Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Co-Songs of the Week 9/26/08

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band - "Kodachrome"

Talking Heads - "Houses in Motion"

Ah, Austin in September. The Austin City Limits Music Festival. (Known in these and other parts as ACL.) Three days of sun, fun and great music in beautiful Zilker Park. My third year of the attending the fest was just as great as the first two trips. I saw 19 artists perform during the festival, most of it really good. If I had to pick the Top 5 performances, I would go with Okkervill River, Robert Plant and Allison Krauss, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, What Made Milwaukee Famous and one of this week's SOTW performers, Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band. I knew that the Bright Eyes frontman was keeping away from doing songs from that catalog on this solo tour, yet I didn't expect his hour-long set to be just focused on his self-titled album, one new song and one tremendous cover. When Oberst and company broke into the 1973 Paul Simon solo hit, I started chuckling. It seemed that most of the crowd at the AT&T stage had never even heard the song. There were a few pockets of people dancing--and I could tell those folks were probably my age or a bit older. No matter, Conor kicked some serious ass. I really hope that cover ends up being one of the track released when the ACL live recordings come to iTunes next month. Check it out for yourself:

Now David Byrne and his band did a great set at ACL as the sun was setting on the first day of the festival, but it paled in comparison to seeing him at the very tiny Paramount Theater the night before the festival opened. My Austin friend (and place-to-crash supplier these past three years) Stacy couldn't make the first day of ACL due to work, so we decided to take the plunge and get tix for this ACL aftershow...that was before ACL. Huh? In any case, it was a very wise decision. Byrne is touring behind his great new collaboration with Brian Eno, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, and his set consists only of songs he wrote with Eno. (Or, in the case of the Al Green cover "Take Me to the River," Eno produced.) I am a huge fan of the Jonathan Demme-directed Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense, which takes simple staging and brings it to another level. Byrne's current show feels like an extension of all of that. The entire band is dressed in white and are supplemented by three dancers. And these dancers are tremendous. The choreography during the songs (I'd say about 75% of the set features the dancers) adds an extra dimension to the old Heads classics and the strong new material. Go see this show when it comes to your town. I promised you won't be disappointed. Check out one of the dancers in action:

And here you can check out what I thought was the best song of both Byrne sets I saw, "Houses in Motion" from Remain in Light:

Another great time in Austin (and Lockhart for some great bbq). I already have my tickets set for next year.

BONUS: Okkervill River were just so much fun, and I was very pleased to see this video for "Lost Coastlines" when I returned to the old grind:


Sal C. said...

When it comes to Lockhart BBQ, do you prefer Kruez's, Blacks, or Smitty's? After attending SXSW for the past 5 years I have to say I am decidely a Smitty's man myself

Figgsrock2 said...

Kruez's is what I prefer. The brisket is amazing there.