No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

ACL Day 3

September 18, 2006

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Ben Harper & G-Love

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Michael & Kathleen Edwards

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After a relatively easy day on Saturday, the final day of the festival was an all-out music extravaganza. We got to Zilker Park bright and early, just as the first bands were starting. We watched a bit of Peter Dawson at the BMI stage before a huge deluge of rain hit. It poured and we found shelter and wonderful Sunday morning gospel in the protection of the covered Washington Mutual tent with the Durden Family singers.

Thankfully the rain was over just in time for a wonderful set by Canadian songstress Kathleen Edwards. Her set featured a dozen or so songs from her two great albums, “Failer” and “Back to Me” as well as a wicked cover of Neil Young’s, “Only Love can Break Your Heart”. We had seen her in Lyons at Folks Fest and her set here was much stronger. Next we split up again. I was happy to check out some of Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley’s show. The youngest of Bob Marley’s many children, Damian is a chip off the block and delivered a potent dose of reggae that had the crowd dancing.

I next caught small portions of the sets of Rodney Hayden, KT Tunstall, Ween, Jack Ingram, Buckwheat Zydeco, Matisyahu and Matt Costa. Of these, Matisyahu and Matt Costa stood out. Matisyahu, a Hassidic Jew who performs a mix of rap, reggae and rock was really interesting and immensely popular. The crowd was probably as thick for his performance than any other I saw. Matt Costa a California singer songwriter played an energetic set that culminated when Elvis Perkins and his band joined him on stage for a rousing finale.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Matt Costa with Elvis Perkins

By the evening things really got going. I watched an electric set by alt-country legend Son Volt before meandering over to see Neko Case and the New Pornographers, then to see New Monsoon and then the Bluegrass band, The Greencards before heading over to watch Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals. Ben Harper was awesome as well, especially when joined on stage by fellow performer and Philly rap rocker G-Love. Next Kathy headed over to watch one of her favorite bands, The Bodeans, while Melissa, Nadene & I checked out the full set by G-Love & Special Sauce. The final performer of the show was Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, celebrating their 30th anniversary and perhaps final year of touring. We just beat another massive rain storm as we headed back to the hotel, exhausted but thrilled by the quantity and quality of excellent music we experienced in the 12 hours we spent at ACL.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting G-Love & Special Sauce

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Jay Farrar of Son Volt

Monday, September 18, 2006

ACL Day 2

September 17, 2006

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Aimee Mann

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The second day of our ACL experience was another amazing day of music and fun in Austin. We got a bit of a slow start, exhaustion from the previous day retaining a hold in the morning. We took the hotel shuttle which dropped us off with-in easy walking distance of Zilker Park and made it in just in time for another catered lunch in the VIP Grove. The first few hours are by far the least crowded and easiest to manage and we took full advantage to watch the early bands up close and personal. The weather was overcast, but hot, with temperatures in the low 90s.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Key West's own Gordy & Ron

We started off watching a band called Murder By Death, a darkish gothic band from Indiana. They were good, if slightly odd, but it was nothing compared to the next band we saw, Ghostland Observatory. They are an outlandish, loud and strange band that is something of an 80s throwback with a ton of synthesizers and a sound something like the Talking Heads. They were very strange.

In the early afternoon, to escape the heat, I headed over for a brief dip in the nearby Barton Springs. The Springs, which stay at a cool and refreshing 68 degrees at all times, are a popular swimming spot and it was a wonderful and refreshing way to escape the heat of the day. It was also conveniently located only a few hundred yards away from the festival.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Barton Springs

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Elvis Perkins

We saw a bunch of other bands including The Eli Young Band, Phoenix, Galactic, Nada Surf, Elvis Perkins, Charlie Sexton, The Shins, Guy Clark, Aimee Mann, String Cheese Incident and South Austin Jug Band. For my money, the hi-lights from Saturday were Elvis Perkins, Aimee Mann and the South Austin Jug Band. We had seen Elvis Perkins at the Folks Fest in Lyons just last month and he performed another eclectic and well received set. Aimee Mann sounded awesome, though she looks so skinny that a moderate wind might have blown her off the stage. She delivered a wickedly good set of quiet moody songs that transfixed the crowd at the Heineken stage. The South Austin Jug band was great as well. They performed an energy packed set that had people dancing. If you are not familiar with them, as I wasn’t, you should check them out.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting South Austin Jug Band

We made it an early evening at the fest on Saturday, opting to skip headliners Willie Nelson and Massive Attack in favor of heading back to the hotel and going out to a nice dinner. The restaurant we selected was a wonderful Indian placed called the Clay Pit. We had a delicious and relaxing meal before heading back to get some much needed sleep.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

ACL Day 1

September 16, 2006

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Van Morrison

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting At the Conch Flyer

Wow- One day at the Austin City Limits music festival and I’m blown away…I’m also pretty exhausted. The sheer size and scale of the event is incredible and our first day was a 12 hour music extravaganza.

We almost didn’t make it, thanks to the wonderful folks at Delta airlines. Our flights from Key West to Austin were a complete mess as we were delayed 5 hours and ended up having to fly to Orlando and Cincinnati before heading to Austin arriving late Thursday night. We spent the five hours hanging out at the Conch Flyer with friends David & Kim before flying off to Orlando. Melissa made it as well, but poor Nadene ended up spending the night in Atlanta arriving Friday morning just in time to head to the festival.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Kathy, Michael, Nadene & Melissa

The festival, held in a huge field at Zilker Park, features continuous music on 8 stages and over 130 bands, the main problem is selecting which of many different simultaneous bands to watch. Thanks to Nadene and BMI, we had awesome VIP passes and BMI stage backstage passes. The passes got us free admission as well as admission to the VIP Grove where they have delicious catered food, free beer, air-conditioned bathrooms and even free massages. It was a welcome respite from the 90 degree heat and 65,000 people crowding most of the stages.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Guster

We saw a ton of fantastic music, at times separating to see our own personal choices. Among the bands that I saw were David Ford, Ghandaia, Asleep at the Wheel, The Greyhounds, Terri Hendrix, Guster, The Gospel Silvertones, Wolf Parade, Matt Nathanson, The Subdudes, Gnarls Barkley, Nickel Creek, Cat Power, Daniella Cotton, Thievery Corporation, Ray LaMontagne and Van Morrison.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Ray LaMontagne

Picking highlights is pretty tough, but Van Morrison, Guster and Matt Nathanson were the most impressive that I saw. Van Morrison looked and sounded fantastic and played a wide-ranging and impressive set that included a great cross-section of his magnificent career. Guster’s set was awesome as well and we managed to get up front and center for their show. The best person who I was mostly unfamiliar with was Matt Nathanson, he was great, relaxed and funny and talented as well. Both Nadene & I bought his CD. All in all it was an amazing, and tiring day. We got caught at the end in a huge long line waiting for the free shuttle that will not happen again. It takes some time to move 65,000 people all at once using busses.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Matt Nathanson

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Van Morrison