Saturday, September 17, 2011

ACL 2011 - 1st day

The Mullet's Festival Guide for Not Being Lame at a Festival

Rule 11
If you immediately seek shelter when it rains, you are lame, I hate you, and when I'm resurrected as a tiger I will eat your face.
Rule 47
If you wait until 3 or 4 in the afternoon to show up because you only care to see the artists who have released platinum albums, you are wasting your time and my space.
Today, Friday 16 September, 2011 was the first day of ACL. I saw:

1. Theophilus London
2. Wild Beasts (London, UK)
3. Reptar (Athens, GA)
4. Secret Sisters (Alabama)
5. Fool's Gold
6. Smith Westerns (Chicago, IL)
7. Cave Singers (Seattle)
8. Kurt Vile and the Violators
9. Cold War Kids
10. Bright Eyes
11. Santigold
12. Pretty Lights
13. Kanye West (Chicago, IL)

There were some sound troubles during the Smith Westerns show effecting the leading mic. Cullen Omori let his disgust show through as he backed away from the mic and visibly cursed. He also quipped that his friend 'feedback' had voted when he asked the audience question and the mic acted up. But overall, the set was stellar.

Kurt Vile also had some sound problems (different stage) at the very beginning of the set. He had to stop to fix them, which ate up some of his set time. The ACL folks wouldn't add any more time to his set, much to his obvious frustration. I suspect he had been saving 'Smoke Ring for My Halo,' the title track from his recently released LP, until the end but it got cut off.

The end of the Santigold set saw her inviting up several young women from the audience to dance, including a young girl of probably about 5 or 6 who had been standing offstage. Oh, and apparently we can look forward to a new Santigold LP very soon.

The stage setup for Pretty Lights was great. It consisted of several skyscraper mockups of different sizes with projected lights to look like the windows and exterior of the building.

Kanye was Kanye. The stage included a huge, faux-stone backdrop of carved angels and lights. His set was divided into 3 acts. Kanye opened with Dark Fantasy. Behind the stage, the curtain fell to reveal the carving but no Kanye. Dancers (probably 20 or so) appeared on the stage but no Kanye. And then he emerged from the middle of the crowd on a cherry picker to sing "can we get much higher" while looking down on the crowd.

Mr. West complained that he had to cut his stage banter short in order to get all the songs in because Austin was enforcing a 10pm curfew on ACL. Several songs in Act 2 were cut short to accommodate this. However, he did play 'Love Lockdown'and 'Heartless' from 808s and Heartbreak, 'Jesus Walks,' and 'Gold Digger.'

Act 3 was the extended stage production of 'Runaway,' 'Lost in the World,' and just a snippet of 'Hey Mama' as he had run over the 10pm curfew. Apparently this was the last time this version of 'Runaway' will appear on the stage. Overall, it was a good mix of old and new tracks, singalongs, and crazy stage choreography. I've never seen Kanye perform in another city, but he gushed on Austin, stating that he had never been surrounded by so many beautiful people and having a lot of fun because we knew all the songs and the words. But maybe he says that to all the cities.

It rained early in the day, in the middle of the Theophilus London set, for about 20 minutes or so. A good part of the afternoon was overcast but the day was warm without being hot. I got a little subburned. Hopefully we can have another good day of weather tomorrow.

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