My ACL 09 Recap (Or, homesick for a place I don’t live)

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I don’t think I’ll soon forget Austin City Limits 2009. Oh, sure, there’s the fact that my Hayden-Harnett Madelines are still caked with mud (Hi, I’m a genius and brought two shoes that didn’t match each other, and my favorite kicka%% boots! Oh, well.)

Honestly, I would have sacrificed any shoe to be in the midst of those 8 stages. I loved the constant choices, none of them bad, and the fact that they were all mine to make. Since Clutch didn’t arrive until Sunday, I had two days completely solo in Austin to go where I wanted, when I wanted. For someone who normally spends at least 47 minutes a day negotiating Dora or Diego, I’m sure you can appreciate how that thrilled me.

Friday was a glorious day, filled with sun and the emerald green grass of Zilker Park, newly planted. My first show of the fest was Them Crooked Vultures, which set the bar pretty high. After watching them, I hopped a golf cart that ran around the tour bus circle to hit the Kings of Leon, headlining on the Livestrong Stage. I arrived later than I planned, since I was still confused about the time change (don’t ask, I never get it) and went barreling past the man at the foot of the stage stepa, flashing my wristband.

For a glorius moment, I stood backstage at a Kings of Leon show, watching them play about 40 feet in front of me on the huge stage. I had just enough time to register that I was alone- where was everyone else? Before a very nice security man came over and said, “Miss, you can’t be here.”

“But, ah..” I said, hopefully flashing my wrist again.

“Noooooooooooo,” he said sternly, and steered me back to the steps. “See there? Over there.” And he pointed to some steps directly next door that went up to a stage balcony.

“Ahha!” I said, and vaulted down to attempt to jet up the other stairs. But a new security man there said, “Nope, sorry, that won’t get you here.”

“But he SAID!!!” I blurted, pointing at the other who had now disappeared. Then I rallied and said winningly, “This is one of the main reasons I came, I’ve never seen them before, I came from MARYLAND…” all met with a head shake and crossed arms.

So I decided that really, being at the base of the stage 40 feet away was just as good as anything else, and I wouldn’t waste anymore time trying to muscle up. Which turned out to be a good decision, as it gave me prime people watching for everyone else who was trying to scale the stairs. If I had a nickel for every time I heard “Do you KNOW who I am?” I could’ve bought a latte, for sure.

But KOL sounded amazing, and it was a perfect night. I ended up hopping the golf cart back to the artist’s village and eating cookies and drinking coffee, looking at a stunning moon for the conclusion of their set. I could not have been happier at that moment. (Note: The non-video images are in no particular order, just wanted to show you as many as I could.: )

Tree in Zilker Park

Tree in Zilker Park

Then, I rode my bike/walked it back to my condo, a mile and a half away- it was such a saga, because I was hungry and stopped at every restaurant- when I found one with less than an hour wait, I pounced- after an egg sandwich, I retired, about 3 am.

The next day dawned very differently- torrentially, in fact. After a lovely breakfast  at Magnolia with my friend Heather, it was off to the festival in the mud. Two saving graces: my nice rental people left me an umbrella, and Heather took me to buy socks. I wrapped all of my electronics in them, so they wouldn’t get wet in my backpack. Whassup, Boy Scout leader’s daughter? See, I learned something!

Highlights of Day Two: Flogging Molly bringing down the house during a downpour, Bon Iver drawing me magnetically to the stage with a raw, scuffed up electric version of “Blood Bank”:

Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights burning it up in the rain in the afternoon, and seeing the Decemberists from my perch on a golf cart out behind the stage. I was amazed at how heavy they were in person, at one point a timpani drum was just wailed upon with two huge sticks, arms akimbo- it was stunning.

Sunset over Colorado River in Austin, Day 1

Sunset over Colorado River in Austin, Day 1

Dave Matthews headlined that night, but I’m embarrassed to say I watched it on TV from a tent. By that point, the free Red Bull was really calling too loudly to ignore.

Then, it was off to downtown Austin for a Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights afterparty at the Speakeasy. If you ever get a chance to see these guys, run. Twenty four years old, but been playing together for eight years. they’re just coming off a tour with the Black Crowes, and a Robinson brother is producing their first major label album, due out on Atlantic in March 2010. They bring a pure energy and fierce talent that I was really excited to witness. (My girl Ri over at Music Savvy Mom ‘s been talking em up for MONTHS- she called it!) This is some video that I shot at the Speakeasy.

Then I stayed out till dawn with my new friend J., getting rowdy at an all night breakfast joint. Nothing like a Girl’s Breakfast out to bond you.

I cabbed it home, and crashed for a few hours, figuring soon enough it would be time to wake up and see Clutch! I made it in right after those boys took the stage at 2, due to a comedy of errors involving mud and the golf cart system going horribly awry.

Bike Jail, Zilker Park, Day 1

Bike Jail, Zilker Park, Day 1

But make it I did, and they owned the big Livestrong Stage. There wasn’t a whole lot of moshing, as people would have just done faceplants. But they definitely went over well, and there was a big crowd.

Dan had to do some press afterwards, so I went to see the Arctic Monkeys with Chase, then came back to the bus and hung out for a while. Then, it was goodbye to the festival. Dan and I had dinner at Iron Cactus, than went to see WIno play at Emo’s.

Then I went back to my condo and he to the bus, and the party was officially over. It was time to pack, sleep for two hours, and catch a flight home.Of course, happy to see my babies, but man, a weekend of free agent with killer music was a really nice gift from the universe. (Or touring, loving husband, as the case may be.:)

What Smart Girls Wear (Not me)

What Smart Girls Wear (Not me)

I also want to give a special shout-out to the Livestrong Foundation for sponsoring the main stage- as an organization that helps people to fight adversity and remain bold in the face of their illnesses, I loved that they contributed music to the world. During my mom’s and mother in law’s respective battles with cancer last year, there was a constantly running soundtrack in my head. Sometimes it helped me wallow, other times it helped me rally, but it was always there.  I really appreciate that Livestrong focused on an aspect of being human that perhaps wouldn’t be directly perceived as contributing to health, but really deeply does.

And that’s a wrap! I’m already booking a house for SXSW, as I’m determined to go for the Interactive and the Music parts this year- ahhh, who am I kidding. I’m just looking for any excuse to get back to Austin.

xoxo, L

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Comments (8)

  1. Brenda-SeriouslyMama Friday - 09 / 10 / 2009 Reply
    Lets move to Austin. I'll start packing right now... .-= Brenda-SeriouslyMama´s last blog ..My not so secret affair. =-.
  2. Ri, The Music Savvy Mom Friday - 09 / 10 / 2009 Reply
    *sigh*.... Dude, when I grow up, I SOOOOO want to be you. (yes, I am aware that I'm older than you already. Hush.) xoxo .-= Ri, The Music Savvy Mom´s last blog ..Off the Schedule Already – Who Won the Pool? =-.
  3. wormdrink (kristy bockelman) Saturday - 10 / 10 / 2009 Reply
    sounds like a blast mama!...thanks for blogging ;)
  4. Susan Helene Gottfried Saturday - 10 / 10 / 2009 Reply
    Oh, man. Can we figure out how I can come be your shadow next year??? .-= Susan Helene Gottfried´s last blog ..Roadie Poet: Bump in the Night =-.
  5. Ellen G Thursday - 22 / 10 / 2009 Reply
    Sounds like you had a great time! Thanks for the recap. Most envious of a great experience, I am! .-= Ellen G´s last blog ..Vaccination = yes. Flu mist = Hell NO =-.
  6. Chris Catania Monday - 26 / 10 / 2009 Reply
    Nice backstage story! I feel your pain as my wife and I have had problems with backstage security too as we navigate the hiearchy of wristband culture when we cover/review concerts ;) Very funny ACL recount and I hope you get to check out SXSW in 2010. .-= Chris Catania´s last blog ..Styx to Sigur Ros: Two Amazing Concert Stories =-.
  7. rockrollmama Monday - 26 / 10 / 2009 Reply
    Thanks, guys! It's been hard getting into a blog rhythm since I got back, as I've been all business and well, this was so much fun.:) Chris, I hope you enjoyed BWE as much as I did, and thanks for coming to our sessions! All best, L
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