Coverage by Waylon O’Day and Raj Ravida
The second weekend of Austin City Limits was greeted with cool breezes and clouds that blocked the harsh sun from the thousands of people that gathered into Zilker Park to enjoy performances from some of the biggest names in music. The first day always seems the most hectic, you have to figure out where the stages are, where the good food is, and most importantly, where the shortest bathroom lines are. The most prestigious music festival in the great state of Texas made the most of everyone’s Friday night.
The sun was beating down on the Samsung stage at Zilker, so I decided to pop a squat next to a nice, big, shady tree. Little did I know how perfect a setting this would be for the Oxfard, England native’s set. If you have never heard their music, it has this ethereal, bigger than life aesthetic that gives me chills just thinking about it. Foals strikes me as a more Southern-rock influenced Two Door Cinema Club, which I think played perfectly with the predominately Texan audience that gathered to see their set. (I have no idea where everyone was from, so I’m just assuming). The aesthetic that this band exudes was completely at home in the late afternoon sun, I was able to sit away from the crowd and still feel as though I was in the middle of the audience. I didn’t know as much about Foals as I would have liked to prior to seeing them, but their live show definitely won me over, and I’m sure songs like “Mountain at My Gates,” “My Number,” and “What Went Down,” will find their ways into my personal playlists.
Die Antwoord is the weirdest band I have seen live, and I love it. Their set was a roller coaster of obscurity. Their set started with a giant face popping up on the giant screen behind them. The face then proceeded to talk and then led into “We Have Candy.” Throughout the show, the group had God, their DJ, who was shirtless, rocking the beats and two backup dancers that would change costumes ever so often. Ninja and Yolandi also had a series of costume changes, that included onsies, booty shorts and boxers. The group played most of their hits, including “Fatty Fatty Boom Boom” and “Ugly Boy.”
This was my third time seeing Steve Ellison, better known as Flying Lotus, or Flylo, but definitely not Flotus, he made that abundantly clear during his hour long set which at times, seemed to slug on, with big gaps of talking. As a fan of Flying Lotus I loved his monologues, but as a music festival patron I could see how his set fell short. Honestly, this was the most underwhelming performance I have ever seen from Flylo, maybe it was because it was his birthday and so naturally he had to down a bottle of Patron, or maybe it was because he wasn’t able to give the real Flying Lotus performance due to the timing of his set, 6PM, when the setting sun pointed directly at the Samsung stage, disabling Ellison from utilizing his top notch visuals to the best of their abilities. The best part of the set was all of the asides directed at the audience, especially the ones concerning this year’s election, Flylo claimed he didn’t like either one of the choices we have been given, but regardless we have to make a choice to change the world. He also added that it probably didn’t matter because we’re all going to die anyways, but at least it’ll be fun to watch. All in all, this was probably the most disappointing set of the day for me, mostly due to the fact that I had such high expectations for one of the people that appears on my Musical Mount Rushmore, but that’s my fault. Objectively, this was a solid, fan-friendly set, nothing more, nothing less.
Flume played immediately after Die Antwoord on the other side of the festival, so I had to do some extreme power walking to get there. As I approached the stage, the festival started to get more compact. Saying Flume’s crowd was big is an understatement. It was humongous. Luckily I found a decent spot not too far form the sound booth. He started off his set with “Helix.” As the song kicked in, the music video played in the background and an array of cubes that were hanging from the ceiling started to light up. He played several songs off of his new album “Skin” as well as some classics like his remix of “Tennis Court” by Lorde. My personal highlight was when he played “You & Me.” This was the one time everyone in the crowd was moving. You could see people dancing and having a great time.
I am not an EDM fan, I need to make that clear so that you can understand where this review is coming from. I enjoy the music, I just can’t stand the people. I just feel like they are all carbon copies of each other, both the fans the musicians alike. With that being said, I enjoyed the set that Major Lazer brought to the Honda stage last night, they had hands down the best stage show I have ever seen from this genre of music. It was full of dancers, pyrotechnics, and a plastic gerbil-like ball. If it wasn’t for their stage show, it would have just been an average set. If you have been to one show, you’ve been to all of them honestly, but that’s just my opinion. I appreciated being able to see it live because of the spectacle, but I feel like I could’ve gotten just as much from listening to one of their albums as I did from standing for seventy five minutes. Maybe I just don’t like the fans, they always seem to be these Greek life people who are out of their minds on a handful of substances and have no concern for anyone else, and sometimes for themselves. It’s just not a good look, and it makes it less fun for the people who aren’t under the influence. For the guy that threw full nine dollar beer at me, this is addressed to you, you are everything that is wrong with festival culture. You can accuse me of being uptight, but in my humble opinion, whenever you are in public, you should be mindful of others, it’s called not being an asshole, I’m not sure if your parents taught you that.
Radiohead is a band I honestly thought I would never get the chance to see live. Although they didn’t have an engaging crowd, they put on a fantastic live show. They played a 23-song set list that included “No Surprises,” “Burn the Witch” and “Fake Plastic Trees.” Unfortunately the band did not play “Creep,” which is bummed out every 90’s kid, including myself. As I walked through the crowd of people during the set, I saw some mixed reactions. Some people we’re loving every second of the performance and dancing away. Some people we’re just standing there and looked absolutely bored out of their minds. I think Radiohead fans we’re the ones that truly appreciated their performance.
Be sure to check in the next two days for the rest of our Austin City Limits coverage, if you want to check out the sets but don’t want to go to the festival, RedBull TV is streaming certain performances live online. Go ahead and drop by and join in on the fun, and don’t forget to check out our future coverage.