I have not written fore to the surreal amount of school work and other activities going on, but now I decided it was time to halt these ongoing tasks and maybe enlighten you as to what has been taking up my time recently. This past week has been a bit insane with an intense amount of work, but prior to that I had the highlight of 2011 thus far. It was Austin City Limits (ACL) weekend.
Last year was the first time I participated in this event, prior to I has insufficient funds to attend, but now I have saved and scraped from wherever I could to never again miss it. With it being 2010, the start of a new decade, it was the start of my even more musical obsession of live music. ACL reinvigorated me to the music festival circuit. I did not see a purpose as to attend a park in the heat with 86,000 other people looking at a large stage. I preferred the commodity of being indoors at night in my hometown. I was surly, mistaken. Being in a venue we get the mix of people who go there because they received free tickets, or are there with friends or know one or two songs but ACL is different. It is a mix of identities combined by one commonality, that of music. Though there are people there who by some means attained a free ticket and do not appreciate the foundation or definition of the music, those number are small, and of the entire festival I only experienced a miniscule percentile which fell under the category.
Before leaving to Austin I had an engagement to go to, just some small DJ named Deadmau5. His show was at the Verizon Wireless Theater. I left work and came home to finish some homework and then left to pick up a friend and glow bracelets and then were ready to enjoy the show. Upon arriving I received a text from my co-worker asking where in line I was. We walked up the line and found him and skipped everyone, and no one said anything. We sneaked in the line as if we owned it. With that little thing I knew the night was going to be epic. We get to the door and they do not allow glow bracelets. They were selling them inside and did not want people to go in with them. The anger subsided when I bought my Heineken and was able to enjoy listening to Excision. Another part which upset me was that he played the original versions of certain songs, like “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites”, and “I Want You to Take Over Control” as well and “Cinema.” After that set I had to get another drink, the underage people were starting to annoy me. No, it was not an excuse for a drink. Perhaps it was but it’s okay. Deadmau5 then began his set, and that is where I had my mind blown. I had previously seen him last year at an ACL after show in the Austin music Hall after Calvin Harris opened for him. I like Calvin Harris more than Deadmau5, just a small fact. The light show and the music were moving and full of rage and joy. Nearly every feeling which involved bodily movement was felt with that ground shaking to the rhythm of the bass. When “Raise Your Weapon” started, Sofie from “Sofie’s Ladder” came out and sang her piece. It was an amazing twist on the whole experience since the majority of the DJ’s do not bring along the original vocals with the exception of Benny Benassi bringing Go Gary. The show was amazing and delivered to the hype and anticipation a name such as Deadmau5 was expected to deliver.
I arrived in Austin on Saturday afternoon but bus and was picked up by my aunt. We left to her house and I waited for my cousins, Jorge and Heri to arrive. While I waited I was there chatting with my other cousins and spoke to my uncle about my plans and where I needed to be dropped off at. I was suggested to go to South Congress and walk to downtown; though it was a walk it was awesome. My cousins arrived and at 8 we left to South Congress. It was amazing, as soon as we exited the vehicle there was a trailer which sold cupcakes. That in its self was already a win, but then they had red velvet cupcakes. Those little cupcakes were so delicious.
Following that we walked to Lambert’s which is traditionally a BBQ restaurant, but that night was turned into a venue which was playing Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. The tickets had sold out, but it being Austin there had to have been scalpers outside selling tickets. To my disbelief there were no scalpers and the show was definitely sold out. With that we walked along 6th Street to go to Stubb’s to see Phosphorecent thinking that Bright Eyes had sold out of tickets. After traversing through the sea of people, we arrive to Stubb’s and are still able to get tickets to see Bright Eyes. I have loved Bright Eyes since 2004 and had never had the chance to see them. Needless to say I was overly enthused and jumped around when I entered the outdoor venue. As we settled on a spot I bought my cousin a Dos Equis, because I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer a Dos Equis. “Old Soul Song” was the first song the band played, which is off of the first album I had ever heard of the band. I played it this past week on my show, which is on Tuesday’s from 5 – 7 on http://www.coogradio.com . The lead singer also ranted about the lack of common sense of Texas politics, particularly Governor Rick Perry and his elusive support of creation being taught in school. It was an amazing show and was like a dream come true, being at Stubb’s, the day before ACL, with my friends, watching Bright Eyes. I obviously purchased a Vinyl, the one i chose from their entire album set was the first one I had ever heard of the band “I’m Wide Awake, Its Morning.”
Later on we attempted to enter a club and were not able to because Heri is underage. After attempting to use my hook ups through a friend, we were not able to get him and just left for the night, at one in the morning to rest up for the big day ahead on Sunday.
We awoke on Sunday a bit tired but prepared to take on the festival. I took my Yoda backpack to carry miscellaneous items we found or purchased at the festival. Upon arrival we went to the Waterloo tent and looked at the variety of vinyls from all of the bands and artist who played the festival. Having seen that nearly every Vinyl comes with a digital copy for download, my cousins had made it a promise to purchase Vinyl rather than CD’s at shows. We attacked the Vinyl milk crates and looked through the vast assortment of music. The two bands who were my favorite of Friday, “Smith Westerns” and “James Blake” were still there, so I purchased those as promptly as I attained them. We left and went to the Austin Ventures stage to see “Little Hurricane.” They were supposed to play at the same time “The Vaccines,” the band I am currently obsessed with was supposed to play, but since the lead vocals had surgery and rehab, they canceled and I was able to see “Little Hurricane” after all.
This band was the first band ever to give me free music of theirs to play on my show. They mean a lot to me and I will never forget what confidence and support they had towards me from the beginning. They rocked it hard playing the greatest hits form their album “Homewrecker” which has been played on my show(www.facebook.comitsoundsbetterlive). After the show we went back to the Waterloo tent to see if we could get an autograph, but with time running short and “The Head and The Heart” were playing at the Google+ stage, we decided against the autograph and went for the music. We were not disappointed at all, with them playing their amazing songs and having that energy that a new band has when starting off. They played the songs we all wanted to hear, and with them having one album, they covered a song, to a surprisingly well rate. The small indie band from Seattle was at the same time slot as “The Walkmen,” which must have been a bit awkward since earlier this year “The Head and The heart” opened for “The Walkmen.” In the end though, both bands songs were in the Sunday highlight video of ACL. At the last song we left and made our way to the Budweiser stage to see “The Airborne Toxic Event.” It was an amazing set and they played a little of everything making the masses happy and the fans satisfied. The lead singer ranted about the government keeping our soldiers overseas all for a “fucking lie.” The crowd screamed and roared and the band rocked the entire park at that time. The leader singer also scaled the rafters up high, the band had a whole, “fuck it” feeling to them, which made us as the audience feel more uplifted and scream and roar even louder.
With the next band being AWOLNATION, we had no rush to see any show and decided to go eat. At this point I decided that Yoda was going to be my show correspondent for this festival. I began taking pictures of him looking around the festival and just hanging out. We ate some food and took a rest from standing for the previous four hours. After eating we head over to see “Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses,” at the AMD stage. I am not one to promote country music but this was masterful music. It was not the stereotypical country that everyone is used to hearing on the radio, but a real dirt road whiskey drinking cigarette smoking country band. It was not about perfect tone or slashing a guitar but about lyrical schema and proper vocal structure with a bit of, “I don’t give a shit.” It was truly something I admire and played this past week on my show.
Following that we go to see a comeback band Death From Above 1979. The ancient question emerges from those musically illiterate that say, don’t all two member bands sound the same? The White Stripes do not sound like The Black keys do not sound like The Kills, do not sound like Death From Above 1979. There is no commonality between these bands aside from them consisting of two remembers. The genres are different and every musical aspect of them is different. Death From above 1979 is the loudest two member band that I know is in existence and they put on one good show.
Afterwards we walked over to “Fleet Foxes” which was at the other side of the park at the Budweiser stage. We arrived and realize the vast assortment of music that the festival has to offer. After enjoying the sounds of “White Winter Hymnal” and other popular tracks, we parted ways. Jorge had his heart set as seeing Hayes Carll, a local Houston country singer which plays a lot at Fitzgerald’s. I on the other hand ran over to the Google+ stage to catch “Empire of the Sun.”
I was by myself and started chatting with a few people when some kids standing to my right begin to get loud. They are the ones whose parents purchased their ticket and got dropped off. Those kids who have been handed everything to them and have no appreciation for anything, and they were standing beside me. The show then began and I started dancing by myself. Others were tapping their feet or bobbing their heads but I was full on dancing, which was true for all of the shows I was at. The kinds beside me were looking at me like I was weird and made faces, then out of nowhere a guy and a girl come beside me and start dancing as well, drawing more of a crowd. Then more people come and dance even more and we took over that area. As the show progressed I moved closer and closer to the stage and danced with more and more people. It was an amazing feeling to talk to people I will never see again but enjoy the same thing the same amount. That vibe and that energy that is felt is something that can only happen in situations like this. The lights dimmed and the band was gone, people began leaving while others along with me were jumping screaming “Empire! Empire! Empire!” With a subtle light change, the band came out again and played “Walking on a Dream.” I had the intention of recording the show but gave up and decided to live in the moment rather than try to relive it later. I decided this mainly during “The Airborne Toxic Event” when they played “Sometime Around Midnight.” I danced the night away with everyone and Yoda.
Then everyone huddled to the Budweiser stage one last time to see “Arcade Fire.” I was off in the distance and made my way about one fourth of the way to the stage, which was not a lot since everyone was at that stage. It was a marvelous show and had everything that the fans, those who follow them for the hype, the music lover, and the concert-goer want from a show. It had every element in it and had everything measured exactly to not be overdone or be cut short. This was the top tier of music festival performances and was a great way to end the festival.
It was an amazing experience to be able to go to this event and I value everything about it in every way. I will live in this moment for the coming months and will reflect upon the influence that music has in my day to day life. To others this might have been merely a festival, but to me it is a means to stay sane and to be able to deal with the crap the world throws in my direction every time something is going right. This is the remedy that I will use when I see no hope, like those who have tropical islands to escape to or just to be alone, I have this illustrious festival. This is my escape and maybe sharing it with you, it can be your escape as well.
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