Bojon's mill valley correspondent, the Countess of Monte Crista, galavanted down to texas a few weeks back to check out the Austin City Limits Music Festival. the Countess successfully submersed herself in the scene and, upon return, filed the following report:
Day 1 - I missed out on the welcoming line-up including Steve Earle & the Dukes and The Charlie Hunter Trio. Had to make a tough decision between the Mavericks and Galactic, caught the tail-end of Leftover Salmon, Spoon and all of Robert Earl Keen’s yeehaw. Missed Mavis Staples and Al Green – bummer – to satisfy TexMex cravings at Maudie’s. Friends Jeremy (aka "Strongbad") and Jim hit Lazona Rosa late night for Robert Randolph and the Mississippi All-Stars and couldn’t stop talking about him over the next couple of days…we didn’t know we were in for treats from Robert Randolph down the road.
Day 2 – Less sunshine and scattered rain cooling us down. We jumpstarted the day with a full hour of the Old 97’s – all us girls swooning over Rhett Miller in his bright orange pants. Afterwards, we sauntered, Lonestars in hand, from stage to stage to catch bits of the Dandy Warhols, Drive-By-Truckers and Jay Farrar. Everyone at the festival seemed to show for Roseanne Cash’s hour – her absence in the wake of Daddy’s death was fittingly filled by a tribute to the Man in Black. Speechless. His “Hurt” video played prelude to one solid hour of phat melancholy. Tift Merritt, a North Carolina gal, was a new find playing both Johnny and Roseanne in her two-song tribute.
Afterwards, some of us headed out to see Patty Griffin, who writes and sings with the best of earthly angels. Patty sang off her third album with a few new songs to be released next year. Others in the group hit Robert Randolph & the Family Band. We regrouped – both reeling from what we had heard and experienced. More music, rain, LoneStars and queso filled in Day 2 blanks.
Day 3 – G. Love & Special Sauce rocked, Jack Johnson (more girls swooning), Lucinda Williams (a little haggard), Reckless Kelly (knee stompers), O.A.R (tight background music for festival wandering). We caught Polyphonic Spree (see picture) – everybody was talking about them – 20 people wearing white robes on stage with a backdrop resembling a Dali creation. 60’s sunshine – mixed feelings on these. For those who had seen them before, all smiles. For those of us who hadn’t, intrigue, awe and a little wonder if Jim Jones was soon to appear with a festival-sized serving of Kool-Aid.
REM and Ween were playing later in the day, but our team, having lost some to airport departure, decided to make Ben Harper our last act – which topped the whole weekend. He had it going on, singing off his new album as well as “Burn One Down” and “Hey Mister” off Fight for your Mind. Best of all, Robert Randolph joined him onstage and they both fired up the slide. Amen.
Festival sightings – pink skies clearing committed rain clouds, perpetual view of downtown, Austin’s famous transvestite Leslie pulling off the same outfit over 3 days - pink thong and matching sleeveless top, lots of “Keep Austin Weird” energy and happy people. Do yourself a favor and plan to experience next year.