After a few days of rest, recovery and rehydration, the ORANGE staff can now fondly look back on two weekends at Austin City Limits.
Story by ORANGE Staff
Photos by Jesus Acosta
From big-name nights to emerging afternoon favorites, the festival provided us with plenty to look at and talk about. Check out our staff’s picks of the most moving live performances.
Alejandro — LCD Soundsystem
Reunion tours are like a box of chocolates –you never know what you’re going to get, but I’ll be damned if LCD Soundsystem isn’t the Godiva of them all. In a weekend full of acts pandering to audiences with incessant calls for sing-a-longs and hand claps, it took LCD doing what they do best—shutting up and playing the hits—to incite the most lively crowd I saw all weekend. Not running a moment over their allotted 90 minutes, James Murphy worked the audience into a frenzy with fevered takes of classics like “You Wanted a Hit” and “I Can Change,” only stopping briefly to introduce the rest of his band and express gratitude to the audience. It is this simplistic, professional presentation of their electronic opuses that make their well-oiled shows legendary. Having one of the best closing one-two punches of this generation in “Dance Yrself Clean” and “All My Friends” doesn’t hurt either.
Henry — Cage the Elephant
Alternative rock staple Cage the Elephant is well-known for their stage presence, and for good reason, with lead singer Matt Shultz almost always sweaty, shirtless and crowd-surfing by the end of the fist-pumping set. With four powerhouse studio albums under their belt, these new-age rock ‘n’ rollers hit the stage with as much well-deserved confidence as hotheaded recklessness. Given just an hour to perform, the band seized every moment of it, strutting across stage to the anthemic “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” and jumping with the crowd to gutsy standout “Come A Little Closer.” In the wake of their latest album release, “Tell Me I’m Pretty,” fans got to hear new tracks as well. The muscular rhythm of “Too Late To Say Goodbye,” followed by the headbanging tempo of “Mess Around,” was enough to take the wind out me. My life was revived as Shultz lept into the sea of bodies barechested, less than ten feet from the hungry hands around me. Going out with a bang, the band delivered an explosive and amped-up reboot of soft-made-flamboyant track “Teeth.” If it wasn’t obnoxiously apparent already, it’s certainly clear now: they’ve got nerve. And I just can’t get enough.
Rachel — Lucy Dacus
“Is there room in the band?/ I don’t need to be the frontman” sings 21-year-old Lucy Dacus in her song “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore.” Based on the Richmond-raised artist’s soulful ACL performance, it’s safe to say the role of frontman is no longer up for grabs. Dacus and her band took the stage Saturday afternoon. While playing tunes from her debut album “No Burden,” Dacus’ modest power emerged, embellished by bluesy guitar and a fair share of Southern twang. She dedicated a rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” to her father, who was presents in the audience. Among family, new fans and festival crowds, Dacus’ show provided an intimate snapshot of an artist undoubtedly on the rise.
Malayna — Eliot Sumner
Attendees of electro-punk-rock bassist Eliot Sumner’s set early Friday afternoon at weekend one of ACL were not disappointed. Better known as Sting’s daughter, Eliot Sumner is quickly making a name for herself. Her deep, raspy voice paired with haunting lyrics, upbeat synth, distorted guitar, harsh drums and warm bass left the crowd feeling angsty, heads bobbing throughout the show. The stoic, black-clad bassist was stationary throughout most of her performance, but still projected an energetic stage presence. “After Dark” and “Halfway to Hell,” tunes reminiscent of the band Metric with a punkier edge, were the overwhelming crowd favorites during the set. After this memorable performance, we can definitely expect great things from this U.K. band in the near future.