On Friday Oct 14, 2022 Austin City Limits Music Festival Weekend 2 kicked off with a later but great start as attendees began to take their first pick of performances to watch, but no matter the choice, a great show was guaranteed for all festival-goers as they got to choose from a wide selection of talented artists.
So whether you decide to start your ACL journey bonding with LA-based singer-songwriter Blondshell whose relaxing acoustic melodies swept the crowd, or by dancing alongside the rhythmic embrace of alternative indie-pop band Wet Leg, or vibing with the intense eclectic sounds from psychedelic rock group Twen whose set left fans begging for more, you were set for a world of a performance.
Following Twen’s American Express stage performance was an all-star act from headlining contemporary folk-pop singer, Noah Cyrus. The Nashville-native treated fans to the likeness of her personal experiences through lyricism with tracks audience members held near and dear, such as “I Burned LA Down” and “I Got So High That I Saw Jesus”. Included in the setlist was the title song from her latest studio album, Hardest Part, which Cyrus briefly mentioned on stage to have written to showcase the struggles between seeing both the changing and unchanging of family due to the forward movement of time.
Also taking on the American Express stage was Texan native Conan Gray. With a vast catalog comprised of two studio albums, an EP, and numerous singles, Gray showcased his entire discography. Conan offered raw heartbreak emotions through his singles “Checkmate” and “Wish You Were Sober”, while granting the audience of his sassy spark that appears in “Best Friend”. Across many of the catchy and fun music Conan Gray could offer, he made it clear many times the weather was a killer quoting “Y’all, It’s hot as balls out here”. Conan Gray put on a stellar performance with an all women band, a fun montage of many interviews, and of course his amazing voice.
Shortly after, indie-surf rock band Vacations took to the Miller Lite stage, pulling in a hefty crowd with golden anthems like “Young” and “Telephones”. The band generates a smooth sound for listeners who just want to channel the feelings of unrequited love. Their music does a great job at capturing the high’s and low’s of a young romance with the help of the sweet vocals from lead singer, Campbell Burns, the melancholic rifts weeping from the chords of guitarist, Nate Delizzotti and the maintained beat switching of talented drummer, Joseph Van Lier.
Later in the evening, festival-goers made their way to the Honda stage as headlining pop-rock act Phoenix brought nostalgia into the crowd, opening with their iconic hit song “Lisztomania” as well as ending their set with one of their most popular tracks “1901”. In between, fans were able to enjoy more recent material from the group with songs like “Tonight” and “Alpha Zulu”, which were both released earlier this year. Whether you were a long time fan or a recent addition to the Phoenix fan-club, it feels safe to say that the performance did not fall short as the crowd roared with excitement all throughout their set.
The last performance for Friday night was reserved for none other than the return of R&B soul sensation SZA. Although there was a slight wardrobe malfunction during her performance of “Broken Clocks”, SZA did not let a small mishap ruin the night as she continued to give a powerhouse of a performance alongside her dance crew. Not only did SZA perform solo originals like “The Weekend”, “Supermodel” and “Good Days”, but she also made sure to sing tracks she collaborated with other artists on such as “Love Galore” which features Travis Scott, “Kiss Me More” by Doja Cat and “All The Stars” by Kendrick Lamar.
While SZA’s accompanying performers weren’t there to harmonize with her on stage, SZA made sure to make up for their absence with her strong standalone vocals. In a moment of awe, SZA wooed the crowd with an announcement of her long anticipated single “Shirt” set to release later this month and was the perfect note to end on for the first night of ACL Weekend 2.