Festival Review...Austin City Limits 2013 Day 1

This past weekend I attended Austin City Limits Music Festival in Austin, Texas. It's one of my personal favourites because it generally has a decent lineup and reflects the fun and funky personality of Austin. If you ever get a chance to go, I would highly recommend it, you'll have a great time. Since I saw so many bands (including everyone from my Top 10 List) I figured I'd give you the run down on what all I got up to. The festival will be happening again this upcoming weekend with a nearly identical lineup. So here we go, Day 1!

Well, watching The Orwells' set was a memorable one for sure. I can now say that's the first time I've ever seen someone throw up/dry heave on stage and I'm pretty sure I could live without a repeat. I was really looking forward to their set, even though it was the very first one of the day, but after watching frontman Mario Cuomo stumble around and actively trying not to throw up I ended up leaving after about three songs. They're a band of 17 year olds from the suburbs of Chicago with a great punk sound, and if they can get it together they have the potential to go somewhere.

From there I headed on to FIDLAR. I was a little concerned going into it since their set time was noon, but I was pleasantly surprised. They're a skater punk band out of LA and I'm just totally in love with them at the moment. A highlight of the set was when the power blew out during the end of "Max Can't Surf," a song about the drummer Max Kuehn. The only thing you could hear was the drums, thus giving Max an impromptu solo on his own song. Their set was full of energy and I highly recommend you go see them live because it's an amazing experience.

I was pleasantly surprised by just how good Jimmy Eat World is. You're all probably familiar with a few of their songs, especially "The Middle," but I was really impressed with the fact that they're actually really great performers. I spent a pleasant hour at their set, initially dragged there by friends.

Arctic Monkeys have been one of my favourite bands for years, and they just killed their live set. I've seen them seven times since 2006 and I have to say that they haven't always been the best live act. The last few times I've seen them have been consistently amazing, and I'm excited to say they have grown into being a consistently good live act. Alex Turner even attempted some awkwardly adorable dance moves and pulled out a comb to fix his hair a few times and the crowd loved it. They sounded fantastic, even if a large portion of the crowd wasn't too familiar with the songs from AM. Arctic Monkeys in the States is a curious thing, except for 15 minutes in 2006 when they were so popular, they just haven't really moved beyond a moderately successful indie band here. I've seen them play ACL three times and they still haven't moved beyond a hour-long set in the middle of the day.

I caught a bit of Queens of the Stone Age and was enjoying it. It was great to see them rocking out but unfortunately their set overlapped with Depeche Mode who were absolutely fantastic. Dave Gahan's voice sounds exactly how it did back in the 80s, I was very impressed. What was especially interesting was how they updated the arrangement of some of their older songs to make them sound more modern, instead of sticking with the now-dated production. They're dedicated musicians through and through, and put on a great show.

Somehow, after all of that, I even managed to go to another gig! After each day of the festival there are several official ACL aftershows at different venues around Austin to give you an opportunity to either see people again or catch bands you may have missed. I really love FIDLAR so I jumped at the opportunity to see them and The Orwells play again. There'll be another post dedicated just to that experience.

All in all, this year's ACL was one of the best. I'd highly recommend this music festival in the future as it's a lot of fun.

Holly Spidle