Featured Taping Recap

Crowd goes wild for Alabama Shakes

We love introducing you to your next favorite band. And we’re pretty sure Alabama Shakes is going to become that for you once you see their smoking hot soul.

While we had a few guests in the audience last night from out of town thanks to SXSW, it was a primarily Austin crowd – many getting to experience the Shakes for the first time.

The evening started off with “Going to the Party,” which flowed directly into “Hold On.” The power of “Hold On” was hard for the audience to resist,  as evidenced by Brittany Howard’s broken guitar string. “I think I was playing it too hard” she said as she switched to another guitar for “Hang Loose.”

The band continued with “I Found You” and “Always Alright,” which led  SoundcheckMag  to write, “You know a band is truly great when you feel like you’ve heard every song one thousand times before.”

Howard spent time introducing “Boys & Girls” to explain it was about a time in her childhood when she was told she could no longer be friends with a boy because they were too old. This touching song brought the energy in the room to a whole new level and sparked an amazing rendition of “Be Mine,” which will have people talking for years to come. ATXSocial said “Damn, Alabama Shakes just rocked it!”

They followed with “Rise to the Sun,” “You Ain’t Alone” and “I Ain’t the Same,” each one building off the last for a soulful storm of emotion. Once the crowd was in a frenzy, Alabama Shakes slipped into “Making Me Itch,” adding a little sexual tension to the set. They carried that over into the next song – just before “Heavy Chevy,” Howard demanded, “I want to see some shakers and some movers!”  And our ACL audience delivered.

The band returned to the stage for an encore, including “On Your Way.” And in just about an hour, the Alabama Shakes had won hundreds of new fans.

‏ @MatthewLillard “Watching the birth of a legend right now. @Alabama_Shakes. Buy stock early. A legend is born in Austin. No shit. Divine genius.”

Featured Taping Recap

Radiohead’s ACL taping is a triumph

Radiohead taped Austin City Limits last night. It almost feels like that’s all we need to say. This was a highly anticipated show, not only amongst the fans, but for us as well. Radiohead has been highon our wish list for years, so that rush of “When’s it gonna happen? It’s gonna happen! Now it’s happening!” has been buzzing through all of our veins for a long time.

Needless to say, the band delivered. Not the hits, necessarily – Oxford’s favorite sons have never been the pandering kind. A progressive rock band in the purest sense, Radiohead is always pushing itself forward, deconstructing and reconstructing its own aethestic, experimenting with its sound and presenting its latest iteration, rather than falling back on old habits and familiarity.  In Thom Yorke’s words prior to launching into one of the several brand new songs played during the night: “This is why we press on.”

In that sense, Radiohead gave us one hell of a show. “My face was melted at @radiohead” remarked @zee_funk on Twitter. Drawing almost exclusively from their last three albums Hail to the Thief, In Rainbows and The King of Limbs, the band blazed through some of its most daring material, adding drummer Clive Deamer (last on our stage with Robert Plant, who was in the audience) for extra polyrhythmic emphasis. “Little By Little”  made perfect use of the band’s distinctive three-guitar attack, the interlocking six-string lines slithering in and out of the skittering rhythms. “Myxomatosis” and “Morning Mr. Magpie” were jittery rockers seemingly influenced as much by caffeine as the electronica the band weaves into its rock tapestry. “The Gloaming” hit a unique balance between dissonant and ethereal, the instrumental parts almost fighting each other while singer Thom Yorke floated over the top. “Arpeggi” and the new song “Identikit” built a generous amount of tension into their swirling arrangements, smartly ending before the anticipated Big Rock Climax could happen.

We love it when artists play brand new material, and Radiohead graced us with the atmospheric, rhythm-heavy “Staircase,” the piano-heavy “The Daily Mail” and the lovely “Skirting On the Surface,” as well as “Identikit.” The band also resurrected the odd, intriguing “The Amazing Sounds of Orgy,” an old B-side that Yorke described as having “disappeared like a wet fart in the wind.”

The band ended the main set with the bizarre “Feral,” a strange but compelling mix of dub and Latin rhythms, and the frenetic “Idioteque,” a Kid A gem that got a huge response from the crowd. But not as huge as the final song of the encore – the towering “Paranoid Android” still stands as one of modern rock’s greatest achievements, and everybody gave the band’s fiery performance the love it deserved.

“After Radiohead tonight, I don’t feel the need to RSVP to any more sxsw events,” claimed @chu16 on Twitter. “My experience has already peaked.” While we’d never claim that a single show summarized an entire concert-going career, once the rest of the world sees this performance on PBS in the fall they’ll understand the hyperbole. Radiohead’s show represents what can be achieved by an artist determined to dive deep into the heart of its muse. Or, as @HeatherCuriel put it more simply and breathlessly, “passion, life changing, beautiful. rock and roll is alive.”

But you don’t have to take our word for it – check out what, Austin Metblogs, KGSR, and Austin Bloggy Limits had to say about Radiohead’s ACL taping. And don’t forget to visit our Facebook and Twitter pages and let us know what you think.

Featured News

Radiohead poster artist for Amnesty International

You may not recognize the name Stanley Donwood, but if you’re a Radiohead fan, you’ve undoubtedly seen his work – he provided the cover art for the band’s latest LP The King of Limbs. He also, at the band’s request, designed the poster for Tuesday night’s ACL taping with Oxford’s favorite sons.

Here’s the extra cool part. In lieu of a fee, Mr. Donwood asked us to make a donation to Amnesty International in his name. We’d like to acknowledge his generosity and progressive spirit – it’s great to know that even in the music business there are still folks who use their talents for good. We encourage you to click on his link above to support his work, and if you’d like to join him in supporting Amnesty International, you can do so here.

Featured News

One Year at the Moody Theater

This month Austin City Limits celebrates one year of production at ACL Live at The Moody Theater. Last year on February 26, we taped the Steve Miller Band, the first taping of Season 37 and the first in our new home.

It wasn’t an easy decision to move from the comfy confines of KLRU’s Studio 6A, but it was a necessary one: the growth of the show over the years meant the outgrowth of that 320-seat space. But we worked closely with Stratus Properties on the design of our new digs, and The Moody Theater is all we ever dreamed of as a venue – the space, the sound, the lights, the multiple bathrooms on the same floors as the seats.

Of course, The Moody isn’t just a television studio. It’s also a concert hall, with a huge variety of artists coming through and a growing reputation as a first-class room. It says a lot that folks like Santana and Diana Ross who could’ve played in much bigger halls, but instead chose to come to The Moody Theater instead. Indeed, Pollstar awarded The Moody Theater Best New Major Concert Venue at the 23rd annual Pollstar Concert Industry Awards. Plus the entire Block 21 complex has received LEED Silver Certification from Austin Energy’s Green Building program for commitment to sustainability.

Thanks for sticking with us through some major changes — we hope you love the new digs as much as we do. We look forward to bringing you more excellent music for many years to come!

Featured Taping Announcement

Alabama Shakes tape ACL 3/13

It’s always a thrill to introduce the Austin City Limits audience to someone new, and we’re proud to be doing it again with the first ACL taping by the Alabama Shakes on March 13. Of course, the Athens, Alabama-spawned Shakes aren’t really new – the hard-touring band has been blazing a trail across the United States for the past year, spreading its bluesy rock & soul gospel to an ever-growing rabid fanbase. The quartet’s hard work – and fiery frontperson Brittany Howard’s powerful voice and undeniable charisma – has led to a well-received set at CMJ, a session for Seatlle’s public radio tastemaker KEXP, a slot opening for the Drive-By Truckers (at the band’s request), a post on the influential music blog Aquarium Drunkard and an appearance on Conan O’Brien’s TBS talk show. Now, with the debut record Boys & Girls poised for release in April, we’re happy to welcome the Alabama Shakes to the ACL stage on 3/13.

Keep an eye on the blog, our Facebook pageand Twitter feed regularly for news on the public ticket giveaway. This will be a special early show, starting at 6 p.m.

Featured Taping Announcement

The Shins tape ACL on 3/18

Back in Season 30, we presented an episode  with the highly-praised indie pop band the Shins, then riding the wave of acclaim accompanying their Chutes Too Narrow LP.  It’s been a while, then, but we’re pleased to welcome the band back on March 18 in anticipation of their new album Port of Morrow (which comes out a couple of days later). Leader James Mercer’s smart songs and well-rounded guitar pop have always sounded good to us, and we’re sure they ring true in The Moody Theater.

Keep an eye on the blog, our Facebook pageand Twitter feed regularly for news on the public ticket giveaway.