26 September 2008

Swell Day at ACL

Today was the first day of ACLFest 2008. My second year at the Festival and this year only B & L are coming from the family, but I did convince T to come along (yeah, that was SO hard - come see 150 bands in 3 days!).

Got in on time. The Bell-Marrs taxi service was ready and waiting. T flew in on a different flight but met up at baggage claim. All well and good.

Got to the house, changed, noshed and heading off again. The taxi was offered so we took it! Dropped us off right where the bus would have and we headed down Barton Springs Rd to Zilker Park.

Through security and wristbanding with no problems, we made a beeline for the food court for some sustenance (fried avocado with mango slaw from Hudsons!) and then off to the AMD stage to catch Asleep At The Wheel. AMD is at the southern far end of the park. There are eight stages and it is a bit of a hike from one end to the other.

Asleep At The Wheel is a fine dance hall band. We had our blanket out near a group of young people that I could have sworn were friends of my "nephew". In fact, they were! He walked right past us, only stopping when I called out to him.

After Asleep At The Wheel, we got some iced tea (I forgot to tell T that we are in the South and it would be sweet-Sorry!) and sat down at the Blue Room stage for What Made Milwaukee Famous. They are a local band, but I know them from Bob Boilen's show on NPR. Once again, Bob has totally made my choices easier at ACL.

After a brief respite in the Sister Mister tent (four huge fans blowing water!), we nabbed front row house left for Jakob Dylan. Same stage as Bob Dylan last year. He totally rocked - well, as much as a Dylan can. Sang nearly every song from his new album.

Next stop was M. Ward at the WAMU stage. Yes - with all their financial woes, WAMU is still a major sponsor. We got some shave ice and sat down to see the previous set by The Freddy Jones Band. I had never heard them before but they were pretty good. A huge crowd left when they were done and we were able to get seats under the tent on actual seats. M. Ward was great. We noticed the paparazzi taking photos of the VIP area. There was a girl that looked like Zoey Deschanel (his bandmate in She and Him) but when we got a good look, it wasn't her.

Debated whether to stay put for Jenny Lewis or head over to Austin Ventures for Mates Of State and Eli Young. Mates of State won since Jenny Lewis is based in LA and we will have a good chance to see her at any number of venues at home, but I have never heard of Mates Of State playing nearby.

Eli Young was great, but they were having major sound issues. T still doesn't know if she likes them. They are this year's Broken West for me. I told K that I want their new cd for Christmas (it's on my Amazon Wish List) because they wrote a song for me! Well, not really, but they used my name. T is now referring to them as The Boy Band since we were the oldest women in the audience. "When It Rains" got me through some tough moments in the past year so who cares how young they are?

This year's Pete Yorn for me is The Swell Season. If you haven't heard of them, you may know them from the movie "Once" or their Oscar-winning song "Falling Slowly". Marketa was having problems with the keys sticking on the grand piano (they don't like humidity) but other than that, they were fantastic. Glenn rocked out solo on a Van Morrison tune while they tweaked the piano. He is still playing the guitar with the giant hole - in case you were wondering. T said "Hasn't he made enough money to buy a new one?" Marketa played guitar for one song too so she had a chance to stand up front and sing facing the crowd.

Stopped by Alejandro Escevedo on our way to the Merch Tent and caught their last two songs. Mars Volta was on so we listened to them while we shopped. T got the organic bamboo/cotton tees for herself & J but they were sold out of my size so I went with the regular cotton.

Caught the #3 down Manchaca. Got off at the right stop, but couldn't remember how to walk home (in all fairness, I have never had to before). So I called my niece from the Chevron and she said "Mom's coming to get you".

Warmed up the hot tub, had something to eat, and headed off to bed.

Gotta go get ready for today's adventure. First up is Old 97s!

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