Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pre-Halloween Ghost Song

So, in the Steanso tradition of bringing you songs of the supernatural and occasionally spooky during October, I bring you "Eli, The Barrow Boy" by The Decemberists.  It's a song of tragic love, premature death, and, of course, haunting.  It sort of falls into a tradition of mournful ghost stories, I suppose.  The instrumentation features the prominent use of the rarely seen (or heard) hurdy gurdy!  Take a moment out and enjoy!


Monday, October 21, 2013

Update

Hey!
Hope everyone is doing well.  Our weather was amazing over the weekend.  Made me feel lucky to be in Austin.

Well, last Wednesday night we went to see The Abyssinian Mass at the Long Center.  It's a sort of modern jazz composition which borrows its theme, structure, and style from the hymns and liturgy of traditional Christian church services (particularly those of black, American churches).  The Abyssinian Mass was composed by Wynton Marsalis, and it was performed by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra along with the Chorale Le Chateau 60 member choir.  Wynton Marsalis himself performed as a member of the JLCO, but he kept a low profile, playing with the orchestra, but never putting himself in the spotlight as a soloist or lead instrumentalist (although he did play a few nice solos).
The performance was different and unique.  I enjoyed it.  The choir was expressive and mostly joyful.  The interplay between the gospel music and the jazz instrumentation sort of highlighted the connections between all different sorts of jazz- from bebop to swing to New Orleans dixieland to even some sort of Afro-Cuban sounding stuff. 
And the choir was powerful.  Occasionally they were mournful or solemn, but mostly they sang with joy and energy.  Put me in a good mood.  Both the singing and the instrumental jazz performances were extremely good.
 
(obviously the Whip In is a
sketchy place to hang out)
On Thursday night Amy and I went to a party celebrating "A Century of Justice" with Danielle and John from my office.  Danielle turned 40 last week, and John turned 60.  They're both prosecutors, thus the "Century of Justice" theme.
We had a good time.  We got together at the Whip In to listen to Gavin's band (Gavin is Danielle's husband) and to have a couple of beers.  Gavin's band was good.  I really enjoyed their music. 
The Whip In is sort of a trippy place.  I used to live in an apartment complex right next to it, and it used to just be a convenience store.  Now they serve Indian food there, they brew their own beer, and they have like a couple of dozen beers on tap and probably 60 other varieties in bottles.  They have outdoor seating and both indoor and outdoor stages. 
But it still basically looks like a convenience store with some bars crammed into the middle of it and a makeshift patio area tacked on outside.  It's weird, but it's fun.  It feels homegrown, random, and funky.  More or less perfect for South Austin.
So that was Thursday night. 



(face painted flowers to celebrate 60 years of rockin'!)
On Friday night Amy and I rolled over to Patsy's Cafe with Mandy for a birthday party for Shirley, another friend from work (Mandy is, of course, a longtime friend and neighbor, and she and Shirley both work together at my office as coordinators).  Shirley was turning 60, so we joined her for some beer and cake and face painting and music.  Shirley's friends, the Therapy Sisters, provided the tunes.  There were a few friends there from work, and we met a few of Shirley's other friends and family as well.  It was a laid back, friendly event, and we had a nice time celebrating Shirley's birthday with her.




(I managed to squeeze in a quick shot with Miguel,
Ruben, and Judge Earle- but Amy was off getting a glass of water
or something)
On Saturday we did a few chores during the day and went for a bike ride.  Amy joined me, and we rode around south Austin, stopping off at Ryan and Jamie's house to say hello.  The weather was beautiful, and I had a really good time riding with Amy.
On Saturday night we went to a wedding ceremony for our friends Ruben and Miguel.  I've been working with Ruben for years now.  I'm proud to say that I was his first court chief when he came to the County Attorney's Office, although he's now a court chief himself.
Anyway, Ruben and Miguel had a really nice ceremony at a place called The Hummingbird House in South Austin.  The weather was really nice, and the setting was idyllic.  The ceremony was poignant and touching and even funny in certain moments.
Ruben and Miguel are travelling to New York next week so they can have a legally binding ceremony in a different state, but the ceremony here in Austin with all of their friends and family in attendance was extremely nice.   We were honored to be invited.  Couldn't be happier for them.

On Sunday we got up and went out for breakfast and ran errands.  We got some shopping done and exercised, and we took Cassidy over for a play date with Mandy's dogs at her house.  Once again, we had beautiful weather.
Sunday night I had band practice with just Reed and Jim.  It was kind of a strange configuration (I'm not much of a lead guitar player), but in true Mono tradition, we managed to plug our way through it and create over an hour's worth of semi-presentable music.

So that was the weekend, mostly. 
We had a nice one.  Hope everyone else did, too!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Weekend Update

Howdy!  Hope everyone is doing okay!  I posted a between-weekends bit about our night out to see Book of Mormon.  Check it out below if you are interested.
We had sort of a weird weekend.
On Saturday we had a good time going over Ryan and Jamie's house to watch the Texas-OU game.  We all sort of went into the game out a sense of obligation, expecting our Horns to get hammered, but determined to grimly stand by them, nonetheless.  Imagine our suprise (and excitement) when our unranked UT team handily beat #12 OU.  While I ended up thinking that OU had probably been ranked much higher than they really deserved, UT still played undeniably well and finally looked like the team of excelent football players that we had been promised in the preseason.
We had a fun time at the game.  Ryan made some burgers and hot dogs.  Amy made queso.  Nicole made cupcakes.  Juan brought veggies.  We had a good time.
For the rest of Saturday we mostly did some chores and just sort of chilled out.  We were taking care of Mandy's dogs while she was at ACL Fest, and we hung out with them a bit.  Saturday night we watched a bit of ACL Fest streaming from Zilker.
It started raining on Saturday night.  And then it started raining harder.  And then it kept raining.
To make a long story short, we ended up having water that came creeping into our laundry room and one corner of our kitchen on Saturday night/Sunday morning.  It was manageable with the small wet vac that I bought on a whim on clearance a few years ago (Jeff Wilson had once told me, "Every house should have a wet vac!"), but it was kind of disconcerting, nonetheless.  When we got up the next day we found out that a number of houses in Sunset Valley, maybe a mile or less from our house, had flooded.  A flood gauge at Highway 360 and Barton Creek, about 1.4 miles from our house, had reported 12 inches of rain the previous night.  The intersection of Jones Road and Manchaca, a major roadway near our house, had been closed, with flood debris and mud strewn across the a nearby bridge.  They had to bring in bulldozers to get the mud out.
So all in all we got off luckier than many, but it was still a weird night.

On Sunday we got up late because the storm had kept us up the night before.  We ate breakfast tacos and did some grocery shopping.  In the evening we joined my parents for dinner at Hyde Park Grill and had a really nice time with them.  After dinner I watched the Season premier of Walking Dead, and then crashed into bed. 

That was the weekend! 
Hope you guys are doing okay!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Mixed Feelings on Book of Mormon

So, the week before ACL Fest we went to see Book of Mormon at Bass Concert Hall.  For those who aren't familiar, Book of Mormon is a Broadway musical that was created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park, in collaboration with composer Robert Lopez.  The show is billed as a religious satire that lampoons organized religion.  It's received a ton of critical acclaim, garnering 9 Tony Awards, and selling out performances on Broadway and across the country. 
Book of Mormon is, in many respects, the sort of thing you would expect to see from the creators of South Park.  It's vulgar, crass, offensive, and extremely funny.
The plot involves a couple of young, Mormon missionaries who are sent to Uganda to proselytize and convert Africans.  Their mission becomes much harder than expected when the Africans demand to see concrete ways that Mormonism will make improvements upon a lifestyle that includes sadistic warlords, AIDS, poverty, and female genital mutilation.  In fact, the Africans are more than a little bit suspicious of the fact that God might be out to cause them problems instead of wanting to help them.  It's probably safe to say that the creators of most Broadway musicals would avoid a lot of these topics.  Stone and Parker, on the other hand, charge right in.
Book of Mormon will make a good many people laugh really hard.
Personally, I found large parts of the msuical really funny, especially in the first half.  Some of the jokes are offensive enough that your surprise yourself by cracking up.  And as with South Park, many of the jokes are the sort of things where you find yourself cringing and laughing at the same time.

The musical is extremely fast paced and hyperkinetic, and these characteristics work in favor of the style of humor that's presented.  Many of the jokes, particularly about the Ugandans, are making light of things that are so horrible that they're not funny at all if you really stop to think about them (AIDS, warlords, and rape?), but I guess that the audience ends up laughing at, more or less, the absurdity of the whole situation.  If laughter is a defense mechanism, Parker and Stone are the masters of launching an assault on audience sensibilities in order to drum up chuckles.  As with everyday Americans who learn are constantly bombarded with tales of atrocities and horrors in the news media, the Book of Mormon audience has little choice but to sort of shut off the empathy switch and laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. 
And the comedic horrors of Africa are included in the musical to make a point.  The play's protagonists, Mormon missionaries, find themselves struggling to explain the relevance and significance of their religious doctrine when confronted with the harsh (albeit hopefully somewhat exaggerated) circumstances of the Africans whom they are trying to convert.  The Africans, unconcerned with the specifics of particular religious beliefs, essentially want to know "what's in it for me" in terms of benefits that Mormonism might provide.  It's easy to see why they might have such a pragmatic view of religion, given the depiction of their lives as brutal and difficult (but in a hilarious way!).

So, it was sort of weird to sit in a crowded concert hall and listen to a Broadway musical audience laughing at musical jokes about AIDS, sexual assault, and genocide.  The jokes were absurd, but somehow the extreme enjoyment by the audience was even more absurd.  I kept imagining the whole performance as a South Park episode where the audience is ultimately the butt of the joke.

The other thing that I found weird and sort of troubling about Book of Mormon is the way that the play treated Mormonism itself (or, more specifically, Mormons).  I'd heard interviews on NPR and read articles about the musical, and they all generally seemed to indicate that the musical was not really an attack on Mormonism, but actually a critique of organized religion in general.  Well, while I might agree that this was true in the broadest sense, I also feel as if this musical would by singling out Mormonism, in particular, this show was able to get away with criticizing religion in a way that a mainstream audience would accept.  And that made me a little bummed out.
Somewhere through the second half of  the musical, after the intermission, I started thinking about the audience and about how they would react if this play had been satirizing and criticizing a different religion in a similar way.  A few of the jokes were meant to cast jabs at other religions or religion in general, but the vast majority of the jokes were targeted toward Mormonism in a way that was meant to ridicule (for comedic effect!) their specific beliefs and ideology.  Essentially, the entire theological mythology of Mormonism was lampooned.  The musical had a field day with the idea that a legitimate religious leader might appear in 19th century America, with the idea that Mormons will someday inhabit their own celestial planets, and with the evolution of Mormon beliefs as they became more accepting of blacks and minorities over time (there's a part of Mormon religious doctrine that was previously interpreted to say that dark skinned people were descended from an evil tribe).
Now, I'm not a Mormon, and, yes, I'll admit that I find a fair number of their beliefs strange and, to be honest, a little absurd, but that didn't make me feel any better about the fact that an entire theater full of people was sitting there as a group and laughing at the religious beliefs of another group of people.  I'm an agnostic, and I find most religion to be sort of strange and bizarre if you think about it for very long. 
I sat there and imagined a musical in which Christianity and its beliefs might be ferociously (but hilariously!) ridiculed, and I couldn't help but think that there would be offended Christians protesting outside the theater and/or leaving the performance in droves.  The more traditional or conservative Christians who were sitting there guffawing during Book of Mormon would probably be angrily demanding their money back if the musical had been about how silly it is to believe in the teachings of a 2000 year old, Middle Eastern Jew, his nonsensical promises of an afterlife, and claims of a resurrection that were propagated by his followers.
As for the more left-leaning, liberal intellectuals in the room who were enjoying the play, I could imagine their hackles being raised by similar attacks on Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, or any other religion that's practiced by a minority group that they might deem as being more worthy of protection than the mostly Caucasian, conservative Mormon church.  Even liberal atheists tend to get riled up if they believe that religious beliefs are being attacked when those religious beliefs are associated with some minority group that they deem worthy of protecting.  If a Broadway musical had been created which took aim at the specific beliefs of Hindus or Muslims, I don't think that the art-supporting liberal crowd in New York would have ever really patronized the thing enough to keep it afloat.
Mormonism, on the other hand, the offbeat religion of a bunch of white westerners from the United States, was fair game.

So I felt like this Mormon-based humor included a fair amount of bullying.  For a long, long time now the Mormon church has relied on a policy which avoids confrontation and which seeks to advance the Mormon religion by way of neighborly example and friendly proselytization.  Perhaps due to an early history in which members were almost wiped out by angry mobs, the Mormon Church seems to have long ago made a conscious decision not to antagonize or pick fights with the rest of the country.  I think that they know that the rest of the world sees their beliefs as strange, and they try to keep other people from becoming suspicious, fearful, and wary of them by being as friendly, neighborly, and "normal" as they can.  It's a nonconfrontational, peaceful approach, for the most part.
Anyway, my point is that Parker and Stone took a religion that was an easy target and laid the hurt on them pretty good.  Very few people outside the Mormon religion were ever going to come to their defense when Book of Mormon came out, and Mormons themselves probably didn't want to look like angry, weirdo fanatics who couldn't take a joke in response to a satirical musical. 
But this musical actually has songs that systematically take aim at their individual beliefs one at a time and make an effort to point out to the audience how stupid those beliefs are.  And every night a whole new auditorium full of modern theatergoers sits and enjoys the spectacle at the expense of their neighborsas this travelling production crisscrosses the country.  The Mormon Church bought out ad space in the program for Book of Mormon, encouraging people to consider investigating the actual church, but the move seems almost sad when you've been watching a piece of theatre make fun of their beliefs for two hours.

Book of Mormon makes some kind of halfhearted attempt in its closing act to point out that all religion is a little silly and that its most important facet is to be found in the way that it helps people to pull together in aid of one another.
But I think that this overall point is weakly made, probably for fear of alienating religious believers in general, and made half heartedly.  Parker and Stone wanted to lampoon religion, but they probably still wanted ticket sales from the vast numbers of religious people who were in their prospective audience.  They could probably still be successful without the Mormon demographic, though...

Anyway, I laughed during Book of Mormon.  I couldn't help it.  Parker and Stone know how to write some funny stuff.  But after I left I sorta felt like some school kid who just stood by while the class bully did an entertaining job of picking on the awkward kid for everyone else's amusement.  Nothin' to be proud of...

ACL 2013

So, this past weekend we went to the Austin City Limits Music Festival.  Now, in keeping with tradition, a brief recap of what we saw and what we did.

We took off work Friday to go to the festival.  Friday was one of the warmer days that we had this time around, although it still wasn't nearly as hot as some of the days we've experienced during the festival in prior years.  We used our little mini umbrellas for shade at times and drank lost of water (and some beer).




(Thao & the Get Down Stay Down.  Good music. 
GREAT name.)
We started the festival with Thao & the Get Down Stay Down.  It was a pretty good show.  The crowd was sort of mellow because it was early on the first day, but the music was good and interesting and easy to listen to.  Thao Nguyen has an interesting voice.
The second band we saw was Shovels & Rope.  They played on the Austin Ventures stage.  Sort of an interesting two person group.  Reminded me of a kind of bluegrass/folk/country version of The White Stripes.  Cary Ann Hearst has a cool, twangy voice.  During Shovels & Rope we had a visit from our friend, Kim, and a flyby from our friend, Bill.

Next we caught a few songs by Pacha Massive over in the Zilker tent.  They were okay, but I wasn't totally blown away.  Electronic rhythms and a style that reminded me, at least during the little bit that we saw, of a sort of Thievery Corporation kind of thing (except maybe a little less compelling?).
Following that we went and saw fun. (did I mention that I'm not a huge fan of gimmicky punctuation and capitalization in band names?)  fun. were pretty, well, erm... fun...?  They have really good vocals and some catchy harmonies/melodies, but listening to fun., I was kind of left with the impression that I was watching a very pre-packaged production that didn't leave a lot of room for genuine emotion and/or spontaneous artistic expression.  As Amy said, it sort of felt almost like watching performers in some sort of pop/rock musical.  Still, they were... fun.



(Okkervil River)
Next we saw Okkervil River.  I had seen at least part of an Okkervil set before, but this time I was a lot more impressed.  They played with good energy, and the vocals, the lyrics, and the instrumentation just came together in ways that I hadn't noticed before.  The band includes at least 8 people, and they use the different parts to good effect.  I think I might consider myself an Okkervil convert at this point.  I need to get my hands on an album or two by those guys.

After Okkervil we saw Vampire Weekend.  Vampire Weekend is a good band.  Their peppiness and their preppiness might be a bit much for some people, but those guys are good musicians who play interesting music.  Their sound reminds me of Paul Simon to no small degree, but they're different enough to be laying a valid claim to having a unique sound.  Their show was a lot of fun. 

After Vampire Weekend we sort of just hung out at the AMD stage in anticipation of Depeche Mode's Friday night closing set.  A huge crowd gathered at the neighboring Honda stage for a DJ named Kaskade that we had never heard of.  Kaskade sounded pretty good, I guess (I'm not really into electronic dance music- but he sounded as good as anyone else I've heard).  The crowd went nuts for the guy.  Then Amy looked him up on da smartphone, and we were both a little surprised to find out that he's apparently a devout Mormon.    You don't find that many Mormons in the dance club/rave/EDM scene.  Maybe I'm oversimplifying a bit, but I thought that usually that scene was a little more about ecstacy, xanax, and cocktails.  Anyway, good for Kaskade.  He was this year's Dead Mouse, apparently.

Depeche Mode rounded out Friday night.  I've never really been a huge Depeche Mode fan.  I knew a lot of people in high school who were nuts for them, but I never really got it.  Sort of like The Smiths, they always seemed a little too drama club for my taste.  But they were sort of ubiquitous in the late 80's alternative music scene.  Anyway, given the fact that you define yourself as much by what you resist as by what you like, I wanted to catch part of their set.  It's been decades since high school, so I thought that maybe older Steanso would be a bigger fan.
Turns out, not much had changed.  The Depeche Mode fans might've been way into the show, but we were ready to grab something to eat and head out for a shower after about four songs.  I heard that they supposedly got better as they got farther into our set, so maybe we missed something, but I don't think I'll be losing sleep over it.
In observance of National Taco Day we stopped at Torchy's and had some muy bueno tacos on the way home. 



On Saturday we started the day off with HAIM.  Those sisters from California rocked a lot harder than I expected.  They were good.  They know how to play their instruments, and they feel like a legit, organically grown rock band.  They're also fond of dropping f-bombs at their shows.  Actually, A LOT of the bands at ACL Fest were fond of the F word.  I don't know if the bands were just super excited to be there or what, but over the weekend Zilker Park got virtually carpet bombed with what has traditionally been considered pretty bad language.  I'm not a prude.  I don't really get offended by those sorts of things, but by the end of the weekend it was just sort of sounding dumb.  Just throwing out f-bombs as a half assed way of attempting to engage the crowd amounts to about the unwittiest banter that I can imagine. 
Anyway, HAIM was good.  Their music was good.  I will be listening to them again.

After HAIM we saw Junip.  I really liked Junip.  Weird mix of electronic synths, bass, and acoustic guitar.  Jose Gonzalez has a cool voice.  Mellow, but with energy.  Once again, a new band that I would definitely make space for on my iPhone.  Since the show we've already been streaming them on Spotify at home.

Next we saw Portugal. The Man.  (once again the thing with the weird punctuation and capitalization.  That fad must die.)  Portugal. The Man was pretty good.  They put on a good set.  Tight and solid.  People danced.  Good harmonies with solid beats.  Another band that I may have underestimated in the past.

We wandered around after that and watched a little bit of The Joy Formidable.  They were sort of unusual- interesting combination of rocking instrumentation with prettier, more delicate vocals.  More powerful than I expected. 

Passion Pit came on next.  They were like a giant dance party.  Easy to listen.  People were groovin' and bouncin' and shakin'.  Pretty cool stuff.  Passion Pit sort of washed over me.  I remember having a good time, but I don't remember much in terms of  details.  I guess that's good?



(The Mavericks are here to show you
that it's all gonna be okay)
We went over to the Zilker tent next and watched The Mavericks.  They were a lot of fun.  The Mavericks have been around for a while, and they're a pretty traditional band.  Raul Malo has a cool voice.  They have an interesting blend of country, Tex-Mex, and sort of 50's era rock and roll.  They're hard to describe, I'm learning, but very easy to enjoy.  The Mavericks play music that just puts you in a good mood.  They want to entertain.

A cold front blew in, the temperatures dropped, and we closed Saturday night with The Cure.  I've been a pretty big, unapologetic Cure fan since high school.  Robert Smith looks sort of freaky (and always has), but he writes great songs- songs that, at their melodramatic best, sound like heartbreak and confusion and painful longing.  It's hard to pull off that sort of music, but Smith does it exceptionally well.  The songs have the honest, earnest, and naive emotions that often are most associated with youth.  In the end, though, the songs are the sentiments of a person who's laying his soul bare while fully aware that such expressions can end disastrously.  Such a person might be tempted to hide himself behind crazy hair and weird makeup in order to distract people a bit from the content of his music...
The Cure have got some poppier, happier numbers (e.g., "Friday I'm in Love"), but in my mind those aren't the band at their best.
Anyway, The Cure sounded good.  People either get The Cure or they don't.  I'm a Cure guy.  Depeche Mode not really as much.
Saturday night we stopped in at Kerbey Lane on the way home and had a nice dinner.  We beat the rush.  As we were leaving, a small mob of tired, hungry festival goers was filling the waiting area. 

On Sunday the weather was just about as perfect as I've ever had at an ACL Festival.  Sunny and a light breeze and cool.
We started out seeing a band called MS MR.  They were pretty good.  Once again, a bit of an electronic dance vibe, but with some instrumentation.  They were fun.  Their lead singer, Lizzy Plapinger, seemed a little serious and stone faced at first, but as the set went on she seemed to enjoy herself and interacted more with the crowd.  They played a decent version of LCD Soundsystem's "Dance Yourself Clean".  Cool, but not as cool as the original. 
Following MS MR we saw Twin Forks.  They're a sort of folk/bluegrass kind of act, but they also played a Talking Heads cover ("And She Was"), so I guess they can play all kinds of stuff.  I had listened to one of their videos on the interwebs before seeing them, and I'm here to say that they were much better in person than Youtube might lead you to believe (those Youtube videos, for one thing, rarely do a good job of capturing the bass and drums).  They also played a cover of Getaway Gift by Steve Earle, which was kind of interesting because we had seen Steve Earle perform a really great set on that same Austin Ventures stage at ACL the year before.  One of those cool moments that the band probably didn't even know that they were creating.
We hung out with our friend Jessie during some of these earlier sets.  Jessie always manages to get free tickets to things.  It's her superpower.

Next we saw Grouplove.  Grouplove put on a cool set.  They're pretty easy to listen to.  They have some sort of throbbing rhythms, layered with cool vocals and melodies.  I enjoyed them, but sort of like Passion Pit, I don't have a lot of specific memories of the Grouplove set other than just a lot of happy people dancing to the music.  Kinda weird.



Following Grouplove we saw Divine Fits.  They put on a really good set.  They had a technical glitch or two with guitars cutting out, but they got things fixed quickly, and they put on a good show.  They rocked hard and sounded good.  Britt Daniel brings his clean, punchy, impeccable sense of rhythm, and Dan Broeckner lends his unique, powerful vocals and guitar stylings.  Would definitely see again.

After that we wandered over to listen to The National.  I like The National.  I enjoyed their set.  I like Matt Barninger's low voice, and The National are one of those bands that calm me down while still making me feel good.  We were hanging out with a friend, Meagan, and a friend of hers, and I was laying on the grass, listening to The National on a perfect day in Zilker Park with Amy, surrounded by happy people and music all around, the skyline of our fair city in the background, and I had one of those moments when you just realize how lucky you are.  Gotta enjoy those moments and recognize them while they're happening.


 

After The National we sort of listened to Tame Impala from a distance.  They sounded okay, but somehow different than I expected.  A friend had given me one of their CDs, and I liked it.  I guess I liked them live, too, but I can't help but feel that a little something was lost in translation between the recording and the stage.  Maybe the nuance of their sound on the album just didn't translate quite as well into a live setting.  I'm not sure.  They were pretty decent, but...

Next we saw Neko Case.  Neko Case has cool songs, a great voice, and a good band.  We'd seen her backup singer, Kelly Hogan, perform a show of her own during SXSW when we volunteered at our church, and Kelly Hogan was impressive in her own right.  Anyway, Neko Case put on a good show, but I felt bad for her because her set was wrought by technical difficulties.  They had trouble getting sound in any of the monitor speakers, apparently, and the stage lights kept going out, and there was horrible sound bleed over from the Atoms for Peace show, which was happening on the nearby AMD stage.  You could see Neko and her band getting visibly annoyed, and she finally announced that they were going to have to skip some slow songs because of the pounding drums from the other stage.  Still, there were some good songs in the set, and Neko and her crew did a great job of performing.

We finished up by watching a few songs by Atoms for Peace.  Amy didn't like them.  I thought they were okay, but probably not what we were looking for when we were a little tired, hungry, and worn out at the end of a three day festival.  Thom Yorke was engaged in his sort of high pitched, wailing sort of singing, but the pounding drums (and drum machines) accompanied by Flea's slapping, hammering bass just didn't generate the same sense of melody or mystery that Radiohead is able to create.  Conversely, Thom Yorke's drawn out lyrical phrasing doesn't lend itself to the dance rhythms quite as well as Anthony Kiedis's more punctuated, manic singing.

Anyway, we took off a little early and rolled over to Homeslice.  We sat in a cozy corner, Amy bought me some pizza and a beer, and it was the perfect end to a very nice festival weekend. 

Couple of closing thoughts on ACL 2013:

1)  The two weekend thing is not a terrible idea, but I think that this year will prove that it's pretty lame to have two weekends of the same lineup.  When they have the same experience duplicated on two consecutive weekends, it feels much more like you're buying an assembly line product instead of having a unique experience.  Even if you see a good show, it's hard not to wonder if the same band will do it better or worse the next weekend.  Also, with the same bands playing, it makes it feel like the weather is that much more important.  If you paid the same amount of money as people on a different weekend for the same bands, and they got sunshine while you got pouring rain, you're gonna feel like you lost some sort of weird gamble.  Also driving home the weirdness of the repeat scheduling, local news outlets have traditionally gotten really excited about covering ACL Fest as a one weekend, not-to-be-missed Austin event.  It's hard to muster that same level of excitement when you know that they're going to just try to repeat the whole thing again in the same way the following weekend.  You could literally miss it the first weekend without it being a big deal because there are still tickets available for weekend two.  Instead of being about a cool experience, the repeat weekends make it much more clear that it really is, at least for C3, all about the money.  If they were really interested in making it about putting on a world class, interesting festival, I think they'd have two different lineups (like Jazzfest does in New Orleans) and make single day passes available each weekend.
Next year they need to have different bands for each weekend, and they need to bring back single day passes.  If they can't pull off those two things, they should just go back to doing a one weekend event. 

2)  There's been talk of trying to move the festival out the F1 Circuit of the Americas track.  I think that would be a big mistake.  It would ruin the flavor of the festival.  Moving ACL would change the spirit of the city itself.  If Chicago can host Lollapalooza in Grant Park each year and New York can hold performances and concerts (and now the Global Citizen music festival) in Central Park, I think the neighbors around Zilker Park can suck it up a few times a year.  Zilker Park is Austin's backyard, and we strive to be the live music capital of the world.  There should be reasonable restrictions on the activities in Zilker, but, on balance, it's a space that belongs to the people of Austin- not to the affluent few who can afford to live in the neighborhoods around it.

3) Even after all of these years I still really enjoy ACL. Granted, there will always be things to complain about, but when you go down to Zilker each year and see people enjoying the festival who have travelled to Austin and shelled out money to cover all of the expenses of a regular vacation on top of paying for the festival tickets themselves, it makes you feel lucky to live here. It's a vibrant, exciting, enthusiastic city. I like it.  
Of course, it's easier to love it when the weather is nice.

Peace!