Sunday, October 4, 2009

Austin City Limits - Day Three

Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears - wow, he's got some pipes. Otis Redding is the most common comparison, but Joe Lewis' voice reminds me of The Hardest-Working Man in Showbusiness, James Brown, if Brown decided to make crunchy, raunchy blues rock. Lewis' energy, passionate voice, and never-a-clean-note guitar playing overshadow the sometimes immature lyrics, and he had the crowd bopping along despite the early hour.

The B-52s - amazingly still at it, still turning out the same infectious pop they ever did. The crowd obviously roared for hits "Roam" and "Love Shack," but the rest of the material kept the audience engaged as well.

Arctic Monkeys - whether the infectious punk pop of "I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor" or the murkier stuff from their new album, they were electrifying. It's easy to get lost in how precocious they are and how clever the lyrics are, but the Arctic Monkeys can play. Blazing guitar solos and rapid drum riffs kept the pulses pounding. A major highlight of the whole festival was an extended version of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds classic "Red Right Hand." The Monkeys were faithful to the dark feel of the original but with a punk energy that was all their own. I liked the Arctic Monkeys before but I'm a believer now.

Passion Pit - the Boston-based band kept the audience dancing through their boisterous set. Between them and Girl Talk, a little later, the X-BOX360 stage was party central for Sunday.

The Dead Weather - I missed half the set, unfortunately, but caught a major highlight that was definitely the sexiest moment of ACL - Jack White stepping out from behind the drums to duet with Allison Mosshart on closer "Will There Be Enough Water." The two, just inches away around the same microphone, injectic a bluesy sleaziness only hinted at on the album cut, and White's blistering guitar solos took the song to the next level.

Girl Talk - what a great jam party atmosphere. From 100 yards deep, just a see of hands and people bouncing to Greg Gillis' odd mix of hip-hop, classic rock, and various and assorted other music. The stage was full of people dancing about, while Gillis would periodically climb aboard his table and sometimes just stand there at his laptop to do his magic. Not the headiest stuff in the world, but loads of fun.

Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears Site
B-52s Site
Arctic Monkeys Site
Passion Pit Site
The Dead Weather Site
Girl Talk Site

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