Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

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…)

Austin City Limits Taping – John Legend and The Roots

As I mentioned, John Legend and The Roots taped a performance for Austin City Limits last night. It will air locally on KLRU on Saturday, November 20, 2010. They’re promoting their new album, Wake Up, which will be released on September 21st. It’s a mix of mostly 70s soul covers and a few originals. They had performed the night before in Las Vegas for the Miss Universe pageant.

Austin City Limits is moving to its new location downtown at the beginning of next year, so there will probably only be a handful of performances at Studio 6A before the move. Bob Schneider tapes a set tonight and I’m assuming there will be a few tapings with the ACL Festival coming up at the beginning of October. There were the usual ACL taping amusements last night: people spilling the free beer (the only time I’ll drink Ziegenbock because it’s at least a little better than Budweiser – pro tip: always get two on the way in, it’s too hard to go back and get more) and watching people narrowly miss getting bonked in the head with the boom camera. The most adept at avoiding the camera is the official ACL photographer, Scott Newton, who just released a book collecting 35 years of photos from the show on UT Press.

Black Thought, who was present at the GMA Central Park performance that I linked in my preview post, wasn’t there for last night’s taping. They played pretty much straight through the set without too much talking in between songs and obviously the rap portions of the songs were dropped with the absence of Black Thought. “Captain” Kirk Douglas had a blistering guitar solo at the end of the Bill Withers cover “I Can’t Write Left Handed” and ?uestlove got pretty animated by the end of that song, definitely the best one of the set. I’ve heard “Hard Times” twice now and it’s been stuck in my head all morning.

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Questlove, John Legend & The Roots Preview

I first heard about The Roots living in NYC in 1995. I picked up their first major label album Do You Want More?!!!??! and couldn’t stop listening to it. I completely wore out “You Got Me” from their third album, Things Fall Apart. Their latest album, How I Got Over, was just released in June.

I pretend to be a drummer on occasion and had always admired ?uestlove (aka Ahmir Thompson), drummer for The Roots, but developed a serious man crush after seeing him at a live show during SXSW in 2006 for Before the Music Dies. I didn’t know about his bandleading skills until that performance, something that would become much more evident when The Roots began their stint as the house band for Jimmy Fallon’s takeover of Late Night from Conan O’Brien  (the only redeeming aspect of that change, in my opinion).

?uestlove also does guest DJ stints displaying his encyclopedic knowledge of music and will do one tonight immediately following the Austin City Limits taping at Red 7 at 9pm. It’s $8 in advance (try End of An Ear records) and $10 at the door and probably will sell out.

Tonight’s Austin City Limits taping will be with John Legend. Their collaboration, Wake Up, will be released on September 21st. I caught one song at a Central Park performance on Good Morning America a couple of weeks ago. The collaboration is inspired by the presidential election campaign of 2008 and is a mix of covers and originals. VH1 has a bunch of behind the scenes videos promoting the album. I’ll post a review of the taping tomorrow.

Here are the air dates for Season 36 of Austin City Limits which airs locally on KLRU on Saturday nights at 7pm:

October 2, 2010         Jimmy Cliff
October 9, 2010         Spoon
October 16, 2010      Patty Griffin & Friends
October 23, 2010      Alejandro Escovedo / Trombone Shorty
October 30, 2010      Robert Earl Keen / Hayes Carll
November 6, 2010     Steve Martin / Sarah Jarosz
November 13, 2010   Rosanne Cash / Brandi Carlile
November 20, 2010   John Legend & The Roots

Austin City Limits Taping – Cheap Trick

Cheap Trick opened the 36th and final season for Austin City Limits in its current location on the University of Texas campus. They’ll be moving to block 21 just north of city hall sometime near the end of this year or beginning of next year.

I had an amusing moment before the show at Terra Burger across the street. I saw a guy with platinum blond hair decked out in cowboy rocker gear and just wrote him off as a SXSW hipster wannabee. I passed him as I got a drink refill and headed out to wait for the interminable light to cross The Drag back over to the communications building. He came out at the same time and stood next to me. I looked over at him and it dawned on me that it was probably Robin Zander, Cheap Trick’s front man. Turns out that I was right that it was Robin and wrong that he was a wannabee. If anybody’s entitled to walk around like that, it’s him.

If Robin was inconspicuous with his presence in the Terra Burger, Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos is conspicuous by his absence on this trip through Austin. He wasn’t at the taping last night or at an interview with CNBC on St. Patrick’s Day and he hasn’t been mentioned in any of the interviews that I’ve seen so far (including an interview from Austin360 where they give a shout out to Sam’s BBQ on east 12th street). It’s almost like they’re trying to avoid talking about it (is this punishment for that Hanson/James Iha side project?). Guitarist Rick Neilsen’s son Daxx filled in admirably during the taping. He’s definitely of the Bun E. school of drumming. The band is rounded out with amazing 12 string (!?!?) bass player Tom Petersson and two keyboard players, Phil “Magic” Cristian, who’s played with them on and off since the 80s and Roger Manning from Jellyfish and Imperial Drag.

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As seen on tv… Amazing Race

The Amazing Race duo

down on Ladybird lake

The latest series of CBS Amazing Race features a grandmother, granddaughter pair billed and shown as being “from Austin”. The attached screen grab was taken during the series intro.

They made a spirited start in the first adventure but only just made the cutoff at the end of last weekends show. Grandmother Jody Kelly is from Round Rock, and Granddaughter Shannon Foster is currently living and studying in Georgetown[details for show bio page].

Jody Kelly is making the most of her retirement, she’s apparently an avid triathlon competitor and is shown in TriZones training group kit and there is more detail on their web site.

Interesting, asked by CBS what she’d do with the million bucks if she wins, Jody says “Donate half to the Strengthmobile Foundation and spend the other half on a 500-square foot condominium within a mile of Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas”

I’m guessing that Jody doesn’t hope to keep her bikes, wetsuit and other triathlon gear, as well as live in 500sqft. And, are downtown condos really that expensive…

[Update 2/23. Jody and Kelly were eliminated in the second episode, see the write-up and interview here.]

TWC vs FOX – The faux Fighters

So, a mock battle blew into town today with the latest war of words between 21st century robber barons Time Warner Cable and Fox TV. TWC have an almost total lock on Cable TV here in Austin, as well as commensurate hold on wired broadband. Fox, who are part of the Murdoch News Corporation media empire, whose influence, especially in a waining market for traditional news and entertainment, continues to grow. They both have ads in todays Statesman, whose Brian Gaar has been covering the squabble since back before Thanksgiving.

It’s a virtuous circle, Statesman cover the “faux fight”, TWC and News Corp aka Fox buy space in the Statesman; TWC charges us for cable, Fox charges TWC for their coverage; Fox sells advertising space during and between it’s coverage, and when they can, they charge directly for the product; the advertisers put up their price to cover their additional cost. The common theme here… we get charged more for what is little more than a fake fight. In the end we know the corporations will settle, it’s in all their best interests. They just want to obfuscate the issues so much that in the end we will just accept what ever we are told. The “opposing” sides have already launched web sites with their own version of the truth.

TWC would have it that FOX are demanding a 300% rate hike in order to carry their programming. According to the Statesman, Time Warner’s current deal with FOX in Austin, and several other markets (like Dallas, LA, Detroit, Orlando, and Tampa) expires at midnight Dec. 31st. We’ve seen this before with TWC, and the same “play” is also running between Comcast and Directv over teh Versus network. At the heart of the issue is the same seen in previous other disputes between cable network providers and the cable company: Money.

Given the channel bundles that are forced on us on all the TV providers, not just TWC, a 300% rise isn’t really such a big deal, TWC carry hundreds of channels, and charge a bundle for anything over the legal minimum channel bundle. Fox on the other hand have dozens of channels. which I for one never watch. Ok, I do record games off the Fox Soccer Channel, check the result and if it looks like a good game, put it on one evening. Fox would have it that TWC has a license to print money, and what it is asking compared to what it provides, the additional charge is easily justified. TWC on the other hand is raking money in from both charging for basic programming, and cable bundles, as well as from video/movies on demand and profits and revenue is up…. Fox looks on admiringly and wonders, “how can we get a piece of that action?”

The real issue here is the lack of transparency and obfuscation. TWC should be subject to two rules in any market where they provide cable. ONE. They should allow customers to select their own cable channels and channel bundles. Trust me, I wouldn’t want any of the News Corp. aka Fox channels, and given the quality of most of the non-HD channels on TWC, I’d even pass up on the Fox Soccer Channel, as you really can’t tell who has the ball during a long shot. That would allow TWC to defray the charge demanded by Fox, since the Fox signal actually isn’t being broadcast to however-many-million viewers. TWO. On their web site, TWC should be be REQUIRED to list the constituent rebroadcast costs for each channel and for the services that TWC provide.

Of course, neither TWC or News Corp. would want that. It allows customers to have a real choice, which they don’t have now. It also effectively eliminates these faux battles that get drummed up as negotiating tactics by marketing departments every time a deal is up for renewal. 10% of something is better than 100% of nothing at all.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not on TWC’s side. They provide a service which is barely out of the 1990’s, and their DVR/Cable box and remote, barely out of the 1980’s. I’m certainly not on FOX’s side, since I really don’t watch any of their coverage and mostly the only time I see any of their “news” its when it is being lampooned by Jon Stewart, which interestingly, I watch on the Internet for free…

[TIA: I updated a number of minor typos in this post, my apologies]

Pearl Jam on Austin City Limits

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get admission to Pearl Jam’s Austin City Limits taping back in October. The episode airs tomorrow night at 7pm on KLRU locally. Check your own listings on your local PBS station of you’re outside of Austin. The ACL people have posted a time lapse video of the day’s taping. If you’ve never been to an ACL taping, it gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the elevator up to the studio and the hallway to the studio where they pass out the free Ziegenbock and Budweiser on the way in. You can also see the historical marker that was added recently on the end of the bleacher risers on stage right. I’m pretty sure that’s part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame declaring ACL a rock and roll landmark. It wasn’t there when I was in the studio in June for the Okkervil River taping. I’m definitely going to miss the old studio when they move the operation downtown in a couple of years.

Here’s a couple of reviews of the taping that were posted right after it happened from Austin 360 and TwoFeetThick along with an outtakes addendum from Austin360 as well.

Speaking of ACL tapings, if you’re a fan of Pearl Jam, set your calendars for February 13th when the Them Crooked Vultures taping will air.

Austin City Limits Taping – Okkervil River

ACL Okkervil River Program

ACL Okkervil River Program

The past year for Okkervil River has been full of some pretty big milestones. They released their latest album The Stand Ins only a few weeks before playing the Austin City Limits Festival last September. They played The Late Show with David Letterman this past January and were at both the Coachella and Bonnaroo (where they apparently “killed”) festivals this summer. Their latest achievement is an Austin City Limits taping last night for Season 35 to air later this year.

I’ve heard a lot about the band (pronounced “awk”-ervil not “oak”-ervil as ACL producer Terry Lickona did introducing them last night) over the past few years both in the media and from friends. Their sound is somewhere between folk and pop and they’re often lumped in with bands like The Decemberists and Arcade Fire. It was a decidedly local crowd last night. We ended up sitting next to bassist Patrick Pestorious’s mother and father. Jonathan Meiberg, former Okkervil member who left to focus on his band Shearwater which started out as a side project for both he and Okkervil frontman Will Sheff, was on hand for “Lost Coastlines”, a songn they had to do twice for the taping due to some mistakes in the first attempt. They also added a horn section and a string section to the normal 6 member line-up. Okkervil River have backed Roky Erickson, another local performer and recent Austin City Limits artist, and are slated to go into the studio with him later this year. (more…)

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