Review: ACL Fest 2010, Day 3

Awww, are you sad yet?  I’m probably one of the last bloggers to get my reviews out there, plus tickets for ACL Fest 2011 are going to be on sale next week, so surely that means that this year’s fest will be a distant memory soon enough.  ACL Fest 2010, we’ll remember you for your beautiful weather (especially when we’re baking in the hot mid-September sun next year), your plethora of good bands, and your surprisingly good food options.

But before we get too nostalgic, there’s still the business of discussing Sunday’s bands.  Let’s do it!

Band to hear and not see: Portugal. The Man

Image courtesy

Alright, that might not be entirely true, but that’s how I experienced Portugal. The Man and I certainly enjoyed it.  It was during the extra warm part of the day and we needed some shade in a serious way, so we ended up listening to the show from behind one of those screened fence things.  Portugal. The Man’s brand of experimental indie tunes was a nice introduction to Sunday of the fest and the crowd seemed to really like it as well.

Breakout performance of the day: Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue

If Portugal. The Man was a nice way to start a sleepy festival Sunday, Trombone Shorty was the show that finally woke everyone up.  For the first time ever at the tented stage, I got a seat on the risers so I was able to actually see the show, and boy, was it a good one.  I loved the energy and pure talent of this young performer on the rise, and the band had the huge, overflowing crowd dancing the entire time.  I mentioned in my review of Two Door Cinema Club that I like to see performers enjoying themselves on stage, and Trombone Shorty pretty much exemplified that.  One of the best sets of the fest.

Meh of the day: Rebelution

Image courtesy Creative Loafing

Regular readers of AGMG will know that I love reggae a lot, and I’d like to consider myself a pretty good judge of reggae.  I would normally know better then to go see a band of Californians called Rebelution, but hey, I wanted to get close for The Flaming Lips.  So really, it was a total accident.  But needless to say, I did not enjoy Rebelution’s set.  Ever since Sublime, American bands have been trying to capture the spirit of reggae in their music and most of the time, it just doesn’t work.  It’s inoffensive pop-reggae, and if that suffices for some, then so be it, but there is so much great reggae out there that I don’t see the point of listening to bands like Rebelution.

Crazy of the day (in the best possible way): The Flaming Lips

In other posts, I’ve talked in great detail about my love for The Flaming Lips.  The ACL Fest marked the third time this year I’ve seen The Lips and somehow, they still manage to surprise me.  And no, it’s not just because this time Wayne rode a bear, or because they managed to incorporate even more female nudity into their background videos; it’s because this band is simply so beyond the bitter trappings of being living legends.  I love how Wayne is simultaneously down-to-earth and crazy as a loon; I love how much he cares about the band’s fans; I love how songs like “She Don’t Use Jelly” and “Do You Realize??” never fail to stir a variety of emotions.  There’s never a hint of jadedness at a Flaming Lips show – their concerts are all about the unbridled joy of watching the craziness unfold on the stage and listening to some of the most innovative music made in the past 20 years.

Biggest surprise of the day: The National

Prior to the festival, I had not listened to much of The National, but I knew I wanted to see the show based on reviews of their albums and of their live sets.  What I wasn’t prepared for was how much I was going to enjoy it.  Basically from the very first song I was intrigued and as the band played, I became more and more interested.  I really dig Matt Berninger’s deep vocal range, and his ability to go from that to screaming lyrics without hesitation.  The band itself displayed some excellent musicianship and their sonic sounds were a perfect match for the mood of the evening.  They were also pretty funny – they cracked jokes about The Eagles (who went on stage early) and The Flaming Lips (which I guess I’ll forgive them for) and played much longer then the hour they were scheduled.  Overall, The National was one of the best shows of the entire weekend – and provided an excellent end to the fest for those of us who ditched The Eagles entirely.

Well, that’s all she wrote!  Literally too.  As always, thanks for reading.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of my pictures on my Facebook fan page and while you’re there, go ahead and become a fan will ya?

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