What you missed at the 2012 Austin City Limits

10.15.12 5 years ago 3 Comments

Katie Hasty

Hey, it’s OK that you didn’t go to the 2012 Austin City Limits music festival. There were only, like, 70,000 people per day anyway, and a third of the artists were webcast through the official YouTube stream. And it’s OK if you didn’t see those either.

Here is some of what you missed:

+ ACL photos from Friday, of the Black Keys, M83, Florence + the Machine, Esperanza Spalding, Alabama Shakes and AVICII.

+ ACL photos from Saturday, of Jack White, Gotye, The Roots, Big K.R.I.T., Metric, Punch Brothers, Big Gigantic and Lee Fields and the Expressions.

+ ACL photos from Sunday, of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover), the Civil Wars, Die Antwoord, the Avett Brothers, Tennis, Iggy & the Stooges, Willis Earl Beal,

Here are some thoughts I had about Jack White and his schedule opposite of Neil Young, plus his all-female band. In short: sharp show, lashing the backlash, and at least we’re getting a band of women in a headliner spot.

Not sure what the festival was all about? Check out the cheat sheet here.

The Black Keys stuck largely to the four-piece blues rock formula that have taken them throughout the summer festival circuit this year. They’ve started integrating in the jam “She’s Long Gone,” from “Brothers,” in lieu of “I’ll Be Your Man,” but it’s a fluid set no matter how it’s cut. The oversized work lamps keep the stage show simple and with the appearance of raw power — but the REAL “raw power” came during Iggy & the Stooges’ set, as per usual.

It’d be unusual for a movie to shoot at the same festival for two years in a row, but it’s a Terrence Malick flick, so I guess it’s OK. His as-yet-untitled love-triangle movie was shooting all over ACL, with Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling and Rooney Mara making appearances mostly at the main stages. However, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” actress really put herself out there as she strapped on a guitar during the Black Lips smaller set on Friday. Check out the video for that below (courtesy of SlashFilm’s Russ Fischer):

It wouldn’t be ACL without a little rain, and attendees got some on-and-off all of Saturday. A particularly abundant gush came right at the top of Big Gigantic’s first “drop,” sending poncho-clad fans into a tizzy. Cue mud, lost sandals and cooler temps.

In case you didn’t now this, Texans love football. That’s why games were playing nonstop in a tent erected for just that function: to enjoy your beer as UT had their battle, the Cowboys had (and lost) theirs and urged the apparent sentiment “F*ck Westlake” all weekend long.

Red Hot Chili Peppers need to watch where they put their feet: not only did Anthony Kiedis’ bum foot curb the band’s massive 2012 tour for a few months, but guitarist Josh Klinghoffer is suffering from a broken foot, which he blew out on the band’s first stop back in August. It didn’t keep him from hopping up from his stool too much, though, as he exhibited aural pleasures as much as Flea did throughout the set. And that’s saying a lot: dude’s got a lot of pedals!

The Weeknd — who’s scarce appearances have only helped his mystique — was a no-show at the festival itself, even though he played a “late” show the night before. The Canadian singer and producer was well enough to perform at the Austin Music Hall, but was prescribed “a rest period to help with recurring vocal, aural and respiratory issues.” These issues weren’t apparent enough for organizers to have an equally big backup plan just 16 hours later, so DJ Mel spun some tunes in place and the Lumineers culled an unexpectedly large crowd during that slot.

Surprising no one, Kimbra took the stage with Gotye for “Somebody I Used to Know” on Saturday night. Kimbra was already on hand anyway, for a Sunday early afternoon timeslot. Gotye’s (literally and figuratively) animated set went a little long on Saturday, bumping into Neil Young and Crazy Horses’ set. But everyone knows that Young and the guys understand a thing or two about going long.

Metric and Polica have amazing frontwomen. World-class, and such purity of voices. That is all.

The Roots tipped their hat to Adam “MCA” Yauch with a performance of the Beastie Boys’ “Paul Revere.” Other tributes went out to Chuck Brown, and another standout cover was Guns ‘N Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” I only wish Black Thought’s lines were clearer, but his rhymes aren’t always necessarily built for fest amplification. Speaking of fabulous covers: the Civil Wars doing a pretty, melodic “Billie Jean.”

Willis Earl Beal sings his set with his actual bedroom tapes, with two scantily-clad mannequins to back him up. He belts loudly, with lots of movement and affectations. The show looked and felt like his disjointed and confounding debut “Acousmatic Sorcery,” out through Domino’s Hot Charity label subsidiary. Beal’s got a fascinating backstory and a variety of small-town talents in “outsider” art, poetry and songcraft, but for his show, this artist is just not yet ready for prime-time yet.

I loved this sentiment from Childish Gambino: “I’ve had the best year of my life and that”s because of your support.” Donald Glover may be beloved elsewhere for his “Community” role, but he’s all about the hip-hop community at a festival like ACL. He revved through his “Royalty” mixtape and bigger tracks like “Freaks and Geeks” and — as far as I can tell — had nary a tracked vocal to speed him along. Tricky, and impressive.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: watch out for them Wild Belles. I like the cut of their jib.

Neither Ninja nor Yo-Landi were wearing much by the end of Die Antwoord’s set. This is probably the fourth time I’ve seen that group. I still can’t tell if nothing’s going on up there, or they’re geniuses. More and more, I think it’s the latter.

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