ACL Weekend One: ‘twas the best of times and…well, really, just the best of times. But with really expensive beer.
That being said, in order to get you pumped for weekend two—or just make you really, really regret missing out on weekend one—here are some highlights and words of wisdom based on my three-day experience.
THREADGILL’S IS THE BEST WAY TO START THE DAY…
If you wake up at 7 a.m. with a desperate need for live music, tacos and a bloody mary, this is the place to be. KGSR transformed Threadgill’s patio into the perfect ACL pre-party beginning at 8 a.m., where bands performed intimate—albeit short—sets. I caught Moon Taxi, Wild Child, Sheppard…and probably missed some others while waiting in a giant line for the aforementioned bloody mary.
BUT SO IS WINE IN BED
Don’t judge me.
GOING LOCAL IS A GREAT CALL…
This year, ACL inserted quite a few local names into the roster, and I started my festival off right with Calliope Musicals (my favorite) at circa 11:15 on Friday morning. The plus side of being at the fest that early: there are circa 17 people there at the very beginning. Downside: You have to survive another 12 hours.
(If you have the chance to see Calliope Musicals EVER, do. Think props, people in animal onesies, bubbles and lots and lots of hugging).
AS IS NOT GOING LOCAL
Other favorite shows—and bands that, if they’re participating in ACL Weekend Two you should definitely see—included the following:
Royal Blood: British rock duo who put out way, way more sound then you’d think two people are capable of.
Father John Misty: I’d heard he’s kind of an ass and really, really wanted to hate him, but alas—the former drummer of Fleet Foxes is just really, really good. Plus, he sang “Bored in the USA.” So he may be an ass, but at least he’s patriotic?
Billy Idol: Because it’s f***ing Billy Idol.
Twenty One Pilots: Though the underlying….and general…themes aren’t uplifting, the duo’s songs are incredibly catchy, which is probably the reason their last album shot to number one on the Billboard 200 chart. (Oh, the purchasing power of angst-ridden teenagers.)
Also, the singer climbed up on top of the stage…like, ON TOP. Which in all actuality was rather terrifying.
The Decemberists: Masters of their art form and essential legends. This was a wonderfully chill show and so, so well done.
Drake: *Guilty Pleasure* Expect lots of air horns. And him talking a lot. Started from the bottom…now we’re here?
A$AP Rocky: Watching people roll joints next to 14-year-olds who are there with their moms is just as uncomfortable as it sounds.
Of Monsters and Men: They’re from ICELAND. Iceland is so hot right now. Metaphorically, at least.
Misterwives: Poppy and fun. They also give off the adorable impression that they can’t believe they’re playing a huge festival. Listen to “Reflections” and fall in love.
TV on the Radio: This review is not helpful at all, because all I’m going to tell you is that they’re phenomenal. And given the fact they’ve been around since 2001, they really should be.
The Strokes: Oh, hey. I can die happy now.
HIT AFTERSHOWS…IF YOU’RE STILL ALIVE
Quite a few of my friends enjoyed the ACL Late Night Shows, which are the perfect way to see bands you didn’t catch during the festival. The trick is having enough energy to actually go see a show at midnight.
In my experience, tater tots from Arlo’s were sufficient fuel. (Not in my experience: For many people, drugs probably were too.)
IF YOU’RE ANNOYING ENOUGH TO ASK PEOPLE TO TAKE PICTURES OF YOU, THEY WILL ALSO TAKE PICTURES OF THEMSELVES…
Thanks for the 400 selfies, Chad. Thanks.
AND THE PICTURES THEY TAKE OF YOU WON’T BE GOOD PICTURES
DAMMIT, CHAD—YOU HAD ONE JOB.
PLAYING WITH KIDS…NOT NECESSARILY RECOMMENDED
I spent quite a bit of time playing football with kindergarteners. I’m not sure how pleased their parents were about this. And I’m pretty sure the kids only let me play out of pity.
I totally won, though.
ACL CASHLESS: NOT THAT COOL
Sure, you don’t have to worry about carrying around or losing your debit card, but come Monday when you have EVERY PIECE OF EVIDENCE FROM EVERY TRIP TO THE BEER TENT in your email inbox (I think I had 47 emails…which is both worrisome and impressive), you will sit in shame and rue the day you signed up for something that automatically sends you a receipt every time you purchase an IPA. Or a dozen Miller High Lifes. (IT’S THE CHAMPAGNE OF BEERS!)
When it comes to festival prices, a little ignorance is bliss.
YOU WILL PROBABLY GET LOST
This is definitely, like…my seventh ACL. I still have no idea where the Samsung stage is.
BRINGING A GREAT FLAG = MAKING FRIENDS
My friend carried around a Canadian flag, and people flocked to him.
I mean, Canadian people at least. The point is, a great flag brings people together…or just blocks their view. Either way.
YOU WILL GET HUNGRY: BUDGET ACCORDINGLY
Hope you have a million dollars a day on reserve to fulfill your falafel needs, because unless you’re full after one tamale—unlike any adult with an appetite or, really, any self-respecting seven-year-old—you’re going to be droppin’ a lot of dough.
But hey…festival inflation, eh?
AND STILL, IT’S SO MUCH FUN
Every. Single. Year.