My ACL Experience

This year was the first time that I only attended one day of Austin City Limits music festival. I attended Sunday of Weekend 1, October 5, 2014. I got to see exhilarating acts such as AFI, Jhene Aiko, Zedd, and Calvin Harris. The day was also filled with acts such as Spoon, Fitz & The Tantrums, Kongos, Gaslight Anthem, Pearl Jam, and many others.

I entered the festival around 2 o clock so my 16 year-old self can relive great memories with AFI. AFI has been a band for more than a decade and their performance did not seem to show signs of dying. They played hits from all of their albums and provided great energy to what was going to be a very hot and sunny afternoon.

After AFI, I ventured onto the RetailMeNot stage to see up and coming female act known as Jhene Aiko. Aiko provided a chill, yet upbeat experience for her followers and those who are finding out about the singing/rapping act. Aiko is physically and audibly attractive, which is a record label’s dream when it comes to marketing purposes. Expect to hear a lot more from her on mainstream radio in the coming months.

After a couple hour break, I traveled back to the Miller Lite stage to see one of the greatest EDM acts to date in Zedd. The single-dj spectacle played popular remixes and some new ones to get the crowd going as the sun set. Arguably my favorite set of the day, I would definitely pay to see him again for Weekend 2.

Immediately following Zedd was Calvin Harris at the Honda stage. Calvin Harris is known for high-profile collaborations with artists Rihanna, Ellie Goulding, and many others. Rumors have played that Calvin Harris is a “press play and walk away” dj. He proved those rumors false with this set. Harris played all of his hits and even played his own rendition of the Riff Raff hit, “Tip Toe Wing in My Jawwwdinz”. It was a great way to end the night and the first weekend of Austin City Limits.

While most of my experience was great, there were a few irritations I’ve experienced. ACL has become too crowded. I understand making money but at least make it to where the festival is still enjoyable. There were times where audiences of each stage were overlapping each other. Either make the festival 21 and up or contemplate having less stages. But with recent news, it looks like Austin City Limits is only to grow in size of attendance and not venue with Live Nation taking over C3. I’ve enjoyed ACL ever since I moved to Austin three years ago, but I don’t think I can handle 1-3 days of feeling like a sardine. Anyways, for those attending Weekend 2 or future ACLs, have fun and stay safe. Also, if you’re not attending this weekend, you can catch the live stream through Red Bull TV.

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Gary Clark Jr. – Blak And Blu (Mixtape)

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Austin-based soul singer Gary Clark Jr. finally releases his Blak And Blu mixtape (hosted and mixed by DJ D-Nice) showcasing his mastery of southern soulful blues. In a sea of southern vocalists who rely far too heavily on auto-tune, crappy lyrics and an ongoing contest to see who can be T-Pain better than T-Pain, Gary Clark Jr. is a standout who can definitely deserves the spotlight and this is the mixtape to prove it. Also featured are guest spots by Big K.R.I.T., Talib Kweli, Bilal and Alice Smith as well as remixes done by Robert Glasper and Bright Lights.

Chance The Rapper – I Am Very Very Lonely

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It’s always challenging to find eloquent ways of describing the cosmic awesomeness that is a new Chance The Rapper track. This one comes complete with a mellow backdrop courtesy of his band Social Experiment and includes the most accurate lyrical depiction of a stoner’s night in these two ears have ever heard. And it was just barely over a year ago that we were treated to Acid Rap so maybe this means a new project is on the horizon. One can only dream.

Your Old Droog (Y.O.D.) – Nutty Bars

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Now I have to admit I have no earthly idea what a droog is or why I have an old one but Coney Island native and newcomer Your Old Droog can rap his ass off. Don’t let the name and cover art of the song trick you into thinking shit’s about to get sweet. This dude has the influence of Nas’s cadence mixed with some poignant Wu Tang dart-style bars that’ll keep your head nodding for the all 64 of them. As soon as I heard that opening line, I was hooked.

Kelela, Tink & DJ Dahi – Want It

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As a collaboration for the “Songs From Scratch” series via YoursTruly LA-based songstress Kelela & Chicago emcee Tink link up over production provided by DJ Dahi (producer of such classic songs as Money Trees for K. Dot and Worst Behavior for that guy who brings lint rollers to a basketball game). The result is a smooth cut reminiscent of the pinnacle of 90’s R&B on par with the kind of tracks you’d expect to hear from Aaliyah, Missy Elliot and Timbaland. Kelela’s vocals even sound like she’s halfway between Jhene Aiko and Aaliyah. Definitely not someone you can afford to sleep on.