Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

Austin City Limits Taping – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Austin City Limits - Nick CaveWhen Terry Lickona came out to announce Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, he noted that Nick Cave has been around 30 years and that Austin City Limits has been around for 40 years, but this was the first appearance on the show.

I’ve been to quite a few ACL performances over the years and the first thing I noticed last night was that the floor configuration for the taping was different than any other that I’ve attended. They gave Nick Cave two walkways out into the crowd and did away with the traditional space between the audience and the stage along with the two floor cameras that are usually right in front. I heard that based on the previous night’s performance to a sold out crowd, they decided that they wanted more audience interaction to make for a better taping.

This was my first time seeing Nick Cave live. I’d been exposed to him through Henry Rollins who’s a big fan. I’m also pretty familiar with Cave’s 1992 album, Henry’s Dream, which was an employee favorite at the Sound Warehouse at 49th and Burnet Road where I worked when it was released. His Grinderman side project has been a favorite over the past few years. He’s got quite a stage presence. He reminds me of a goth Elvis with a more overt sexuality, even raunchiness. I don’t know that I would’ve wanted to be in the front on the floor the way he was shoving his crotch at the audience members.

You can see the set list below, but the performance included five tracks from 2013’s Push The Sky Away and a sampling of what could be considered his greatest hits from earlier records. As many of those in attendance noted on Twitter, it’s not likely that they’ll air “Stagger Lee” from Murder Ballads without having to censor a good portion of the song. Cave himself mentioned that they wouldn’t air “Mermaids” because of one of the lyrics.

I attended with a friend who had never been to a taping before. He noted the lack of cell phones during the performance as a welcome sight. Austin City Limits and Alamo Drafthouse… trying to restore civility to attending movies and concerts. Coincidentally, a Nick Cave documentary, 20,000 Days on Earth, plays tonight at 10pm at Alamo Drafthouse – Ritz. The Nick Cave episode will air in the Fall.

Set List:

  1. We Real Cool (PTSA)
  2. Jubilee Street (PTSA)
  3. Tupelo (TFID)
  4. Red Right Hand (LLI)
  5. Mermaids (PTSA)
  6. From Her to Eternity (FHTE)
  7. Love Letter (NMSWP)
  8. God Is In the House (NMSWP)
  9. Higgs Boson Blues (PTSA)
  10. The Mercy Seat (TP)
  11. Stagger Lee (MB)
  12. Push the Sky Away (PTSA)

Austin City Limits Taping – Tweedy

Austin City Limits - TweedyTweedy is in town tonight for a show at the Texas Union Ballroom. It’s Tweedy the solo project that includes Jeff Tweedy and his son, Spencer, on drums, not just Jeff. They’re backed by guitarist Jim Elkington, multi-instrumentalist Liam Cunningham, bassist Darin Gray and last night were joined by vocalists Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe from the Brooklyn band, Lucius. The ACL program pointed out that Lucius played the Bloody Mary Morning Party during SXSW 2013.

Tweedy is releasing a new album, Sukierae (sue-key-ray), on September 16th. This is his first solo album featuring 20 new songs. He joked that he had to wait 18 years to grow a drummer before he could go solo. I had decided to punt on getting tickets for the show because of the outrageous $80 ticket prices, but got to go to the Austin City Limits taping last night.

I last saw Jeff Tweedy solo at Hogg Auditorium in January of 2007. It’s one of the best shows that I’ve ever seen. Jeff Tweedy solo shows are typically an intimate affair. It’s just him and his guitar. He even eschewed the microphone for several songs at that show. The intimacy of those solo shows is somewhat lost with the backing band. It was also more difficult to get into the first three quarters of the show because it’s all new material that we’ve never heard. Jeff Tweedy commented on this and thanked the audience for sticking with him. His solo shows are also part stand-up routine with plenty of self-deprecating humor. He managed to squeeze a bit of that into his on stage banter, apologizing to Spencer more than once for possibly embarrassing the 18 year old as he spoke. There weren’t as many sing-a-longs in last night’s show but the crowd was encouraged to join in on “Slow Love”, one of the new songs from the forthcoming album.

This is the 40th season of Austin City Limits. Tonight’s show is an encore performance of Raphael Saadiq and Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears. The Tweedy show at Texas Union Ballroom is sold out. They play Dallas’s Majestic Theater tomorrow night. Austin360 also has a review of last night’s taping.

Set List:

(Full band)

  1. Down From Above
  2. Diamond Light
  3. Flowering
  4. Summer Noon
  5. World Away
  6. Desert Bell
  7. Honey Combed
  8. New Moon
  9. Where My Love
  10. High As Hello
  11. Wait For Love
  12. Low Key
  13. Slow Love
  14. Nobody Dies
(Solo)
  1. Via Chicago
  2. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
  3. New Madrid
  4. Hummingbird
  5. You and I
  6. Please Tell My Brother
  7. Born Alone
  8. Jesus Etc
  9. Passenger Side
  10. I’m The Man
(Full Band Encore)
  1. Give Back the Key to My Heart (Doug Sahm collaboration from Uncle Tupelo’s Anodyne recorded at Cedar Creek here in Austin)
  2. California Stars
(Solo Encore)
  1. Misunderstood

Austin City Limits Taping – Beck

Beck - Austin City Limits TapingBeck taped a broadcast for Austin City Limits on this past Sunday night. Terry Lickona’s typical pre-show intro included a reminder that Austin City Limits celebrates its 40th year this year. They’re doing some special shows for the Fall that include past performers. They taped the first performances last week with Willie Nelson (the show’s first performer) and also Double Trouble, Stevie Ray Vaughan’s backing band.

It’s been a while since I paid very much attention to Beck. I’m glad he’s still out there cranking out music. He’s certainly proven that he’s got the longevity. I remember really cursing that I had moved to NYC during SXSW in 1994 when he played a well received set. That was also the year that Johnny Cash played Emo’s. I picked up Odelay as I moved back in 1995. Since then, the only other Beck album I’d purchased was Midnite Vultures. That’s the one that I (and I’m sure others) like to refer to as Beck’s “Prince Album”. His latest, Morning Phase, is said to be more similar to 2002’s Sea Change which appears to be pretty well regarded and I completely missed it at the time. Judging from the songs from Morning Phase that he played for the taping, it’s definitely an acoustic 70’s pop radio feel. I loved this show because it reminded me of some great radio hits that I’d forgotten and introduced me to some new songs along with songs that I had missed. “Think I’m In Love” from 2006’s The Information is super catchy. I feel like I must’ve heard it before, but even if I didn’t, the first listen had me hooked. I tend to enjoy his more groove-related stuff, but I did find “Blackbird Change” from Morning Phase sticking with me after the taping.

The band included guitar, bass, two keyboard/multi-instrumentalists and a drummer, Joey Waronker, with a kit to rival Neal Peart. The drum sound was amazing, particularly the tom toms. During their set (list included below courtesy of Leslie from ACL’s twitter feed), Beck called an audible and decided to do all of the acoustic numbers in the middle. This required a bit of a shuffle for the ACL crew. They also ended up re-doing three of the acoustic songs at the end. Their first stage exit after “E-Pro” was amusing. They all fell down to the ground with their instruments feeding back and then eventually crawled their way, snake-like offstage. I’m hoping they include that in the broadcast. It was likely more amusing for those of us watching from the balcony since we could see what they were up to. To the people on the floor, it probably looked like they had disappeared. I missed “New Pollution” and really could’ve done without “Loser”. It’s one of those songs that’s so overplayed, I probably would’nt mind if I never heard it again. I think it was the most lackluster performance of the entire set.

I mentioned in my review of the Fun. taping that the ACL staff has become much more militant about cell phones during the taping. This is understandable, but they must really have had problems over the past year. I typically use my phone to take a few notes for my reviews. I turn the brightness down to the lowest setting and hold the phone down between my knees to minimize distraction. It’s never been a problem, but this time, an usher tapped me on the shoulder and gestured that he was going to throw me out if I didn’t put the phone away. It seems a little overly militant to me though. I guess I’ll be bringing a notepad and pen from now on and kick it old school reporter-like.

Beck plays the Austin City Limits Festival this year and the episode that was taped this past week will air in October.

Set List:

  1. Devil’s Haircut (Odelay)
  2. Black Tambourine (Guero)
  3. Think I’m in Love (The Information)
  4. Golden Age (Sea Change)
  5. Blackbird Chain (Morning Phase)
  6. Don’t Let it Go (Morning Phase)
  7. Country Down (Morning Phase)
  8. Lost Cause (Sea Change)
  9. Sissyneck (Odelay)
  10. Soldier Jane (The Information)
  11. Blue Moon (Morning Phase)
  12. Dead Melodies (Mutations)
  13. Say Goodbye (Morning Phase)
  14. Waking Light (Morning Phase)
  15. Soul of a Man (Modern Guilt)
  16. Loser (Mellow Gold)
  17. Girl (Guero)
  18. E-Pro (Guero)
  19. Where It’s At (Odelay)

Austin City Limits Taping – Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails had their Austin City Limits debut on Monday, November 5th at the Moody Theater. The band currently features a bass player, four multi-instrumentalists, two back up singers and Trent Reznor.  We all know that Trent Reznor *is* NIN and that’s evident during their live set. He’s definitely the band leader and his control of the set from center stage is evident. His band is a mix of old and new members. One of the back up singers in particular was impressive.

This was one of the most uncomfortable tapings that I’ve ever attended. Apparently, the air conditioning was turned off and then later restarted at the band’s request. It was way too hot. I guessing the band regretted that decision pretty quickly.

They played ten songs from the latest release, Hesitation Marks. “Sanctified” was the only track from Pretty Hate Machine. “In This Twilight” and “Survivalism” came from Year Zero. My personal favorite album is The Fragile and they played “The Frail” immediately followed by “The Wretched” and later, “The Big Come Down” and “Even Deeper”. They closed with “Hurt” from The Downward Spiral.

The episode will air sometime after January 2014. Check the schedule page for air dates.

Here’s the set list:

  1. All Time Low
  2. Sanctified
  3. Disappointed
  4. Come Back Haunted
  5. Copy of A
  6. The Frail / The Wretched
  7. Find My Way
  8. Various Methods of Escape
  9. Satellite
  10. Running
  11. I Would For You
  12. The Big Come Down
  13. Survivalism
  14. Even Deeper
  15. In This Twilight
  16. While I’m Still Here
  17. Hurt

Austin City Limits Taping – Queens of the Stone Age

Waiting for QOTSA at ACLQueens of the Stone Age (QOTSA) had the honor of, as Terry Lickona put it at the start of last night, “kicking off ACL Festival” with their taping at Austin City Limits at the Moody Theater, the show’s home since Season 37.

QOTSA have had a rotating line up over the years with Josh Homme being the only consistent member from the days that the band started after the breakup of Kyuss in the mid-90s. That being said, the current line up has been relatively steady of late except for the addition of drummer, Jon Theodore. All of the current members have other side projects or came from success with other bands. Both Josh Homme and Alain Johannes played Austin City Limits before with Them Crooked Vultures in Season 35.

They stuck to mostly tracks from their new album …Like Clockwork with eight tracks coming from that album. They played four from 2002’s Songs for the Deaf, which is my favorite of theirs. I tend to associate particular albums with different parts of my life and that one always reminds me of the time right before my daughter was born. I was listening to it in the car at the time and particularly remember it going to and from midwife appointments.  “In the Fade” was the only track from Rated R and “Little Sister” was the only track from Lullabies to Paralyze. “Misfit Love” and “Make It Wit Chu” from Era Vulgaris. I understand why they’d focus on the latest, but I would’ve liked to see a few more tracks from both Songs for the Deaf and Lullabies to Paralyze. I agree with some of the reviews that I’ve read that the last two albums tend to be less driving than the two more recent efforts.

The episode will air as part of Season 39 on January 4th at 7pm on KLRU locally. The band plays the Austin City Limits Festival tonight at 7:30pm on the Bud Light stage and at the same time and stage next Friday as a part of the second weekend.

Set List:

  1. You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire
  2. Misfit Love
  3. No One Knows
  4. My God is the Sun
  5. I Sat By The Ocean
  6. …Like Clockwork
  7. In the Fade
  8. If I Had A Tail
  9. Kalopsia
  10. Little Sister
  11. Make It Wit Chu
  12. Smooth Sailing
  13. I Appear Missing
  14. Go With The Flow
  15. The Vampyre of Time & Memory
  16. Song for the Dead

Austin City Limits Taping – Fun.

Waiting for Fun.

Fun. made their first appearance at the Moody Theater downtown last night.  This taping had the most kids in attendance that I think I’ve ever seen at any ACL show. I also noticed for the first time that they made multiple announcements that people need to be in their seats by the 8pm show start time and that they *really* don’t want people to have their cell phones out. This has been the policy all along, but they must be having problems with morons who either can’t pull themselves away from the bar or feel the need to try to take photos or video.

Fun. is perfectly suited for live audiences. Every other song is an anthem with plenty of opportunities for audience participation. They remind me a bit of Queen in that respect. Hopefully, the crowd singalongs will come through in the broadcast.

Nate Ruess has an impressive voice, another similarity to Queen. Unfortunately, it appears that he’s been having some voice issues and they ended up cancelling the today’s show in Florida with Mumford & Sons. I didn’t notice him struggling during the taping, so I’m glad that he was able to pull off the television show.

Jack Antonoff, guitarist for Fun.,  mentioned his love for Austin and that he’s played at Beerland, the smaller room at Emo’s, the larger room at Emo’s, the small room at Stubb’s and then outside at Stubb’s last year when they had their breakout singles from their second album,  Some Nights, which also landed them a couple of Grammys. The band was accompanied by three other musicians for the night’s broadcast.

I was only familiar with their singles. They played an even mix of material from both of their albums. My wife and I particularly enjoyed “The Gambler”, a song Nate Ruess apparently wrote for his parents.

Fun. will play the Austin City Limits festival on Friday, October 4th at 4pm on the AMD stage and Friday, October 11th at 4pm on the Lady Bird stage. The 39th season of Austin City Limits begins airing locally on KLRU on Saturday, October 5th.

Set List:

  1. Out on the Town
  2. One Foot
  3. All Alone
  4. Why Am I
  5. At Least
  6. Pretty Girls
  7. Barlights
  8. Carry On
  9. The Gambler
  10. We Are Young
  11. You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Rolling Stones cover)
  12. Some Nights
  13. Stars

Austin City Limits Taping – Jack White

Jack WhiteEvery year during the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park, you can expect that at least a few artists will tape an episode of the Austin City Limits television show. This year, as the new season starts to air (Radiohead’s performance aired on 10/6 and Bon Iver aired this past Saturday), they’re continuing to add more artists to fill out the rest of the season. Jack White taped an episode Sunday night at the Moody Theater. The Austin City Limits television site is posting its own taping recaps now. They have a  pretty comprehensive background on the night including a set list. There’s also one from the Tim McGraw taping in August. Norah Jones also did a taping late this week.

Jack White has graced the Austin City Limits stage once before with Raconteurs in Season 32 (2006) which coincided with his first appearance at the music festival. The Raconteurs played the festival again in 2008 and he famously had to cancel the White Stripes headlining slot at the festival in 2007 due to Meg White’s health issues. I’m assuming that his choice of set list as a solo artist was influenced by the desire to get some White Stripes songs on Austin City Limits. I’ve been to several tapings over the years and this was the first one I can recall where the artist was allowed to alter the set. They didn’t obscure or block the Austin skyline, but they changed the stage from its usual black to white and had two spotlights that bathed the bands in a blue or white light. It managed to give them their own style while still sticking with the Austin City Limits tradition.

White has two backing bands and switched between them halfway through the set. He appeared to have brought his own Hasidic appearing road crew to manage the switch. I don’t want to touch off a gender war, but the all male Buzzards, the first backing band, definitely rocked harder than their female counterparts, the Peacocks. I enjoyed both thoroughly. The Buzzards, all in black, consisted of drums, bass, fiddle, keys and a multi instrumentalist. The Peacocks, all in white, had one more member than the Buzzards. I’d never noticed this before, but the keyboard / piano setup at stage left had a rather large mirror for the keys facing stage left so that the player could still see Jack and the rest of the band. Jack ended up restarting “Hypocritical Kiss” with the Peacocks so they could get it right. I think he was the one that made a mistake or the tuning  was slightly off. Being a drummer, I noticed that the drummers from both bands, Carla Azar with the Peacocks and Daru Jones with the Buzzards sit very high over their kits. Jones also angles all of his drums downward away from him at a fairly steep angle. To each their own, but I can’t see being able to play like that night after night.

Look for this episode to air in January.

Austin City Limits Taping – Radiohead

This was my second trip to the Moody Theater for an Austin City Limits taping. I was back in section 1 in the balcony on the left side. We were on row A, right in the front of the balcony. That row has a slightly obscured view of the stage due to the height of the wall that runs around the edge of the balcony. It’s necessary to lean forward to see the entire stage.

This time, it was Radiohead who are playing tonight at the Erwin Center. I had tickets for that show as well in the upper deck. When I got the chance to attend the ACL taping, I sold the tickets to a friend. They’ll get a longer set at the Erwin Center, but it won’t be as intimate and the sound won’t be as good.

Radiohead ACL ProgramTerry Lickona introduced the band and also announced that the development on Block 21 that includes the Moody Theater where the show has been taping for a year has been awarded the LEED Silver Certification for Commitment to Sustainability, the first such award to a mixed use development of its size.

Comparing last night’s set list with the one from Houston, we didn’t get one of my favorites, “Everything In Its Right Place”. However, we did get three b-sides: “Daily Mail”, “The Amazing Sounds of Orgy” and “Staircase”. Thom Yorke introduced “Orgy” as a song he’d written 10 years ago that disappeared like a “wet fart in the wind”. It’s about the banking industry and how it appeared poised for a collapse. It seems that Mr. Yorke was a little early, but still correct. They also played a few new numbers including “Identikit” which has been played throughout the tour and a new one called “Skirting the Surface”.  Looking at the rest of the list, they played the first 5 tracks from The King of Limbs, three from Hail To The Thief, two from In Rainbows, one from Kid A, and one from OK Computer.

The sound, as always, was amazing, particularly during “Daily Mail” which starts with just Thom Yorke on piano. (I highly recommend picking up the Daily Mail / Staircase single). There was a lot of switching out of instruments between songs. The double drummer setup made for some interesting cross-rhythms throughout the show. Bass player, Colin Greenwood, stayed between the two drummers in the back for much of the set while Thom Yorke danced around like a crazed Leprechaun. They did two takes of “Reckoner”. Yorke wasn’t happy with the first take and had the band start over again.

The show will air sometime in October on KLRU (Channel 9) locally or your PBS affiliate.

Set list:

  1. Bloom
  2. Little by Little
  3. Daily Mail
  4. Myxomatosis
  5. Morning Mr. Magpie
  6. The Gloaming
  7. The Amazing Sounds of Orgy
  8. Staircase
  9. Reckoner
  10. Weird Fishes / Arpeggi
  11. Identikit
  12. Lotus Flower
  13. There There
  14. Feral
  15. Idioteque
  16. Skirting on the Surface (encore)
  17. Paranoid Android (encore)

Austin City Limits Announces Final Taping in Current Location

As a part of my post on Sonic Youth’s Austin City Limits taping earlier this month, I mentioned speculation about who will be the final guest at the ACL’s current location in the Communication building on the UT campus.

Well, speculate no more, and though it was a good guess, Corcoran was wrong. Austin City Limits has just announced that the final taping will be November 8th and the guest will be Lyle Lovett.

From the release:

AUSTIN CITY LIMITS is the longest-running music series in American television history. More than 500 episodes featuring more than 800 performers have originated from the modest and unassuming Studio 6A since tapings began in 1974. The AUSTIN CITY LIMITS story is one of unparalleled passion for music, commitment to excellence, and perseverance against many odds. What began as a modest Texas music series has gone on to become the only television series ever to be awarded the prestigious National Medal of the Arts. And it has made so much history in one small room that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum declared that it was one of the few rock and roll landmarks worthy of official recognition, an honor that was bestowed upon the show in March 2010.

Lyle Lovett’s history with AUSTIN CITY LIMITS runs deep. When he first came to Studio 6A it was as an audience member, and he made his first appearance on the show as a backing singer for Nanci Griffith in 1985. Since then, he has come to know the stage well, appearing on the show no less than 12 times, making him one of the most frequent guests in the show’s history.
When it comes to presenting live music, AUSTIN CITY LIMITS embodies its motto of “Great Music. No Limits.” Accomplishing what no other show has done in the history of American television, the series has, for nearly four decades, presented audiences with the most diverse, original, cutting-edge talent music has to offer. Past performers have included Willie Nelson, Asleep at the Wheel, B.B. King, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles, John Fogerty, Robert Plant, Neil Young, The Dixie Chicks, Dolly Parton, Kenny Chesney, Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, Van Morrison, R.E.M., Allen Toussaint, Arcade Fire, Patty Griffin, Spoon, Coldplay, Wilco, Norah Jones, The Flaming Lips, The Dave Matthews Band, Jimmy Cliff and many, many more.

The show’s next chapter continues in early 2011 with Season 37, originating from its new home at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. The new studio location will enable more fans to watch future live tapings and provide an enhanced experience for all future shows, while maintaining the intimacy, character and integrity that have been the hallmark of AUSTIN CITY LIMITS for more than three decades.

Since it’ll be pretty much impossible to get in to that taping, they’re offering a simulcast party at Hogg Auditorium as well. A new episode of Austin City Limits with Robert Earl Keen and Hayes Carll airs this Saturday at 7pm on KLRU (or you PBS affiliate).

Austin City Limits Taping – Sonic Youth

Season 36 of Austin City Limits kicked off this past Saturday with Jimmy Cliff. The festival that bears its name starts today so that means that there are several tapings this week. I got the chance to check out Sonic Youth last night. Monsters of Folk taped Wednesday night. Band of Horses will tape Saturday night. The National will tape on Monday and the Black Keys will wrap things up on Tuesday.

Sonic Youth is one of , if not THE, elder statesman of alternative/indie/punk rock. I’ve followed them since the late 80s around the time that Steve Shelley joined. I was a big fan of his from the Crucif**ks days. The band has actually been around for over 30 years,  According to a trivia contest on their site for the La Zona Rosa show Saturday night, their first show in Austin was 08.27.1985 with Scratch Acid opening. Their most recent album, The Eternal (“Antenna”, “Sacred Trickster”, and “No Way” are stand outs), was released last summer on Matador Records after choosing not to renew on their 16 year major label relationship with Geffen/DGC records. For those of you old enough to remember, Sonic Youth played a role in Nirvana signing with Geffen in the early 90s. The two bands were featured in a documentary on their 1991 European tour that I think is out-of-print now, 1991: The Year Punk Broke. It’s a great documentary if you can track down a copy.

Sonic Youth is one of those bands that I always meant to see live, but never had the chance. They impressively re-create the wall of guitars that marks many of their songs, many of which have two bass guitars. The band is notorious for odd guitar tunings and I noticed that a lot of their guitars have tape along the head stock at each of the tuning pegs, no doubt to help the guitar techs to know how to properly tune the guitar for the songs they’re playing. I’m guessing that means there can’t be a lot of spontaneity in the set list. (more…)

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