A wrap-up of today:
We started the day with homemade apple pancakes and a bike ride along Town Lake to the festival.
Fleet Foxes. They have such a great sound and this was the perfect set to start day two. They didn’t really wow me since, honestly, they sounded pretty similar to their studio recordings. They’re good but maybe they need to improvise a bit?
The Fratellis. Scottish band (very reminiscent of Franz Ferdinand) that drew a massive crowd, apparently because they had a song in an iPod commercial. Good and Brit poppy, but not that engaging.
Jose Gonzalez. We got a text from Frank about how amazing he was around the time we were losing interest in the Fratellis, so we walked clear across the park. This was hands down the best set of the day. He played solo for a bit and had two friends join him (one on hand drums, and the other playing the melodica and singing. They covered “Teardrop” by Massive Attack and he did “Heartbeats” which was way better in person than recorded. I was still picturing bouncing balls on a hill in San Francisco, though.
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. We sat down and caught the beginning of their set. Lots of energy and a nice change from the acoustic indie-ish stuff we’ve been hearing.
CSS. We heard them in the background while we were swimming at Barton Springs. We decided to split for an hour and swim in the creek. It was chilly and so refreshing. There was so much moss and lake goo on the bottom that you had to tread water the whole time. I had green stuff stuck to me even after I rinsed off at the outdoor shower.
City and Coulour. Good but not at all memorable. We sat and listened and were a bit puzzled since he played with a band and not as a “solo acoustic” show as our little guide book indicated.
Electric Touch. The first band that I’ve thought was turned up too loud this weekend. Austin by way of England band.
MGMT. Holy crapness there were so many people here. I was the only one of us interested, so I tried to maneuver my way through the hoards and hoards of people (teenagers) who were packed in to the area between two of the main stages. I was probably the oldest person there and the crowd was packed in around me. After “Time to Pretend” (their most famous song among, clearly, teenagers, but not that great, albeit catchy, in my opion) people started streaming out. “Electric Feel” and “Weekend War were good and they did a pretty awesome version of “Kids” (typically just Andrew and Ben, but the guitarist who always wears the stripey shirt came out for the end). I planned on staying on that side to catch some of John Fogerty (and maybe Mason Jennings) and The Black Keys but there were way too many people around. My cell phone was going in and out of service because of all the people around and our text communication wasn’t working (I didn’t want to get lost from everyone and have to find my way back on a bike in the dark).
Conor Oberst. I’ve never listened to him much as Bright Eyes or as himself but this he was good. It was a nice relaxing re-intigration to the group after the ridiculous clusterf*&k that was MGMT. Very chill and way less crowded. We sat and half listened. He did a nice cover of “Kodachrome” during which I discovered that Mark has no clue about Paul Simon/most American bands pre-2005. Funny considering how many classic UK bands I know. I guess the wave only went one way?
Iron & Wine. They were playing in the background as we made our way to the front of the main stage area. Frank was really into seeing Beck up close (he’d never seen him).
Beck. I saw Beck (this is going to make me sound old, maybe) 11 or 12 years ago with Ben Folds Five and I remember him walking out on stage in a white jumpsuit dumping a quart of milk on his face/drinking it. He was so quirky and charming back then with cute dance moves. Now, he’s a bit more grown up, wearing a blazer and hat with long hair — a more mature look. The first song was “Loser,” which instantly transports me back to freshman year of high school walking home from school with my friend Matt who sang the Spanish lyrics from that song all the time. Then he went into “Guero” and kept going with more recent hits. His guitarist was this badass woman wearing a red plaid shirt, dark denim skirt with black tights and pinned up hair and bangs. She totally rocked and made me wish my dad had actually taught me guitar when I was a kid. Again, we were surrounded by teenagers (this time, ones eating magic mushrooms on a burger). It was a lot of fun and the energy from the crowd was great, but we were in desperate need of a bathroom break by this point.
Robert Plant and Allison Krauss. After the bathroom break we decided to swing by and check them out. Mark deemed himself “old” as an excuse for liking them. I was in semi-awe of seeing one half of what made Led Zeppelin awesome, and her voice is quite good as well. Some of the music was a bit country but other songs reminded me of “Over the Hills and Far Away”-type Led Zep with mandolin and all that. This stage was beautiful because you can turn around and see the Austin skyline.
I feel like I’ve smoked packs of cigarettes from breathing in the dust (and second hand smoke, but mostly the dust).
Apparently Mark used to be a mountain bike racer in high school so on the way back, in the dark, on the steep path, he started “frame surfing” (I can’t be sure of the name since his accent get a bit heavier with each beer) and doing all sorts of crazy stuff on his bike. This stirred Frank to egg Mark on even more. Funny to see the two of them interact — they are more like brothers than old friends sometimes.
Frank, in addition to making amazing breakfast tacos and pancakes, can whip up a dinner from nothing. Tonight we had two appetizer courses and dinner within 20 minutes upon arrival back, including a Paul Newman Memorial Salad (bcs of the dressing. get it?).