TVD Live: Austin City Limits, Weekend Two

PHOTOS: AMANDA DEERING | Austin, Texas is quite the city. Nowhere else in the world can you find people as eclectic, a climate as intense, a menu of Tex-Mex joints as large, or a music scene so ingrained in the very heartbeat of a city as it is in ATX. Nor can you find a festival quite like Austin City Limits—an event that each year fuses all the things we love most about the Lone Star State capital into one giant party.

This past weekend marked the second half of ACL’s two-weekend run at Austin’s Zilker Park. And while the skies, yet again, wreaked stormy havoc on the festival grounds early Saturday morning, ACL goers weren’t afraid to brave, heck embrace, the elements—blistering heat one day, chill winds and giant mud pits the next—to see some of the best acts in live music. Despite weather, artists and fans alike gave Mother Nature a run for her money, and through the mud, sweat and beers, ACL proved triumphant once more.


While the festival was host to many memorable performances, there were a few contenders that had us talking. Among the ACL class of 2014, here’s who’d we vote for:

Newest “It” Girl: Rachael Price of Lake Street Dive

Brooklyn-based quartet Lake Street Dive easily gave one of our favorite performances of the entire festival. Partly because, next to the heavy-hitting sounds of fellow ACL performers Skrillex, AFI, Childish Gambino, etc., LSD’s laid-back vibes, retro-soul stylings, and feel good grooves were refreshing. But mostly because lead singer Rachael Price is a total fox. Price has a silky smooth voice and effortless grace with a timeless quality that stuns. And bonus: the band’s delicious cover of Hall and Oates’ “Rich Girl” might just be the swankiest thing we saw all weekend.


Funkiest dance grooves: Chromeo

Funk masters Dave 1 and P-Thugg don’t play around when it comes to gettin’ down. Days since Chromeo’s Sunday set, and we’re still grooving to the electro-funk duo’s infectious jams. With 80s-inspired, wittily-crafted songs like “Sexy Socialite,” “Fancy Footwork,” and “Jealous (I Ain’t With It),” the Canadian funk lords’ light-hearted approach to dance pop brought the heat—and elicited moves you forgot you had.



King of ACL: Childish Gambino

When Childish Gambino says to put your hands in the air, you do it, dammit. If you were one of many at the rapper’s show on Friday, you can’t deny that he knows how to command a crowd. Though unapologetically taking to the Honda stage in nothing but short tropical shorts, Gambino’s stage presence was anything but minimal. Whether or not you are a fan of his blunt, off-kilter brand of hip-hop, Gambino had the energy, and swagger, to hype any festival-goer in sight.


Sexiest rockers: The Preatures

The Preatures are, in a word, sex. The band’s 70s-esque revivalist rock. Lead singer Isabella Manfredi’s classic cool. Manfredi’s playful interaction with guitarist Jack Moffit. Everything about this band is just plain sexy. They’re not a half bad looking bunch either. We definitely dug the Australian heartthrobs’ swoon-worthy performance on Saturday.


Most underrated: Von Grey

The best thing about music festivals is being able to discover up and coming talent before they hit it big. One of our favorite bands on the indie block this year? Folk outfit Von Grey: Four sisters blessed with ridiculously good genes. Taking root on ACL’s smallest stage on Sunday, the Von Greys’ rich, yet delicate melodies, genre-blurring sound, and expansive instrumental expertise—a diverse blend of classic, rock and pop instrumentation—provided for an impressive performance by all means, but especially considering not one sister has yet to even reach her 20th birthday.

Best brass: Trombone Shorty

Troy Andrews, a.k.a. New Orleans-born jazz and funk prodigy Trombone Shorty, busted some serious brass on Saturday—and it was awesome. Toggling between his trombone and trumpet one minute, then smooth and soulful vocals the next, Shorty and his full band—two saxophonists, a bassist, electric guitarist, and percussionist—brought the spirit of the Big Easy to Austin. Highlight of the set? The end, when band members surprised the audience by swapping instruments to perform one last song.



Most likely to get girls naked: Major Lazer

When you’re Diplo and Switch of Major Lazer, you can pretty much do whatever the hell you want. Women twerking on stage? Check. A dancing fool in a giant Major Lazer costume? Done. Getting everyone to take their shirts off and wave them around in the air like drunk idiots? Ain’t no thang but a G thang. Did our shirts come off? No. But did we dance our asses off with no shame? Damn right.

Chillest vibes: Beat Connection

With cool and airy vocals, breezy West Coast beats, and hipster style to match, Beat Connection brought the chill to this year’s festival—and we were feeling it. While the Seattle-based band’s live, synth-driven set translates much differently live than on record, their tropical, casual vibes had us cruisin’ and groovin’ and dreaming of sandy beaches all the same.


Most in need of a bigger stage: Iggy Azalea and Lorde

The good news: Two of pop music’s most beloved leading ladies appeared at this year’s festival, giving thousands of fans the chance to witness two killer shows. The bad news: Two of pop music’s most beloved leading ladies appeared at this year’s festival. Translation: unless you were at the mid-size RetailMeNot stage hours before either set, waiting alongside the thousands of squealing teens vying for a space in the crowd, you had to stand on your toes, cock your head and squint with one eye to catch even the tiniest glimpse of either artist. That said, both songstresses brought some serious game to Zilker—as far as we could tell, at least.  



Next big thing: MØ

Watching perform was bittersweet. On one hand, the chick is a badass. We’re not sure if it was her gloriously awkward hairstyle, reckless dance moves, or crowd-surfing talents that pushed us over the edge, but this great Dane won our hearts with her quirky, bass-driven electro pop and energetic stage presence. On the other hand, you hated watching her crazy awesome performance knowing that soon, she won’t be your little secret any more.

Most “ACL”: The fans

While artists ranging from abstract folk outfit tUnE-yArDs to carnivalesque gypsy/jazz/reggae crew Beats Antique definitely kept things pretty weird in a city that prides itself on all things odd, no one got weirder than ACL goers themselves. Sure, trucking through muddy mosh pits, breathing in air ripe with the smell of mulch and human stank, and losing all connection with the world beyond Zilker all felt a little primal, but cutting lose, getting dirty, and being one with the festival—and the earth—is all part of the ACL experience anyway.




















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