Levon Helm, Zac Brown Band, Deer Tick and More Battle the Mud at Austin City Limits Day Two

October 4th, 2009 by J. Edward Keyes and Zac Crain Leave a reply »

There was a tie for Most Significant Special Effect on Day Two of the Austin City Limits Festival. The first contender was Austin’s own Ghostland Observatory, whose agitated dance music took a back seat to a breathtaking light show. The stage shot sharp, endless beams of green light over the heads of festivalgoers, occasionally filling in the spaces between the eerie beacons with cloudlike LED patterns. The stage itself was almost entirely obscured by smoke and bathed in neon purple lights, frontman Aaron Behrens (in a cowboy hat, hair in pigtails) and instrumentalist Thomas Turner (in a lit-up vampire cape) often hidden completely. The group sent up multicolored cubes and triangles, and endless series of neon-brite colors that made Zilker Park feel like the inside of a nightclub in the early ’90s. It was like if Tool suddenly cheered up and went day-glo while simultaneously discovering Daft Punk records. (Watch footage from their set above).

Experience Austin City Limits in our best live photos.

The second contender for showstopping spectacle, unfortunately, was Mother Nature. Saturday was plagued by insistent, often torrential downpours, which rendered much of the day a muddy and, occasionally, miserable mess.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the bands that played before the rain were the most successful. Sarah Jaffe’s early afternoon set found the Denton, Texas singer/songwriter working her way through a set of gentle, slowly building country songs marked by a sense of determination. “I never look down and I never let go,” she sang during one song, and the music’s steady build and slow simmer served as the perfect complement.

Check out backstage photos of Phoenix, Avett Brothers, Blitzen Trapper and more at ACL.

Deer Tick’s approach was more laconic. The group’s grizzled count...

Article Source: Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily


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