I got to ACL pretty early on the second day, around twelve thirty I think, which is the earliest I showed up of all three days. Twelve thirty is pretty early too, comparatively, considering most of my friends showed up around two or three. It makes sense to show up later, because that’s when most of the talent is and the known bands play then, and I’m not going to lie and tell you I go see the obscure bands because I want to hear their music or appreciate their art form; if I hear bands play that I don’t know and like them, I listen more, if the opposite happens, then I ignore the music. In general though, I don’t make it a priority to check out bands I don’t know. I take the time in the early afternoon to check out the vendors, the good food, the different lounges and amenities, and see what products are being pawned that are new or interesting. It’s a part of the ACL experience that few people make a priority to see, and I might not set aside the time next year, but I thought it was a good idea for my first year.
The second day of ACL was my favorite day of music, except for the headliner, whom I liked the least.
I saw Aloe Blacc first at around twelve thirty, and I really dug the vibe that his band tries very hard to show. Very funky, lots of tubas and trombones kinda music. Everyone wears ties and suit-vests, and many wore fedora hats. I like that such a style is present, but I don’t want every band to dress like that. One is fine. He played his big song, my favorite, “I Need a Dolla’,” and I was immensely satisfied. Blacc dances around very deftly, and it was a good, high-energy show with which to start my day. (I didn’t like most of their other music, though).
Next I saw Young the Giant, whose music I had not heard, but I had seen the band’s name a few times before. I liked their stuff enough, but the lead singer was very vulgar. I liked their stage presence, and they incorporated a lot of eclectic instruments into their music, which is a cheap parlor trick that works wonders on me. Overall, I can’t remember any of their songs if that says anything about the generic nature of their “alternative” sound. Still though, energetic. Kept me pumped.
Next I saw City and Color, to whom I had listened before and was not a fan, nor did they convert me that hot Saturday. They are mean. I really think they’re mean people. Their music was bitter and boring, and sounded like another guy with an acoustic guitar who had his feelings hurt. A lot of people swear by him though, and it was one my Blake’s favorite performances, so I’ll have to admit that I didn’t give them a fair chance. I was just killing time before a band I really liked began to perform.
Iron and Wine. Ahhhhh ya.
They killed it, man, they freaking killed it. Iron and Wine’s music is kind of ambient sometimes, and so admittedly their performance was spacey and groovey, and not your prototypical “high-energy” performance. If I know the band’s music though, I can bring my own energy to a song by singing along and dancing. They were whom I was talking about earlier when I said that a band can be low-key and downplayed, so long as they’re talented. Their music has a lot of oboes, trumpets, upright basses, wooden frog things, and violins, and like I said earlier–that crap freaking turns my switch, The leader singer was Paul Giamatti’s younger brother I swear, and they had a very cute pianist lady who was playing very simple chords, and thus led me to believe she was on stage simply because she was a “very cute pianist lady,” and not their because of her impressive qualifications. They played a lot of their new stuff, which I actually like more than their old stuff, which seems never to happen in the music world. I was super happy with Iron and Wine’s music and lost-puppy performance.
Next I saw Skrillex, and don’t tell Mike, but I really liked it. Skrillex is a more talented Pretty Lights, and really brought fame to the whole “I’ll flick you off, have children play with paint on stage, play music I made on my computer, and rock a weird haircut” genre. I can’t tell you when one song ended and another began, BUT PEOPLE WENT CRAZY. I think this performance was the second highest amount of weed being smoked around me, and some crazy dancing was taking place. At this point I was with a large group of my friends, and we were goofing around having fun, but the environment was honestly chaotic. We left early to get seats for Cut Copy, but I could have stayed longer.
Cut Copy was my favorite performance of the weekend. There I said it. I like their music, even though it’s not super original sounding, but they brought the most energy to any concert I saw that weekend. Plus, they did this weird thing where they put plants all over their stage, no clue why. The real reason I loved their concert so much was because Mike, Callen, and me were dancing so hilariously near the back. We didn’t have good seats, but that meant we had a lot of room, and we were going nutso. People around us were laughing, taking pictures, joining in, complimenting us, and generally gawking, and that just added to how much I loved it. It helps to know the music cause then you’re not caught pumping your fist into the air five seconds after the music stops, but really it was just all the energy that Cut Copy played with that allowed us to go so H.A.M. on the dance floor. I think we made a few peoples’ show, and it so much fun.
After Cut Copy we were tired but wanting more dancing, despite the fact that we stayed for literally the entire Cut Copy concert, which never happened. You always had to leave twenty minutes early if you wanted marginally good seats for the next performance. It ended up not mattering though, because we went to see Chromeo, and I did not like their music one bit. We left early to get food, didn’t return, and I was super ok with that.
At that point I was just with Mike and Hillary, and we met people at the headliner we had chosen to see, Stevie Wonder. That night was nice because we didn’t break our backs to get very close seats, so we listened at a comfortable distance, with a comfortable personal space bubble between ourselves. The weather was nice and “summer-evening warm” because it had been raining off and on all day, and I was with a really good group. It was the perfect ambiance for a great concert. Sadly, I don’t really like Stevie Wonder’s music. I left early along with Mike and Hillary. I went so that I could say I saw Stevie Wonder play live, because he doesn’t tour anymore and he’s kind of legendary, but his music wasn’t my thing. He earned mad respect in my book though as a performer. He went nuts on the keytar for like twenty five minutes.