J.J. Grey & Mofro kicked things off with some good ol' swampy love.

I recently mentioned how The Sword kicked my tail at this year’s ACL Festival. Now that I’m back in Dallas and a bit more rested, I’m ready to discuss the other eventful goings-ons while I was in Austin, this past Friday and Saturday…


  • Man, I can think of a a bunch of great ways to start a day of concerts. Catching JJ Grey & Mofro is near the top of that list. Admittedly, I got a little antsy as some of their bluesy, swampy grooves meandered a bit, but my first goosebump-inducing moment of the weekend came when Mofro’s guitar player stood and played his lap steel as if it were a regular guitar and simply tore it up!
  • Sorry, Blues Traveler. I want to like you more. In fact, I’ve enjoyed you a bunch in the past, but with all of the other choices available, I just couldn’t get into your well-attended 2:30pm set on Friday.

Chief is definitely a band worthy of getting to know better.

  • Those Darlin’s were fun, as usual, but it was Chief, who followed them on the Austin Ventures stage that really impressed me. Every year at ACL, I leave the festival with a list of bands that I want to dig deeper into when I get back to Dallas. Chief’s mellow, but authoritative indie-rock was the first name on that list, this year.
  • I was WAY too far in the back of the crowd for The Black Keys. Pat Green was on the other big stage, but I wasn’t much interested in hearing the same 10 songs that he plays over and over again. It’s never tough to figure out which bands are buzzing the loudest across the country at ACL. Judging by the crowds, The Black Keys might be the buzziest of them all.
  • 5:00 pm, aka, the point where ACL Festival 2010 officially started for me. The Sword rocked. Period. What came next? Only the highlight of my entire weekend…
  • There were tons of big names playing this festival, to be sure. With that said, there were only a scant few legendary names. Make no mistake: trendy can make you big, but it cant make you a rock god. Sonic Youth is what just about any other rock band wants to be when it grows up. Friday night’s set was electric, rebellious, reckless and pure, unadulterated joy of the noisiest order. Starting just after sundown, the setting was as perfect as the way that the band’s three guitar attack owned the stage for an hour. The shortest hour of my life, that is.

Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth looking all legendary as they take the stage.

  • Of course, catching the entire hour of Sonic Youth meant that I missed the other notable 7:00 pm Friday acts. Ryan Bingham, Robert Randolph and Vampire Weekend. I did manage to see the massive exodus from the Vampire Weekend performance, and I figure their buzziness is at least equal to that of the Black Keys, if not more so. Ultimately, if I had tried to catch a few tunes from any of the other 7:00 pm acts, they would’ve surely disappointed, given the propulsive thrills that I was privy to at the Sonic youth set.
  • To end the night on a bed full of good vibes would only be suitable. Thanks to Phish and their dreamy, groove-happy set, I was able to do just that. Skipping the reunited Strokes, I took in all the patchouli-scented love that Phish offered to Zilker Park. They aren’t for everyone, and that’s fine. On Friday night, however, it was hard to imagine why that is, though. Good times.

Check back in a day or two for my recap of Saturday’s events, O.K.??

Kelly Dearmore is a freelance writer, mean pot of chili maker and opinionated music lover. To read more about what Kelly is listening to, visit him here on The Squawker weekly or daily on his personal music blog, The Gobblers Knob.


3 Responses to “ACL Was Festive!”


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  1. [...] Day1 of ACL was great. After taping up my blisters and fueling myself with two of Torchy’s Tacos finest morning selections, I made my way back to the hollowed, still not dusty grounds of Zilker Park for Day 2 of this year’s ACL Festival. Below is how the day unraveled…   [...]

  2. [...] I know it doesnt seem like that long ago, because it wasnt. But 2010′s ACL Festival is a distant memory, regardless. Why? The line-up [...]

  3. [...] the festival. Often times, set conflicts work themselves out. Some of you may remember from my recap of Night One of last year’s ACL Festival, the 7:00 pm time slot was packed with four acts that were legit headliners at just about any [...]

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