Live: Austin City Limits Festival Day One – Black Keys, Spoon & The Strokes!
(Editor’s Note: Our Austin correspondent Lily Angelle is on the grounds at the Austin City Limits festival in Austin’s Zilker Park. She reports that the Black Keys ruled, Spoon rocked and the Strokes redeemed themselves from Wednesday’s debacle with a rousing performance that was easily the highlight of the day.)
Our strategy on Day One was to plant in front of one stage and move up gradually, winding up right up front for the Strokes. After their inconsiderate performance at the “pre-show” on Wednesday evening, I was ready to give Julian Casablancas and crew another chance.
We made it up to the AMD stage on the west side of the park in enough time to catch some of John Popper and Blues Traveler, followed by a rousing set by the Black Keys. Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney mixed it up with a variety of tunes from their entire catalog; when they played songs from Brothers, their latest album, the Keys became a four-piece that really rocked as the afternoon finally slipped behind the stage.
Former Austinites Spoon might have been a little mellow to follow the Black Keys, but they also represented their varied albums with a set that included “I Turn My Camera On” and of course, “I Summon You.” As the ever-likeable Spoon reached the final tunes of its set it became clear the crowd was more than ready for the Strokes. We were standing next to a couple of guys who drove eight hours from the Rio Grande valley to make Austin just in time for the front gates at ACL to open. Naturally, they came to see the Strokes … and so did we.
Finally emerging on stage, the Strokes brought the energy and excitement level way up – kicking off their set with “Is This It” and rocking through favorites like “You Only Live Once” and “Someday,” it was clear they were more committed to this huge, adoring audience. With a woman that I recognized from the campus providing signing for the deaf just in front of the stage, the band seemed to feed off the energy of the crowd.
When it came time to do their weird little break, Casablancas confided: “The other night at Stubb’s we did this bizarre encore thing that didn’t work. Nobody was cheering.” So Casablancas instructed the band to just stay on stage, saying “let’s not do that fake encore tonight.” So they cranked through their final songs, wrapping up the proceedings with “Take It Or Leave It.” Still no new songs, but who cares – everybody loved these songs and in my eyes, the Strokes redeemed themselves with an absolutely awesome performance.
The evening’s headliner was Phish, and as we edged our way to the gates and the shuttle buses we caught a whiff of this band’s psychedelia, but our post-Strokes high was all we needed.
Today we had a plan to stick in one place to catch the bands we wanted to see. Tomorrow, we’re going to roam the grounds a bit. Muse, M.I.A., LCD Soundsystem and the Monsters of Folk (and many more) are on the schedule.
UPDATE: The entire Phish performance from Friday night will be aired as a webcast on Saturday, at 9:30 p.m. CDT. Tune in here
YouTube: Day One recap