ACL Thoughts (played Saturday, October 3, 2009 2-3PM)
Because of the typical bad festival experiences we have gone through over the last five years, I’ve grown very skeptical that any festival we show up at will turn out to be a good show. Generally, there’s usually no time to set up; the monitor mixes suck; we play in the middle of the afternoon to a small crowd in a big field; it’s obscenely hot, etc. etc. Then, add to the mix, ACL would be a flight date in the middle of a tour; the probable end result didn’t look positive. However, I was happily proven wrong this time around; my ACL experience was immaculate.
I felt we had a great set, one that really connected to a huge crowd (some estimated close to 30k); monitors were good; performance was up to par; yeah, it rained at the beginning of the set, but then it cleared up for the remainder of the hour set. (It was after the show that the downpours came with a vengeance. I got my fill of that quickly soaking mess while doing some press stuff.) Nevertheless, it was a wonderful time.
Austin feels like my old home town, even though it’s a five-hour drive north, but compared to Baltimore, Cleveland, or even Phoenix, it’s way closer to home: H.E.B., Mexican restaurants, the memories of driving up to the city to see a show, and most importantly, hometown friends and family popping up everywhere I looked.
Growing up, Austin was always looked upon as this magical place, almost like some kind of central Texas Mecca to us Vallucos, onto which so many of my friends had planned to escape to after high school. It’s funny now that I think about it. I remember how disappointed a German exchange student friend of mine in high school was after his first visit to A-town. Of course, he had something to compare Austin to: like Berlin. He viewed Austin as ultra-conservative, and I guess in some ways we was right now that I’ve been to many other cities of the world.
But, as conservative or liberal as Austin may or may not be, it doesn’t matter to me; it is a small glimpse back into my youth that I enjoy to view now and again.