Austin City Limits Music Festival 2010 – DAY TWO

On day two of the Austin City Limits Music Festival we started the day at the Austin Ventures Stage with an electro-pop alternative/indie rock band from Northern Ireland called Two Door Cinema Club. The setlist included a hard-hitting barrage of tracks: “Cigarettes in the Theatre,” “Undercover Martyn,” “Do You Want It All?,” and the solid hit “Something Good Can Work.” The boys from Bangor, Northern Ireland played several tracks like “This Is Life,” “You’re Not Stuboorn,” “What You Know,” and “Eat That Up, It’s Good For You” from their new album Tourist History. And with the closers “Come Back Home” and especially the single “I Can Talk” the young rockers finished strong.

Tourist History

Following Two Door Cinema Club, Andrew Mayer Cohen aka Mayer Hawthorne representing Ann Arbor, Michigan brought the soul of the Motor City to Austin City Limits. The sweet sounding “Maybe So, Maybe No” set the vibe for the afternoon set. Mayer Hawthorne and the County then flipped the script playing the remixed versionGangsta Luv” recorded with the smooth rhyming rapper Snoop Doggy DoggThen he slowed down again for a chill version of “I Wish It Would Rain.”

His neo-soul sound flows in the same manner as the R&B and Soul revivalists: Mark Ronson, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and Amy Winehouse. Not that Hawthorne sounds like these contemporaries but rather he sounds more like the classic crooners of old–Smokey Robinson and the Miracles or Marvin Gaye. The soul session then evolved into a sing along with a spot on cover version of the classic Doobie Brothers trackWhat A Fool Believes.” And, ultimately Mayer Hawthorne returned to his roots with the R&B jam ” Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out.”

I left the Austin Ventures stage for the Broken Bells. My family stayed behind for the Local Natives, which they reported were awesome ,especially since the 15-year old virtuoso fiddle player and singer-songwriter Ruby Jane joined the band for a musical ride. Unfortunately, this is the problem with Austin City Limits: there are too many bands at the same time to really see all the bands that you want to see.

I hated to miss the Local Natives, but the Broken Bells beckoned. Brian Burton aka Danger Mouse and James Mercer of the Oregon Indie Rock band The Shins align to make melodic space rock music like “Vaporize” andOctober.” And, I especially like the tracks “The Ghost Inside” andThe High Road.” Some tracks are more punchy like “The Mall & Misery,” but for the most part Broken Bells songs are spaced-out, well crafted, and textured rock songs. Danger Mouse adds layers of synths and keys atop the haunting vocals of James Mercer.

The Monsters Of Folk are a 2010 version of a folk-rock supergroup. They are our generation’s Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Combine the breathtaking vocals of  Yim Yames aka Jim James from My Morning Jacket with the rootsy vocals of Conor Oberst and the talents of multi-instrumentalist Mike Mogis from Bright Eyes; then mix in the vocalist and music maker M. Ward, the genius behind groups like She & Him and you’ve got one hell of a supergroup.

The show opened with the harmonizing vocalists singing “hold out your hands” and “Say Please.”  Although festival organizers should have put this top notch band on a bigger stage, they still managed to put together a wonderful set, including songs from the album Monsters Of Folk. The set included: “The Right Place,”Man Named Truth,” “Ahead of the Curve,”Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.),” “Slow Down Jo,” “The Sandman, The Brakeman And Me,” and “Baby Boomer.”

But the band also played songs from other projects including the Bright Eyes tunes “Soul Singer in a Session Band,” ‘Hit the Switch,” “At the Bottom of Everything,” and “Another Travelin’ Song.” They also played a wonderful version of the M. Ward song “Vincent O’Brien” and the My Morning Jacket tracks “Golden” alongside a fantastic take on “Smokin from Shootin.” Although the guys covered material from other projects they stayed true to their collaborative material playing Monsters of Folk originals like “Whole Lotta Losin’,” “Temazcal,” and “Map Of The World.” And they closed with the haunting “His Master’s Voice.”

Matt & Kim provided a nice interlude between Monsters of Folk and M.I.A. I liked how the duo interlaced their indie dance rock with dance tracks. At one point, I heard a rip-roaring dancehall cut from Diplo’s Major Lazer album Gunz Don’t Kill People…Lazers Do called “Pon De Floor.” Plus there was a nice cover of the Biz Markie favorite “Just A Friend.” Essentially Matt & Kim threw a party on their stage playing their own stuff like “Daylight” alongside other great samples and beats.

Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam aka M.I.A. is a performing artists. For this show, we got up close and danced our assess off. From the slamming “Galang” to the hardcore “World Town” M.I.A. brought anarchy to ACL. I heard lots of complaints about M.I.A. from people near the back, but up front the sounds and sights elicited a punk electronica atmosphere. Of course she played the megahitPaper Planes.”  And she concluded with the noisy “Born Free” from her new loud album Maya. Also, we caught the end of a solid Muse show. Luckily, the science fiction rockers played “Starlight.”

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Austin City Limits Music Festival 2010 – DAY TWO

Austin City Limits Festival – DAY ONE

I went to ACL yesterday and saw some great bands, including Sahara Smith, Asleep at the Wheel, Blues Traveler, Kings Go Forth, the Black Keys, Pat GreenSlightly Stoopid, Vampire Weekend, and Phish. Wimberly, Texas-based Sahara Smith opened on the Austin Ventures stage and I liked the song “Are You Lonely.” But, it was Asleep at the Wheel that set the mood for the rest of my ACL experience. Ray Benson and his friends rocked. With steel guitar, fiddles, piano, guitars, bass, and drums The Wheel blazed through a hot set of western swing and classic country. The band opened with “Miles and Miles of Texas” and “Get Your Kicks on Route 66.”

Bob Wills Is Still The King

Asleep at the Wheel has been an institution in Texas since the 1970s. The band paid tribute to their heroes Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys with a Waylon Jennings song “Bob Wills Is Still The King.” From there they played the Bob Wills super-hit  “New San Antonio Rose.” Often Asleep at the Wheel teams up with a famous artist. For example, Leon Rausch recorded a new album with the Wheel called It’s A Good Day. At ACL Asleep at the Wheel played the title track from the album. The swinging musicians also played tracks from the Willie And The Wheel album recorded with Texas icon Willie Nelson, including “Hesitation Blues,” “Sweet Jennie Lee,” “Oh! You Pretty Woman,” and “I’m Sittin’ on Top of the World.”

I'm Sittin' on Top of the World

The rollicking Asleep at the Wheel set got even better with the hilariously titled song “Big Balls in Cowtown.” Followed by one of my favorite tunes of all time: “Hot Rod Lincoln.” I am a big fan of the post-1960s western swing revivalists. Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen are another fine band that fits into the mold–a band that also played a wild version of “Hot Rod Lincoln,” as well as a great version of “Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette.” Commander Cody appealed to the west coast hippies paying homage to the Cowboy Code. Long haired Ray Benson fits in with these western swing revivialists, but Asleep at the Wheel is more than all that. They have become an institution in Texas keeping musical traditions alive. Plus Texas music history owes a debt of gratitude to the band. The excellent theatre production A Ride with Bob featured Asleep at the Wheel and the amazing Ruby Jane playing a young Bob Wills. From pure western swing to boogie woogie the Wheel wrapped up their set with “Boogie Back to Texas” and “Bump Bounce Boogie.”

Free

Donavon Frankenreiter followed the Wheel with a fun set including “Move By Yourself” and “Free.” Frankenreiter played a sweet song written for his son titled “Call Me Papa.” He then covered Tom Petty’sAmerican Girl,” putting a chill twist on the Classic Rock gem. The mustached singer played his hit single “Glow” and the catchy “It Don’t Matter.”

Blues Travelerkilled with their old school single “But Anyway” and a cover version of Radiohead‘sCreep.” The hit singles “Run-Around and “The Mountains Win Again” were followed by an amazing jam with the 15-year-old fiddle player Ruby Jane. Jon Popper and his tight jam band also covered the Sublime song “What I Got” ending with the mega-hit “Hook.”

The Outsiders Are Back

The Kings Go Forthwere the great surprise band for me on Friday. Their 1970s funky disco sounds were groovy. This 10-piece American soul band from Milwaukee, Wisconsin has an incredible stage presence to accompany jams like “One Day,” “I Don’t Love You No More,” and “Don’t Take My Shadow.”  We all know what made Milwaukee famous, but now we know why it is funky!

The Black Keys powered through a garage rock and blues set that included “Thickfreakness,” Strange Times,”Tighten Up,” “Your Touch,” and “Everlasting Light.” While Texas country artist Pat Green transitioned from the anthem  “Wave on Wave” into a nice cover of U2‘sAll I Want Is You.”

Chronchitis

I have seen Slightly Stoopid at ACL at least three times now. And I have liked every show. The dubby grooves are infectious. The reggae-punk rock formula originally perfected by Long Beach’s Sublime works well. Plus the lads from San Diego have mastered their vocals and guitar playing and their brand of stoner rock is always welcome in Austin. Among the songs played at the festival were “I Would Do For You” and “Till It Gets Wet” and the extremely danceable “Somebody.” Slightly Stoopid plays party songs interlaced by the occasional punk rock explosion like “Punk Rock Billy.” But don’t think there is not a message in the music. Just take a close listen to the politically charged “Runnin’ With A Gun.” 

Vampire Weekend provided a nice segue between the dub of Slightly Stoopid and the jam rock of Phish. The Columbia graduates sound like Paul Simon’s Graceland with strong hints of The Clash and various other world music sounds mashed together into a refreshing pop sound. The set list included: “Horchata,” “Cousins,” “Oxford Comma,” “White Sky,” “Holiday,” “California English,” “I Think Ur A Contra,” and “Walcott.”

Phish played a classic set opening with a rocking “Down With Disease.” They followed up that original song with a cover of the Talking Heads track “Cities.” Phish is Mike Gordon on bass, Trey Anastasio on guitar, Jon Fishman on drums, and Page McConnellon keys. But at times it seems like there might be twenty people on stage. The sound is full and lush and really meant to be listened to at a venue like Zilker Park. Following the Talking Heads cover, Phish geared up for a funky-driving “Possum.”

Wolfman’s Brother” brought people to their dancing feet while a jammed out version of “Chalk Dust Torture” awed the crowd. My favorite moment was an unexpected Velvet Underground cover. I dig Lou Reedand the Velvet Underground, so a bad ass version of “Rock And Roll” is alright with me. From this foray into the underground  Phish smoothly transitioned into an almost symphonic spaced out “2001.” I am also a big fan of the newest album Joy, from which Phish played the excellent track “Backwards Down The Number Line .”

Joy (Amazon MP3 Exclusive Version)

After a reggafied “Harry Hood” the boys played another one from Joy called “Light.” I am not as familiar with this song, but it provided a nice pallet cleanser for a rockin’ “Suzy Greenberg.” The set concluded with an extended “You Enjoy Myself.”  The encore rocked with a killer version of “Cavern” and a crowd-pleasing “First Tube.”

Quite frankly, Phish put on a hell of a show. It was nice to see Phish in Texas again. I hadn’t seen Phish in Austin since they played at South Park Meadows in the late 1990s. Hopefully, Phish will return to Texas in the near future. People forget Trey Anastasio was born in Fort Worth, Texas. So come on boys, bring it on back to Texas sometime. Why not? I guarantee a sold out crowd at the Bass Performance Hall in downtown Fort Worth. Come rip our faces off with a howling version of The Edgar Winter Group‘sFrankenstein.”

Austin City Limits Festival – DAY ONE

The World of Reggae Music: Live Reggae

Kinky Reggae

LIVE REGGAE

In this edition of the World of Reggae Music Collection the selector explores live reggae music. Live reggae is powerful, inspirational, and enthralling.

Bob Marley & the Wailers – Introduction (Live at the Roxy)

Bob Marley & The Wailers – Trenchtown Rock (Live at the Roxy)

Bob Marley & The Wailers – Greetings (Live)

Bob Marley & The Wailers – Natural Mystic (Live)

Jimmy Cliff – Under The Sun, Moon, and Stars (Live)

Aswad – Roots Rocking (Live)

Toots & the Maytals – Time Tough (Live at Red Rocks)

Shaggy & Rayvon – Angel (Live)

Burning Spear – Door Peep (Live)

Steel Pulse – State of Emergency (Live)

Bob Marley & the Wailers Kinky Reggae (Live)

Gentleman – Superior (Live)

Israel VibrationReggae On The River (Live at Reggae on the River)

Seeed – New Dubby Conquerors

Steel Pulse – Sound System (Live)

Barrington LevyMurderer (Live)

Burning Spear – The Lion (Live)

Eek-A-Mouse Ganja Smuggling (Live)

Bob Marley & The Wailers – Get Up Stand Up (Live)

Manu Chao – El Viento (Live)

Matisyahu – Chop ’em Down (Live)

CultureTwo Sevens Clash (Live)

Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals – Burn One Down

Bob Marley & the WailersPositive Vibration (Live)

Steel Pulse Back To My Roots (Live)

Slightly Stoopid – Wiseman (Live)

Manu Chao – Ezln…Para Tod@s Todo…(Live)

Bob Marley & the Wailers I Shot The Sheriff (Live)

Israel Vibration Strength of My Life (Live) (Live)

Burning Spear – Jordan River (Live)

Jimmy Cliff – Vietnam (Live)

Bob Marley & the Wailers – Rebel Music (3 O’Clock Road Block) (Live)

Bob Marley & the WailersThem Belly Full (But We Hungry) (Live)

Steel Pulse – Macka Spliff (Live)

Burning Spear – The Lion (Live)

Matisyahu – Close My Eyes (Live)

Gentleman & Shaggy – Warn Dem (Live)

Michael Franti & SpearheadYell Fire (Live)

Toots & the Maytals54-46 (Was My Number) (Live)

Seeed – Papa Noah

Ziggy Marley – Jammin’ (Live)

Bob Marley & the Wailers – Get Up Stand Up > No More Trouble > War (Live)

Steel Pulse – Medley Medley (Live)

CultureToo Long In Slavery (Live)

Burning Spear – African Postman (Live)

Gregory Isaacs – Night Nurse (Live)

Toots & the Maytals – Monkey Man (Live)

Manu Chao – Por El Suelo (Live)

MatisyahuKing Without A Crown (Live)

Black Uhuru and Sly & Robbie Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner (Live)

Bob Marley & the Wailers Lively Up Yourself (Live)

Lucky Dube – Slave (Live)

Steel Pulse – Ku Klux Klan (Live)

Gentleman, Martin Jondo, & Tamaika – Rainy Days

Bob Marley & The Wailers – Roots Rock Reggae (Live)

Phish – Boogie On Reggae Woman (Live)

Toots & The Maytals – Funky Kingston (Live)

Burning Spear – Creation Rebel (Live)

Seeed – Love Queen (Live)

Manu Chao – Bienvenida a Tijuana (Live)

Steel Pulse – Bodyguard (Live)

Toots & The Maytals – Hallelujah (Live)

Raging Fyah – Cyaan Cool (Live)

Bob Marley & the WailersRat Race (Live)

Ben HarperWith My Own Two Hands (Live)

Israel Vibration – Rockford Rock

Steel Pulse – In A Me Life (Live)

Bad Manners – Lip Up Fatty (Live)

Bob Marley & the Wailers – Burnin’ and Lootin’

Seeed – A Capella (Live)

Toots & The Maytals – True Love Is Hard To Find (Live)

Steel Pulse – Black Enough (Live)

Israel Vibration – There Is No End (Live)

Big Youth – Satta Amasagana (Live)

Steel Pulse – Islands Unite (Live)

Bob Marley & the Wailers – Want More (Live)

Bob Marley & The Wailers – Redemption Songs (Live)

NEED

Israel Vibration – Same Song (Live)

Stephen Marley – It Was Written (Book Of Life) (Live)

Anthony B – Raid The Barn (Live)

Beres Hammond – She Loves Me Now / Step Aside (Live)

UB40 – The Way You Do The Things You Do (Live)

Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers – People Get Ready (Live)

Sister Carol – Rasta Girl (Live)

Beres Hammond – Putting Up Resistance (Live)

Dennis Brown – Money in My Pocket (Live)

Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley – Mr. Marley (Live)

Third World – 96 Degrees In The Shade (Live)

Michael Rose – General Penitentiary (Live)

Jimmy Cliff – You Can Get It If You Really Want (Live)

Dennis Brown – Wolves and Leopards (Live)

The Gladiators – Small Axe (Live)

Bunny Wailer – Dance Rock (Live)

Black Uhuru – Sinsemilla (Live)

Burning Spear – Throw Down Your Arms (Live)

Jimmy Cliff – The Harder They Come (Live)

Toots & the Maytals – Never Get Weary (Live)

Burning Spear – Columbus (Live)

Michael Franti & Spearhead – We Don’t Stop (Live)

Trenchtown Rock

Throw Down Your Arms

Live

In Concert: Best Of J. Cliff

The World of Reggae Music: Live Reggae

Graham Wilkinson & Kimya Dawson jam at the Mean Eyed Cat in Austin

This weekend I caught some music in Austin. I got in to the live music capital of the world at the tail end of the South By Southwest (SXSW) festivities, which features official and unofficial showcases that bring together bands from across the globe. I went to an unofficial show at the Mean Eyed Cat. This old saw sharpening workshop turned club and living tribute to Johnny Cash rocked Friday night as Kimya Dawsonand Graham Wilkinson & the Underground Township played some great tunes.

Graham played some of my favorites including “Boys & Girls,” “Let It Go,” and “Polvo’s Martinis.” Christopher Denny joined Graham for a rollicking Bob Dylan cover with shredding guitar solos and wailing harmonica. “The Man in Black” himself would have loved this night of music. The sounds were as eclectic as Johnny’s tastes. From Dylan folk ballads to protest songs to country and reggae to rock and roll, Kimya and Graham kept Austin weird for another night!

Graham Wilkinson & Kimya Dawson jam at the Mean Eyed Cat in Austin