Volume: Austin City Limits Festival Sept. 19, 2005

Originally Posted 9/25/05

I finally find a spot to set up my chair, at about 2:00 pm, with two bottles of water and a warm Stubbs chopped beef sandwich in tow. Sitting in view of the Heineken stage, I eat my lunch and enjoy half of Mofro’s set at the 2005 Austin City Limits Festival.

For reasons I just don’t feel like going into, I was only able to go for the first day of the three day event. I’d driven down early, since I only had the one day ticket, and I had to drive anyway. Jasun, Ryan and Shannon were leaving later, but they had the coveted 3 day pass. I was going to see as much as I could for my 58 bucks. And I think I did.

From Mofro, who I must say sounded much different than when they’d played with the Supersuckers a couple of years ago (more jammy), I moved over to see Steve Earle. I haven’t seen him since 1989, opening for an unintelligible Bob Dylan, on Copperhead Road. So that was nice. Except for the dust filled wind that left me filthy with sweaty dust all over myself. But I got over it. Sometimes, if the music is just so good, it doesn’t matter what’s going on.

Then on to Mates of State, a minimalist indie pop duo, a guy and a girl, who were very happy and very pleasant. I was positioned on a slope, and there was a nice breeze flowing through, also with dust, but countering the 97 degree heat. I hadn’t seen heat yet.

If you’ve never been to Zilker Park, it’s a rather large area. We estimated last year that it was about a mile between the two main stages, which we’d criss-crossed with frequency. Upon my second trip, this year, I don’t think it’s that far, but it’s still quite a haul. The crowd is growing over there as people are leaving work, it’s getting a bit later, and there are some huge acts still to play there.

It’s now 4:30. Time for Lucinda Williams, across the park. I find a spot to set up, and after a few minutes, realize that not only is there no air coursing through, but the sun is just beating down. It feels as though the temperature was turned up 30 degrees; I’m just baking. I battle sight lines for a while, but throw in the towel. I can’t really see her, so there’s no reason to roast out there. So I set up under a tree, to watch the big screen.

She finishes and I move on for a bit of Theivery Corporation, who are pretty interesting, then head for Spoon. I continue giving this band chance after chance after chance. I want to like them so much, but I don’t. It’s now creeping towards 6:15, and I have to take a break. I go near the entrance, where there’s a nice shaded area within visibility of the entrance to wait for the crew.

“Got some sun?” says Ryan. Oh geez, I guess so. I realize that even the tops of my hands are bright red. Way to go, Brown. Way to go. But, everyone’s finally here. Now it can really start for me. Oh crap, my knees and shins are burned too…..

The girls trounce off to get in position for Keane, as Jasun, the birthday boy, and I trek towards the Allman Brothers. They can sure noodle. And we DIDN’T hear “Ramblin’ Man”. We essentially turn around to watch Blues Traveler on another stage before making way to find the girls, drinks, and Lyle.

I adore Lyle Lovett. He’s seemingly perfect. Even on I Love Everybody, when he was “happily” married to Julia Roberts, not a visible flaw. From opening with “Cute As A Bug” from 2003’s My Baby Don’t Tolerate,  to ending with one of my all-time favorite songs, “Church” from 1992’s perfect Joshua Judges Ruth, it was purely wonderful. So wonderful, in fact, that I by-passed the Black Crowes set entirely.

In hindsight, I wish I could’ve seen them for a bit. I immediately regretted leaving as we were in line for the busses and they were playing hit after hit after hit. It’s almost the only positive thing I came away from my last relationship with: an appreciation for the Black Crowes.

Even just going for the one day, I’m glad I went. It’s a well organized event, with a lineup is pretty extraordinary, even if it’s not necessarily the music you are into. Extremely established names, and varying more each year.

Next year, I’m buying my early-bird 3-day pass the minute I can. The hell with any extenuating circumstances.


~ by thesynaptic on August 4, 2010.

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