Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.
By Lynne Margolis
When the Austin City Limits Music Festival kicked off as a two-day event in 2002, promoters were concerned how it would fare. In 2003 it expanded to three days. This year, it swelled to two weekends, with the Oct. 4–6 lineup scheduled to repeat Oct. 11–13. But with more than 130 acts on eight stages in Austin's Zilker Park, even six days wouldn't be enough to catch every single one.
This year's bill was neatly summed up by one festivalgoer as "nostalgia versus now." Headliners playing against each other on day one were Depeche Mode and Muse. Day two pitted the Cure against Kings Of Leon, and on day three Atoms For Peace (featuring Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea) duked it out with Lionel Richie.
Some of the most exciting sets occurred on smaller stages or earlier in the day. Highlights on Oct. 4 included performances by Americana artists Shovels & Rope and Holly Williams, along with gospel group the Blind Boys Of Alabama and British folkie Jake Bugg, whose voice earned an offhand comparison to Herman's Hermits' Peter Noone and — when he covered "Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)" — Neil Young. The surprise of the day may have been Kaskade, aka Ryan Raddon, whose evening DJ set, complete with a wild light show and smoke cannons, inspired a massive dance party.
On Oct. 5 standouts included Valerie June, a real-deal genre-jumper from Memphis who played the BMI stage. Festival veterans know this stage often features up-and-comers, and June, who played acoustic guitar, electric guitar (using a long scarf in a slide to make it fit her thin finger) and banjo, channeled nearly every Tennessee sound imaginable to create what she calls "organic moonshine roots music." It encompassed blues, gospel, soul, twangy "hillbilly," bluegrass, folk, and even some doo-wop.
"Every roots musician, no matter what kind of roots you do, it's good to always throw in a murder ballad," June announced before delivering "Shotgun," followed by "Workin' Woman Blues."
North Carolina six-member band Delta Rae delivered a powerful set of arena-ready pop, blues and gospel-influenced tunes, including a kinetic "Dance In The Graveyards" and a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain."
Reunited Austin band the True Believers, featuring singer/guitarists Alejandro Escovedo, his brother Javier, and Jon Dee Graham, cranked up some steamy, melodic rock and roll, including "Dedication" and "The Rain Won't Help You When It's Over," but the Oct. 5 set that kept everyone buzzing came from the also reunited Mavericks.
Fronted by the formidable Raul Malo, who possesses one of the finest voices in any genre, the band reeled off one Latin-flavored favorite after another, including "Every Little Thing About You," "Come Unto Me," "There Goes My Heart," and "All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down." The audience danced and sang along exuberantly during a set that several fans said was too short.
Oct. 6 brought Dawes' folk rock, the McCrary Sisters' gospel harmonies, Red Baraat's East-meets-West funk, party rock from Franz Ferdinand, Atoms For Peace's rhythmic explorations, and singer-songwriter Neko Case's compelling set. Brooklyn, N.Y., band the Lone Bellow's powerful folk pop drew a curious audience, many of whom beelined for the onsite album shop afterward, and Austin's own Shinyribs — the alter-ego of the Gourds' Kevin Russell — delivered an alternately hilarious and beguiling set full of blues, reggae, funk, folk, and unbridled fun. Russell stole festivalgoers' hearts working in popular originals such as "Take Me Lake Charles" and "East Texas Rust" with covers, including T-Pain's "Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin')" — into which he injected falsetto bits of Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing" (complete with hip swivels) and a reference to "Dancing On The Ceiling" as a nod to Richie.
And they all get to do it again next week.
(Austin-based writer/editor Lynne Margolis contributes regularly to print, broadcast and online media including American Songwriter and Lone Star Music magazines. Outlets also have included the Christian Science Monitor, Paste, Rollingstone.com and NPR affiliates. A contributing editor to the encyclopedia, The Ties That Bind: Bruce Springsteen From A To E To Z, she also writes bios for new and established artists. This year's Austin City Limits Music Festival was her 11th.)