Managed to make it to the park even earlier than on Saturday and had a really nice time doing so. Was arriving early to see Foals and Blind Pilot who both had sets at 1:15. Would’ve liked to have seen White Rabbits (they of Percussion Gun fame), but got there just as they were finishing up. So, started with Foals. Right now, the only song I really know by them is This Orient, which I really like. I was quite impressed with them. They’ve got a good, rock-edge to them, but still manage to incorporate some good melodies into their songs. They had a good-sized crowd who seemed very into the set, so that was cool.
Left mid-way thru Foals’ set to catch the second half of Blind Pilot. Blind Pilot are a band my friend introduced me to. They have an instantly listenable sound. Lovely melodies and vocals surrounded by mostly mid-tempo acoustic instruments. They’re also a fairly large band… 6 members, I think. There was not one particular highlight in their set that stood out for me, it was solid all the way around, and very enjoyable. I had the pleasure of meeting the band at the Waterloo tent later in the afternoon, and was very pleased to find them all really nice and approachable. They also had a much larger crowd for their set than I would have imagined they would have. good for them.
While I waited in line at Waterloo, I got to listen to quite a bit of Devendra Banhart and the Grogs’ set. I know nothing of them, other than the fact that I’ve heard (and seen once or twice), that Devendra is quite eccentric. I must admit, I quite liked what I heard from them. I’ll have to check out more. :)
Next on the agenda was Dawes, a band from California who have a folksy/rock-ish/harmony thing going (Are you detecting a pattern in my musical preferences?). I managed to squeeze my way to the barricade for this one, and was almost surprised by the energy of the performance and how much the lead singer got into it. He was rocking out. They ended with an awesome sing-along of their song that gets some local radio play, When My Time Comes. Very nice.
By this time, my cousins were finally arriving at the park, so I took some time to meet up with them and have lunch. We sat and relaxed while we waited for Yeasayer. Again, limited knowledge here… just Madder Red. Though they weren’t compelling enough to entice me to stay for the entire set, I did like their energy and the melodies. The music itself is a little more experimental than I’m used to… I probably just need to give it a real listen sometime.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros were the next act I wanted to catch, so I headed toward their stage. There was a HUGE crowd amassed for them, which kind of surprised me, as the only song that’s gotten local radio play by them is Home. The band itself is huge and they look like they stepped right out of the 60s. Very hippy with a free-flowing vibe. Good, but it started to feel a little too much like a gimmick for me after a while. I stayed for a few songs then headed toward the main stage where I would see Band of Horses next. On route, Edward and the gang started Home as their closer. Sounded great and the crowd was really into it.
The band I had been waiting all day to see was up next. Band of Horses took the stage staring directly into the setting sun, which prompted Ben Bridwell to leave his sunglasses on. Theirs was the only set where I saw active camera movement- specifically, a videocamera on a rig moving all around the stage. Not sure if that was just for streaming purposes or for a DVD or something, but it obstructed my otherwise very good view from time to time. The band was stunning live. Sounded every bit as good as they do on cd. My personal favorites were No One’s Gonna Love You and Laredo. The audience was loving it and I fell deeper in love with Band of Horses.
My last full act of the day was The National, another band I have only just recently started listening to. Their set was an excellent introduction to them. They sounded so tight musically and they had great stage presence. I really, really like their sound. I couldn’t even name a specific song I particularly enjoyed (I don’t know the song titles yet!), but they kept me moving the entire time. Picked up High Violet at the Waterloo tent when their set was over.
The Eagles were the big closer for the night, but as I had stayed til the bitter end for The National, and then hit the Waterloo tent, I didn’t attempt to get any closer to the main stage then the top of the hill overlooking it. I heard about 5 songs as I milled around, including one of my favorites, Peaceful Easy Feeling. They still sound great, and from what I heard from others, they put on a great show. It just wasn’t something I felt the need to stick around for. I said good-bye to Zilker Park and headed for the shuttle line; I was walking through my front door around the time The Eagles would have been finishing their set.
- Hearing/Meeting Blind Pilot
- Finally feeling like I had a method to my movements around the park
- Band of Horses/The National back-to-back
- Getting to the Merch tent after The National only to find out ALL the officially ACL tees had sold out. :(
- The sketchy chicken wrap I ate right before leaving the park. ugh.