Posts Tagged ‘acl’

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…)

Austin City Limits Taping – Manu Chao

ACL Program - Manu Chao

ACL Program - Manu Chao

Several of the bands in town this week for the annual Austin City Limits music festival are also taping episodes of the show. Erykah Badu cancelled, but Manu Chao, Drive-by Truckers, Gnarls Barkley, The Swell Season, and The Foo Fighters are all taping shows in the next week. ACL show producer Terry Lickona described the first taping last night as an unusual treat.

Manu Chao rarely perform in the US and it’s even more rare for them to appear on US television. They tend to focus on Europe and South America. Manu Chao’s parents fled Franco’s regime in Spain and settled in France where he was born, so many of his songs are in Spanish or French. He was a founding member of the early 90s band, Mano Negra. Like that band, his current work has reggae and ska influences along with a decent helping of latin music & rhythms and punk rock. Their most recent album, La Radiolina, was released last year. Many of his lyrics are political. I’m pretty sure I heard a few references to a certain controlled substance, not surprising given the reggae influence. He was interviewed by High Times last year around the time that La Radiolina was released.

They’re a high energy band and will do well on a festival stage. The normally subdued ACL taping crowd took a little prodding to get going. Last night’s band included 6 musicians in addition to Chao himself: a drummer, a percussionist, a trumpet player, a keyboardist, a bassist and a guitarist. They wore their influences on their shirts. The percussionist was wearing a Tuff Gong shirt and the bass player, looked like a massive soccer hooligan, was wearing a Bad Brains shirt. They all made an effort to pump up the crowd and got people clapping and shouting throughout the set.

They stuck to mostly up tempo numbers and didn’t really pause much between songs. Several of the tracks on La Radiolina include a siren sound repeated throughout. I thought it was overused and, honestly, after several songs, they kind of started to sound the same. A sampling of their recordings while writing this reveals more diversity. I’d chalk some of that impression up to my unfamiliarity with the material. I’d definitely check them out for at least half of their set. I’m glad to see the show is still making an effort to introduce its audience to artists they may not have seen before in addition to pulling in more mainstream acts like Foo Fighters.

Manu Chao is the Friday night headliner at ACL Festival, starting at 8:30pm on the AT&T stage.

Set List (may not be exact):

PANIK PANIK
EL HOYO
BOBBY MARLEY
LA PRIMAVERA POLITIKS
RADIO BEMBA…COURT
BIENVENIDA A TIJUANA
EL VIENTO
CLANDESTINO
MINHA GALERA
RUMBA DE BARCELONA
LA DESPEDIDA
RAININ IN PARADIZE
A COSA
DIA LUNA
VOLVER
RADIO BEMBA ELDORADO
MI VIDA
INFINITA TRISTEZA
TOMBOLA
ALAS ROTAS
DESAPARECIDO
ME LLAMAN CALLE

Austin City Limits Taping – Aimee Mann

ACL Program - Aimee Mann

ACL Program - Aimee Mann

I attended an Austin City Limits taping Tuesday night with Aimee Mann. All of us old-timers remember her as the lead singer for ‘Til Tuesday in the 80s. I, like a lot of people, became a big fan after the work that she did for the Magnolia soundtrack. Coincidentally, I happened to catch her acting turn as the female nihilist in Big Lebowski over the weekend on cable, but I digress.

She recently released a new album, @#%&*! Smilers, and played several tracks from it. Paul Bryan, who produced, also played bass and sang backup. In addition to Bryan, she had two keyboard players and a drummer. The guy on stage left who played piano and Hammond was wearing a Mean Eyed Cat t-shirt. I’m not sure how many if any of the backing band were local. There’s a heavy amount of keyboards and synthesizers in the new album and in the numbers she chose for the show. She had an acoustic guitar throughout the performance.

She seemed a bit stiff at the beginning and mentioned this after the first few songs. She was a bit freaked out by the cameras and said she felt that she had so much makeup on that if she moved her face, it would crack. She picked up on Terry Lickona’s pre-show comments to try to only get up to use the restroom in between songs. He asked that if you have to “let it go”, please do it then. She made several jokes throughout the night about that. She also felt she botched “Going Through the Motions”, a song from her concept album The Forgotten Arm, and said she was glad they wouldn’t use all of the songs. I’m assuming we won’t see that one in the final version next month when it airs.

Farther into the set, she told a story about being asked to write a song for an early scene in Shrek 3 and after being asked to revise it several times, including being asked to make it more like Fall Out Boy, the song was ultimately rejected and she brought it back its original form and completely changed the lyrics. It became “Borrowed Time” on the new album. She also mentioned before “Red Vines” that it’s about Magnolia director Paul Thomas Anderson. The original set list only showed two encores. I think they added “Calling It Quits” at the last minute. I enjoyed the performance and they definitely loosened up later in the set. Look for it to air in October. Also, check out Austin Kleon’s artistic take on the taping.

Set List:

Stranger/Looking for Nothing
Freeway
Phoenix
Save Me
Wise Up
Great Beyond
Going Through the Motions
Red Vines
Columbus Ave.
Little Tornado
31 Today
Borrowing Time
Today’s the Day
Different

One
Calling it Quits
Deathly

Austin City Limits Taping – Pinetop Perkins and Bettye Lavette

acl_pinetopI was very fortunate to attend an Austin City Limits taping on Sunday evening. This was my third in the past ten years. I saw Roky Erickson last November and got to see Hank Thompson & Ray Price with Junior Brown in 1999. I seem to have a knack for catching legendary musicians late in their careers.

This time it was “Pinetop” Perkins and Bettye LaVette. Ninety-five year old Perkins was up first. He arrived at the stage in a wheelchair and was helped up onto it by an ACL employee. He made it across the stage on his own and seated himself at the piano wearing an impressive red suit and hat. The backing band consisted of many local veteran musicians including Chris Layton, Mark “Kaz” Kazanoff, Gary Clark Jr. and also included another Blues legend, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, on harmonica. “Big Eyes” has played with “Pinetop” Perkins for many years both on drums and harmonica. I didn’t know this until I started checking him out after the show, but they were both in Muddy Waters band and formed their own Legendary Blues Band, appearing behind John Lee Hooker in The Blues Brothers. Wikipedia claims he’s the only other musician shown clearly on camera in that scene. Time to go check out The Blues Brothers again. KUT did an award winning documentary on Perkins last summer. It was kind of hard to hear Perkins over the band. They turned up his mike after the first song. He’s definitely showing his age, something to be expected at 95, but it was definitely a honor to be able to see him play, one of, if not the, last boogie woogie piano players. In a really weird coincidence, “Down in Mississippi” came on the stereo in the coffee shop where I’m working this morning.

Here’s the set list:

CHICKEN SHACK
DOWN IN MISSISSIPPI
HOW LONG
BIG FAT MAMA
MOJO

Bettye LaVette was up next after a long intermission between bands.

(more…)

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