I’ve got a new love in my life.
The only thing is, it’s a place rather than a person.
I made my first journey to Austin, Texas, a couple of weeks ago for the Austin City Limits Music Festival.
When the lineup announcement was made earlier this year, I knew it was time to stop talking about a visit to the city and actually book a trip.
Depeche Mode and The Cure were both headlining the festival — my top two bands of all time. These are the bands that have soundtracked my life more than any others. We go pretty deep.
With them, and dozens of other bands I was excited about seeing on the lineup, I rounded up some friends and we haphazardly stumbled our way into one good time after another.
It’s official: I love you Austin.
A lot of people have asked me about the trip, and I thought I would take the opportunity here to relate some of the highlights of the festival.
First of all, I’m happy to report that I managed to get right up to the front for both Depeche Mode and The Cure. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. And it was definitely worth all the effort.
Sadly, day three of the festival was cancelled because it rained up to 11 inches and flooded Zilker Park. Still, I couldn’t walk away disappointed after all the great music I’d seen.
Here are some of the best videos I’ve rounded up of my ACL highlights:
Depeche Mode — World in My Eyes
I hope I’m as much of a rock god as lead singer Dave Gahan in my 50s. He’s putting on the best performances of his career in my opinion. “World in My Eyes” is the opening track off Depeche Mode’s “Violator.”
The Cure — Pictures of You
The Cure played a set that included deep album cuts and many singles. It’s hard to pick a highlight, but “Pictures of You” has always held a special place in my heart.
Reignwolf — Electric Love
I knew nothing about Reignwolf before the festival, but I kept reading in reviews of the first weekend that the band had to be seen. I’m really glad I took the advice of the critics, because this Reignwolf’s live show is a beast that will rip out your soul and make it rock. This was their opening song — before the other two band members emerged. Who needs them when the lead singer takes on drumming and guitar duties simultaneously? (Make sure to watch till the end.)
Savages — No Face
The first band I saw at the festival was The Savages. They lived up to their reputation of having an intense, mesmerizing live show. Obviously, lead singer Jehnny Beth is the center of attention, but I loved watching Ayse Hassan own her bass.
Grimes — Vanessa
Claire Boucher aka Grimes doesn’t give you a choice but to love her. She is an artist that puts so many good vibes in the air, you can’t defend yourself against them. I’m glad I had a front row seat to her energetic performance.
Jake Bugg — Lightning Bolt
This kid is amazing. I love his debut album, but he was even better live.
I saw a lot of other great music, but those performances are the ones that really stuck with me. Some bands that I would have liked to catch, like Muse, Queens of the Stone Age, Silversun Pickups and Arctic Monkeys, were the victims of scheduling conflicts. I was bummed about it, but that’s the reality of a festival as large and wonderful as ACL.
I suspect I may attend this festival again …