 am each weekday, but I do love the Breakfast Club, covering all issues, local, state, national, and international, not forgetting sports.

Congress Bridge Closed Tomorrow Morning

Thought I’d pass this along since I’d be pissed if I got detoured.

Less than a week after it was closed for Bat Fest, the Congress Avenue bridge will be closed tomorrow morning from 8:30am to 1pm for a dedication ceremony to rename the bridge after Ann Richards.

You’re stuck with I-35,South First, Lamar or Mopac.

March in Summer

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The Show Band of the Southwest, as photographed by Jerry Hayes on Flickr

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