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Austin City Limits Music Festival 2005

Image // Unrated // June 20, 2006
List Price: $24.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Louis Howard | posted May 24, 2006 | E-mail the Author
For more than 30 years, Austin City Limits has honored artists and music fans by creating an intimate connection between the two. 2005 marked the fourth year the Austin City Limits Music Festival presented more than 130 bands on eight stages over three days. Like the namesake PBS television program the festival offers an eclectic mix of performers from legendary to upcoming new artists. Since its debut in 2002, more than 600,000 people have attended the multi-stage event in Austin's Zilker Park. Winning Pollstar's "Festival of the Year" award, "Austin City Limits Music Festival 2005" perfected the concert concept in both talent and patron experience, and what Image Entertainment offers up here is a compelling 2-disc set of highlights taken from last years' 3 day musicfest, featuring performances from Jet, The Allman Brothers Band, The Bravery, Thievery Corporation, The Black Keys, Kasabian, Bloc Party, The Frames, Kaiser Chiefs, Blues Traveler, Ambulance LTD, Eisley, The Decemberists, Jason Mraz, Mike Doughty, Aqualung, Keane, Rachael Yamagata, Robert Earl Keen, Steve Earle and the Dukes, Gov't Mule, John Prine, Widespread Panic, and John Butler Trio.

Disc one is all about the music; no fanfare, no hoopla, it gets right down to giving the viewer the diverse showcase of artists that appeared at the fest. In my opinion, thats most definitely not a bad thing- if you weren't at the show, you're probably more excited about hearing the bands perform than you are taking in the ambience of the event as a whole. I found the DVD to be just as diverse as what the promotional material available portrays the set to be; several of the artists performing were ones I had never heard of nor seen. As noted above several bands showcased here are very new to the business while others are either staples on the scene or ones that have amassed a sizable following through the years.

There really is a little something for every music lover here, with lots of alternative, some Jamaican influenced, 60's based, psychedelic, Southern, Latino, Country, and folk forms of rock- any number of influences can be heard when listening to the up and coming bands showcased. Overall the compilation rocks hard with adrenalin pumping songs along with a smattering of slower pieces that should keep the interest of the viewer as it did the concert goers. While the audience does see a share of time onscreen, the main focus is mostly on the acts; shot from several angles, you get a good feel for front, side and center stage views.

Here is a list of the artists and songs performed-

Jet "Cold Hard Bitch"
Bloc Party "This Modern Love"
Thievery Corporation "Warning Shots"
Aqualung "Brighter Than Sunshine"
Keane "We Might As Well Be Strangers"
Jason Mraz (feat. Rachael Yamagata) "Did You Get My Message?"
Ambulance LTD "Primitive (The Way I Treat You)"
Kasabian "L.S.F. (Lost Souls Forever)"
The Frames "Revelate"
Kaiser Chiefs "I Predict A Riot"
Tortoise "Salt The Skies"
The Decemberists "July, July!"
The Black Keys "Set You Free"
The Bravery "Unconditional"
The Black Crowes "Sting Me"
Blues Traveler "Hook"
Widespread Panic "Love Tractor"
The Allman Brothers Band "One Way Out"
Gov't Mule "Time To Confess"
Mike Doughty "Madeline and Nine"
Rachael Yamagata "Be Be Your Love"
Eisley "Golly Sandra"
The New Amsterdams "Hover Near Fame"
John Prine "Lake Marie"
Asleep at the Wheel "Miles and Miles of Texas"
Robert Earl Keen "Feelin' Good Again"
Split Lip Rayfield "Kiss of Death"
Steve Earle and the Dukes "Warrior"

Mostly, this montage of somewhat dissimilar acts works. The bands that were unrecognizable for me certainly have talent and overall the quality of music presented on this DVD is solid. Acts like Jet, Aqualung, Rachael Yamagata and Widespread Panic come across as promising, while tried and true artists like The Allman Brothers Band, Asleep At The Wheel and John Prine put in their customary fine takes here. From what I understand there are a number of notable acts that didn't make this set such as Lucinda Williams, Lyle Lovett, the Black Crowes, and Wilco; because of this I think a second volume would be welcome to see in the near future.

Video- Video presentation here is 1.78:1 widescreen and looks very good. Colors are consistent, and imaging is clean and fairly sharp. There did seem to be a bit of hazing once or twice but nothing too distracting.

Audio-The audio tracks available here are Dolby stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1. The 5.1 track is a fine one, actually, better than most I'm familiar with in the fact that it seems a little 'hotter' and more spacious than many DD 5.1 tracks I've listened to on concert discs.

Disc Two-

Disc two is devoted entirely to extras. While a bit on the haphazard side, it is an interesting look at the festival from the viewpoint of both the artists as well as those who attended the event. All told there is a little over an hour of additional material.


A series of interviews with no less than 14 of the bands performing at the festival-Ambulance LTD, Aqualung, The Black Keys, Blues Traveler, The Bravery, The Decemberists, Gov't Mule, Jason Mraz, Kaiser Chiefs, Kasabian, Keane, Mike, Doughrty, Rachael Yamagata, and Widespread Panic talking about live performing, the festival and how they got their respective starts among other topics. The average times for each interview is around 2-3 minutes.

Ambulance LTD ACLMF 2005-A nice little piece giving the viewer an inside look at the band; how they come up with their set list being the main topic. About 5 minutes in length.
Voices From Within-Artisians Of The World- An odd little music video/parody; think Blue Man Group type feeling. About 7 minutes in length.
214 Circle Drive- A Day With Ruthie Foster- Feel good piece with the artist visiting her roots. 9 minutes in length.
Roky Erickson A look at this artist's psychedelic rock music and his influence on several of the artists at the festival. Nifty little documentary, in the neighborhood of 15 minutes in length.

Rest Of The Fest
2 Days in 2 Minutes-A view of attendees getting into and preparing for the festival. 2 minutes.
Inside The Gates-Random interviews with attendants giving their take on how enjoyable taking in the festival is. 4 minutes.
Allman Brothers Band Bus Tour-A sightseeing tour with Kurt West, Allman Brothers tour manager, into the incredible touring bus the band uses for their road shows. West invites the viewer in and talks about what goes on while on the road, how the bus is laid out, and makes comparisons to other touring bands and their traveling methods. About 4 minutes long.
Movin' & Shakin'-Literally what the title infers- a look at any number of attendees doing their thing, dancing, moving and enjoying themselves during the show. Cute little piece about 2 minutes long.
Photo Gallery

Final Thoughts-

I think disc one is quite worthy of a music lover purchasing for their collection; disc two does go a bit overboard with some odd special features, but there are some enjoyable pieces in the mix. Austin City Limits did a fine job conveying the allure of their signature festival, giving the viewer 111 minutes of concert performance footage;I assume the idea of the many extras on disc two is to both draw future potential festival-goers as well as attempt to virtually give one a better feel for what it is like to be at the 3 day fest. Considering this can be found online for an under $20 pricetag, it's well worth the money. Recommended.
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