Austin’s very own Alejandro Rose-Garcia returned home for the second weekend at the Austin City Limits Music Festival Sunday evening. The Americana artist had the festival attendees singing at the top of their lungs for his 74 minute set.
Story by Hayli Rudolph
Photos by Maya Coplin
Right as the clock struck 7, Rose-Garcia and his band took the stage. In great Shakey fashion, he dressed in a white tank top, cut-off shorts and a flat-bill hat that fell off as he started to jam. He kicked off the evening with older and newer song.
Unlike his premiere at ACL in 2015, Rose-Garcia played in a manner that audience could sing a lot to. This time around the crowd echoed the supremely skilled musician. They swayed as if under a spell of Graves’s running fingers on the six-stringer.
After the band played the 2014 hit “Dearly Departed,” the other bandmates fled the stage, leaving the solo guitarist. As the evening progressed, the 31-year-old raised his red solo cups as if to give a speech to the crowd. He introduced his mellow tune “Word of Mouth.” Although the song was released around 2014, the subject feels timely today.
“It must be awful lonely trying to save the world,” sings Rose-Garcia. “Just buy a collared shirt and try to fuck some girls.” The song speaks of the evil temptations that encourage people to take the easy way out and in this case just go objectify women.
Along with several other artists at ACL, Rose-Garcia referenced jurist Brett Kavanaugh and his rise to the Supreme Court despite the sexual assaults claims made against him by Christine Ford. “It sounds like I’m writing about things that are very much in the news, but these are old topics, or forever topics,” Rose-Garcia said. “But sadly this song has come true more and more every year since I’ve written it.”
The evening ended on a much lighter note as the multi-instruments artist stepped back to his trusty suitcase drum. The crowd clapped to the beat, but caught in the excitement and awe of the quicker-stepper, they picked up the tempo. “You guys want it fast? So be it,” said Rose-Garcia as he adapted to the faster-paced speed of “Late July.”
The song gently flowed then increased to a sprinted. His raspy voice fueled the spectators as they stomped to the beat and purposely pounded their hands together. The vivacious crowd mimicked the folk singer as sweat dripped down their faces, harmonizing every word until the final second. “One thing I know is that I love you all to death. I’m Shakey Graves from here in Austin, Texas,” he said proudly.