People (and babies) of all walks of life turned out in droves to the Austin City Limits Music Festival, October 10th to 12th, despite what is now dubbed “the second weekend curse” – Austin was pelted with rain on Saturday morning, putting concert-goers in a frenzy, fearing that the second weekend would be cancelled like last year. Fear not! The rain unfortunately caused cancellations for Saturday’s first performers, but the rest of the shows went on as scheduled.
Friday’s highlights included Temples, hailing from England and evoking psychedelic sounds that parallel those of Tame Impala and the 13th Floor Elevators, and St. Vincent, the lavender goddess and many ACL goer’s favorite festival performer. Moving later into the day brought out more of ACL’s knack for presenting an eclectic mixture of bands on eight different stages with Ozomatli, Childish Gambino (in his skivvies), Belle & Sebastian, with an OutKast cherry on top. OutKast performed at the same time as Beck, creating a tough choice for anyone who went to high school in the late ‘90s/early 2000s. Lucky the layout of ACL allowed the audiences to merge in the middle and catch both acts (not entirely clearly, but seeing both Outkast and Beck at the exact same time felt like a state straddle – an exhilarating one).
The next two days brought about more eclectic acts, including the gorgeous songstresses Lucius and Lana Del Rey. Lucius are particularly moving and were my top choice to see at the festival. Their outfits and harmonies always aim to please and never let me down. Then it was on to another favorite songstress: Jenny Lewis on Sunday. A great thing about having two weekends of the same lineup at ACL is that many of the artists stay in and around town, so you’ll usually be able to catch them elsewhere in Austin, Dallas, Houston, or the surrounding areas. Jenny Lewis was one of those, performing at Gruene Hall in Gruene, Texas on October 8th (QRO photos of Lewis at Stubb’s in Austin on October 3rd). Seeing her in a more intimate setting, I wondered how her performance would translate at ACL, where she would be competing with other artists’ music bumping in the background. She was flawless. “Acid Tongue” and other more poignant songs were just as enjoyable to see at an outdoor concert as a small Texas dancehall venue – even with the entrancing Phantogram playing next door. Spoon was another triple feature of ACL week, as they recorded their fourth ACL taping for KLRU on October 9th. They performed Sunday evening at the same time as the legendary Replacements. Lying in a hammock on stage, Paul Westerberg gave zero s*its and a fantastic performance that many hailed as “surreal.”
The weekend ended with Lorde, who opened with “Glory and Gore”, followed by Pearl Jam, who played a set of new and old songs, ending with The Who’s “Baba O’Riley”, mesmerizing the crowd as the Austin skyline shined brightly in the background.
-words: Nicole Kern
-photos: Monique Rodriguez