@ZackTeibloom There was no doubt in my mind Phish would be the show of the festival. To top them, it would take a hell of a lot more than Ezra Koenig coming on stage for an already superb Miike Snow show. It would take a super group of ACL performers like Wayne Coyne on vox/guitar, Grace Potter on vox/keys, Matthew Bellamy of Muse on lead guitar, Patrick Carney of Black Keys on drums, and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth on bass produced by Danger Mouse to top them. Good lord I want to see that band. By the way, I’m curious your ACL super group. Throw ’em in the comments if you got a good one.
Anyway, Phish was #1 and LCD was #2. I called that in my preview. Yay me for knowing what bands I like after seeing them a million times. What an accomplishment! It’s a big mix-up from there on out to fill the dozen. Grace made a big leap from an honorable mention into the top 3 and My Name is John Michael lept up from no mention at all to #6. Let’s go through and see why this dirty dozen got the spots they did. The highlighted ones link to the full review. Oh, and I threw some awards in there for the hell of it and decided to turn this into a contest. I wanted to write a comprehensive overarching write-up of the weekend that tells it like the story it was, but Austin Writes Music did it so well, I feel like most of it’s been covered. I mean, come on. It’s not like a film crew followed me and Andy around all weekend so we could tell you the whole story one day or anything. Maybe one day. For now, listen to the Podcrash and read up on the music. There’s a quiz coming on Thursday. It’s open note, but you’ll want to know your material.
12. Yeasayer – 8.6/10 At Lolla I insisted my crew get super close to rage for Yeasayer’s face-melting madness. On Sunday, we were all melting anyway. Let’s just lay in the grass and look at the clouds for this one. They ended with Odd Blood masterpieces “One” and “Ambling Alp” that made everything right in the world when “Ooh, that cloud looks like a heart!” was the only thought I could keep in my head as my sunburn ever worsened. Yeasayer has their rollicking worldly rocking moments it’s fun to stand and pump a fist for, but it was Sunday and they sounded pretty damn good from down there in the grass.
11. The Black Keys – More is less. I prefer when it’s just the two Black Keys, but they carried their afternoon set, leaning heavily on their Brothers. They rocked so hard and efficiently, I wanted to put both members in my super group.
10. Spoon – I’ve called the unofficial band of Austin peanut butter and jelly because they’re always there for you and always better than you remember. Busting out the horns for “The Underdog,” feeding us the hits like “I Turn My Camera On” and Britt spraying his guitar around like a machine gun as he’s wont to do. What can I point out that you haven’t thought about Spoon before? That Britt looks 80% Australian and 20% bird.
9. The Flaming Lips – This wasn’t a typical Flaming Lips show. First off, it was bright out. Yeah, there was the bubble and the big screen and the dancers and the confetti gun and the usual banter, but think about it. Where were the guitars? Anything off their three biggest albums? The hits? Didn’t matter. We got what we came for: pure entertainment.
8. The National Following The Flaming Lips is a tall order. Matt Berninger and company were up for the challenge. They even played off the leftover Flaming Lips massive balloons by offering $1,000 to anyone who would pop one. When it stayed bouncing around the crowd, he said to be careful because Wayne was still inside it, throwing up everywhere. Aside from a joke that Glenn Frye of The Eagles let him play overtime and lent him shampoo when he ran into him in the shower, Berninger and The National delivered a serious set to lock in on between the wild Flaming Lips and god-awful Eagles.
The songs that sound so dark and poignant it hurts to listen to on record dug in like daggers for those brave enough to open up and let them in. Songs of nagging regret for everything you haven’t done yet and everything you wish you still could do but can’t and everything you’ll never do and thoughts like these that make your head spin. They made the distance between you and all the emotion on stage so close, but painfully far away. This was the end of ACL 2010. The last hurrah of the great Austin love affair of 2010. They poured it all out there and at the end you could scramble to find the last pieces of what you loved, but it was already gone and it took this set to know it’s truly over for good. Sure, it’ll be back next year, but never like this. Never again. It would have been great to send ’em back to that blood buzz Ohio with a big passionate kiss of a send-off like when Berninger lept up on the guard rail, begging for an encore, but sometimes you gotta settle for a walk across the park as the god damn Eagles play and send your festival love packing with an awkward side hug of a goodbye into what Wayne Coyne perfectly called the most beautiful night of the year in Austin.
7. Mayer Hawthorne – OK back to happy. Mayer Hawthorne is a professional front man who lives to entertain, has a strong funky soul band behind him and even though he says the same banter and does the same shtick every time, it’s a great shtick. And that kid eating the brownie was a real treat. So glad he read Andy’s review and commented.
6. My Name is John Michael – They brought horns to indie rock and beat the hell out of a garbage can. These guys are so due for a breakout and when they told us they’ll be back for what I hope is a set of SXSW shows, I smiled thinking that will be the time. Most of you didn’t see this show and it’s a shame. It took JM tweeting me at every festival for two years for me to finally make it and I’m oh so glad I did. Even though they were 25 minutes late, it was a breakout set. Make a note to see every SXSW show they play next year.
5. Muse – The teases were the best part of the show. “House of the Rising Sun,” “Power of Love” “Star Spangled Banner” Jimi style and a taste of Zeppelin made the in between tastier than the songs themselves. Bellamy and the band can wail and the lasers were as bad-ass as I remembered, but they never hooked me. As technically good as they always are, I found the banter dry, the playing proficient but empty and checked my watch a half a dozen times waiting for nothing in particular. They ended brilliantly with giant plumes of white smoke erupting from the stage for a truly epic “Knights of Cydonia” that put Saturday to bed in style. Even if I they’re far more style than substance, it’s quite a style.
4. Miike Snow – The first great set of the festival. They came out in masks, brought out the best of the festival in Ezra Koenig and powered through a synthy explosion of a quick afternoon set that set the bar for every act that came after them. “Animal” wasn’t the show stopper it was at SXSW when it finally got Perez Hilton off his cell phone for five whole minutes to dance, but there’s not a bad song in their limited repetoire. I can’t wait to hear their next album, see them grow as a band, play at night as they need to be playing and avoid a sophomore slump. They always have me looking ahead. I changed my cell phone background to a pic of me and the lead singer as soon as this show ended and don’t plan on changing it any time soon.
3. Grace Potter I’ll never doubt her again. We fell in love with her at our first festival and she gets better every time. She was a beacon of light Saturday afternoon, looking as sexy as ever, bouncing in her heels and spinning in circles barefoot for whatever the situation needed. “White Rabbit” is now her song to own and “Paris (Ooh La La)” makes me want to learn French just to talk to her more. Elaine Benes once asked if she could have a little Grace. No, thanks. I want the whole thing.
2. LCD Soundsystem Can they just play every night, forever? James Murphy should never be off stage. I couldn’t manage to fit him in my super group, but I bet you can.
1. Phish – When Phish is on, no band in the world can touch them. A Texas festival might be the last place you’d want to see the East Coast legends, but Phish 3.0 is always on. Even in a less than Texas-sized dose, boy, man, god, shit.
A few more awards:
3 that may have cracked the top 12 if I’d seen more or any of them:
- The Strokes: Sloppy drunk Julian carried by shredding guitars, same time as Phish
- Vampire Weekend: Glad Ezra played with Miike Snow, First three songs were spot-on, lets get close for Phish
- Edward Sharpe: Saw the commercial song, that mix of voices sounds dreamy, gotta find friends for Flips.
Most Disappointing: Deadmau5 – I know Daft Punk. And you, sir, are no Daft Punk. Your beats are soft and you only have one move.
Best Banter: Grace Potter (in a short, short dress) “This stage is a lot higher than I thought it would be. Shit! Don’t look at my panties.” Meow.
Worst Banter: The Eagles “That last song was ‘Witchy Woman’ off our first album. It’s so old, the Dead Sea was still sick when we wrote it!” I was on my way to meet someone to drop off equipment, heard that line, immediately turned around and left the fest for good. The dude had to abide.
Biggest pain: My chest hair. I burned the hell out of it Saturday while wearing a deep v-neck and had tape on my chest all weekend to hold a mic in place. Ouch!
Best Run-in: Four Way tie between Leslie and Thax <—(please read) and when we randomly ran into the girl we needed to find to passback her wrist band and when two friends plopped down right next to us for dinner Friday night and we didn’t notice for 10 minutes.
Alright, it’s 3:48 a.m. Monday night and I’m working two jobs tomorrow. I know that when I go to bed, this festival coverage stops for me. Did you follow all of those links in this post? There’s over a bakers dozen of them in here. Save this page and go back and check them when you get a chance. I’ll throw up a quiz on Thursday testing you on your knowledge of our ACL coverage. Read the posts, listen to the podcast, hit us up with some comments. The first step is to put together your ACL super group. Big bonus points for creative answers. Oh, Don’t forget the giggle fit! Winner gets a music prize pack. I’ll make it worth your while, I promise. A handful of music DVDs, a mix CD or three and a few odds and ends. Thanks for sticking with us all weekend. <3 to ACL. <3 to crashers everywhere. Until next time.