ACL Recap Day Two: A Long Day

Saturday promised to be another long day at the festival. On the agenda were Pete Yorn, The Gaslight Anthem, Broken Bells and The Temper Trap at the festival with the much anticipated Black Keys aftershow.
We got to the stage where Pete Yorn would be playing a little early which not only meant we had a decent view, but also that we got to hear Grace Potter and the Nocturnals on the next stage over. She was a late addition to the lineup and was on my list as a tentative because it would have meant getting to the festival fairly early. Her performance was great. Lots of energy!
Pete Yorn is another artist that I’d seen perform live prior to ACL. The last time I saw Pete play live was at the Fillmore in San Francisco. Yorn released a new album (Self-titled Pete Yorn, recorded in Salem, OR, produced by Frank Black) right before ACL and is in the midst of touring the late night TV circuit. His set was made up of several new songs, but some great renditions of some of his older material. A favorite was the version of “Lose You” he played. It’s one of my favorite songs of his, and not one I would necessarily expect him to play live. By the end of his set he had the crowd fired up with songs from Musicforthemorningafter.
I recommend checking out “Rock Crowd” on his latest album and anything off of his debut.
The Gaslight Anthem had a great album in 2008 that showed up on lots of critics’ year end lists. Often confused with a pop punk band in the vein of a Good Charlotte or Fall Out Boy, but don’t let their look confuse you. Most people are drawing comparisons to Springsteen and those are legit comparisons. Their ACL set was solid with several songs from their 2008 release ’59 Sound and from this summer’s American Anthem. Check them out!
Broken Bells pairs Dangermouse of Gnarls Barkley fame with The Shins’ James Mercer. Their live performance was fantastic! Playing nearly their entire album plus a great cover of The Black Keys’ “Everlasting Light”.
I know very little about The Temper Trap, but I know that their album Conditions reminds me of U2 in the Unforgettable Fire days. It’s one of my favorite new albums and you should have it. Their live performance was solid playing most of their album and mixing in a few new songs.
After Temper Trap the decision needed to be made of whether to cross the festival grounds and pack in with all the hipsters to see LCD Soundsystem play as planned or take advantage of some extra time and make a break for the cab stand and get ready for Black Keys at Stubb’s. We elected to make a break for it.
Tickets for the Black Keys aftershow sold out within a few minutes of going on sale. With Foals opening it was certain we wouldn’t have a repeat of the Strokes two and a half hour wait…at least without proper entertainment. Foals are good! I’d listened to them a little in prep for the festival, but probably got lost in the mash of trying to catch up on the dozens of bands I knew very little about. Their performance made me think of a cross between the Smiths and the Cure, not too shabby.
The format of The Black Keys set was similar to their festival set, but longer. The two-piece then four-piece then two-piece combo worked really well. Again, as I said these guys are one of the hottest acts in music right now and based on their amazing performances, it’s well deserved. Spotted in the packed house was Britt Daniel of Spoon sneaking in the back door and through the crowd, and allegedly James Marsden stood a few inches in front of me (and several inches shorter than me) and let a girl light a cigarette off of his cigarette. I watched the transaction take place, but wouldn’t have recognized his X-Men powers. Couldn’t have asked for a better performance out of The Black Keys and a fitting end to a long day.

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