ACL Day 1 Recap: Vampire Weekend, More Strokes & Sonic Youth, Sulking

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Photos by Marco Torres
Vampire Weekend

For lots more pictures from Friday, see our slideshow here.

Friday night at ACL began with Aftermath charging our phone up until 6:45 p.m., then sulking because the Internet was down in the media tent (duh), and then stocking our man-satchel with cans of Red Bull for the rest of the evening's shows. You can take the boy out of Houston...

First up for us was Vampire Weekend, who commanded an almost scary amount of white folks, mostly cute little college-aged ones, for their hour-long set. Dancing, jigging and general blazing of pearly teeth was the norm. Sundresses. Khaki. Brown sandals.

We have never been fans of Vampire Weekend, but we will disclose we bought the first album and do dial one or two songs up on YouTube from time to time. It's not a point of pride, it's just something you should know. We've tried to convert ourselves, but it's all too pompous and dear.

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But in the interest of musical science, we found ourselves taking in half their set. The band has energy, perfect for huge festivals like ACL, and they bridge the age gap almost seamlessly. We saw oldsters and parents alike getting down to their sound. It's not offensive, the lyrics are ambiguous, and you want to see them dating porn stars or rehabbing.

We walked off to Sonic Youth soon after, who were turning in one of the best looking, sounding, and played sets of the night. The band is a machine, a well-oiled post-punk, noise, indie-rock machine. The band plays like a jam band you can tie one off to, and they gave no quarter.

The nucleus of the band, the married team of Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon plus guitarist Lee Ranaldo, has morphed into one of the iconic teams of the past 50 years. The band has been enlisting Pavement's Mark Ibold the past few years as extra personnel as well.

"Poison Arrow," from the band's 2009 LP The Eternal, is a stunner live. Songs came reeling off their fingers and heads, making their set easily our favorite of the first day.


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