Updated Monday afternoon to reflect Eagles manager Irving Azoff's statement about Don Henley's medical condition.
Craig Hlavaty: News coming out of the media tent: Don Henley of the Eagles had a stent put in to help his heart this past week. He will be singing and possibly playing guitar, but not exerting himself on drums. This could very well be the last Eagles show for a while - if ever, knowing his temperament. (Monday afternoon, Rocks Off received a statement from Eagles manager Irving Azoff that, despite what we heard firsthand from one of the band's crew, Henley had his knee and not his heart worked on.)
This is what you call the home stretch, as the last daily stragglers come in the gates, the bands are setting up for their closing slots, and Mr. Wayne Coyne is getting his sugar-free Red Bull and chicken dinner from Salt Lick. True story: We saw him in his gray suit getting some bird and Bull feet away from us. We weren't about to take a picture. He's royalty.
We ventured off to the Clear 4G stage and tent to see a bit of Trombone Shorty, and met up with some Dallas people who follow Rocks Off. Shorty was laying down his Nawlins jams, with a ridiculous amount of energy we wish we had at this point in the weekend. We found a whole new group of people hiding out under the tent, changing our mental crowd count to three million.
We walked out to hear Yeasayer doing "Ambling Alp" on the AMD stage. Lots of jumping and flailing around to soundtrack our walk back to the media tent. We will be dialing up the album on Rdio.com on the way home.
Brittanie Shey: Sunday afternoon was beset by problems. but at least they were minor problems. Gayngs had to cancel their set on the ZYNC Card stage, so Lance Herbstrong took their place. We were at the BMI stage (also known as the best, most intimate stage) for MyNameIsJohnMichael, who were also having problems, and by 3 p.m. (20 minutes late) still had not started.
The stage is right by the VIP area, and eventually all the ACL-goers sitting in the shady comfort of a large nearby tree were made to move so a truck could drag a new generator through the VIP fence and to the backstage area. By the time the band finally started, 30 minutes late, they were visibly peeved.
While we were waiting, Devendra Banhart & the Grogs were playing a larger stage behind us. We'd previously written the guy off... his guru-esque backstory left a bad taste in our mouth. But from afar, he sounded something like metaphysical-era Stones, and you know that can't be bad.
Once JohnMichael finally played, we got into their horns and keys, and the fact that the guitarist also played a trash can and a big bass drum, reminiscent of a NOLA-style brass band - the group is from New Orleans.
But by then we were late for The Morning Benders, whose album The Big Echo perfectly described their sound. A friend told us it was a show not to be missed, but the thing about ACL is that you can tell some of these bands would be better at night. Morning Benders are shoegazy and gangly and multi-layered.
They reminded us a bit of the intensity of Sunny Day Real Estate, but at 3 p.m. they weren't really getting us moving.
Craig Hlavaty: This seems to be the first year we have been at ACL where nothing monstrous has happened. No fires, mud, dust or mass crowd violence. We have to say, it's nice to not deal with the latter at a live show. How many fights were at The National on Friday night? Anyone set a garbage can on fire?
But it's been an easygoing weekend overall. This year's crowd seems to be bigger than the previous years. Friday night's Phish and The Strokes double shot brought in vast amounts of erstwhile hipsters and hippies who otherwise might not have been at Zilker. The Phish-head population left a hole in the crowd after Friday night. The Black Keys' following was incredibly surprising, and not bad at all for a two-piece blues band from Akron. The duo's new Brothers LP has finally pushed them into the mainstream.
Youth is playing a big role in the crowd here too this year. The older folks are setting up camps under trees and putting down chair cities, while the younger guys and girls are running wild and half-dressed through the crowd double-fisting beers. A lot of skin this time around. But no one is fighting or brawling over scuffed feelings like in the Bayou City. Blame all the weed here. We first whiffed it before noon on Friday.
Today will close out with Band of Horses, The National, Norah Jones, The Flaming Lips and the headlining band The Eagles. The only one of those looking to be a spectacle of festival-level proportions is the Lips. Anyone who was at Summer Fest in June will agree with that. No telling if there will be a mass exodus for The Eagles, or if people will stay in reverence.
Brittanie Shey: ACL's final day seems to be even the most crowded, even at the early hour of 1 p.m. Perhaps the slightly cloudy sky has something to do with that. Our first stop this afternoon (other than procuring refreshments at the media tent) was the last few songs of White Rabbit, and band we knew nothing about but ended up really impressing us.
The sextet plays music that manages to be heavy on the percussion while still sounding completely musical - almost orchestral. They have the momentum of Jimmy Eat World but with more instrumental depth, and because singer/pianist Stephen Patterson sounds slightly like Ben Folds, comparisons to that bands more rowdy songs are easy to make, if not entirely accurate. We look forward to hearing more from this band.
On the next stage, Foals was gearing up just as White Rabbits was breaking down, so we wondered over their to catch the band described as "post-punk" in the ACL literature. More like The Cure 2.0. With jangle guitar and Oxford accents, it's not that the band wasn't good. They just didn't sound as fresh as we'd expect. But they had plenty of accolades from the crowd.
After reading all the Twitter chatter about last night's Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros show in Houston, we're looking forward to seeing them this afternoon.
Craig Hlavaty: This is the only mud we have seen this year at ACL, save for maybe some pee-pee puddles near the portable toilets. After last year, all these cool breezes and sunshine are almost painful. We should start bitching about the weather being so nice, just so we can have something to complain about. Boo, temperate climates and seasonable shit.
We woke up somewhere near the Dell headquarters near Round Rock and immediately raced down 183 to Barton Springs to catch the first few acts of the day. In the early afternoon at ACL, people walk slower, the crowds are lighter and you walk through the populace without sneering.
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So far the throng is light, and not at all the teeming mass we have seen the past two days. In fact, we think this has been one of the better-attended Zilker Park affairs we have seen. What do you think?
First band today for us was Warpaint, the all-female indie rockers from California. The quartet started things off nice and ethereal, singing songs about dead things in their willowy howls. Oddly enough, we are staring right at them as they drink root beers in the media tent now. Kind of creepy on our parts.
They just left, presumably to head to their Houston show tonight at Fitzgerald's with the Young Mammals. Check them out, sans the dude who we could see the Virgin Mary in his back hair. E-mail us for the pic.
Ted Leo & the Pharmacists woke up the Budweiser stage at half past noon, wailing away for a little less than a hour. The Eagles play this stage in eight hours or so, and we already saw the oldsters camping out for Joe Walsh and those other dudes. In just a matter of hours, Leo's fiery and witty folk-punk will give way to a peaceful easy feeling.