While Weekend One of Austin City Limits 2019 might have been the hottest on record, Weekend Two started off the literal opposite. With temperatures roughly hitting the mid 50’s, people were in sweatshirts, hate and gloves, and not shorts, tank tops, and sandals. While the temperatures were cool, the music was just as hot as week one. For many of the sets on day one, the crowd was dancing and bopping along, not only to keep warm, but to enjoy the music being given to them by a fantastic line up of artists.
The weekend started off strong with The Beaches. The Canadian foursome tore through their set, barely taking a moment to breathe.They sounded great, but I think they would have done better on a smaller stage as they were slightly eclipsed by the American Express Stage. The Band Camino had quite the crowd for such an early set, mostly made up of females screaming their heads off for the indie rock band. The band was running on all cylinders early and whipped the crowd into a frenzy and kept them there the whole time. Houses meanwhile brought all of the synthesizer vibes out and joked how last weekend their gear didn’t work because it was too hot and now their gear was acting funny because it was too cold. Their instruments held up though and they sounded great.
The Aces were also slightly lost on the American Express Stage, but Cristal Ramirez did her best to move all about the stage and make it as intimate as possible. The songs were fantastic though and I cannot wait to see them in a far smaller space. Cherry Glazerr were as bright and energetic as always. Clementine Creevy bounced all about the stage wildly will playing her guitar flawlessly. The band never fails to throw a party whenever they step on to the stage. Black Pistol Fire set their stage on fire as they always tend to do. While the duo is from Canada, they live in Austin and they had quite the crowd show up for them. Eric Owens doesn’t stop pounding away on the drums while Kevin McKeown doesn’t stop moving his body while absolutely destroying his guitar. Watching the two of them work on stage is a sight to behold. Kevin also couldn’t seem to stay on stage, hopping into the crowd multiple times, of course while still playing. They covered Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” and brought out local rap duo Blackillac for “Well Wasted.”
King Princess, much like her late night show, played a fantastic set, yet again championing everyone on National Coming Out Day. Seeing her on a far bigger stage was a treat as the roar of the crowd really pushed her that much more to deliver a stunning set. K. Flay’s set was filled with both new and old tunes and she was in tremendous form, commanding the crowd with ease. The Raconteurs continued their reunion with a blistering set of rock and roll. This set was loud and the passion Jack White and Brendan Benson, along with the rest of the band, was stunning. You never know how long things are going to last with Jack White, so getting to see this reunion while it’s happening was amazing. Clearly he has been loving it too as a smile was strewn across his face for most of the set.
The Comet is Coming had the Tito’s Tent bathed in their psychedelic jazz odyssey. It’s always a pleasure watching them play as they are true virtuosos of their instruments. A true queen, Jenny Lewis, came out in her signature stunning pink dress and proceeded to thrown down a clinic in musicianship. Her band is one of the best around right now, hitting every spot of every song perfectly. The On the Line material sounded great alongside the rest of her discography. I wish I could have seen more of her set but it was time to move over to catch Thom Yorke before the headliners of the night began.
Thom was in a great mood, joking with the crowd about the nice summer weather we were experiencing. The Anima songs were stunning live and are right up there with the rest of his solo discography. Thom of course rarely stopped moving about on the stage, doing his dancing that only he can while glorious projections were swirling behind him on stage.
It was then time for Guns N’ Roses to take to the main stage and they started right on time and proceeded to burn it all down. Their set was the exact same as it has been during this whole run. The band plays almost everything you could possibly want. What was most impressive was Axl’s voice. You know the music is going to be great and Slash will play almost every note on his guitar, but you always are worried about the voice. Well it was in amazing shape. While he can’t hit every note that he used to, he hit many of them.
While GNR was doing their thing, Kevin Parker had quite the crowd on his side of the festival for Tame Impala’s closing set. Kevin was in quite a good mood, moving down stage, talking with the crowd, and looking like he was just having a blast. They brought their full production to the festival and it was truly a sight to see. Tame is one of those bands that you forget how many hits they have. Hopefully that new record comes out soon as fans are really clamoring for it. The songs they released this year went over great, as they have all year. The band jammed their songs out against yhe psychedelic background giving the feel that it was more 1969 and not 2019. As their set wound down everyone ran back over to Guns as they ran through “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” “November Rain” and the encore of “Patience” and a fireworks laden “Paradise City.” As the outro music of Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way,” with an obvious wink to Guns N’ Roses history, blared over the speakers everyone went home to rest up for day two.
Article: Bryan Lasky