There were so many good bands this year, and only so much time. I’ve listed my top three here, and why. Keep in mind, I’m picking my favorites, but all bands were good.
Built to Spill – first, their writing is so great. Their songs are musically interesting and catchy. Second, their performance was perfect, they played all of my favorite songs, and they played them well. They were also mixed well, I could hear all of the parts. And finally, they interracted with the audience. They didn’t just stand up their and go through a set list, they participated with the crowd.
Franz Ferdinand – as I’ve already said, I only knew one song of theirs before seeing them live. But, they were easily the best performers that I saw over the weekend. They delivered their music, but not the same way that its played on the radio, which is way more creative than just playing the songs. And they really put on a show. Every band member was into the performance, and fun to watch. If they get anywhere near Austin again, I will go see them.
Allman Brothers Band – I have always liked the Allman Brothers, but have never owned any of their CD’s. I wanted to see them because I knew there would be some mean guitar playing, and I wasn’t dissapointed. Man are they talented! And, to my surprise, I knew every single song that they played. Bonus. I want to see them again.
There are four bands that I missed that I wish I had seen while I was there. Aqualung, Jet, Bob Mould Band and The Arcade Fire. I heard great things about each of these shows. Maybe I’ll get to see them on their individual tours.
The bad part about the festival this year was that it was freakin HOT! Who would have thought that we’d be breaking heat records at the end of September? I heard that there were some 300 people that needed medical attention because of the heat.
About the only thing to do, really, is make shade, fans and water available to folks, and encourage them to use them. Which, is exactly what the ACL team did.
The dirt & dust was absolutely horrible. You could see a cloud of dirt floating around everywhere you went, people walking across the fields would kick it up, and the wind would carry it. Today I feel like I have a clod of dirt stuck in my throat (which, sadly, probably isn’t too far from the truth), and I can’t stop sneezing or coughing.
I read in the Austin-American Statesman that they drove around with water trucks spraying the ground each morning before opening the gates, but it was so hot and dry that it didn’t make a difference. As I was leaving the park on Sunday night, there was a guy saying to come back next year, they’d have the dust under control. They need to do something, it really was bad.