Wallows Return to Austin for ACL

The California trio graced the American Express stage early Saturday afternoon for the Austin City Limits Music Festival, just hours behind the legend himself, Paul McCartney, eviscerated the same grounds. The easy-listening band sat down with ORANGE Magazine fresh off the ACL stage following one of their idols.

Story by Hayli Rudolph

Photos by M.E. Pistorius

Music always sounds sweeter when there’s a story to be told and boy do these three best friends have stories. Who says besties can’t be in rock bands together?

Since they were preteens, Braeden Lemasters, Cole Preston and familiar face Dylan Minnette, known for his role as Clay Jensen on Netflix’s ‘13 Reason Why,’ have been playing music together. Despite the collective’s long history of being in a group, it wasn’t until just last year that everything changed.

“He’s the most legend legend of the legends,” drummer Preston poetically stated after wrapping their 46 minute set.

The Wallows marveled at their once-in-a-lifetime experience of following up McCartney, even if it was a different day. After watching the former Beatle close Friday night at the festivals, it became very surreal to virtuosos.

“This is the most mind-blowing thing of all time,” says vocalist and guitarist, Lemasters.

Worried that their early afternoon showcase would only bring out few attendees compared to the massive crowd that surrounded the same stage just hours before, they were ecstatic to be greeted with waves of friendly faces and cheerful applause come Saturday afternoon.

“The the fact that anybody cares, the fact that even one person cares. That’s my motto if one person cares we’ve made it,” says Lemasters.

And, boy, did people care Saturday evening. Fans stood patiently under the harsh sun, alongside Metallica devotees securing their spot for the show later that evening. With countless head bobs and the occasional slow sway, not even the metal heads could resist the quintessence that is Wallows.

With obvious influences from McCartney, the Strokes and a splash of Weezer, the groups bleeds a mix of upbeat windows-down jams. They’ve truly mastered the art of a mellow groove. From dreamy electric guitar tunes like “Ground” to keyboard-heavy sun-soaking songs like “These Days” each song has its own unique flare.

Joined onstage stood the talented trumpeter Danny Ferenbach and bass player Blake Morell (you just got Blaked). The band was axe-shredders, trend-setters and full-on go-getters. Manifesting a mobile rockstar, Minnette ever-so-coolly ventured towards Metallica’s white catwalk - (assembled early for their shows) - during their rendition of The Cure’s 1980’s track “Boys Don’t Cry.”

Lemasters mesmerized the audience with lead vocal on their recent release “Drunk on Halloween,” while Preston completed the dynamic sounds with stellar skills of building drums that hit heavy punches and delicate heartbeats.

“This has been fucking incredible,” Minnette says.

It’s only been a year and a half since the California-based rockstars released their debut single “Pleaser.” Since then, they’ve made an EP, toured, appeared on late-night shows and have started on their festival rounds, including Austin’s very own South By Southwest. “When we recorded ‘Pleaser’ we didn’t even have a new band name yet,” says Minnette. “We didn’t know what was going to happen and the fact that people actually responded, came out to our tour off of four songs and have come out to these festivals where I literally expect no one to be at.”

Flash forward to today, the single has reached over 9 million streams on Spotify and has curated a dedicated and diverse fan base of all ages. From waiting hours before sets to hours after, people are going crazy over the rockers.

Much like their crowd crazed set at ACL, the ensemble showcased several kickass jams at this year’s SXSW as well. “You emerge, I feel like, a different band after you go through [South By Southwest],” shares Preston as they reminisced on their week in Austin, going as far as calling Austin their second home.

With new music and a tour on the horizon, the virtuosos plan to return to Austin in 2019.

As their early day show winded down, the sunburnt fans screamed in divine enthusiasm. With flushed faces and hearts racing, the Wallows waved goodbye to sea of people.

ACL waved right back.