Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Austin City Limits: Zoo Austin Fall Edition

Admittedly, there's a few times during the year where Austin is flipped upside down and turned into a zoo. You could argue that the same thing happens on a weekly basis for football games during the fall, but that's a different story. The two times that immediately come to mind are South by Southwest and Austin City Limits.

I've braved SXSW twice on different years but have never gone beyond the outskirts of the ACL Lamar/Barton Springs barriers. Why? For that answer, all you'd need to do is ask any Austinite and wait for their all too "enthusiastic" response. And, in all honesty, an event that is 65,000 strong is enough to make any local run in the opposite direction. However, that all changed this weekend when I woman'd/personed up and volunteered for ACL.

Truth be told, the event lives up to its reputation of being a crowded messy zoo (especially this year with the Woodstock children rolling around in Dillo Dirt), but I had not anticipated the experience rating so well for me, especially since I was really bummed about Soinc Youth dropping out only weeks before. If you are thinking about joining the masses in invading Zilker, I'd suggest opting for the volunteer route which costs $10 and includes a free t-shirt, a $5 coupon for food, and free water and snacks...whereas weekend passes cost anywhere from $135-185 depending on when you buy them. Yikes! I was nervous at the outset of the weekend because my shifts were during the sets of all the bands I wanted to see, but you (and I for that matter) can be assured that someone at the top knows that the volunteers sign up more for the bands than out of the goodness of their hearts...and if that's not the case, well, I'm just a bad person.

By volunteering, I was able to see the Yeah Yeah Yeah's, Flogging Molly, ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, The Decemberists, and Clutch all for a whopping $10 (if you care to see who I didn't check out and want to shake your finger at me for missing them or if you want to see who I'm politely snubbing, check out the lineup). I think the biggest downside of ACL is probably the people themselves mostly because the event draws in such a mixed bag of music fans. There's frat boys and girls, hippies, punk rockers, hipsters, people with babies and kids (whiskey tango foxtrot? yeah, I don't understand people bringing babies or little kids to ACL either), reggae fans, the list goes on. If you have good taste in music (and yes, I'll go ahead and reassuringly pat myself on the back on this one), you have to bite your tongue when talking music to most people at ACL more so than if you were at Fun Fun Fun Fest or SXSW, which can be tiring (seriously don't understand the people who chose to see Kings of Leon over Yeah Yeah Yeahs).

Might post more on this later...we'll see.

Action Jackson out.

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