Day 3 of ACL and the first day where I can think in semi-coherent sentences. It has been terribly hot and tiring but not nearly as dusty as other festivals I’ve visited this summer, thanks to new watering strategies that were implemented (from what I hear, at least). I can’t believe the number of fantastic musicians I have seen - either performing or wandering Austin - in the past few days. I’m glad it is a bit cooler now so I can enjoy it!
Just came back from a three-show punch: Common (replacing Rodrigo y Gabriela on the line-up), Midlake, and Patterson Hood.
Common drew a heavy crowd and dedicated songs to Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, Bob Dylan, J-Dilla and others. It was a nice jolt in the middle of a (much cooler than yesterday) day. For newby-music fans, the listing of “Rodrigo y Gabriela” on the line-up created confusion (the band canceled their performance along with The White Stripes and Amy Winehouse). One dude said “I don’t know who this is, but he doesn’t sound like a ‘Rodrigo-why-Gabriela’...”
Texas natives Midlake delivered a beautiful set, leading off with “Van Occupanther,” “Bandits” and “Roscoe.” Some people around me were trying to come up with comparisons to draw between their music and their influences, citing Jayhawks as the only example. I don’t have any better suggestions but I do encourage anyone unfamiliar with Midlake to download “Roscoe” and listen to it on repeat a few times… it’s like ear-candy…
Then I made my way to see Patterson Hood on the BMI stage. He played in a trio with Scott Danbom and Will Johnson of Centro-matic, drawing Drive-By Truckers fans and curious listeners alike. As the sun set, Hood’s gritty and relatable songs were just what I was looking for.
As I type this, Amos Lee is rocking harder than I ever thought he would. His voice is ringing out over the fields here and I’m sure that beyond my line of sight there is a crowd enjoying the music.
Now comes the hard part: My Morning Jacket or Wilco? I’m certainly not the only one torn by this decision, since the bands are playing at the same time. But I hear that Andrew Bird is going to play with MMJ and that excites me. Trust me, I have a reliable source: Andrew Bird himself.
Happy ACL Festival.