When my good buddy Greg DeTrolio informed he'd be occupying my couch for ACL Fest this year on a visit down from New York, I was ecstatic. Never mind the good times hanging out, the man is to rock music what I am to Longhorn football - um, obsessed. He was nice enough to sit down and write up a little review of the first day of music, cheers and jeers style. Man knows his music. Enjoy. And thanks, Greg.
- CHEERS to the organization at the festival. Clearly, ACL has worked out all the kinks and there were very few complaints for such a relatively young festival. As an attendee of New York's ill-fated field day festival, ACL seems like Glastonbury by comparison. The lines move, prices are reasonable, and acts have been on schedule. Not once did I want to kill myself. That means a lot.
- JEERS to the tens of thousands who flocked to see Gnarls Barkley mid-day. Too bad for the band, but one gets sick of the "I just want to see `Crazy'" attitude real quick. Popularity of the single aside, they're not really an act conducive to the festival environment. There were more interesting options to be explored at the time. Speaking of which....
- CHEERS to the Nickel Creek, whose instrumental proficiency and ability to entertain the crowd was honestly impressive. They were the ideal counterpoint to GB. The idea of their bluegrass cover of Britney Spears' "Toxic" seems too clever by half (if not 2 years stale) upon first mention, but they pulled it off with no sense of irony - with the exception of a decidedly tongue-in-cheek 3-second blast of a Britney-esque ProTools wall of noise from the guitar technicians PowerBook - and you couldn't help but laugh. Good show. I'm a fan.
- JEERS to Matt Nathanson, who did well to prove the old axiom, "Matt Nathanson sucks." He introduced his bland cover of James' "Laid" - you know, "This bed is on fire with passionate love..." (SIDEBAR: what percentage of bar patrons who get all excited when this song blares from a jukebox every half hour can name the band that's responsible for it?) - by saying "This is a song a about SEX." Really Matt? Keep churnin' out the hits.
- CHEERS to Wolf Parade. Wolf Parade was awesome. Wolf Parade IS awesome. Everyone who got out of work early enough to see them was duly impressed. Hands down the best act of the first day. The only debate is whether the best single performance of the day was "I'll Believe in Anything" or their "You Are a Runner.../Fancy Claps" medley. Incredible. The only downside was that they were booked opposite Stars. I really wanted to see Stars. Oh well. (A separate cheers to Spencer Krug's mustache, the best in the business.)
- JEERS to the Tragically Hip. I don't get it. Sorry.
- Finally, CHEERS to Peter Bean for suggesting we skip out of Van Morrison early to hit the bars. Come on, you're roasting in the sun all day, you don't want to battle 60,000 others to get on the shuttle bus, do you really want to stick around for Van Morrison? No argument if you answered yes...but I sure didn't.
B.O.N. has some serious football watching responsibilities today, so we can't catch every good act today. But make sure you catch Ben Kweller, TV on the Radio, and the Shins early or on the live webcast, if you're following from afar. The evening is pretty much packed with quality.