So far for me, ACL has been all about dilemmas. They’re the good kind of conflicts, though, like whether to see N.E.R.D. or David Byrne; Gnarls Barkley or Raconteurs; John Fogerty or blow my head off.
But those kind of difficult decisions come with the territory at these things. Hiking back and forth between them—running is out of the question in this heat—is sort of like flipping channels between two programs and ultimately not being able to completely follow either one. Trying to sample as much as I could, I caught a song or two of Delta Spirit, Jamie Lidell, Hot Chip and the always-great gypsy rockers Gogol Bordello. Hot Chip drew an especially pretty and young crowd not afraid to dance in public, and how could you resist? Live, their music felt a lot more organic than I was expecting, with an ace drummer and juiced-up guitars adding warmth to the vintage keyboards and drum machines. At one point half the band was pounding on percussion until it felt a little too much to watching a drum circle for my taste, and I wandered off.
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I’m glad I didn’t stick to my original itinerary. Vampire Weekend didn’t do anything to change the indifference I’ve had to their lame world-music rock, so I followed my ears to some scummy fuzzed-out guitar rock and was surprised to find it was Louis XIV, a band I’d never really given much of a chance. “Finding Out True Love Is Blind” is dumb, and “Air Traffic Control” sounds like they’ve just discovered OK Computer, but they were fun nonetheless.
So there’s about a zero percent chance I’ll follow my Saturday schedule to the letter. Here’s the plan, though.
12:30 p.m. Old 97’s 1:50 p.m. Bavu Blakes and the Extra Plairs 2:30 p.m. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings 3:30 p.m. Man Man 4:30 p.m. Erykah Badu 5:30 p.m. Spiritualized 7:30 p.m. The Black Keys 7:45 p.m. Roky Erickson 8:15 p.m. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss 8:30 p.m. Beck