So, obviously, it was only two days long. Which is a huge bummer; the closest thing I can remember to this feeling is when Colt McCoy got knocked out of the 2010 NCAA championship game extremely early. You were all pumped up for something but it was just pulled out from under you on a technicality. No one can control weather, but…damn! I would’ve loved to see The National, Neko Case, Divine Fits, Atoms for Peace…just a bummer.
But the two days that we got to experience before were as rich and exciting as any other ACL I can remember. What follows now is a quick sketch-through of memories and insights from the 2013 Austin City Limits Festival.
It’s hard to imagine having a better entrance timing than walking through the gate at 4 p.m. to the strains of Fun.’s “Walking the Dog.” These guys are always great live.
Okkervil River – also always great live. Why is their crowd so sparse? We know they are an Austin band, but it’s a shame that their hometown would take this awesome band for granted. They must’ve noticed, but the band are such pros they still performed as hard as ever. Inspiring.
You can go ahead and stop cynically wondering when Vampire Weekend’s 15 minutes are up. This is a great American band, and they’re gonna be around for quite a while.
Though it kept our group from seeing Arctic Monkeys, I was grateful for the late afternoon rain. I would come to find this thought ironic on Sunday, though.
I didn’t know how essential Depeche Mode is. Seeing them, I realized 1.) I know more songs by them than I thought and 2.) a lot of what we know and love about music now comes from what these guys did in the 80′s.
Got there earlier! Got to hear some totally unfamiliar groups, too. Junip is kinda cool.
Portugal. The Man is totally legitimate, though. Time to Spotify those guys. Imagine if The Grateful Dead loved Radiohead.
Grimes sure has her legions of passionate fans. I’m an outsider, but I get the appeal. One of the singular acts in pop and electronica at this time. Great dancers, too!
There probably isn’t a stronger suite of songs available to this lineup as the one held by Wilco. And with this set running through every major phase of their two-decade career, it’s clear they’re just gonna keep on being great. I look forward to their next album and their next Austin concert.
Speaking of guys who are gonna be around for a long time: Kendrick Lamar is a star. Pick up that good kid, m.A.A.d city, learn the songs, follow his career. Real deal talent and a great stage presence.
We left right in time to get a good amount of The Cure and miss on the torrential rainfall that closed out their set. I like Depeche Mode more, but Robert Smith still sounded good. Elder statesman he is.
Stick with the $6 beers and Torchy’s. Yummy and the most affordable stuff you can find at Zilker.
Extremely efficient filling station and bus service for the third straight year. Great job, ACL!
Next year I’m hoping to see one or two of these names: Radiohead (every year until it happens), Guided by Voices, Frank Ocean, Arcade Fire, Tom Waits (long shot, I know), The National (to make up for this year), Spoon, The New Pornographers, Dirty Projectors, Modest Mouse, Diane Birch, TV on the Radio, Blur (a man can dream) and anyone who’s gonna surprise me. See y’all at Zilker in 2014.