ACL Day 2: Matt & Kim and more
After Day Two at Austin City Limits, the night faded away in a drunken haze. It was the perfect ending to a long day of drinking, chatting with bands, and listening to a slew of great performances.
Before my night’s close, I was drinking and dancing at a promotional party organized by Giant Noise. Held at a mansion overlooking Town Lake (that’s what I’m told the Austinites call it, but it’s properly known as the Colorado River) the actual party was in a tiny living room. The two billed performers, Matt & Kim and Local Natives had just performed to thousands of people–so I arrived early.
It was a little after nine when I got to the Giant Noise party. The girls at check-in sweetly told me they “shouldn’t” let anyone in–but I found my way inside to watch Local Natives’ sound check. I perched myself outside the main room with a perfect glance at the stage. Not too long after a woman sat by me and asked who was playing. We began chatting. I told her my name, and she responded “I’m Kim.” She must have been surprised by my unenthusiastic “hi” because she continued to introduce herself saying, “I’m Kim, from Matt & Kim,” before pointing out Matt, and introducing her friend Taylor. Our conversation didn’t get deep. I exclaimed my girlfriend’s love for the group, asked for a picture, and we discussed our favorite flavors of Pop Chips. Half hour later I danced fanatically to the duo’s DJ set like I was in front of a mirror in the comfort of my bedroom. Though I’d never play Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone” and yet I begrudgingly loved every minute of it.
Photo taken by Franki Chan at Coachella
A half hour before meeting Kim, I stood at the AMD stage (main stage) watching M.I.A. While I’m not a huge fan of her latest album, /\/\/\Y/\, she’s a fantastic performer. Granted Diplo’s beats encourage dance sessions, but her constant bouncing around the stage dancing is definitely contagious. Midway through her set Brooklyn duo, Ninjasonik, came on to stage as hype men, but were silly. They seemed uncomfortable (or stoned) in front of what was surely a crowd ten times the size of theirs earlier in the day.
Moments before M.I.A.’s performance I listened along with several thousands others to Matt & Kim. As beach balls floated across the crowd, people danced and bobbed their hands back and forth to tracks like “Daylight” and “Cameras.”
Knowing this would be a long evening, I rested in the media tent for the most the late afternoon. Throughout the weekend artist would meander through the tent. I exchanged musical suggestions with Jon Philbot, of Bear In Heaven (he suggested I listen to Pink Skull and Synthesis). Stuck my head in the background of a MTV film session with Local Natives. If you see a white guy wearing a sun hat, looking foolish, that’s me. Caught up with Portugal. The Man about their progression as basketball players. Talked thrift store fashion with NinjaSonik. So one can imagine that I was pretty exhausted from all this schmoozing and boozing. Oy!
It was the healthy dose of First Aid Kit that helped me through the day. I planned on arriving to ACL around noon just to catch these two sisters. I was simply blown away. The girls, signed to The Knife’s label, Rabid Records, played Fever Ray’s cover “When I Grow Up” in chilling perfection. Also, they played two new songs, one untitled, the other called, “The Lion’s Roar,” which sounded vaguely like Songs: Ohia.
Lesson learned from Day 1 for Day 2–start off with your First Aid Kit–and you’ll be fine.