Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Day at ACL: Hipsters, Hoopsters and the Voice of God

Saturday at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Copyright All rights reserved by ACL Festival

Before I get too far into this post, I want to take the time to thank everyone (both inside and outside the US) for sticking with me and reading my little blog here. It blows my mind to think that people outside of the US are reading this blog. Hell, it’s just sort of weird to think that anyone reads this thing at all. Thanks again to all of you!

In case you haven’t noticed, I have added some little features around the page. To make things easier for my international folks, here is a little tab just to the right side of the page that will allow you to translate this blog of awesomeness into any language you want. I also added a little rating widget at the bottom also. You can give me 1-5 stars. There is really no point to the rating thing other than to feed my ego. Lastly, you can always leave a comment if you want. Now that’s out of the way, on to why I’m here....

The wife and I spent the day at the Austin City Limits Music Festival today for the first time. We have both lived here a long time and yet neither one of us has ever been to ACL before. It was an awesome time and i look forward to going back next year.

I already know this is going to be a long post, so I have broken it up into a couple parts for you. You can either read it straight through, or just the pieces you want. Cheers!

P.S. I would have supplied my own pictures for this post, but my phone battery magically drained itself after being off the charger for about 20 minutes. By the time i got inside the fest, it was completely dead. I grabbed some of the pictures in this post from the ACL flickr page, and you can find more of them here: ACL Pics!

Copyright All rights reserved by ACL Festival


Copyright All rights reserved by ACL Festival



After a long and difficult walk from the car (that whole cancer, stamina thing...whatever.) we made it just in time to catch the start of the Two Door Cinema Club set. To be honest, I can’t say that i SAW the show since i was sitting down for the majority of it, but they really did sound good. They seemed like three fairly unassuming guys from Ireland who were just happy to be there. I chuckled when they said they were surprised to see so many people showed up to see them.

I find it hard to describe the music but i think that Two Door Cinema Club music is happy...in a way. When i asked my wife how she would describe it she told me that the music was upbeat. Kind of like hipster happy but not "walking on sunshine" happy. Yeah, let’s go with that. Either way i was impressed that they sounded like their record and I thought they did a great set. I was sad to see them go after just an hour. I didn’t recognize all the songs they did since they are a relatively new find for me, but i liked them all. Below, i have posted the video for what i think is their most recent single. Click. Enjoy hipster happy.

After the TDCC show we had a short break and humped it across the park to try to catch the Silversun Pickups. (HA! I said "humped". Military terms are funny.) On the way to the Pickups show we walked past the Black Lips performing. If i remember correctly, the write up in the program said something about them sounding like "a 15 year old with a firecracker." We stopped just for a couple of minutes to see if we could figure out what that meant. We couldn't.

We walked on.

The Silversun Pickups are kind of hit or miss for me but i enjoyed what i saw. I have to admit that i still find the guys voice a little weird, but maybe i just haven' t listened to them enough for the music to grow on me. I wouldn’t really get the chance to bond with the music this time since the other folks we were with decided they weren't into it. Oh well. So after a short listen again we tramped across the park to catch the Temper Trap show. If you want, you can check out a video from the Silversun Pickups here.

I have been looking forward to the Temper Trap show ever since my wife turned me on to them a while ago. Out of the bands that we had seen so far, this is the one i was most familiar with. I really like these guys. For me this is the kind of music that i would put on and listen to with a mixed drink in my hand. Or put in a car commercial. Either way, it’s chill out music for me. Once again, i was really impressed that they sounded just like their record (does that make me lame?) and the cool evening weather along with a good crowd made for a great show experience. I would go see these guys again. Since I’m feeling link happy, here’s the video for the song "Love Lost." It's the awesomesauce.

After a great show we grabbed some food (more on that below) and headed over to the catch the end of LCD Soundsystem and to claim our little piece of ground for Muse later that night.

Like the Silversun Pickups, LCD Soundsystem is kind of hit or miss for me and like Silversun i suspect it’s because i haven’t given them much of a chance. A word of advice: when going to see an LCD Soundsystem show, bring ear plugs. I don’t know why, but they seemed louder than everyone else that day. Like uncomfortable loud. Maybe I’m getting too old, but i don’t like my music to hurt. Mercifully, they were done about 15 or so minutes after we arrived. Like i said before, i don’t like all of their music but some of it is alright. Watch a really cool video by them Here.

While waiting for Muse, we got to see a somewhat long distance performance by a DJ called Deadmau5. (Its pronounced "dead mouse". I looked it up.) In short he plays techno/trance/house music. Whatever, I’m not good with genres. Anyway, it was a pretty crazy show and from what we could see. For about an hour he turned Zilker Park into the biggest rave I’ve ever been to.

Just after it got really dark, Muse took the stage and killed it.

What can i say about Muse? They flat out, rocked my face off. They played for an hour and a half, but i could have watched all night. It was that good to me. Anyway, i could sit here and gush about it, but either you like them or you don't. This show made the whole day worth it. It was awesome.


Upon arriving at Zilker Park it really hit me that i was going to have to spend an extended amount of time around an extended amount of people. I love me some people watching and since my phone decided to go tits up before i could get there, i went old school and actually jotted down some things. Like, on pen and paper. Weird. Anyway, here's what i wrote down:

If you just got a text from your hipster/stoner/sorority friends telling you where they are, don't be a dick and knock over my chairs and stomp all over my little area to get to them. If you feel you must, at least have the decency to say "excuse me" or something. Seriously, you almost made me spill my 7 dollar beer. And while I’m at it, why is it that college age girls insist on traveling via conga line? Ladies, it’s not necessary to be physically attached to the girl in front of you. No one likes being stuck behind your ridiculous, half-drunk, giggle train.

It's like this only with shorter shorts and more squealing

No matter where i stand or sit, people will always feel like they need to walk in front of, or around me to get where they are going. In related news....

Doesn't a blanket on the ground sort of denote your personal space? That’s a real thing right? Why is it that mine seems to be invisible?

Apparently i have personal space issues.

How can you be a hipster if you look like everyone else?

Look, i applaud the free thinkers and free spirits in this town. The ones who try hard to go their own way and all that. I like the spirit of it, but some of these folks need to take it down a notch. Honestly, how original are you if every other person in a half mile radius is wearing the same little straw fedora, skinny jeans and white rim sunglasses as you? You aren't. You have managed to look and talk and act just like everyone else in your wacky little counter-culture. Congratulations, that makes you an unoriginal, consumerist, conformist sheep. Oh, and one more thing, get off of your fixed gear bike and shave that freaking beard. It smells like stale Parliaments and PBR.

While I’m on the subject.....

Is anyone familiar with this whole hoopster trend? I had read about them on someone’s blog, but i didn’t really think they were real. I was wrong. They are basically a hipster off-shoot with a basketball jersey on. And it’s not like they were wearing something current like a Kobe jersey or a maybe a Tony Parker jersey. (the Spurs play just an hour away) No, It’s usually some tiny white guy rocking a semi throw back jersey with the name of a b level player from the early 90's like Dan Majerle, or John Starks. As far as i can tell, they are essentially like regular hipsters yet somehow way more obnoxious.


What a hoopster might look like.

ACL bag checkers suck. I’ve seen at least one of every single banned item on their list of stuff you can’t have. Including my vodka.

I’ve seen less pot at a Cheech and Chong show. Although I couldn’t help but laugh at a guy who had spent the better half of the Temper Trap show getting baked only to tell everyone in earshot that he was like "sooo hungry right now." C'mon man, don’t be such a cliché.

Ragweed has become my mortal enemy.

Dear Ragweed, please die in a fire. Love, Nick

I've decided that no one looks cool when they sneeze.

No matter how big or small the act is, no matter how many people are watching or not watching, there's always that one person dancing. They are usually alone and it’s usually a barefoot girl with pale skin and a homemade skirt.

But it’s funnier if it’s a dude.

You would think that getting around with 100,000 people in close proximity would be difficult. You would be wrong. We really had no problem getting around or using any of the services that were available to us. The food lines were (relatively) fast and easy to navigate, there were free water stations in every corner of the park and bar stands were so plentiful that i never waited to get a beer. My hat goes off to the many folks who planned this thing.

Austin cuisine was well represented with booths by many local favs such as The Saltlick, Hyde Park bar and grill, P.Terry's and a slew of others. Really, the food choices were amazing and for an event of this size the prices were reasonable. I opted for a taco from the Torchy's Taco booth. (For those of you not from Austin, if you ever find yourself here, you owe it to yourself to find a Torchy's and partake. Good stuff.)

Well, i think that’s it......oh, so you are wondering about the whole "voice of god" thing huh? OK, thats a quick one. After we left the grounds, we had to get gas and we stopped at a Rudy's barbecue. (Rudy's is also a gas station for those of you who have never been to one.) Since i hurt all over, my wife was nice enough to pump the gas. With out warning an unnecessarily loud voice boomed from down from above telling us that the gas station was closed and that we were being watched. It was a little terrifying.

So, That was my awesome day with my awesome wife and some awesome friends. I say for my first ACL it was a total success. At the end of the day i was totally exhausted, had two sore shins and chafing in places i would rather not talk about. I can't wait to do it again next year!

Until next time....