Thursday, September 29, 2005

Ups and downs

While it's been mostly ups for me lately, it's hard not to feel down about the people who are suffering because of the twin hurricanes and other disasters, both man-made and natural.

But in spite of that, Steve and I attended the Austin City Limits Festival last week end. I helped out in the South Austin Museum Of Popular Culture booth part of each 12-hour day. The heat was punishing. I believe that ACL Fest is the way Austinites are made to attone for their many sins. It's staged during the most miserable part of the year. The Higher Powers that know we're going to attend, that we can't resist the music.

The temperatures reached well over 100 degrees on all three days. Earlier last week we thought we might be getting Hurricane Rita head on, then later thought we might at least get some rain. But a high pressure system kept Rita to the east so it was hot and dry here. The wind blew the first two days, which made the dust at the festival so thick that many people, myself included, wore bandanas over their faces.

The high moments for me were:

Day 1 -

* Getting the Holy Ghost in the Gospel tent with the Jones Family Singers.
* Finally realizing my dream of seeing the Black Crowes. (Chris Robinson is a load of eye candy).

Day 2 -

* Asylum Street Spankers.... "I Want to F*ck You Like an Animal" played in bluegrass style by a mohawk-wearing fiddle player, and other oddities.
* Buddy Guy -- 'nuff said
* ROKY!!! The absolute best concert, hands down, was Roky Erickson and the Eplosives. The supreme moment of the festival was when Roky walked onstage and starting singing It's a Cold Night for Alligators. We had a great spot about 4 rows back in between a psychoanalyst from Germany, who said he'd tried to analyse Roky's lyrics, and two Norwegian dudes who wore t-shirts that said "Friends of Roky Erickson from Norway". We talked to Sumer later and he said that Roky met with them and they gave him a t-shirt. The perfomance was outstanding, the crowd was the biggest that he had ever played to, light show was perfect, and Roky seemed to be having the time of his life.

Day 3 -

* After Roky, everything else was anticlimactic but Grady put on an excellent show. Those hard rocking cowboys did an ass-kicking version of Hank Williams' Honky Tonkin'.
* Dancing with Steve to Kermit Ruffins' New Orleans jazz-funk-hip-hop beats.