ACL 2012: Saturday's 9 Best & Funniest Moments at Zilker
Photos by Marco Torres
The return of terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad rain made Saturday a muddy but fun mess. Thankfully, the downpours didn't dampen the spirits of the crowd on day two of ACL, but it did seem to thin out the herds. Aside from remembering how to walk in inches-deep goop like we did back at the Dillo-Dirted 2009 edition of the festival, the music and sights were as hilarious and hellacious as expected.
1. Rufus Wainwright's Voice Whether tackling his own new gospel-tinged work, or a Judy Garland tune, the sounds that comes from Rufus Wainwright's mouth hole are vastly-underrated. The man has haunting, sturdy pipes that should be heard by all. Come on guys, he's been doing this for twenty years now, get into it. CRAIG HLAVATY
2. More With Rufus Looking like the 21st-century iteration of Elton John, Wainwright's set ran the gamut from his latest album Out of the Game to his more Broadway-esque numbers, including a Judy Garland song, which he dedicated to Garland's daughter Liza Minnelli. "She's not very happy about me doing Judy Garland," he said. "So I've renamed this song 'The Bitch That Got Away.'"
He also did a song by father Loudon Wainwright, but there's no coattail-riding here, since Rufus' style is so damn unique. On Friday, while I was watching Florence + the Machine, I thought to myself that bands like hers don't exactly work well in a festival setting. I was worried Wainwright would be the same. But he owned the crowd, and his lush and unique voice more than filled up his side of the park. Houstonians should definitely make the time to see him Monday at Bayou Music Center. BRITTANIE SHEY
3. Father John Misty's Sass & Brass Battling the sound bleed from Big KRIT's stage was daunting at first for Josh Tillman of Father John Misty, but a few chugs from a bottle of Tito's and a helpful soundman made the group shine over KRIT's metallic rap. The two tastes together -- party rap and languid folk bump -- weren't so bad though. The Austin Ventures crowd, and few hundred ladies, fell in love with Tillman's lanky stage persona within two cuts. CRAIG HLAVATY
4. The Roots Lay Waste
It's not a new opinion by any means, but the Roots are a hot-shit live band. Makes sense, they do play on TV at least four times a week. But their Saturday evening set was tighter than the Houston Texans' defensive line, and just as flashy. I can't rightfully describe how they do what it is they do. They remind of a hip-hop E Street Band, with Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson as their formidable funk-soul god guide. CRAIG HLAVATY
5. Do You Want More Roots?
This was one of my top picks of this year's festival, and hot damn they did not disappoint! The Roots Crew from Philly didn't waste any time, actually started their set 10 minutes early. Questlove provided the beats without his signature afro, opting for braids instead. MC Black Thought kicked things off with a tribute to Adam Yauch, aka MCA of the Beastie Boys (RIP).
The rain stopped and the sunset shone, providing a beautiful backdrop for this jam session. "The Next Movement" from 2004's Things Fall Apart followed the intro, setting the mood for their brand of jazzy, funky hip-hop. Black Thought's distinctive deep voice complemented the band's super-crisp sound. The energy provided by the crew was reciprocated by the crowd, who head-bobbed while dancing in the mud.
They are the epitome of hip-hop, far removed from the conventional radio and Internet rap. An extended, jazzy version of "You Got Me" included the band running onstage in a circle during a breakdown, a rap remix of Sweet Child o' Mine" by Guns N' Roses, and George Thorogood's "Bad To The Bone" blues freestyle.
They could have partied on for hours, closing with "Hard Times" from the 2010 Grammy Award winning album Wake Up!.
"Can... You... Dig it?!" asked Black Thought. Fuck yes, we we can! MARCO TORRES
6. Costa Rica's Sonámbulo After Wainwright I headed over to the Zilker Stage to use the facilities and caught the tail end of this amazing band from Costa Rica, Sonámbulo. If the name brings to mind something along the lines of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, you are not far off. Equally parts party band and tribal ritual, they refer to themselves as "Psycho Tropical" and had me wishing I'd left Wainwright at the Bud Light Stage earlier. As the rain started pouring, the tent under which they were playing turned into a frenetic dance party. I often forget that the smaller stages hold the best surprises. BRITTANIE SHEY
7. Football City Limits
This is Texas after all, and a party would be incomplete without a little pigskin. Every year, the organizers set up the Rock Island Hideaway, a large tent with two giant screens that show the weekend games.
Longhorns had a hard choice, having to choose between staying in Austin for ACL, or going to Dallas for the Red River Rivalry. Lucky were the ones who stayed. UT lost to hated OU by like a hundred points or something. Not pretty. And for the few who wore OU shirts to the festival, you are far braver than me.
One of the stage managers apparently graduated from Texas Tech, using the screens and sound system to tout his Red Raiders and dog the Longhorns. The LSU, Notre Dame, and Florida games also attracted sizable crowds to the tent.
Baseball playoffs were shown on Friday afternoon and evening, and Sunday it will be NFL all day. I've already seen plenty of Dallas Cowgirl fans in attendance at the fest, as well as fans of the best team in the league, your hometown Houston Texans. The Bulls On Parade play on Sunday night against the Discount Double Check Green Bay Packers. MARCO TORRES
8. Horns Down I'm an Okie, but I couldn't care less about either team in the Red River Rivalry. Still, it was awkward to actually be in Austin while watching see UT lose so miserably. And all the people in OU shirts at Zilker Park sure have some cojones. BRITTANIE SHEY
9. ACL Politics There wasn't much in the way of Presidential politics (so far) this weekend, but Wainwright did have something to say. "This next election I've boiled down to one thing. It's about women's rights." Hell yeah. "So vote for Obama." Then he transitioned into "Going to a Town," a song in which the refrain is "I'm so tired of America."
Steve Earle also had something to say about politics (of course he did), introducing his song "Little Emperor" by saying "This is for W and his fuckin' horse." BRITTANIE SHEY
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