ACL Day 3 Recap: Devendra Banhart, Band Of Horses, Other Beardos

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Photos by Marco Torres

For more photos from Sunday's final day of ACL, see our slideshow here.

Aftermath doesn't know the bargain Austin City Limits promoter C3 Presents gets by booking both Lollapalooza and ACL, but to this dog-tired participant, this year's Zilker Park festivities ended up feeling less Austin weird and more something-something.

Not that it's a bad thing, we're just saying - on the twin tip this season, Chicago and Austin this year both had the Strokes, Gogol Bordello, Yeasayer, Edward Sharpe and a few other notable overlaps. Of course, we did get the Eagles and Texas native Don Henley, so...

We started our Sunday with Houston's native son Devendra Banhart, who despite cutting his locks, flew his freak flag plenty high. DB is like a new dangerous and dirty Donovan for a darker and more dangerous age. Not that there's a lot of threat being thrown down when Devendra and his Grogs showcase their funky, soulful sides. And the patchouli in the air helped remind us that the more some things change, the more some stay the same.

Of course, Devendra did have some surprises in store, including inviting a crowd-member - Shane Bell, we think, an apparent stranger to the headliner, but from Houston just the same - to sing an impromptu ditty. Bell, if that was his name, complied with the murder ballad of Jack the Kid, a performance that got rapturous applause.

Banhart rocked versions of "Seahorse," and the vaguely scandalous "Shabop Shalom" off Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon.

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We were eager to catch - and not disappointed by - the Band of Horses, with Ben Bridwell and company dealing with the cursed late-afternoon sun that plagued performers on the Budweiser stage. They still managed to stay mostly on key, in harmony and in the groove throughout a bunch of selections off 2007's Cease to Begin.

"This one goes out to the sun, or whatever," said a loose Bridwell introducing "No One's Going to Love You." "It goes out to my son," he cracked. The band also managed to recall late Texas groover Doug Sahm on their single "Laredo." Their cute-cover sweepstakes entry was a version of "Georgia" borrowed from Cee Lo of Gnarls Barkley fame (Green recently covered BOH's "Love You").

On the basis of this evidence, you might think that beard bros had nothing to worry about at ACL. But with outfits like Edward Sharpe, doing whatever it is he does (we were in the nearby press tent) and Yeasayer, bringing their dance-clap-dance routine to the front, you had to wonder if C3 was not having it both ways. The National nailed their Brooklyn-bred set, and even let fly a dedication to the Eagles.

And of those Eagles: Despite being the most overplayed classic-rock radio staple this side of nobody - c'mon, you really could go the rest of your life without hearing "Hotel California" again - the dinosaurs found traction headlining Sunday night.

Opener "Seven Bridges Road" showed that second to only Crosby, Stills & Nash, the Eagles are still capable of some rock's finest harmonies. Mixing solo work with collected greatest hits, including Joe Walsh's indelible "Life's Been Good," the band basked in their collective talent. Ironic and innocent, saintly and silly, there was nothing left to say after "Desperado."

Either you stuck it out to the end, or you made like Jacko and beat it. But no one was riding fences.


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