It’s that magical time of year again, when friends, family and strangers from far an near almost literally take over Austin for the Austin City Limits music festival. One of the “majors” of the summer music festival pantheon (Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Coachella, etc.), the ACL Festival began life in 2002 as a three-day, multi-stage outdoor incarnation of the iconic Austin City Limits show on PBS, the longest-running music series in American television history.
Today, ACL Festival has grown to two weekends and a saturation of club and smaller venue shows in the weeks before, during, between and after.
As I write this, I’m listening to the band Temples via Red Bull TV on the ACL Festival website. Their official festival bio characterizes them thusly:
Looking like a West Coast psych band, Temples bear all the hallmarks of cosmic travellers. There’s the band name, for starters, there are track titles that sound like JG Ballard novels (Prisms, The Golden Throne, Sun Structures) and there’s the fact that they take incense sticks on the road with them. But if all of the above suggests Temples are backwards-looking, think again. The Kettering four-piece’s music is a mix of scuzzy glam stomp, dreamy, 12-string-drenched folk-rock, droning psych and more, all given a 2013 spin. Retro is a dirty word.
So what’s the big deal about Temples? Nothing in particular, I guess, except that I wouldn’t have encountered them had it not been for the ACL Festival and the boost of vitality it injects into an already music-obsessed city.
And like me, in offices all over town, people are streaming ACL, wishing we had gotten tickets (like half of our colleagues, who will rub our noses in it next week).