We know what you’re thinking. “Goodness, those Do512 folks sure do work an awful lot. Where oh where do they find the time to step away from their computers?” If you’re actually familiar with our collective habits, you know that we do find plenty of time to cut loose, especially when it’s festival time. A whole bunch of the Do512 staff managed to infiltrate the 10th Anniversary of the Austin City Limits Music Festival, and each one provided a recap of their experience. From the length of this entry it’s obvious we had an awesome time. Leave us a comment at the bottom to tell us YOUR favorite moments of ACL 2011.
Kristin Owen – Do512 General Manager
My ACL highlights:
ACL Fest. After SXSW, it’s the single craziest week and weekend in the Do512 world. The entire staff turns into a bunch of crazy people, we work our asses off, say nonsensical things back and forth at the office, get told by select interns we need therapy, and of course find the ever so important time to party. This ACL for me was admittedly lamer than most. I was out of commission sick on Friday, and at only 50% the next two days – an important disclaimer when my three ACL highlights are almost entirely unrelated to seeing awesome bands on the festival grounds. I saw a bunch of great shows, a couple lame ones, but didn’t we all?
1. The Do512 and Austin Java Magic Carpet Ride. We partnered up with the most amazing pedi-cab driver I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, Tony Pekearo, to hook up random riders going to and from the festival with surprise tickets to ACL Aftershows, Austin Java Gift Cards, and Free Lattes. Not only was it fun for us trying out something new, it’s always really gratifying for us when we get to hear stories about surprising people with prizes and how happy it typically makes them. Tony said it best, “The prizes are just the tokens. They allowed me to make someone’s day, and then get to have a 10 or 20 minute conversation getting to know them.” (and telling them about Do512 of course).
One of the greatest parts of this promotion were all the stories Tony shared with us each day. He was genuinely just so excited to see how happy the people he got to make his lucky pedi-cab riders each day. He even offered free rides to anyone he saw when his cab was empty. Told you he was amazing. Big thanks to Austin Java for helping us make this possible.
Quote from Tony about a winner:
“The guy was hustling to the park and I could tell he wouldn’t take a pedicab in normal situations. But I was offering magic carpet rides, and for him I offered a free ride to the park, as well as continuing to offer him free coffee coupons and eventually offering him the Bright Eyes prize. For him, the magic carpet ride truly was a schedule changer. He didn’t know what to do with himself. It was a surprise upon a surprise. He took the tickets, mentioning that Bright Eyes was from his home town, and was happy to go see them, and that Do512.com must be shamans in tune with some other level, to know that he really wanted these gifts. He appreciated the Austin Java coupons and quickly got on the phone as he walked away to invite someone to the show with him.“
2. Chiddy Bang (and then some) at the Do512 Lounge. I admittedly knew not one single thing about this artist other than that he super was “popular with the kids”. I honestly thought that he was a DJ since all the other “popular with the kids” bands seem to be electronic these days. The show was spot on, he blew the room away. I was totally surprised, and loved every minute.
Really, this is always the best part of the Do512 Lounge. Even with bands that I already know I love, seeing them perform in that space always amazes me, every single time. I don’t always get to jump in for the sets, because we like to all take turns at the door so that the whole Do512 team gets to watch as many acts as possible. Every time I see the next band after sitting one out, I kick myself in the ass for the ones I missed.
Chiddy Bang, in addition to killing the show, was such a great guy, he took the time to meet everyone, was so nice and humble the entire time, and he was super stoked about the Do512 Lounge (which of course makes us feel awesome to hear we’re delivering on what we’re trying so hard to do). Nearly every artist we’ve had perform at the lounge has been really nice, so it’s refreshing.
Chancellor Warhol was another highlight at the lounge I have to mention. Not only were they the coolest guys who put on a great show, they gave us one of the best lounge quotes yet in my opinion. I wish I’d written it down so I could repeat verbatim, but here’s the gist totally in my own words – “This place is awesome. We had no idea what we were getting into and when we pulled up and saw the outside of the building we all thought ‘Oh great, this place looks like crap and is going to be totally lame.’ Then we met everyone, saw the inside of the place, performed, and suddenly the outside of the building is just as badass. You can’t even tell why you thought it looked lame when you pulled up, it’s the perfect welcome.”
3. Manu Chao. These guys never put on a bad show I hear. And if their ACL performance is indicative of that, I totally agree. I’ve always enjoyed their music, but never seen them live. I rolled in solo the last day of ACL, sat myself down in the lawn for Manu Chao, and never left til the end of the show. Something very unusual for my attention span. Not only was the show great, upbeat, and a true performance all around, the crowd was so awesome. You run into your fair share of self involved douchey-bags at festivals, unwilling to let you even escape the crowd when you’ve had it with the sardine can. But everyone at Manu Chao was so damn happy. I loved the ladies dancing everywhere you looked, and all the uber fans waving their fans, jumping up and down, and singing along to every word. It was what I’d like every festival experience to be like. Granted, they had an earlier set with a smaller crowd, so maybe even Stevie Wonder would have been that way with half the crowd and in the afternoon. But hey, that’s why Manu Chao is a highlight. Discovering something awesome you didn’t yet know you loved is really what it’s all about after all.
Lawrence Boone – Do512 Music Editor
Charles Bradley at ACL – As Charles Bradley walked out onto the Vista Equity stage at ACL on Friday, decked out in a dapper three-piece suit, a roar of applause erupted from the overflow crowd. His backing band had been warming up the stage for a few minutes, jamming on some blues and R&B-inspired instrumentals. Then, like a 21st century James Brown, Charles Bradley shouted, strutted, and sweat while he and his backing band offered up a set of funk and soul numbers that sounded like they came straight from the 1960s and 70s. Bradley, who is commonly referred to as “The Screaming Eagle of Soul,” was discovered a few years ago while doing his best James Brown impersonation at a lounge in New York. Bradley has an intense passion as a singer and an entertainer, with more dance moves than you can count, and a voice that recalls soul legends like Al Green and Otis Redding. During the highly entertaining set he blew kisses to the crowd and shouted “I love you!” multiple times, and it was special to see a performer that was enjoying the experience as much as his audience. If you are unfamiliar with Charles Bradley I highly recommend that you look him up.
Kurt Vile aftershow at Stubb’s – He’s got the appeal of an introspective singer-songwriter, but when Kurt Vile takes the stage backed by his band The Violators, the energy gets taken up a few notches. The Philadelphia native was signed by Matador Records as a solo artist in 2009, releasing two full-length albums over the past two years. His approach to songwriting has drawn comparisons to the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan, with influences that include Fleetwood Mac, Spaceman 3 and Tom Petty. On his solo recordings Kurt Vile creates slow-burning psych-folk tunes with sparse guitar and minimal instrumentation, but when he gets a full band behind him they jam into mesmerizing psychedelic rock territory. One minute you’re listening to him strum along on a relaxing acoustic number, and then a few minutes later you realize you have been banging your head up and down as he and his bandmates wail away mercifully on the electrics. Kurt Vile kind of resembles a rock ‘n roll version of Cousin It from the Addams family, with long hair draped down over his face for much of the set. In a live setting his music is quite diverse, balancing the subdued nature of his solo work with the more resonant songs he cranks out with the full band.
Futurebirds at the Do512 Lounge – I had seen Futurebirds once before, two years ago when they played an opening slot at a SXSW day party on the east side. I liked them immediately, but catching the 6-piece band from Athens, Georgia in the intimate Do512 Lounge was a different animal. These guys do a little bit of everything, centering on a jangly mix of alt-country and foot-stomping folk rock, with boisterous harmonies laid down by the group’s multiple vocalists. It’s good-timing, occasionally raucous music from the same Athens community that birthed the likes of Dead Confederate and Twin Tigers. Futurebirds were the final band to play a session on the Saturday of ACL, so after they rocked the house we conducted a silly little interview and shared a few beers. It was a great way to waste a little time while we waited for the afternoon rain to pass.
Jimmy Stewart – Do512 Founder/Owner
Everything in the Lounge. A few nice surprises: Futurebirds, Moondoggies, little hurricane, Chancellor Warhol. It was a great experience for all the bands and guests that were there.
The highlight of the weekend for me was jamming on the harmonica during an unplugged, impromptu jam session with the Moondoggies.
Best show of the fest: Empire of the Sun. Awesome. It was kinda strange/not cool when he faked the heart attack/convulsions, but a pretty awesome experience overall. Reminded me of the first time I saw The Flaming Lips.
Rachel Daily – Do512 Account Manager
ACL is insanity but of the good sort. I mean, think about the things you see. I saw two chicks with bows in their hair nearly punching each other in the face for a porta-potty, I saw Kanye and lights lights lights lights, saw someone drinking whiskey out of a ziploc bag and then fall into a tree and of course, saw some fantastic bands. Here’s my personal daily recap:
Best artist I saw was James Blake. Loved. How can you not? I owe my James Blake viewing to one of our owner’s wife Mary who is about to have a baby and therefore got to park us in lot B. I am gonna love the heck outta that baby. Lot B rules. We walked in right next to the stage he was playing and I proceeded to swoon.
Ray Lamontagne – Talk about perfect timing for a little breaky break on the lawn. Camped out for a spot where I could see his lovely face and thought he was just grand.
Kanye West – “Sit down, legs out, stand your ground ladies! Stand. Your. Ground.” That was our mantra going into the Kanye crush. What most may not know about me is that I’m a huge Kanye fan. I’m a bigger Jay-Z fan. You best believe that I was one of those holding on to the idea that he was going to pop out from backstage and interrupt solo West with a quick Watch the Throne “Gotta Have It” and Beyonce would sashay across the stage in something sequined and awesome. I die. No it didn’t happen. Kanye’s show got a lot of negative feedback but whatever, I had fun and made up for missing him at SXSW. Ballerinas ya’ll. Ballerinas.
Fleet Foxes – The picture above was taken at the Fleet Foxes show as it started to drizzle. Rain! Rain and picturing little foxes wearing red scarves prancing about in the snow…charming.
Little Hurricane – played in the Do512 Lounge and I was in love with that girl the second she sat down. She has more sexy cool in her pinky finger than I will ever be able to possess. Who would like to teach me drums?
Meeting different bands every day in the lounge. It’s amazing to see the similarities and the differences of folks who are traveling around the country to pursue their passion. From the charming guys in Futurebirds who loved our Do512 fanny packs to the vast array of music genres represented in Chancellor Warhol to the Fendi belt and backpack Chiddy Bang was rocking to the nightstand and lamp stage accessories that Little Hurricane brought with them ON A PLANE – I couldn’t get enough of the quirkiness and awesome talent that walked through these doors.
Matt Bradshaw – Do512 Intern
Stevie Wonder – 45 years later, he still has his amazing voice I hear on his 1960’s records. A several thousand strong dance party to “Superstition” performed live by Stevie Wonder himself was quite an experience.
The Do512 Lounge sessions were really the perfect way to experience the daytime portion of ACL. The bands that played were phenomenal and everyone involved appreciated the intimate, climate controlled setting juxtaposed to the 75,000 person, hot and sweaty festival going on down the street.
Taking a brief moment during Arcade Fire’s set on Sunday night to sit down far away and watch everything that was going on. This city is truly at its best during its big festivals, you can feel the sense of community and widespread love of live music.
Jordan Ripley – Do512 Intern
Gillian Welch postponing her show 30 minutes to avoid overlapping with Skrillex, then coming out on stage during the Skrillex finale and complaining about having to do musical warfare with a bass machine
The TV on the Radio show for several reasons: the band still hits that remarkably sweet combination of soulful and upbeat even after they lost their bassist, seeing Christian Bale and the infamously reclusive Terrence Malick on the side of the stage, and jamming with fellow Do512er Daphne.
Having Shiner for breakfast 3 days in a row thanks to the lounge sessions and their intimate acoustics
Amanda Shaftel – Do512 Content Manager
My Morning Jacket and Stevie Wonder were two of the bands I was most looking forward to this weekend. I’ve never had the chance to see MMJ and I’m happy to report they put on a phenomenal show. I headed over to catch the tail end of Stevie and he gave me a few classic songs to get down to, especially a real funky Superstition.
Friday night of ACL, only after running late and forgetting to bring my ticket to the festival, I met a nice guy who offered me his extra day pass. We watched an inspiring Coldplay set together and I learned he was in a band opening for Bright Eyes called Deep Fried Ice Cream. They. Are. Awesome. Look them up.
Moondoggies, a Roots Rock band from Seattle closed down our lounge sessions with an impressive and loud 45 minute set. We had plenty of memorable bands play the Do512 Lounge this weekend, but the Moondoggies left a distinctive mark.
Bobby Strobeck – Do512 Intern
Stevie Wonder – Through a small miracle I was able to cut out of work early, catch the last shuttle to Zilker and arrive just as Stevie was starting. Yes, there were serious sound issues… until I walked closer to the stage (stop complaining, lazy chair people!). You tend to forget how many amazing songs this man is responsible for until you see him tear through most of them in two hours. The band sounded great, and Stevie was on fire, playing the motherlovin’ heck out of his keytar all over the ground at one point. His exuberance and joy were so infectious that I didn’t even mind the frequent detours into lectures from the Tao of Stevie. Love each other, y’all.
Death From Above 1979 – “You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine” has been on pretty much constant rotation for me since its release in 2004, and when I missed DFA 1979’s reunion gig/riot at Beauty Bar during SXSW, I thought I had missed my chance. Not so! DFA’s ACL set was all raw power, all the time. They got the clouds to open up and rain, they got the hot and exhausted crowd to mosh, and they got me to rage harder than I have in a few years. I’ve got the bruises to prove it.
Randy Newman – Highlight of the fest for me. I managed to get front and center for this one. Randy himself seemed amazed by the varied audience smashed into the Vista Equity tent to see him; I was surrounded by the requisite old dudes, a few little kids, some hipsters, and one fanatic girl who seemed to be teetering on the verge of panty-throwing (but never quite got there). Alone on stage with just a Steinway, Newman played a set that displayed the gift for melody, knack for storytelling and arch wit that make him one of America’s best songwriters. We were all in awe throughout, the kind of clam joy you get from watching a master at work. Yes, he played “You Got a Friend In Me” as an encore and yes, it was awesome.
Daphne Lehman – Do512 Intern
TV on the Radio was everything I ever hoped for and more. Loved that they are still so amazing even after the tough year they had what with losing their bassist and all. Bumped into Do512_Jordan and we daaaaanced
Ray LaMontagne – Fact: I will never love any man the way I love him, and I think that goes for any lady who saw this show. Wonderful, soulful, lumberjack beard – nuff’ said.
Fitz & the Tantrums – Noell is the cutest thing on the planet and I’ll be trying to match her dance skills for years to come.
Do512 Lounge Sessions – little hurricane was definitely my favorite. Moondoggies too. Chiddy Bang was really fun group and some of the nicest people I have ever met! Chancellor Warhol was fantastic and I’d love to see them again.
A Do512 fan making good use of her fanny pack:
Some Do512 Lounge photos courtesy of Ed Lehmann:
North Mississippi Allstars:
Cowboy and Indian:
Check out some festival photos courtesy of David Weaver: