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ACL 2007.3: St. Vincent, Aterciopelados, Muse, and more

ACL 2007.3: St. Vincent, Aterciopelados, Muse, and more

The second day of the 2007 Austin City Limits Music Festival had an odd atmosphere. This could very easily be traced back to the last-minute cancellation of the day’s headliners, The White Stripes. As a result of their backing out, the day’s schedule suffered a shift, and performance slots which had been studied for weeks, were now thrown out the window. While this may have left many of the attendees a bit disappointed, it provided a sizable opportunity for some of the day’s smaller acts. In other words, now that people didn’t have a 9:30 p.m. White Stripes performance to look forward to, they could focus their attention earlier in the day on acts they may not otherwise care to see.

This proved true for indie-rock band Cold War Kids, who arguably played to their largest crowd ever. The same could be said for alt-rock band Blue October (who seemed truly out of place), yet they didn’t quite capture the moment as well as say Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice, who delivered a masterful performance to the masses. In fact, Rice could be seen as an act that really benefits from the White Stripes schedule-shift, because a lack of options made him the only one. And, he proved himself. Meanwhile, Colombian rock gorup Aterciopelados took full advantage of the captive 8:00 p.m. crowd and astonished as another true discovery, though it was evident the jubilant crowd was mostly longtime fans singing every Spanish word. No act of the day had the most potential to capitalize on the White Stripes vacancy as much as Brit-rockers Muse, who took over the headlining slot for Saturday night. A big, big band in the U.K. but only moderately known stateside, the trio stepped up and rocked hard. With a tantalizing light show, near-operatic vocals, and crunching melodies, Muse conquered the challenge and delighted the audience.

I’m catching a flight to New York today, so I have to skip the very solid Day 3 of ACL. Wish I could see Common, The National, My Morning Jacket, and of course, Bob Dylan. In fact, Dylan played a Saturday night show at Stubb’s, read a recap here. All in all, so far a standout ACL Music Festival. One of the best. The fest organizers weathered the White Stripes blow beautifully, and like a film festival, you can’t let one cancellation rock your boat too hard. I’ll check back in with some links to recaps of that day. For now, here are some final photos I took:

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(Eager attendees from around the globe, march their way in to another day of the ACL Music Festival.)

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(Dallas native Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent, managed a stirring afternoon performance on Saturday. She played her set completely solo, but offered enough sound for a full ensemble.)

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(All of these thousands of people, are listening to indie-rock buzz band Cold War Kids. See what I mean.)

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(California power-pop band, Butch Walker and the Let’s Go Out Tonites, were one of the many afternoon acts who benefited from a schedule change, attracting possibly more audience than they would otherwise. Which was a good thing, because producer/performer Walker is a terrific showman.)

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(The festival created “no chair zones” this year. As you can see, they’re gonna take some time to catch on.)

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(Colombian rock act Aterciopelados were a knock-out surprise on Saturday night. They brought it, and brought it big. The crowd went wild.)

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(Texas/Montreal indie powerhouse The Arcade Fire, returned to ACL after two years, and their sound plus stage presence has only gotten more intense and amazing.)

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(Late-night, the rocking continued downtown. Here’s Beauty Bar during one of the many DJ sets hosted by IMEEM.)

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