Tyler, The Creator by Charles Reagan for ACL 2021

The third and final day of ACL started off strong with Texas local artists Nané, which came together at UT Austin in 2016, as well as rockstar-in-training Zach Person and group BLK ODYSSY, both from Austin, TX, as well. Rap/hip-hop artist Payday performed at the same time as these artists as well. She was born in California, but lived in Texas for a time.

Nané by Roger Ho for ACL Fest 2021

I made it to the festival after these artists’ sets, unfortunately, but I wanted to give them a shoutout anyways (being from Houston and all). The first act I went to see this day was Serena Isioma, at 1:00. Their work isn’t something I was very familiar with before this performance–other than their hit song, “Sensitive“–, but their energy was so infectious that it felt completely natural being in the crowd.

Serena Isioma was a natural performer, bouncing effortlessly around the stage during their show. It was clear that they enjoyed their music, enjoyed performing, and enjoyed the music festival scene–and the crowd of festival-goers loved it. The front of the crowd in particular loved Serena, which they seemed receptive to–even propping themself up to sing to their fans during one track. I would consider this performance a huge success of the festival.

Serena Isioma by Ashley Osborn for ACL 2021

After Serena’s set, I headed once again to the press lounge to write, and plan out my final hours of ACL 2021. I wasn’t super familiar with the artists on this date, so I went to briefly check out artists Cautious Clay (R&B) and Toosii (hip-hop/rap) before working and waiting for Tyler, the Creator‘s show at 8:30-10:00–the sole, final performance of the festival.

8:30 finally rolled around, and I walked to stand on the outskirts of the (not surprisingly) enormous crowd surrounding the Lady Bird stage, which Tyler would be performing on shortly. He opened with a bang, first playing Call Me if You Get Lost‘s second track, “Corso.” Tyler rapped: “You see / On this stage here tonight is something legendary.” Confident opening lyrics, but very well fitting his extraordinarily successful performance.

Tyler the Creator by Roger Ho for ACL 2021

Tyler continued his set with the strongest songs from his newest album, as well as tracks from Igor (2019), Flower Boy (2017), Wolf (2013), and Goblin (2011). The only album not represented during his performance was Cherry Bomb (2015)–other than that, all of Tyler’s musical eras were well represented. He didn’t evenly space out his newest music, instead beginning with a 7-track-long run of songs off the 2021 album, then completing the performance with 2 in a row. This could have backfired–if he were any other artist.

However, Tyler’s determination to give a solid performance always manifests itself onstage, so his “bookend” technique for spacing the songs off Call Me if You Get Lost didn’t cause any negative response from the crowd. Instead, his fans and any other festival-goers in the crowd stayed mesmerized throughout the show. The technical aspects of the show were dynamic as well: wildly varying color cues washed the whole stage in vibrant reds, greens, blues, and oranges, and the nautical theme Tyler chose for the set was almost campy, but worked well with his eager performance. In my opinion, Tyler was the perfect final headliner ACL could have had.

Thank you for coming on this journey with me. This concludes Day 3 of ACL Weekend 2, 2021.

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