The ACL Roundup 2015

I went to the Austin City Limits Festival this year, despite the fact that I am not at all a festival person. But it was my first chance to go to ACL so I wasn’t going to pass that up, and in the course of the weekend I also gave out-of-towners directions twice, so I’m pretty sure I’m an Austinite now, right? I believe that you turnover at the one year mark because so many new people move to Austin each year. So, that’s cool.

Aerial view of ACL 2015 by Charles Hackleman

Aerial view of ACL 2015 by Charles Hackleman

Here’s the thing about ACL: it’s not going to be bad. Like, these people know what they’re doing. It’s a huge festival; it draws huge crowds and popular bands. For a festival this size and with the reputation of ACL, you’re not going to see anyone who’s not great in some way. Even the people performing you’ve never heard of are going to be amazing. And it was! It was amazing. I didn’t see a single act that I thought, “meh.” (Well, I did, but personal taste only and not the actual quality.) So here, in brief, is everything that I saw at ACL.

Friday, Oct 9th:

Leon Bridges: this dude is amazing and deserves every awesome review that he gets.

Leon Bridges by Cambira Harkey

Leon Bridges by Cambira Harkey

Billy Idol: holy shit, I just saw Billy Idol sing “White Wedding.” That was a thing that happened to me.

Billy Idol by Roger Ho

Billy Idol by Roger Ho

Run the Jewels: So awesome. Fun fact: I had a casual conversation with Killer Mike in the press tent but had no idea it was actually Killer Mike until he left and sat down with EI-P for an interview with another outlet, and then I was like, “Hey, I totally just complained about the weird wheat juice to the guy from Run the Jewels.”

Run the Jewels by Charles Reagan Hackleman

Run the Jewels by Charles Reagan Hackleman

Tame Impala: Right on, man. I like your psychedelic sounds.

Tame Impala by Roger Ho

Tame Impala by Roger Ho

Foo Fighters: I’m not gonna lie. I was a little underwhelmed, and the sound was not so good (stage, not band). You’re still a pretty cool band, though, in general.

Foo Fighters by Cambria Harkey

Foo Fighters by Cambria Harkey

Foo Fighters by Cambria Harkey

Foo Fighters by Cambria Harkey

Saturday, Oct 10th:

Shakey Graves: Still great. Gets better every time I see him. I would like to see him with a full band, though.

Shakey Graves by Nick Simonite

Shakey Graves by Nick Simonite

Sturgill Simpson: I actually never listened much to Simpson because his music is a little too twangy for me, but in live performances he really pops.

Sturgill Simpson by Nick Simonite

Sturgill Simpson by Nick Simonite

Walk the Moon: You guys have that song “Shut Up and Dance” that sounds pretty good on the radio, and also pretty good in person, but there was some weird technical stuff going on here.

Walk the Moon by Greg Noire

Walk the Moon by Greg Noire

Modest Mouse: Super good. And you played old stuff, too! (also, they are vampires and don’t show up on film)

TV on the Radio: I don’t think I’m cool enough to like this band. So good.

TV on the Radio by Reagan Hackleman

TV on the Radio by Reagan Hackleman

Drake: I only stayed for one song because I was pretty sure I was gonna get trampled. I like your weird beard, though.

Drake by Cambria Harkey

Drake by Cambria Harkey

Crowd for Drake by Cambria Harkey

Crowd for Drake by Cambria Harkey

Sun, October 11th:

Sylvan Esso: There were some technical issues going on, but the lead singer covered with a Beyoncé song and everything was right in the world. Also, “Hey Mami” is rediculously infectious.

Sylvan Esso by Katrina Barber

Sylvan Esso by Katrina Barber

The Decemberists: I have loved The Decemberists for what seems like decades and never seen them live. Their ACL set was but a mere drop in the bucket for what this band can do. Must see Decemberists more and often.

The Decemberists by Roger Ho

The Decemberists by Roger Ho

Of Monsters and Men: meh. (also vampires)

Alt-J: Hells yeah.

Alt-J by Charles Reagan Hackleman

Alt-J by Charles Reagan Hackleman

Nero: I legit could not tell if there was anyone on stage, or if it was just lights and lazers and shit.

Nero Crowdsurfing by Roger Ho

Nero Crowdsurfing by Roger Ho

Hozier: Super good voice live.

Hozier by Charles Reagan Hackleman

Hozier by Charles Reagan Hackleman

The Weeknd: I am also not cool enough to like The Weeknd.

The Weeknd by Roger Ho

The Weeknd by Roger Ho

The Weeknd skyline by Charles Reagan Hackleman

The Weeknd skyline by Charles Reagan Hackleman

Florence + the Machine: wow.

Florence + The Machine by Cambria Harkey

Florence + The Machine by Cambria Harkey

Florence + The Machine by Charles Reagan Hackleman

Florence + The Machine by Charles Reagan Hackleman

I feel like a couple more ACLs and I’ll have made up for living in China for five years.

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