Last weekend I was able to go to Austin City Limits, and let me just say it was one of the best days of my life hands down. From the walk to the concert grounds to hanging out in the media tents up to the amazing artists I got to see, the entire day was an adrenaline rush. When you walk onto the concert grounds, the entire atmosphere is simply amazing. There were people EVERYWHERE. It was tough getting from stage to stage, but that’s what made it so exciting. Music loving people from all over all together at this one event, with their only purpose being the artists they came out to see and the expected fun throughout the entire festival.
Among the first few people we got to see, Gary Clark Jr. was one of THE best guitarists I have ever had the chance to listen to. I had never heard of him before, but when he picked up that guitar and started playing, I was hooked. The majority of the show was him rockin’ out on his guitar, but I don’t think anyone complained. The few songs he did sing, his voice mixed in so well with his guitar playing. He had such a unique way of playing, at one point playing what sounded like a DJ mixer. The way he played was so intense, adding so much more depth to his music. As a beginner on guitar, he gave me so much inspiration that it’s possible to even get that good. He definitely made a fan out of me, and I can’t wait for another chance to go to one of his shows.
The second show we made our way through the crowds to was a band I was already a huge fan of. I was PSYCHED to see Two Door Cinema Club, a band I discovered about a year ago. I was already in love with their unique style of music, and couldn't wait to hear their new album live. Alex Trimble, the lead singer, used about 6 different guitars throughout the entire performance. From the time they entered the stage to the time they stepped off, the entire crowd was either dancing or singing along. Alex was great at pumping up the crowd and filling the stage with such energy, you could feel it all around you. There was one song that I distinctly remember, Come Back Home, a song off of their first album. It starts out calm and slowly builds up, the whole crowd jumping up and down as soon as the guitar starts playing. Everyone was singing along, and there were even a couple crowd surfers! TDCC ended their performance with What You Know, their first single, the song that first got them started. They ended the show perfectly, and you could tell the crowd was disappointed that it had to end. Since I already knew the band so well the show was that much better, and I cannot WAIT to see them again!
Two Door Cinema Club, ACL 2012
Now this third artist left me completely speechless. I knew him from his role in the show Community as Tony, one of my favorite characters. I had no idea he was even an artist, and when I heard what he was able to do, I was amazed. CHILDISH GAMBINO, one of the coolest rappers I’ve ever heard. I’m not even a hip hop/rap person, but I loved the show. He was great at pumping up the crowd, and got everyone moving and singing along. I loved the screen he had behind him while performing, sometimes showing lyrics (which was great since I had never heard his songs before that, and I was able to sing along), other times showing a collaboration of videos to go with the song. Since it had gotten dark by the time he started performing, lights completely lit up the stage, looking so distinct and colorful against the night sky. I loved the way he ran the show and his combination of singing and rapping. He was my favorite performance of the night, Two Door Cinema Club coming up right behind him. I’d definitely go to one of his shows again and can’t wait until he comes back to Austin!
Childish Gambino, ACL 2012 (not my photo)
I don’t think I should even have to describe this last band.
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS.
Think of it this way. There were no other artists playing shows during the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ performance. Thousands of ACL festival-goers all cramped around that stage, trying to get the closest they could to the band. It was difficult trying to get past anyone, who were very protective of their spots. We were pretty far from the stage, but considered close compared to how far the crowd stretched back. I’d been a fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers heck, since I was born. I’ve always loved their music, and seeing them live was amazing! The crowd moved with the music perfectly, coming alive when RHCP played one of their hit singles, Dani California. I didn’t stay long enough to hear them perform Under the Bridge or Californiacation, but when they started the first few chords to Snow (Hey Oh), everyone was clapping their hands, singing along at the top of their lungs. With their kind of fame, I knew it would be the only show of theirs I’d be able to attend, and I was ecstatic that I got the chance to see them at all.
Anthony Kiedis, lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, “We come here specifically to mess with Texas… in a nice way.”
Red Hot Chili Peppers, ACL 2012 (not my photo)