Austin City Limits
Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL) is a fixture in every Austinite’s schedule. Whether it be to leave town and avoid the influx of people and traffic, or to attend the festival either weekend, you can tell when the weekends are coming. Having gone to college in Austin, and attended the festival several times throughout college and after, I’ve found it to be a popular activity with friends, year after year.
About 750 attendees, many fresh off a hot day at the ACL Festival, were treated to an evening of musical and political conversation at the Austin, TX club Emo's last night, highlighted by Jim James, Kam Franklin of The Suffers, and appearances by seven different candidates for office including Austin Mayor Steve Adler.
Austin during Austin City Limits is the best version of Austin. It’s a magical weekend (now, two weekends) where the queso flows like wine and people flock to Zilker Park like the salmon of Capistrana. I swear, even the margaritas taste better. For anyone who has experienced a music festival in Austin, SXSW or FFF, for example, there’s still that buzz in the city. A collective restlessness for live music in all its glory. But there’s a different energy to Austin City Limits.
You know how our dads will turn us green with envy while casually mentioning seeing The Wailers or Led Zeppelin live? Nope? That’s just mine? Well the disappointment and jealous expressions on my future children’s faces was what was playing and re-playing through my mind on Sunday night as Pearl Jam took the stage.
Phantogram’s first song at their 5:00 slot on ACL’s Miller Lite stage was none other than the first song off their new album Voices, dropped earlier this year. The time slot had to fight with simultaneous performances from Jenny Lewis and Chromeo, but looking at the crowd you wouldn’t have known.
Seeing Interpol live has long since been at the top of my bucket list. It’s not that I would ever claim to be among the longest or greatest fans, it’s just that they’ve been around forever (to someone born in 1989, being a band since 1997 IS forever!) and I’ve built such a huge reverence for the collection of music, and very specific sound, they’ve cultivated and stayed true to.
If you know anyone that attended the festival this year, your social media was probably flooded with these hashtags and retweets about how mind-blowing this show was. It was so highly-anticipated I feared it wouldn’t live up to the bar everyone from the previous weekend had set. But at 8:15, they buried my fears.
Well, Austin, it’s that time of year again. Forget about driving anywhere in or near Barton Springs and Zilker Park, and double the average commute time, the number of bloody mary’s at brunch, and the excitement. The obligatory grumblings about sudden and temporary population inflation are nothing compared to the how grateful we are, as locals of this wonderful city, to be hosting visitors and artists and creatives alike. This is our favorite time of the year, guys, and not just because it’s timed perfectly with the arrival of the Pumpkin Spice Latte.