(Photo Credit: Annie Parnell)
Hello. My name is Jordan. *shakes hands with reader and exchanges pleasantries*. Now that we are rightfully acquainted, I want to get right to business. Because of course there is a great deal of business to be gotten to. Six weeks ago, I drove 5 and a half hours through the Hill Country of Texas to the Live Music Capital of the World so that I could engulf myself in 3 days of the non-stop foot-stampin’, fist-pumpin’, booty-shakin’, hippy friend makin’ goodness that is the Austin City Limits Festival. Every Fall, thousands of live music seeking roustabouts make the southern pilgrimage to Zilker Park in order to bask in the glory and funkiness that is ACL. And by funkiness, I do mean in sound and in odor. The only way to really grasp the beast that is ACL is to grab a 3-day pass (those bad boys are not cheap, so save up or dig deep into the pocket books in the spring time), connect with some awesome local Austinites, chow down on the local eats (if you eat at a chain food place during ACL you have completely missed the boat), and do not try and see every act. I repeat- DO NOT TRY AND SEE EVERY ACT. But hey, this is not an ACL survival post, so do what you want, it just worked out better for me to see a few acts up close and personal rather that to use the line-up like my own personal music buffet line.
ACL is an exhilarating roller coaster ride that happens to feature a lot of amazing bands. Too many in fact. For example, we had a killer experience without seeing bands like The Black Keys, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, The Lumineers (OK, I tried really hard to see these guys but the stage was too packed. We literately could not get to the stage. So it was not for a lack of trying), Delta Spirit, Tegan and Sara, Punch Brothers (again, a brutal let down. But they were playing at the same time as The Roots. Priorities man!), Metric, and The Shins. There were so many good bands that I wanted to see, but at a festival like this you have to make the tough decision. At the end of the day, we made the decision to see all the bands we wanted to see and stuck with our guns. We saw some amazing shows and some truly legendary acts. So without further a do, I am going to lay down a review for 5 of my favorite acts during ACL 2012. In no particular order of course.
Weezer – The Roots – Gary Clark Jr. – The Civil Wars – The Avett Brothers
(photo credit: Getty Images)
As it goes with most Weezer fans, you are probably privileged to many strange and geek-in-the-sheets memories that comes with the territory of following or listening to this band on repeat. There is no shame in that. My first memory of Weezer takes place on a 7th grade band trip to some spot in the road in a west Texas town. My friend Matthew pulls out his personal CD player and says “Man, Jordan, you have to listen to this band, their name is Weezer.” to which I say to Matthew, “Matt, dude, what the heck is a weezer?”. I guess Matthew didn’t hear me because I never found out. He did however start geek-ing out by excitedly telling me this wild story about when he first heard My Name Is Jonas and when the lyric “all out of batteries...” were sung and his CD player instantly ran out of batteries at the same time. I just kind of looked at Matthew like he had a few screws loose and asked him if he needed to borrow my batteries until we got to a gas station or something. At that point in my life I had no idea what he was talking about because I had never heard the song before, so I could not appreciate the irony. Now I do, so thanks Weezer and thanks Matthew. But anyway- that is my first-timer Weezer story. It is a geeky story, but I feel the guys of Weezer would appreciate it.
Suffice it to say, I have been a big Weezer fan for a while. Their set at ACL was the first to be circled and one of the only sets that I would not miss no matter what. However, I was apprehensive of this set. I had no idea what they were going to play or if they were going to be rusty. Most of my addled brain thought that they would try to push out some tunes from Hurley or Raditute (not albums I am too familiar with). I was still alright with this notion because I would still be guaranteed a few fan faves like Say It Ain’t So and Undone (The Sweater Song) regardless of what they played. I will tell you this new readers, I was pleasantly surprised at their set list. They played EVERYTHING. I mean everything in regards to a “greatest hits” type set list. They began with My Name is Jonas and faded into Memories (feeling the irony of the previous story now?) then went into – and I can’t really remember the exact order- Beverly Hills, Greatest Man Who Ever Lived, Buddy Holly, Pork & Beans, Surf Wax America, Island in the Sun, and so on and so forth.
The best part about this set is that Weezer didn’t color outside of the “Weezer” lines. However, the Weezer lines are fairly abstract and nerdy. They played the part terrifically on stage and gave the audience this feeling of musical and personal genuineness that is becoming the White Gorilla of the Live Music scene. Rivers Cuomo looked like he could have shed his guitar at any moment and waxed poetic on Newtonian Physics and been totally comfortable doing so. All of the band members simply looked like they were having a fun and joyous time, like some big reunion of high school buddies jamming for the first time in years. The problem with that analogy of course is that Weezer is not some band of chumps, they are a talented bunch of musicians that provided an ACL set that was spot on. The collective smile from the crowd could be felt across the 100 or so yards surrounding the AMD Stage.
My favorite songs, or the ones that got me dancing the most, were Dope Nose (I cannot believe they pulled one from Maladroit. Props.), Hash Pipe, and El Scorcho (The lone representative from Pinkerton.).
(Photo Credits: Weezer Band Etc.)
On deck for next time: The Roots and Gary Clark Jr.