When you think about Austin (the live music capital of the world) and festivals, one of the first events to come to mind is probably the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Starting 11 years ago, the first two day festival didn’t draw huge names but instead brought in acts that fit within the TV show’s tradition of Americana and Alt-Country. Ticket prices were low, and the focus was solely on the music. In 2004 I attended the festival and caught a more indie line-up of acts like Cat Power, Modest Mouse, and The Pixies. But it seems with the recent release of the festival’s 2013 line-up and its avarice plans to have two separate three day weekends that ACL has lost its way. Only a week prior to the line-up release I attended Psych Fest in Austin, and as I basked in the warmth of the psychedelic sounds from the stage, I had a realization – ACL is no longer the best festival in Austin: in my opinion, it ranks 5th.
On the morning of June 6th, 2011, I woke up in an unfamiliar place. Like a scene from “Memento,” I got up and surveyed my foreign surroundings (although I didn’t have any tattoos for guidance). Beside the bed laid my pants in a disheveled pile; next to them sat a couple crumpled balls of one dollar bills and a pair of florescent orange ear buds. I stood up only to discover a pain coursing from my neck, up my brain stem, and into my cranium. I brought my hands to my head and rubbed my temples to try and alleviate what was certainly one of the worst headaches ever. As I tried easing the pain, I noticed one of my shoes by the door and the other on the opposite side of the room by the nightstand.
Back in June I attended the Chaos in Tejas music festival in Austin, and needless to say, it was a blast. I saw a ton of great artists, and even the mediocre bands were fun to watch because, frankly, the festival caters to performers that throw caution to the wind. Fucked Up, a band that performed with reckless abandon (at least Pink Eye) were the highlight of the weekend for me. My outpouring of enthusiasm led me to the front of the stage (i.e. the Pink Eye fueled pit) and as a result I didn’t film the show. Fortunately, someone did capture the event and finally posted it a few weeks ago.
For those that know what I look like, you can find me in there, especially if you’re a “Where’s Waldo?” ace:
Pink Eye has some of the best crowd interaction I’ve seen in a while out of a front-man (hugging them, bouncing off them, and at one point, pile-driving them) but one small aspect of the show seemed odd. Since he spent 97% of the show in the audience (this figure could be off by 1-3%) a guy stood on the stage holding the mic cable in the air and guiding it over the crowd, following Pink Eye’s path like it was some type of live action “Family Circus” cartoon. I’ve seen many artists take the mic into the crowd, but never have a seen a mic chord wrangler and something about it bothered me. The rampant chord is part of the punk rock experience, choking, tripping, and clotheslining fans. I’d hate to suggest Pink Eye go wireless, but there has to be a middle ground.
Or I could just shut up and enjoy the show.