ACL Live Blog: Sunday, October 4, 2015

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Update (12:32  a.m.): Right before the Strokes ended their set, lead singer Julian Casablancas turned to guitarist Nick Valensi and asked a question.

“You got anything to say to the youth?” Casablancas said.

Valensi quietly chuckled, and stared blankly at Casablancas.

“Well,” Casablancas said. “Take it or leave it.”

He then barreled into the song of the same title with the rest of the band members.

Fashionably late by 15 minutes with an additional five minute break randomly in the middle of their set, the Strokes’ set lasted about an hour – 30 minutes less than what they were scheduled for. Yet, those 60 minutes were some of the best rock music ACL fans had heard all weekend.

Playing hits off all of their albums, including Is This It, Room on Fire and Angels, the band began and ended their set with the same high energy. Crowd favorites included “The Modern Age,” “Last Nite,” and “Machu Picchu,” with several fans crowd-surfing each song.

As always, Julain Casablancas’ banter on stage was odd, but expressive.

“Thanks for having us at the festival,” Casablancas said. As the crowd cheered his thank you, he replied, “I don’t know if you should be cheering. I’m not a big fan of festivals,” declaring his preference of smaller venues over large crowds.

Other members of the Strokes seemed to be a bit off during their performance. Between each song, the lights dimmed and the band members spoke with each other. Drummer Fabrizio Moertti initiated their five minute break from stage, when he shouted “Off!” right after performing the band's second-to-last song.

Ignoring some odd moments and a minor slip-up by guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. during the chorus of “Automatic Stop,” each member of the Strokes played their instruments and sang almost perfectly. They sounded as good — if not better — than they did in 2001. The Strokes’ set might have been shortened, but they ended the first weekend of ACL with a major statement that fans should be more than pleased with.

— Chris Duncan

Update (12:29 a.m.): From the second Hozier started playing at Homeaway stage, he had the audience roaring. The singer rarely moved from the microphone and kept a guitar strapped around his body during the show, but simple definitely proved to be successful in this case.

Hozier started the set with upbeat songs such as “Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene,” “From Eden” and “Jackie and Wilson.” He later transitioned into dimmer songs, including a particularly slow-moving and slightly haunting performance of “To Be Alone.”

With only one album released so far, Hozier supplemented his performance with two covers. One, The Beatles’s “Blackbird” fit Hozier’s aesthetic, while the other, Ariana Grande’s “Problem,” seemed to come out of nowhere. Adding his own bluesy-rock sound to the song, he was able to make it his own and show the audience he was there to have fun.

Hozier was particularly gracious throughout the performance. He thanked the audience after nearly every song and gave a shout out to each member of the band, as well as the sound engineer, which other performers rarely did.

He ended the night with his most popular track, “Take Me to Church.” White lights shined down on the performer as he and audience members repeated the lyric “Amen, amen,” making the performance a truly religious experience for fans.

—Marisa Charpentier

Updated (12:01 a.m.): Alt-J began its performance at Honda stage with pure instrumentals, banging loudly on the drums and keyboard. Images of the band members flashed in black and white on the big screens, establishing a fast-paced, intense atmosphere that would carry throughout the show.

The group first played “Every Other Freckle,” followed by several tracks off their new album including “Left Hand Free” and “Hunger of the Pine.”

Unable to chant along to the band’s notoriously difficult-to-distinguish lyrics, members of the crowd appeared to get bored during the show, especially those pushed to the outskirts. However, when the group played older works such as “Fitzpleasure” and “Tessellate,” the band had no problem capturing the audience’s attention.

Alt-J concluded its performance with “Breezeblocks,” which started off softly followed by sudden loud bursts of drumming and flashing lights. The performance came to an end as the audience chimed in on the ending lines, “please don’t go, please don’t go, I love you so, I love you so.”

—Marisa Charpentier

 

Update(9:35 p.m.): In 2004, National Geographic photographer Greg Davis left his corporate job, sold his belongings and decided to document the world with his camera.

 

“I went through hell and back,” Davis said. “There was a lot of death in the family, I was attacked by a gang, had a broken heart, went broke —  I went through a real dark period of my life but out of the ashes came a new path for me.”

Stephanie Tacy | Daily Texan Staff

Originally from a small town in Texas, Davis has lived in and out of Austin for 20 years and owns a studio in the city named Gusto. Although he’s attended every ACL festival since its inception, he said this is his eighth year attending as an artist.

 

“It’s been great,” Davis said. “It’s been an honor to represent Austin art.”

Davis said he mainly focuses on the human condition and culture. His photographs cover the walls of his stand in the ACL Art Market, depicting African tribes garbed in colorful paint, Chinese fishermen’s silhouettes and children in Morocco. He said they’re all equally important to him.

“I think someone who has children would agree with me,” Davis said. “It’s like having your own kids. It’s hard to pick a favorite.”

 

Most recently, Davis said he travelled to Kenya with the Austin-based non-profit Well Aware which build water wells in Africa. He said the one thing any aspiring journalist needs is grit.

“It’s your dedication and devotion to your passion,” Davis said. “It’s work, but it’s almost not — You know it’s your purpose.”

Danielle Lopez

 

Charlotte Carpenter | Daily Texan Staff

Update (9:30 p.m.): Joining the Social Experiment on stage a couple of minutes after they appeared, Chance the Rapper jumped around as if he was shot out of a cannon.

During the group’s 50 minute set, Chance and the rest of the Social Experiment performed hits off of Acid Rap and Surf, but also found a couple of moments to incorporate songs from his #10Day mixtape.

The highlight of the performance was when the group swung into “Wonderful Everyday: Arthur,” the Social Experiment's rendition of the Arthur theme song. Fans sang along while Donnie Trumpet ran through a fantastic solo.

By the end of the performance, Chance seemed exhausted, and so was the crowd. His performance was energetic and interactive, all that a fan could ask for.

Chris Duncan

Update (8:00 p.m.): When Ben Howard looked out at the crowd at Samsung Theater, he compared the vibe to Glastonbury, commenting on the numerous flags that spotted the horizon. But his show felt more like he was playing with his band in the studio than at a music festival. He spent most of the time sitting and looking down, rarely acknowledging the audience.

Charlotte Carpenter | Daily Texan Staff

While his inward disposition made the performance feel authentic, he would have been better off performing more anthem-like songs such as “Keep Your Head Up” and “Only Love,” rather than the slower, instrumental-heavy songs he selected. Crooning softly and powerfully into the microphone, the emotion he expressed in songs such as “I Forget Where We Were” and “Small Things” felt honest, culminating in an impactful moment when he and members of the band repeated “cruel world” into their mics. The crowd, however, rarely sang along and only cheered between songs.

Howard mainly showcased instrumentals. A cellist, bassist and drummer joined him on stage and he changed guitars between nearly every song. With a swig of his beer and a subtle wave of the hand, Howard walked off stage as the last note rang out from the speakers, ending the show 13 minutes before it was scheduled to stop. The sudden end confused audience members, but Howard made it clear he was there to play music, not put on a big show.

 

Marisa Charpentier

 

Stephanie Tacy | Daily Texan Staff

Update (7:25 p.m.): Before Moniker Guitars co-founder Dave Barry played his first guitar, he took it apart.

Barry, the company’s head of sales, bought his first electric guitar at 15, and began building and repairing them a few years later. After college, his friend and Moniker co-founder Kevin Tully approached him to start a guitar business.

When founding the company in 2011, Barry said they were determined to give people the chance to create and customize their own guitars.

“We wanted to give people the chance to create their dream guitar,” Barry said.

Customers can put their names on the headstock, place a logo anywhere on the guitar’s body and select any number of shapes for their custom guitar.

The company creates about 12 electric guitars a week, and Barry said they strive to make their guitars easily accessible to musicians.

“You shouldn’t  have to sell a million records to get the perfect guitar,” Barry said. "Our goal is to enable as many guitar players as possible to have their dream guitar at an affordable price."

— Cat Cardenas

Update (7:20 p.m.): Founded the same year as the festival, SoLa has been providing festival goers with the latest fashions since 2002.

SoLa media director Sarah Duffy, said as the festival has grown over the years, she's seen a more diverse range of fashions throughout the festival.

“[The festival] has such a national draw these days,” Duffy said. “There are people here from different parts of the world, and it’s great to see the different pieces people put together and what inspires them.”

Stephanie Tacy | Daily Texan Staff

The boutique’s racks are lined with items SoLa has curated exclusively for ACL. This year, Duffy said SoLa has placed a special emphasis on 1970’s inspired items, from suede short shorts to fringe accessories. With her patterned headwrap and oversized sunglasses, Duffy embraces the trend herself.

For some festivalgoers, finding the perfect outfit can be just as stressful as deciding between bands with simultaneous performances. Instead of stressing about looking flawless, Duffy said it’s important for festival goers to remember that ACL is a time for them to have fun and express themselves.

“Let the music inspire you,” Duffy said. "It’s all about having fun and embracing that person you always want to be but can’t because of work or school."

— Cat Cardenas

Update (6:55 p.m.): After meeting at Leeds University in 2007, the members of indie rock band Alt J quickly began recording their first songs on GarageBand. By 2014, the band released their sophomore album This Is All Yours, which garnered critical acclaim and received a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Music Album. The Daily Texan spoke with keyboardist and vocalist Gus Unger-Hamilton about the band’s latest album and the departure of bassist Gwil Sainsbury.

Daily Texan: Alt-J is kind of known for being hard to describe or fit into any one genre, how does that impact the way you guys make your music?

Gus Unger-Hamilton: I think it’s very freeing. It’s nice not to have to feel pressured to write certain kinds of songs. We like the band to develop naturally, so we don’t really set out with any expectations.

DT: Where there any major differences in the way you all approached your most recent album?

GUH: I think in a way, we tried to recreate the same feel as the first album. I think we always made sure there’s a certain atmosphere where we don’t take things too seriously. We make things first and foremost about having a good time and making music together.

Courtesy of Marcus Haney

DT: What’s your favorite part of performing?

GUH: I think it’s the moment when you see someone in the crowd, with their eyes closed, having their own kind of private moment. Of course, it’s great seeing people excited and singing along to our songs, but seeing someone who doesn’t care about anything but the music in that moment, it’s

DT: Have you guys have any moments where it felt like all of the effort you guys have put in was finally worth it?

GUH: I mean, you get them all the time really. Touring and everything can be very tough, but it’s also very awesome. I don’t think I can even think of a specific moment, we’re just so lucky to have gotten where we are.

DT: Did the making of this album help the band get over Sainsbury’s departure?

GUH: We obviously miss him, but I think certainly having a job to do and knowing we couldn’t just sit around really helped us move forward.

DT: What are some goals that you guys have going forward?

GUH: We’re not really a goal-oriented band, we just want our music to get better and better with every listen.

— Cat Cardenas

Update (5:05 p.m.): At the hottest part of the day, Lord Huron took the Samsung Galaxy stage in black jeans and t-shirts, but the heat didn’t keep the band from putting on an exciting show.

 

Every one of the five members of Lord Huron put on a show today, with almost every song sounding similar to its album equivalent.

 

At times, the set did felt a bit structured. Whenever the band transitioned from one song to another, there were pre-recorded sound bytes to fill the dead space. This might work well at a rap concert, but it felt a bit awkward during an indie folk performance.

The crowd might not have been dancing, but most viewers were captivated by the band’s charisma while playing on stage. Overall, Lord Huron put on a solid performance, making sure festivalgoers got what they came for.

—Marisa Charpentier

Update (4:40 p.m.): The sun shined brightly on the Miller Lite stage Sunday afternoon, but everything about Daughter’s performance exuded darkness. Lead singer Elena Tonra came out on stage wearing all black and performed with the band in front of dark backdrop. The group started off the hour with “Tomorrow” followed by performances of “Bones,” “Smother” and “Youth.”

Daughter captured the audience by alternating between slow and beautiful melodies and heavy guitar riffs. The British group spoke little throughout the show, chiming in every so often to thank fans and comment on the heat.

Halfway through the set, the band announced they would be releasing a new album soon. They played a track off the record called “Doing the Right Thing," which didn't sound much different than the rest of their work. Because much of their work showcases the same emotional and haunting tone, the performance grew a bit monotonous.

But when it came time to play their popular hit, “Youth,” the crowd roared. Right after singing “if you’re still breathing, you’re the lucky ones because most of us are heaving through corrupted lungs,” it was unclear whether Tonra attempted to let the audience fill in the words or stumbled with the lyrics and guitar. Despite the mishap, the audience aided the singer with loud cheers, encouraging her to push forward. Daughter rounded out the show with “Home,” spurring the crowd to sing along to the chorus “take me, take me, home.”

— Marisa Charpentier

Thalia Juarez | Daily Texan Staff

Update (1:10 p.m.): In the bustle of Austin City Limit’s flower crowns, flowing tops and Camelbacks, a man with a thick African accent greets each person who passes by him.  

“Hello! How are you doing today?”

Senegal-native Momar Thioune, who has been in Austin for two years, stands behind the counter of Goui-Gui, one of the many shops in ACL’s Art Market. The shop offers many items from around the world, including vibrant, colorful clothing, drums and beads that hang from the shop’s ceiling.

Although some of the items aren’t handmade, Thioune said majority of the items are hand-crafted by people from African communities.

“[My story’s] the same as other immigrants’ all the time,” Thioune said. “We came for better opportunities, and, while we are in the land of opportunities, we seek ways to support the land for our own community. That’s why we try to buy from those other communities and sell here.”

Returning to ACL for the second time, Goui-Gui, which Thioune said is named after an African tree, aims to promote small African businesses. The shop is linked with Africabound, a non-profit organization that works to link Africa and the U.S. in economic growth, healthcare, education opportunity and cultural awareness.

Thioune said Goui-Gui currently does not have a shop located in the city but will be around ACL all day Sunday and again for weekend two. Although he wishes things were busier, he said he’s enjoyed his time in Austin and at ACL.

“We love it,” Thioune said.

— Danielle Lopez

Update (11:30 a.m.):  Good morning everyone! Today’s the last day of weekend one, so let’s make it a good one. The weather looks promising with a high of 88 degrees and clear, sunny skies.

Over the course of this weekend, we'll be live-blogging Austin City Limits and all its hippie-filled glory. Follow Daily Texan reporters, photographers and editors as we post the highlights of our work here. For minute-to-minute coverage of the best and the worst that ACL has to offer, follow us on Twitter at @thedailytexan.

Thanks to the light morning of must-see artists, today we’ll be spending a lot of time chatting with crowds and artists so if you’ve got someone in mind we should feature, let us know on Twitter at @thedailytexan.

Here’s our schedule:

  • 1:30 p.m. — Daughter at Miller Lite
  • 2:30 p.m. — Lord Huron at Samsung
  • 3:30 p.m. — Halsey at Homeaway
  • 4:30 p.m. — Ben Howard at Samsug
  • 5:30 p.m. — Chance the Rapper at Miller Lite and Vance Joy at Homeaway
  • 6:30 p.m. — Alt-J at Honda
  • 7:30 p.m. — Hozier at Homeaway
  • 8:30 p.m. — The Strokes at Samsung

Check out our slideshow from day two of weekend one.

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