Austin City Limits Festival 2013

We went to ACL this past weekend. People were not excited about it because

  1. It was broken into two weekends with exactly the same lineup.
  2. The lineup felt weaker than past years.

But I’m very glad I went. I had a blast. The weather was perfect for it. And most importantly, it’s the first ACL in many that allergies aren’t killing me and/or I’m stoned out of my mind with allergy medication.

Also, the crowds felt lighter (but I heard it was the usual 75,000 souls). Lines for food, bathroom, beer were quick and painless. Getting in and out of the park was a breeze. It was relatively easy to get close to the stages as well. Maybe they’ve been improving the logistics, maybe it was something else, but it really helped enjoy the weekend.

Disclaimer: Lots of photos below. But this year I decided not to carry my excellent MFT camera, instead using my puny little iPhone 5. This means the photos suck.

Also, I assumed that others would bring good cameras, take some decent videos, and post them to YouTube. I was wrong, it turns out my incredibly steady hand is unique among concert-goers. Oh well…

Read more for lots of photos.

Day 1

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The gates to musical nirvana. Not the band, sadly.
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Vampire Weekend. Boring.
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Depeche Mode. Awesome concert.
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More Depeche Mode. Dave Gahan shakes his skinny booty like nobody.

Day 2

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The Joy Formidable
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Wilco
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The Cure, who are among the greats and played opposite to Kings of Leon. Boy do I hate that overplayed KOL “Use Somebody” POS song of theirs.

Day 3

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We didn’t fight our way in to see Franz Ferdinand. I saw them in 2005, back when people gave a shit about them, so we opted to chill from the lawn chairs in the back instead.
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Beautiful view of downtown Austin from Zilker Park. Notice how Shlomit “everyone is practically naked yet I’m freezing” Kirsch dressed for the occasion.
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I think that’s Toro y Moi. Can’t tell because the photo is junk. Regardless, Toro y Moi was a pleasant surprise. Funky.
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The National
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Atoms For Peace. think of it as sort of Radiohead with Red Hot Chili Pepper’s bass.
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Selfie. Or at least that’s what kids are calling these nowadays.
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I’m not embarrassed to admit that Lionel Richie’s concert was awesome. Fine, I’m a little embarrassed. But I remember when his hits were on the radio. Yes, I’m that old. In any case, he’s funny, interacts with the crowd, and brings good memories. I heard Diana Ross will be on stage with him next weekend.
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More Lionel.
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Unfortunately, Weird Al Yankovic chose to work as a security person, not as a performer.

Food

I’m adding a small section for the food because I think they deserve it. These festivals usually serve turkey legs or something similar and that’s it. Austin is lucky because there is a subculture of foodies-on-wheels. Local businesses are well-equipped to serve their goods from a food stand. The organizers wisely chose to bring them in.

Salt Lick and Stubb’s always great chopped beef BBQ sandwiches were there, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Well done, ACL. Well done.

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The food, unlike my hair day, was really good. Lots of local merchants. Here: A Tiff’s Treats brownie with ice cream.
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Another snack: “street corn” from fancy Mexican restaurant La Condesa (I haven’t been). It was good, but hardly like the real thing. Yellow corn and parmesan cheese are not how it’s supposed to be.
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(On the way to Zilker) I don’t understand how Topo Chico went from “shitty blue screen background of the cheesiest local soccer TV show” to “the hipster’s favorite drink in Austin, TX”. Someone please explain it to me.

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