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!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Austin City Limits Festival- Day 3

September 30, 2008


Photobucket Okkervil River


Austin City Limits Festival- Day 3

Photobucket Nicole Atkins

The final day of the ACL Festival was a day that we decided to take it easy somewhat and try and take in some bands that we were less familiar with, opting to spend more time at some of the smaller side stages, than facing the throngs at the main stages. This strategy meant not getting as close as usual for those major acts when we did want to see them. Of course it also has its rewards in the potential discovery of newer bands that we might otherwise have missed.

Photobucket A.A. Bondy

Photobucket The Grove

There is something profoundly rewarding at catching a live performance by a band that is on the way up, they tend to be enthusiastic and often superior to more well-known bands. We started off the day watching a set by A.A. Bondy which was quiet and moody and somewhat out of place in the brightness of the early day. Next we moved on to see Nicole Atkins & the Sea. Voted one of Rolling Stone Magazines 10 bands to watch for 2008, Atkins and her band delivered a great set. We caught them again later in the day in the much more intimate and fun setting of the Austin Kiddie Limits stage where they performed Children’s tunes.

Photobucket Nicole Atkins at Kiddie Tent

Nicole Atkins & The Sea

One of the bands that we were introduced to on the smaller BMI stage was The Belleville Outfit. This Austin-based Western style swing band put on a great performance which was one of our favorites of the weekend. When they mentioned casually from the stage that they were playing a late night gig at Momo’s, we immediately made plans to attend, opting out of seeing Conor Oberst at La Zona Rosa.

Photobucket Warren Hood with the Belleville Outfiit

The Belleville Outfit with Warren Hood

The other bands we caught portions of during the day included, Scott Biram, The Kills, Tristan Prettyman, Massacoustics, Flyleaf, Stars, Gillian Welch, Neko Case, Okkervil River, The Raconteurs, South Austin Jug Band, Blues Traveler, Shooter Orr & The Mystic Rhythm True Love Honeybear Kings, Gnarls Barkley and Band of Horses. Of these my favorites were Neko Case and the Massacoustics and Gnarls Barkley. I was excited to see Blues Traveler again, but their set disappointed other than a great cover of “I want you to want me”. Gnarls Barkley also did a great cover version of the Violent Femmes classic, “Gone Daddy Gone”.

Photobucket Neko Case

Photobucket Blues Traveler

Photobucket South Austin Jug Band

Photobucket Gnarls Barkley

One of the other great things that the festival provides is the unique opportunity for performers to play together, having all the artists in the same place enables some crossover. This year for example, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings were joined onstage by Alison Krauss during their set, Bonnie Bishop played with Robert Earl Keen, Warren Hood joined the Belleville Outfit and G-Love jammed with Donovan Frankenreiter.

Gillian Welch, David Rawlings & Alison Krauss

By the time the Foo Fighters took the stage to close the show, half of our group was well on our way to Momo’s for the after show gig by the Belleville Outfit. Those who stayed reported that the Foo Fighters put on a great show and that it was a perfect ending to an incredible weekend of music. Thanks again to Nadene, we can’t express how great it was to share such an amazing experience with such wonderful friends. Nadene, Trevor, Melissa & Rhett were great traveling companions and made our trip one of the best getaways we can remember.

Photobucket Trevor

Foo Fighters

The Belleville Outfit site

Nicole Atkins & The Sea

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Austin City Limits Festival- Day 2

September 29, 2008

Photobucket Robert Earl Keen & Bonnie Bishop


Austin City Limits Festival- Day 2


The second day of the festival began somewhat blearily for us, shaking off the effects of a late, late, night, we somehow managed to make it over to Zilker Park just after noon for another long day of music. Just in time to see the Old 97s kick-start our day with a rousing performance which was impressive despite being in the bright sunshine of mid-day rather than in some darkened smoky late-night road house.

Photobucket Old 97s

Photobucket Melissa & Rhett

After their set, it was time for lunch and then splitting up again. Kathy headed over to see the Fleet Foxes, while I checked out one of the more interesting bands of the weekend, We Go to 11. The heavy rocking and impressive band is made up of 3 guys aged 13, 14 and 16. It’s hard to even recall what I was doing at age 13, suffice it to say I was not jamming out in front of thousands at a major music festival. They were excellent, not exactly the sort of music I am in to these days, but I could not help but be impressed.

Photobucket We Go To 11

Photobucket Nadene & Trevor

Photobucket Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT

After checking out a little of the Band of Heathens, Kathy & I decided to take a break from the heat and crowds and walk over to the nearby Barton Springs pool for a quick swim. The beautiful spring-fed pool maintains a chilly 68 degree temperature year round and provided just the chilling jolt we needed to rejuvenate.

Photobucket Kathy

Photobucket Barton Springs Pool

Photobucket Robert Earl Keen

We headed back to position ourselves in a good spot to see one of our favorite performers, Robert Earl Keen. He did not disappoint and had the crowd frenzied by the time he closed his set with, “The Road Goes On Forever”. It was amazing. After his set, we sort of bounced around between stages catching acts like John Fogerty, MGMT, CSS, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, Mason Jennings, American Bang, Spiritualized, The Black Keys, Iron & Wine, Beck and The Yonder Mountain String Band.

Photobucket Yonder Mountain String Band

John Fogerty

Kathy & I had different favorites of the day. Mine was the surprisingly strong set by Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band. His performance was subdued yet powerful and was way beyond my expectations and it was one that I decided to check out at sort of the last minute. I have included a youtube video that hardly does the set justice, but it was the best one I could find.

Photobucket Conor Oberst

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band

Kathy, and just about everyone in our group thought that the show closing set from Robert Plant & Alison Krauss was the best of the day. It certainly was cool to hear all those classic Led Zeppelin songs again and it was a powerhouse of a show, We stayed till the very last notes were played and ended up having to walk all the way back to the hotel in a somewhat delirious state, so exhausted that we didn’t even make it out to a post show party.

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September 28, 2008



Austin City Limits Festival- Day 1

Photobucket Vampire Weekend

The ACL Festival is one of the best and most remarkable of the ever increasing calendar of massive annual music fests. Held each year in a huge field in Austin’s Zilker Park, the festival features 3 days of performances on eight stages with over 130 bands performing over 11 hours each day. That doesn’t even include the amazing selection of after parties in which bands that played on the main stages during the day, play at some of Austin’s many great clubs in late night shows around town.

Photobucket Kathy, Trevor, Nadene, Melissa & Rhett


We are fortunate to receive coveted 3 day VIP passes which allow us access to the “VIP Grove” where we are treated to such amenities as free catered food from many of Austin’s finest restaurants, free drinks for the duration, private air-conditioned restrooms with no lines, a free internet lounge, free massages and a comfy couch filled lounge with big screen tvs. The VIP area made long days much more bearable and gave us a respite from the heat, dust and massive crowd of over 65,000 that jammed the main stage areas.

Photobucket Rodney Crowell

Photobucket Christopher Denny


Of course the music is the main draw and there is so much to choose from each day that we were often faced with difficult decisions, should I see David Byrne or N.E.R.D? Or should I split my time? The good news is that the layout and shrewd organization made it possible to see portions of both or to simply get a good spot and watch your favorites.

Photobucket Vampire Weekend


Our day started out with a great performance from Rodney Crowell, followed by a quick set by What Made Milwaukee Famous and then a trip across the field to one of my personal most anticipated shows, Vampire Weekend. They proved to be exceedingly popular as throngs crowded toward the stage; that left the stage with Jacob Dylan and the Gold Mountain Rebels comparatively empty and allowed for us to walk right up to the front for the latter portion of their excellent set.

Photobucket Vampire Weekend sign autographs.

Photobucket Jakob Dylan

Among the other bands that I saw at least portions of their sets were, Del the Funky Homosapien, Jamie Lidell, Christopher Denny, Bobby Bare Jr., Gogol Bordello, Jenny Lewis, David Byrne, The Swell Season, Alejandro Escovedo, Donovan Frankenreiter, the Eli Young Band and The Mars Volta.

Photobucket Jenny Lewis

Donovan Frankenreiter and G-Love at ACL

After a full day of shows, a quick stop at the hotel for a shower and we were out for a late-night post show gig. The aftershow we selected was the G-Love & Special Sauce and Eli “Paperboy” Reed show at La Zona Rosa. It was a ton of fun as Donovan Frankenreiter returned the favor and joined G-Love during the rollicking set, just as G-Love had joined Donovan earlier in the day. It was a late, late night, but it wasn’t over for Kathy & I as we headed over to nearby Momo’s to catch the end of a set by one of my favorite Indiana bands, Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band, who just happened to be in Austin. It was a great, great day of music…

Photobucket G-Love at La Zona Rosa

Photobucket Rev. Peyton at Momo's

Photobucket Breezey, Rev. Peyton & Michael

Rev. Peyton

Rev. Peyton Website

Christopher Denny

Sunday, September 28, 2008


September 27, 2008


Photobucket White Ghost Shivers at Emo's

Photobucket Jamie Lidell



Thanks to the largesse of our friend Nadene and her friends at BMI, Kathy & I are back in Austin, Texas to attend the annual and amazing Austin City Limits Music Festival. Nadene organizes the wonderful Key West Songwriters Festival and as a perk she is able to score coveted 3 day VIP passes to the ACL Fest. This year our group included Nadene & her boyfriend Trevor along with our friends Melissa & Rhett and Kathy & myself. It’s always more fun traveling with a group of friends and this trip was no exeption.

Photobucket Kathy,Nadene, Trevor & Melissa

After driving to Miami, catching a flight to Dallas, it was on to Austin where we checked into a downtown hotel and soon headed out to sample the vaunted Austin night life. On our previous visits here, we pretty much stuck to the festival itself, mostly because it is so physically exhausting that we never felt much like going out afterwards, We pre-determined that this year would be different and we started straight away in testing our resolve.


Our first stop was the famed Stubb’s Barb-B-Que where we partook of a great meal of tasty barbeque while listening to the thumping of Manu Chao who was playing an ACL pre-show on the outside stage. After a tasty meal, we headed over to nearby Emo’s for the official ACL Kick-Off party. Once again, Nadene had scored us spots on the VIP gust list and there was a full range of bands playing that included Mates of State, What Made Milwaukee Famous, Bobby Bare, Jr., Dan Dyer, Thomas Function and our favorite- Austin’s own White Ghost Shivers.

Photobucket Stubb's


The Shivers performed an eclectic, funky set that really needs to be seen to be appreciated. One might pass them off as a novelty if they didn’t sound so good, Check out the youtube video below for a sample. We also managed to squeeze in a visit to the 6th Street bar scene that is part of Austin’s charm. Key West should learn a lesson from the blocking off of the street at night which creates a huge outdoor party atmosphere along the length of the street, which is lined with countless bars.

Photobucket Melissa & Kathy

Despite stumbling home late, Kathy, Nadene & I managed to get up bright and early to head over to another insider function as a local radio station was broadcasting a live ACL preview show in the lobby of the Four Seasons hotel with live on-air performances from a few of the festival acts. We caught two good ones, Christopher Denny and the dynamic Jamie Liddell. It was a small intimate setting and a perfect way to kick-off the weekend.

Photobucket Christopher Denny at Four Seasons

Photobucket Jamie Lidell

White Ghost Shivers Site

Jamie Lidell site