Rock’n’roll was the order of the day for the close of Austin City Limits on Sunday (Sept. 28), as Foo Fighters, the Raconteurs, Against Me! and Band Of Horses delivered powerful sets. Foo Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl marveled in the band’s first appearance at the event, telling the audience, “You’ve got something really cool here.”
Grohl and company’s set spanned its 13-year career, from the early favorite “Monkey Wrench” to the new single “Long Road To Ruin.” The group also covered the Mose Allison-penned/the Who-popularized “Young Man Blues” and turned the stage over to drummer Taylor Hawkins for a five-minute solo.
A potential disaster was averted midway through the set while Grohl was introducing his bandmates. A young man darted across the stage, but was abruptly tackled before he could do anything. “He’s just a drunken college dork,” Grohl quipped. “I’ve been there.”
Earlier in the evening, the Raconteurs were in fine spirits despite Jack White complaining about a back problem. “Steady As She Goes,” “Level” and “Hold Up” heated things up quickly, with White and Brendan Benson trading off vocal duties throughout.
Pop-punkers Against Me! drew one the largest afternoon crowds and tore through a blistering 16-song set, raging through quick but powerful versions of “Don’t Lose Touch,” “Sink, Florida, Sink” and “Thrash Unreal.” Meanwhile, Band Of Horses turned what on record sound like serious songs (“The Funeral,” “Is There a Ghost”) into uplifting guitar anthems, and also excelled on “The Great Salt Lake” and “Ode to LRC.”
Fans who weren’t in the mood for loud guitars got a dose of more laidback folk with Gillian Welch’s set. Alison Krauss joined Welch and guitarist David Rawlings for an a cappella version of “Didn’t Leave Nobody But the Baby,” which they performed on the “O Brother Where Art Thou?” soundtrack. Welch also shined on “Revelator” and “Look At Miss Ohio,” while new tunes “Knuckleball Catcher” (inspired by Welch’s time living in Boston) and “Sweet Tooth” hinted at her next album.
Meanwhile, the television series that serves as the inspiration for Austin City Limits begins its 34th season next month, and over the weekend, episodes were taped with Gnarls Barkley, Drive-By Truckers, the Swell Season, Erykah Badu and Foo Fighters. R.E.M. gets things rolling on Oct. 4 with an episode taped during South by Southwest.