ACL 2021: Weekend 2, Day 2

Written by on October 11, 2021

ACL Day 2 starts with me arriving at 12:30, determined to see some of Frances Forever‘s act before heading to the press lounge to write. I made it for the very end of their set, so I got to watch them perform from a distance.

Photo by Gary Miller, courtesy of Austin Chronicle

Frances Forever’s name was displayed in a 1970’s-inspired font on a rainbow backdrop on the center screen, and video of their performance played on the screens to its left and right. Unfortunately, their act ran over time, leading to ACL cutting their sound–a rare, but not impossible, occurrence for the festival.

I also got to walk past Holly Humberstone, a British musician with killer vocals that I had heard all the way by the East Entrance. Her name was also displayed on the center screen of her stage, but its lettering was smaller, quaintly centered on an all-black background. An hour or so later, I left the lounge to catch the last half of girl in red‘s set.

I knew of girl in red as an indie pop artist, so I was at first worried she would fade into the background of the massive Lady Bird stage. Her stage presence, however, pleasantly surprised me.

girl in red by Alison Narro for ACL 2021

Sporting casual jean cutoff shorts a t-shirt, girl in red brought a surprising rock coolness to her performance. As she sang her closing song, “i wanna be your girlfriend,” girl in red’s determined vocals carried across the crowd, and her electric guitar playing complimented her rising rock-star persona.

She said goodbye at the end of her set, telling the crowd, “I’m gonna go lie down now,” before heading offstage. Although I sensed this venue may have been a bit out of her comfort zone, she held her own. I think girl in red’s performance at ACL may have successfully pushed her further into the limelight of mainstream music.

Across the festival, Surfaces finished up their set as well. When I’d walked past them earlier, they’d been playing covers, but they decided to finish their performance off with originals. I headed to the T-Mobile stage to see Remi Wolf start her set.

Remi Wolf walked out in a characteristically eclectic outfit, casually announcing “Hello Austin, my name is Remi Wolf,” before jumping right into her first song. Throughout her performance, she stayed genuine and relaxed–an impressive feat, but not surprising considering the number of festivals she’s set to perform this year (and has performed already in her career).

Remi Wolf by Charles Reagan for ACL 2021

Following Remi Wolf’s performance, I headed back to Lady Bird for the wonderful Phoebe Bridgers‘ set. I only stayed for the first half or so, in order to have time to continue writing and chill a bit before Doja Cat‘s performance an hour later. This meant I missed ACL cutting her sound as well when she ran overtime during “I Know the End“. As I mentioned, this also happened to Frances Forever that same morning.

Phoebe tweeted about it at 5:37PM, understandably not happy that her performance was cut short in the middle of her final song. I heard from a friend that she may have run over after stopping in the middle of her set, due to fan fainting in the crowd. I can’t confirm this for sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if its true given her track record of stopping shows for people who need medical assistance.

Phoebe Bridgers by Ashley Osborn for ACL 2021

After Phoebe’s show, I went to the press lounge to work until Doja Cat’s show. I’d always heard she was a great performer, but I truly was blown away. She entered in a delicately made wood-nymph-esque outfit, opening with her hit song “Rules.”

Doja Cat commanded the stage, and her backup dancers complimented her, but didn’t overshadow. In fact, Doja Cat’s own experience as a classical Indian dancer allows her to perform at a stellar level. Her vocals combined with electric dance energy made this performance one of the most successful of the festival so far. She finished her set with the catchy tune that’s been her most streamed since it blew up on TikTok: “Say So.”

Doja Cat by Greg Noire for ACL 2021

At 8:00, Billie Eilish (one of the festival’s headliners) was set to perform. Her performance was (as hers usually are) profound, and even haunting–exciting, loud, thoughtful, and quiet all at once. She also took time to speak about Greg Abbott’s abortion law, just as she did during her Weekend 1 performance.

She didn’t hold back her full thoughts on the situation, saying: “You know who should not be making a choice for my body? A f***ing dirty old man.” She then continued her set, amping up the energy for a song or two, then dialing it back down, and so on, before concluding on the soft “Happier than Ever.” And that concludes Day 2 of ACL Weekend 2.

Billie Eilish by Ashley Osborn for ACL 2021

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