ACL Download: Day 2. This is probably why I’m not a professional music journalist.

Hello, I am 13 years old. A 13 year-old boy.

While watching The XX yesterday, I took 17 pictures of this naked inflatable blow-up doll.  It was acting as a place-marker for a group of friends, and according to my photos, commanded a little more attention from my camera than the band itself.

Heh.  That one is my favorite.

Anyway.  In the middle of The XX‘s set, I squeezed my way out of the crowd with my buddy Dan. He needed a beer, and I needed to catch the last few songs of The Temper Trap‘s set.

Now: A word on The Temper Trap. I’d like to share with you a photo I took at SXSW 2009, right before the band popped. This was pre-Diet Coke commercial, pre-500 Days of Summer soundtrack.

(I’m sorry the photo is so crooked. I went through this phase in 2009 where I thought tilted pictures looked really cool, but now I see they just force you to tilt your head sideways).

Note how close I am to the stage in this picture. I took this with no zoom, inside the diviest of 6th St. dive bars, Dirty Dog. Note also the discernible amount of physical space between each audience member.

At that show, I remember turning to Ross and saying, “I feel like I’m part of something important right now.” Because it’s true, I was completely blown away by them. Dougy Mandagi, the lead singer, turned around and played the drums at one point along WITH the real drummer, and I thought: “Dear God. Who are these guys?”

THIS was their audience yesterday.

My, how times have changed for The Temper Trap!

I ran into them at the Rock the Vote Nights party last night, and congratulated them on how far they’ve come in just a year and a half.  Somehow, this devolved into a discussion about haggis. That Scottish dish made out of a sheep’s heart and lungs. It was a pretty solid interview.

Speaking of bands who popped at SXSW 2009, Local Natives were also at last night’s Rock the Vote party – and put on one of my favorite performances of the whole weekend.

I’m quickly beginning to latch onto these intimate small-venue parties that have risen up around ACL proper. Austin is a little city, mind you, so there’s really only a limited number of places you can do stuff like this – and American Legion Hall, in the very second story room where Local Natives played last night, was the exact same room where two friends of got married last summer. Back in July, I stood in a quiet, reverent circle in the room’s perimeter, watching Karl and Rendi sway to the beat of their first married couple dance; last night, I jumped up and down in that room with a hundred sweaty bodies to the frenetic drumming of Local Natives.

In all of Austin, this one room, in this one house, is a very sacred spot for me.

Local Natives were so thankful during their set, repeating over and over again how much they loved Austin. We were drunk with flattery.

Outside, Megan saw one of them, and insisted I interview him. She tapped him on the shoulder.

“HEY. DO YOU READ BLOGS.” (This was her opener).

“…yes?” he responded politely.

“THIS GIRL HAS A BLOG!” (Now pointing in my general direction).

“Hello,” he said.

“Hi. Your set. It was really good!!” (Last two words pronounced in high-pitched squeal).

“Thank you!” he said.

“How does it feel to be a rockstar?” (Pause while I considered a point of clarification)–

“A curly-headed rockstar?”

Quickly realize that qualifier was a mistake.

“Um…I guess it feels pretty great!”


From left: Ari from Republic of Austin, Megan, Ryan Hahn from Local Natives, me.

Thank you, Ryan, for not punching us in the face. And being generally lovely.

Last day of ACL is today! Off to go get ready for that. Step One is changing out of pajamas.