Highlighted in pink is what we saw at ACL and the green is who I have seen in the past.
We had a great year at ACL this year. I originally wasn’t going to go because I had seen many of my favorites (Fitz and the Tantrums, Foster the People) at SXSW 2011. However, my brother snagged a ticket for Sunday and was coming in from Dallas, so I did what any considerate sister would do and showed him the ropes.
We started the day with a big hearty meal from Magnolia Café, which was unusually slow, presumably because everyone assumed its popularity and close proximity to ACL would mean it was packed. You have to start your day right: a breakfast taco and blueberry pancake.
We walked over to ACL from parking near Austin High and were one of the first people in line for that entrance—Don’t judge… this is how you do it if you’re only going one day and you have someone in from out of town.
I’m glad we got there early, because one of my favorites ended up playing first at the Google+ stage. Yellow Ostrich was really, really good. When we first walked up, I crinkled my nose at the tribal sounds, but I immediately realized there was more to this drumbeat than I first thought. The singer’s voice is great, often put on a loop, and the lyrics are all spectacular. I’m counting them as my best ‘find’ of the year. I already pre-ordered 'Mistress.'
The Head and the Heart also impressed me with the lady singer’s voice being amazing—she seemed really uncomfortable singing, but the words floated out of her mouth. They could have been a bit louder. We were pretty close and a bit to the left of the stage and you could definitely hear it, but could talk over it fairly easily.
AWOLNATION had a ton of people, but it didn’t do much for me. Maybe if you were close to the front it would grab you better, but from the mid region, it wasn’t a must-see, so we moved on to food.
Of course, the main event was Arcade Fire, which I saw at The Backyard back in May. They throw a pretty great show that’s unlike most of the shows you see, making them well worth all the sweaty bodies who want to stand in front of short people—even when said short people were there an hour earlier. If you missed the show, all I can tell you is there are a lot of band members, lots of video and huge production for their famed songs, such as ‘Suburbs.” It’s hard to explain, so I’ll just encourage you to check them out—it’ll be a good time. I tried to explain it to my brother, but couldn’t and they definitely ended up being his favorite, although Fleet Foxes and the Head and the Heart were next.