5 Dont’s at ACL
Don’t Drive – A seventh circle of hell is waiting for those who choose to drive and park near the festival grounds. There is NO onsite parking to begin with, and although the majority of festival goers know to walk or bike, there are those who try their luck in driving. These people are idiots and deserve their fate of a slow torturous exit down Barton Springs road while sobering up to the red and blue lights of a patrol car in their rearview mirror as it is usually a ‘no-refusal’ weekend.
Don’t’ Buy Strange Drugs – I feel like Frances McDormand in Almost Famousbut you really need to exert some self control and avoid buying any pills, powders, etc, from strangers at the festival. Besides this being extremelydangerous in that you have no idea what you are actually putting in your body, there is the off chance that you might run into the law, in which case you need to brush up on your festival rights.
Don’t Burn Out Like A Bitch – This is a common rookie mistake made by festival newbs who think they can show up at 11am, shotgun a six pack of beer before noon, and still expect be coherent for the festival headliner. You will begin to see the victims of heat exhaustion, dehydration, and alcohol over-consumption as the festival goes on. Don’t be this guy! There are 11 hours of music to see each day of the three-day festival, so plan accordingly!
Don’t Listen To Friends Who Have Inferior Music Taste
“Guys! We are going to see Fun. Its like the only band I came here to see and I JUST HAVE TO SEE THEM!” If those ungodly words escape the mouth of any person in your group, administer a bitch slap, and promptly move on with your ACL schedule and life. You paid some serious coin to see the artists that you want to see and, you don’t need the girlfriend of your ex-college roommate, or whomever, coercing you into seeing the bands that you hate.
Don’t Be A Dick – Lets face it, festivals are hot, crowded, and can wear on one’s patience thin very quickly. Many people become irate and testy due to the overbearing heat, or the mile-long bathroom lines, BUT a little positivity can go a long way. Whether its offering a suffering festival-goer a water bottle, picking up a litterbug’s trash, or just starting a dance party, it’s YOU who makes the experience!
5 Do’s at ACL
Have at least an inkling of an idea of who you are and what the hell you are doing there – Going into the festival with no plan is a recipe for a disaster that will punish you mercilessly with missed set times, excessive walking, and the reliance on complete strangers for recommendations and directions. Don’t get me wrong, being spontaneous and discovering new bands is a great part of the festival experience. But when you ask a clueless festival goer how their day was, it usually runs like this “ Dude I caught the last part of this sweet folk trio set, walked around for 2 hours looking for my friend, heard the soundcheck for Pinback, and then caught a couple songs from what I think was Kings of Leon as I tried to find a cab back downtown. It was epic bro!”
Wear a fanny pack – Let the haters hate, the fanny pack continue to thrive despite its hokey reputation. Its use and practicality far outweighs its social stigma practicality. No cumbersome purses, sketchy backpacks, or bulging pockets – just one marsupial-influenced accessory of awesomeness. PS, you don’t have to look like a retiree from Florida to sport one, fanny packs can actually be sexy?
Attend the After Parties – Since the festival runs two consecutive weekends, we are some lucky biatches to have some of the best live acts in the Austin area for a whole ten days – you shouldn’t waste it. One of my best ACL memories was partying into the early morning with members of the Wombats and Black Lips at an after-show at the French Legation Museum. Shit got weird and I recommend you try it.
Wear Sun Protection & Hydration – These are basic essentials for any outdoor activity, but these are especially applicable to the hectic festival atmosphere. My personal remedy to dehydration: Chase each alcholic drink with a bottle of water, and douse myself with SPF 1000. Hypochondriac much? Check this linkout.
Download the ACL App – Paper festival maps are a waste of trees and your time. Download the official ACL app so you can create an online schedule, limit your extraneous walking, and receive updates when your favorite band has a last minute schedule change. This is 2013 people….get down with the times.
5 Under The Radar: Leverage your Hipster-cred by familiarizing yourself with these up-and-comers.
Smith Westerns – Chicago youngsters evoke ethereal dream pop that has only gotten better on their second album, Varsity.
Parquet Courts – A New York and Texas hybrid band that is smart enough to cherry pick from a few different underground scenes, ending up in post-punk paradise.
Haim – This sister trio blasts pure pop anthems, making a splash as a great live act that has a tendency to do some great covers.
Autre Ne Veut – The name reads French for ‘I Want No Other’, and after hearing their electro-soul, you might comply.
Wild Nothing – A dream pop band from Virginia with a beautiful blend of nostalgia and Shoegaze. Their album, Oshin, was one of my favorites of the past year.
5 Fuck No’s: Some acts that you don’t need to see.
Fun. – Their music sounds like gaudy Broadway bullshit and, watching them triggers a gag reflex. Hopefully some force of nature will spare us from their set and save thousands of people from being traumatized by these ass clowns.
Vampire Weekend – Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma? Who gives a fuck about some preppy, self-serious douche bags who refuse to grow creatively? Their whimsical melodies have reached dizzying heights of annoyance and their elitist façade wears thin.
Foxygen – Their debut album, We Are The Ambassadors of Peace and Magic, was actually one of the best of 2012. However the genius found on their record doesn’t translate to their live performance, which sounds muddled and watered down in comparison. Lead singer, Sam France, is also one of the most delusional, immature frontmen out there noted by his meltdown at SXSW and doesn’t deserve another ounce of attention at risk of having his head explode.
Court Yard Hounds – This is just the Dixie Chicks lineup sin-Natalie Maines, which is like having a margarita with no tequila. Violins and cellos are great but Maines has the natural Texas sass that goes sorely missed with this new ensemble.
The Mavericks – I’m being a bit unfair here because I don’t know much about this band but judging on this hilarious video, I can RSVP to each one of their sets with a big “FUCK NO!”
Pay Your Respects: They’ve paid their dues and are still going strong.
Lionel Richie – His music is most likely the reason for the existence of many fans in the audience, Lionel has been the ultimate baby-making music for generations and to miss his set would be unforgiveable.
Shuggie Otis – One of the most underrated soulsters of the 70’s, Shuggie Otis is a master groove-maker that has influenced countless others. Here’s one reason why.
Neko Case – A female folk powerhouse, previously of the New Pornographers, who comes with no bells and whistles, Neko has the ability to captivate the crowd with her heartfelt ballads that run as deep as the Ogalla Reservoir itself.
The Cure – The king of the Goths himself, Robert Smith, has come back to Austin to help thousands relive the soundtracks of past breakups, or make-ups, depending on how you interpret their songs, and it is definitely a must see.
Atoms for Peace – I usually write-off super-groups as gimmicks, comprised of bored musicians who think that combining their celebrity reputations will automatically warrant incredible music, but Atoms For Peace (Thom Yorke of Radiohead and Flea of RHCP) is a clear exception, and one that shouldn’t be missed
Face Melters: Live acts that can potentially alter your DNA.
Fidlar – With a band name acronym that stands for ‘Fuck It Life’s A Risk”, this LA-based quartet of pot-smoking skate punks like to sing about beer, girls, andcocaine. Their hedonistic ways are more charming as their sets devolve.
Muse – I saw Muse play ACL after releasing Black Holes and Revelations in 2007 and had my brain chemistry altered ever since. I wont be missing these rock gods or their insane, seizure-inducing light show either.
Queens of the Stone Age – Their new album, Like Clockwork, is chock full of the classic sound that Josh Homme and his revolving door of backing musicians have become known for.
Deap Vally – This duo of hellacious, hard rock females has channeled Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix in their visceral, ground-stomping rock to turn more then a few heads in the process. Did I mention that they’re both smoking hot, intense, rocker babes !
Joy Formidable – Fast, frenetic, and unrelenting, the Joy Formidable are one of those bands that sound great on record but are almost untouchable live. Lead singer, Ritzy Bryan, is a true show-woman and her band’s whirlwind live set should set a high bar for the acts that follow.
Go Local Brah: 5 Austin bands you should see
Bright Light Social Hour- After sweeping the SXSW music awards in 2011, this band has gone on a national tear, playing over 200 shows in the last couple of years. Their blend of raucous and bluesy music could turn a morgue into a circus party.
The Black Angels- My personal favorite of any contemporary Austin band, the Black Angels are HEAVY man. Their fusion of heavy classic rock, 60’s psychedelia, and mordant lyrics and themes make these guys a festival MUST-SEE.
Max Frost – A recent graduate of St. Andrews private school in Austin, this young soulful upstart has already played various international festivals and plans to keep spreading his homegrown funk worldwide.
Shakey Graves – Shakey Graves, aka Alejandro Rose-Garcia, has seen a rollercoaster of a year that has propelled him to widespread recognition within the city and elsewhere. His idiosyncratic folk-stylings have even gotten him a cameo on the premier of the locally filmed television series, Revolution.
White Denim – Fusing blues, garage rock, and other psych elements. White Denim has escaped the pseudo-celebrity of being ‘Austin famous’ and are now a premier act on the national stage and for good reason, these guys like to have fun and, force you too come along.