Greetings from Austin, Texas home of the Austin City Limits Music Festival. By far our favorite festival of the year, this year was no exception. With a slew of bands, great food, and breathtaking views the 2015 edition of the festival had some amazing highlights for us. Let's start with a day by day recap of our musical adventures.
The first day of the festival is always exciting, for us seasoned veterans it also means trying to pace ourselves for three long days. Looking at the weekend weather forecast we knew we were going to be battling scorching heat. Luckily Friday was a bit overcast for much of the day. The first band we got to see was no stranger to us, Royal Blood took the Samsung Stage with an early set. We recently got a chance to see them during their opening slot for the Foo Fighters in Denver not too long ago. The two man wrecking machine leaves you puzzled as to how such a great musical sound is coming from a drum kit and bass guitar.
Weekend one had us crying as to the fact that we didn't get a chance to see The Strokes on the second weekend, nonetheless we did manage to see The Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. (who btw will be playing at Lost Lake on Halloween Denver folks). We have always been a big fan of his solo work since the days of Yours To Keep in 2006. He just released his third studio album earlier this year and has been on rotation in our offices since. Clad in a red full bodied jumpsuit, Hammond gave his fans a great early set.
The fun didn't stop there, one of the most difficult things and dilemmas of music festivals is scheduling conflicts. For us we usually base it on a few factors, one is off we have seen the band before, two is if they will be coming to our city soon. We love to discover new music and one artist we had the distinct honor of seeing was Leon Bridges this past year at SXSW. A true throwback to the old days, Bridges captures you with an amazing sound that is infectious and soothing. His performance at ACL this year will be one that people will be talking about for years to come. He has two upcoming dates in Denver, one in October and another one in May)
As the sun began to set we noticed that Brand New was playing at one of our favorite stages the festival. The alternative rockers from Long Island have long been favorites of ours and we have had the chance to see them a few occasions, The band goes all out from beginning to end and never lets up making for one amazing show, no matter the setting. Lead singer Jesse Lacey commands the stage in true frontman precision belting out lyrics and at times making the audience emotional. They were one of our favorite performances of day one.
Next on our must see list was homegrown Austenite Mr. Gary Clark Jr. You get a sense that musicians play their best shows in front of a hometown crowd. With a packed stage that seemed never ending Gary Clark Jr. unleashed his guitar playing skills for the masses. Comparisons to a modern day Jimmy Hendrix can be thrown out left and right, but I feel Clark has established his own persona and style that will leave future generations of musicians trying to replicate his style in the future.
The nights headliners included Foo Fighters and Disclosure. We jumped over to see Disclosure and by the looks of their setup, we were in line for a great visual performance. Off the heels of a brand new record, which by the way is an early favorite for our record of the year, the duo blasted through their short catalog of hits and laid the foundation for an array of lighted led panels and glowing platforms that enhanced the performance. Not a bad way to end the first night. On the other end of the park, Dave Growl and company provided a from row seat to the Foo Fighters greatest hits set including a couple covers thrown in for nostalgic sake. They also informed the audience they had just finished recording five new songs while in Austin and were joined by Ben Kweller.