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Posts Tagged ‘ACL’

My birthday is coming up and it’s on 10/10/10 this year.  I decided a while back to do something special, maybe like go to Vegas w/ bunch of friends.  I’m very grateful and happy to announce that we’ll be having a party during Austin City Limits weekend at Scoot Inn, 10/7 and 10/8 with performances by Talib Kweli and Amanda Blanks.

My friends at Knuckle Rumbler helped me with the bookings.  We’re having a photo booth, thanks to Annie Ray.  Open bar.  Fake mustaches and plastic sunglasses for everybody.

Talib Kweli is one of my favorite emcee/lyricist.  I think we’ve asked about Mos Def’s availability… too bad we can’t get them both together.  I love all the stuff Amanda Blanks did w/ Spank Rock and her solo projects.  215 in the 512, baby!  Spank Rock was asking for way too much, otherwise we’d book them, too.

So looking forward to seeing everybody there!  Until the, it’s all systems go on MBA app and Swiper Clip.

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My Uninspiring

Austin City Limits line-up was announced on Tuesday.  I put off writing about it b/c I didn’t want it to be a knee-jerk reaction.  The best word I can come up with to describe the line-up is: uninspiring.  If you’ve been to a music festival, a truly great one, like I did back in ’05 at ACL or this year’s Coachella, you know how great it is to get to see all your favorite bands perform at the same place on the same day.  (Of course, you won’t be able to see ALL of them b/c sometime they play at the same time)

Let me first say that I understand.  I understand that Austin’s music demography is different from that of Chicago or L.A.  I understand a lot of younger music fans in Austin have lower income b/c they’re either still in school or their avg salary is lower.  The company that puts on ACL, C3, is simply customizing to fit their audience.  I understand.  But I don’t like it.  This simple economic and marketing fact underlies all the problems I have with ACL for the past half decade.  Unless all these 40-plus-year-olds-in-lawn-chairs suddenly died of old age or the 20-somethings early 30-somethings make a lot more money I don’t see any changes.

Here are some problems I have with ACL in no particular order:

  1. The weak headliners: To suit the old dudes who cling on to dreams of Woodstock yet are afraid to break any hips, the headliner is usually outdated like Windows 95.  This year it’s The Eagles.  Somebody go look up for me when “Hotel California” was topping the charts… I’m too angry to do that.  Give me someone that’s relevant.  TODAY.  Even DMB and Pearl Jam last year was borderline history.  I have never seen people putting their hands up in the air and waving them like they don’t care to flippin’ Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
  2. The lawn chairs: Yes, I said it.  The lawn chairs.  Ban the fucking lawn chairs.  You’re taking up space for us true music fans that want to get closer to our favorite bands and bounce, jump, and dance.  If you’re gonna sit, sit on your couch and watch the PBS broadcast version of ACL.
  3. Too late in the year: Honestly, the 2nd tier bands on the line-up is good this year, if you’ve been deaf the past year.  I believe even an average music fan has gone to a couple of concerts this year and already seen some of the bands.  I love Local Natives, I really do.  Even I don’t really want to see them for I think the 8th time this year, not to mention another rendition of Spoon’s scripted “The Underdog” or The XX’s Snooze Fest “VCR.”  The XX is good music, but they. are. so. meeelllloooowww.  It’s totally unsuitable for music fests.  They drag on your energy.  Plus they’re so green and have no showmanship whatsoever.
  4. The price: My 1st ACL, which was 2003, I believe single day tickets were only $35.  That’s just 7 subway sandwiches!  Practically the tickets have gone up $10 each year and it’s at $85 now for a single day pass.  Mind you Pitchfork in Chicago is only $40 and Bumbershoot in Seattle is only like $25 or so.  It’s not the MOST expensive music festival.  I think Outside Lands in San Francisco is what I can remember to be the most expensive.  This $10/yr increase is clearly faster than normal inflation rate, yet the line-ups have not gotten better.

Do the audience dictate what the line-up should be or should the production company and other gate keepers dictate what music you should consume?  You can categorize marketing as either employ a push or pull strategy.  Pull strategy is where the audience tells you what they want and you go out there to fill that need, while in a push strategy you are creating the need yourself and guiding the consumer to it.  If only I could be one of the gate keepers and put on acts I think people will really enjoy.  And if you’re too old and don’t have the energy that you prefer to sit on your ass listening to Carolyn Wonderland, then fuck you, don’t come.  Of course, I can just hear some of you out there saying exactly that: “if you don’t like the line-up, then don’t go!” You’re right, I won’t.

Lastly, just to clarify.  I’m not ripping on a specific band.  I happen to like The XX and Carolyn Wonderland, but there’s a place and time for everything.  I simply don’t think they belong in a major music festival like ACL.

ACL, I know you can be great.  I have seen it.  I’m only critical b/c I care.  Please do better next year.

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