The weather warmed up for the second day, still not quite Texas temperatures, but compared to day one it was like summer all over again. This wasn’t lost on a few of the acts who jokingly referred to the end of the season during their set, with the best one being Robert Smith saying he couldn’t go sun bathing anymore as summer is over. Unfortunately one act didn’t show up, much to the crowd’s displeasure, as it was announced that Megan Thee Stallion wouldn’t make her set time. Everything else though went off without a hitch.
Local rappers Blackillac kicked the day of strong. The duo of Zeale and Phranchyze made good on their second weekend ever on the festival bill and wasted none of their allotted time. You could ping-pong around the festival early on and get a quick fix of punk rock with some comedy mixed in from the Aquadolls or some great singer-songwriter vibes from Vanessa Zamora. Early on though all roads lead to Orville Peck. The queer identifying masked Canadian cowboy delivered the goods. His deep voice rang through Zilker Park, including a great cover of Gram Parsons “Ooh Las Vegas.” The hype on him is to be believed and should be seen immediately if you haven’t yet.
On the other side of the park Taylor Bennet had a full band going for his set. While he didn’t have the largest crowd, everyone who was there was following his every word. Soon after Sigrid played her last US show of the year. Some have said she is a pop-star in the making, but honestly she is already one. She effortlessly commanded the stage and her band gave every song that extra little kick it needed to put it over into wow territory. The future is bright for the young star who thanked the crowd endlessly for coming to enjoy her set. While she had the crowd swaying to her music, Denzel Curry had his crowd moshing, jumping, and anything else he wanted them to. It was a wild scene to walk up to in the middle of the day.
Sometimes you find a diamond in the rough at festivals in the middle of the day just when it all the music just melts into one another. On day two it was Briston Maroney who tore through his set like a man on a mission. The whole band’s energy oozed through the crowd and was matched as the young guns rocked away. Another younger musician, Tierra Whack, started around the same time and she showed why she is one of the most buzzed around acts right now. With some humor to go along with her rapping, Tierra was absolutely stunning. Between songs she began playing her own version of Simon Says and had the crowd perfectly in the palm of her hand.
Yes Brittany Howard rocked, but it wasn’t the rocking you would expect. She put on a full gospel and soul sermon and did her best Prince impression, which included covering the Purple One’s “The Breakdown” as well as Jackie Wilson’s “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher.” Brittany spoke a lot of about love and family. While anticipation was high for her set, she blew it out of the water. The new songs sounded great live and it will be interesting to see if she continues down this path. Kali Uchis was next and danced her way all over the stage moving from soul to pop to a cover of Radiohead’s “Creep.” Her live band sounded fantastic and really gave Kali room to wow the crowd with her vocals. She even brought the sun out for her performance, which led a beautiful back half of the day weather wise.
Gary Clark Jr. brought an extremely large band with him for his home town festival gig. The 12 piece band really gave his songs new life, making them sound bigger than they ever have before. With some help from Trae the Truth, The Peterson Brothers, and Blackillac, Gary made the most out of his hour on stage and definitely was loving being on stage in his city. Billie Eilish’s crowd was young, but they ate up everything she gave them. Billie is one of the biggest things happening in music today and she really showed why, singing her heart out. Near the end of her set she went up and down the area between the right and left sides of the crowd, hanging with fans and giving hi-fives and someone wound up taking one of her rings. When she got back to the stage and told everyone the crowd chanted for the person to give it back. Billie quieted them down and said it was fine and said everyone should just spread the love. It was a good message in today’s world.
James Blake felt like he had two distinct sets during his time slot, pre-sunset and post-sunset. Before the sun set the music was far calmer, but as soon as it went down everything became looser and the crowd ate it up. From there it was time for everyone to make a decision, whether to see The Cure play their last show of the summer or Childish Gambino’s possible last show ever. Both played the same setlists from the previous weekend, so if people came last weekend they could just go to the other one. For those that had a choice though it was hard. The Cure, who have been playing 36 songs at their solo shows, ran through a 24 song two hour performance that was stunning. It was heavy on Disintegration as the band has been celebrating it this fall, but there were plenty of other chestnuts in there for the diehards.
Robert Smith was in a great mood, moving about the stage and commanding the audience. He wasn’t moving as wildly as Childish Gambino though, who seemed to never stop moving across the park. If this was the end of this alter-ego for Donald Glover he went out strong. He brought up his broken foot from last year and thanked the crowd for coming back for him. Watching someone in person that is this talented is just inspiring and makes you want to try everything you haven’t yet. Hopefully this isn’t the actual end of the road for Childish Gambino. Robert Smith though made sure to tell everyone they would be back at some point soon though before The Cure started the encore, which saw a lot of people running to catch some of the hits to end their night.
Article: Bryan Lasky