ACL Day 2 Recap: M.I.A., Gogol Bordello, Deadmau5, Mouse Masks

MIA 1 oct10.JPG
Marco Torres
Return of the Bamboo Banger: M.I.A.

For more photos from Saturday, see our slideshow here.

Aftermath was eager to catch Gogol Bordello, only because our companion had missed their last Houston show at Meridian in 2008. We were convinced he'd get a kick out of them, so we dragged him over to the AMD stage early in order to get a good view.

One thing we like about this band is that everyone pulls multiple duty, sharing in the lyrics or performance aspect of their show. They still play with the same high energy that got raves when Super Taranta! came out, but they've toned down much of the spectacle. Halfway through their set, the lone dancing girl (usually there are two) still had not emerged on stage with the large drum they were previously notorious for playing.

The band did pepper their set with pro-immigration speech: "Because no human should be illegal." Whatever that means; English is not singer Eugene Hutz's first language. After that, we looked at our companion, who was not as impressed as we'd hoped, and who'd wanted to see LCD Soundsystem instead. So we left the west end of Zilker Park to walk all the way to other side to catch the end of that band's set.

Deadmau5.jpg
Brittanie Shey
Deadmau5 and Glowstick Nation
We caught the last two songs of the latter, and again, our companion, who loves the band, was not impressed. The crowd was huge, so we had to resort to watching them on the screen instead of on the stage, but he felt like their set was boring and repetitive. It may have been different had we been closer, but Aftermath was happy to be anywhere.

At this point, the sun was setting and the tiniest fingernail of a moon was rising, and Zilker Park was turning into a gigantic dance party. Just behind the crowd for James Murphy and Co., people were gathering for Deadmau5, glowsticks at the ready.

Don't get us wrong. We love dancing as much as the next guy, but a mass of 20,000 grubby bodies thrusting to house music isn't really our thing. We watched from afar through the first song as several mouse-masked minions boogied to the beat of the on-the-fly DJ. The stage show seemed awesome, all laser lights and bizarre imagery. But it was time to move on.

Over at the Honda Stage, Matt & Kim, who played the Houston Press Music Awards Showcase in August, were doing the exact same set they played for H-town. Now this was disappointing. We think the band is fun, of course, but it's kind of hard to buy into their "We're so crazy and spontaneous" persona when they use the same gimmicks - the cheesy pop covers to fill in between songs, the slow-motion dance number - at every show. Our increasingly surly companion also remarked, "I can only take so much of that real-estate-salesperson chipperness at one time." Touché.


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