Welcome to Austin City Limits 2007, where the weather’s hot, the tacos are tasty, and the toilets are very, very flammable. Folks all over town are still buzzing about the lineup’s loss of the exceedingly anxious White Stripes, but hey, it makes for good small talk fodder with the incredibly well informed hotel staff and Austin cabbies. Still the schedule’s strong, if a little jammed up with tough decisions. Tried hard to catch Heartless Bastards, but Erika Wennerstrom’s soulful wailing wound up a kick-ass walk-in soundtrack. Other sounds floating around before we dug in/while gawking at smoke plumes came courtesy of Joseph Arthur’s band of bandana’d ladies and Pete Yorn, who crept into our finger-plugged ears with his now-staple cover of “Young Folks” (we get it guy, Pete Yorn sounds like Peter Bjorn, congrats!).
Speaking of the Swedes, our first set proper was in fact Peter Bjorn & John, on just after Pete Yawn’s cover act (he also did “Suspicious Minds”). PB&J walked out to a pre-recorded sitar rendition of the ‘Asian-riffing’ tune, to a mix of cheers and “Cheesy!” catcalls. Set started well but dropped off quickly, so we took a walk with the Vegan over to Blonde Redhead (already in progress), killing with “SW” and making it apparent that we picked the 3:30 slot poorly.
Top honors on the day go to the Crowded House crowd for listening to Neil’s Time On Earth tunes without breaking out the bottles, Queens Of The Stone Age for Homme-boy’s increasingly beefy pipes, M.I.A. for once again slaying at a festival. On the Arulpragasam tip: Kala killed, along with Arular jam “Ten Dollar” and a “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This” sample-teasing “Bucky Done Gone”); Maya’s got some new chest popping/shoulder jiggling moves to show Captain Perfect; and unlike her set at the Connect Festival, there was no “red card” for inviting the crowd up onstage. Plus, our “Paper Planes” came complete with gunshot percussion, unlike her recent performance on Letterman (which she bitched about, btw).
We know, we know — Björk probably was the true highlight of the day. Sadly, we didn’t catch her. But we had a good reason! Namely, seats waiting over at the KLRU studio for a taping of Austin City Limits (the show) starring … Arcade Fire. So we left early to catch that bit of magic with 200-or-so other lucky souls. Tough call, but having seen the Volta spectacle recently (and seeing her again at MSG soon) made it easier. Heard her set was amazing. And no, it didn’t cross our minds to stick around for the Killers. But we did see them at an afterparty later that night (catching Grizzly Bear!). More on that later. For now, pics…
PETER BJORN & JOHN
LCD SOUNDSYSTEM ON THE JUMBOTRON
QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE