Different Kind of World: ACL 2023 Weekend Two, Day One Recap
Written by Amarylis Rodriguez, Sorraya Gonzales, Keylee Paz on October 14, 2023
It was a sunny and hot afternoon. Thousands walked into Zilker Park, anticipating their favorite artist. It’s the start of the second weekend, and many prepare with water bottles to keep cool.
The day started at 1:45 PM with The Altons on the IHG stage. Their swift harmonies and slow instrumental brought a mellow aurora. They conveyed a mix of soul and indie rock to the stage in an array of blue, purple, and pink lights. A balance between slow and romantic to upbeat and lively. At the end of their set, they played “When You Go (That’s When You Know),” proving that the band from East Los Angeles can start the day on a high note.
Thee Scared Souls
At 2:25, Thee Sacred Souls embodied spirit on the Honda Stage. The lead vocalist started the set with booming vocals. As the singer exclaimed the lyrics from “Will I See You Again?” he displayed soul for the modern era. The vulnerability in his songs about love outlasting power remains unmatched. He states, “It’s hard to keep love afloat, but it’s worth it in the end.” With tracks such as “Easier Said Than Done,” “Weak For Your Love,” and “Trade of Hearts,” Thee Sacred Souls share their message of love’s passion. A highlight included the track “Running Away,” where the lead vocalist ran into multiple parts of the crowd and sang flawlessly. The last song, “Can I Call You Rose?” conveyed an excellent harmonious conclusion to their message about love.
As the second act of the day on the American Express stage, Nessa Barrett gave a heartfelt and strong performance that moved the crowd from beginning to end. She sang many songs off of her newest EP, hell is a teenage girl, such as “american jesus,” “lie” and “the one that got away.” Moving back and forth from each side of the stage, singer connected with her fans by exclaiming how much she loved Austin and was so happy to be back. After continuing with slower songs like “die first” and “club heaven,” the performer ended her set with her rock tune, “BANG! BANG!”.
Over on the IHG stage, Ethel Cain performed beautifully to a packed audience that screamed every single song that she sang. Through the vocals, aesthetic visuals in the background and her bright personality, Cain’s set radiated with such a warm energy that brought joy to everyone in the audience. During her hit song, “American Teenager,” the singer jumped down to the barricade and sang with members of the crowd. She had a heartfelt moment with a fan as they serenaded each other for the chorus. A collective “aweee” was heard from the audience as the fan started to cry with tears of joy as they departed. Other songs performed include, “Sun Bleached Flies,” “A House In Nebraska” and “Gibson Girl.”
At 4:10, Lil Yachty exhilarated a massive crowd at the American Express stage. Fresh off his new album, Let’s Start Here, Lil Yachty smiled brightly throughout the performance. As the screen maintained psychedelic visuals, the crowd opened up multiple pits. Yachty acted as the ultimate hype man to the extent that a man in a wheelchair crowd-surfed. Astounded, Yachty smiled through the event and continued his set with songs such as “drive ME crazy!” and “The Ride-.” He also maintains a balance between old hits and new hits. Performing prominent features like “iSpy” and “Broccoli“, along with stuff from his album Lil Boat, like “Minnesota” and “One Night.” Overall, he did an excellent job maintaining a high energy with the mixture of the band instrumentals and his MC skills.
Under the Tito’s tent, DJ Vivie-ann Bakos, better known as BLOND:ISH, was all the rave as her electronic tunes attracted many from all around the park. As a line of disco balls twirled, the lights reflecting off of them were moving to match the beat. The performance was full of energizing beat-drops, dancing and bubbles. By the end of her set, everyone was pushing into the tent in hopes of joining the party.
As the final band on the BMI stage for the day, The Moss made sure to energize and entertain the crowd throughout the entire set. The indie-rock band from Utah, had a comedic personality as well as some amazing songs. Somewhere in between “Willie’s Song” and “Chaparral,” lead singer, Tyke James, took the time to show their gratitude to Austin while also informing the crowd about the plant that is their band’s name, “Moss comes in all different colors, I don’t know if you guys knew that.” There was also an amazing cover of “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young that had the crowd swaying before picking it back up again with the 2020 single, “Dog Valley.”
Once it reached 5:00, I headed toward T-Mobile for Glorilla’s performance. I waited in the pit for a while when a DJ came on and started to play remixes. Confused at the lack of introduction, I jammed out to songs such as “Mo Bamba,” “Act Up,” and “SkeeYee“. While initially exciting, the DJ act lasted 30 minutes without sight of Glorilla, frustrating the crowd. After an agonizing wait, Glorilla enters the stage and the crowd roars. She performs for only 20 minutes, but the crowd enjoys every second as she raps effortlessly.
D4vd brings an impactful punch to the IHG stage. Arriving mid-set, I see a crowd in a trance at D4vd vocals. He even invites a little girl on stage named Emily, to sing his most famous hit, “Here With Me.” As D4vd vocals dominate the stage, he sings other hits, such as “Sleep Well,” “Placebo Effect,” and “Rehab.” All with a bubbly and enthusiastic stage presence, he states that this is his first festival performance. Despite being his first festival, he hits every note on his final song, “Romantic Homicide,” even doing a backflip on stage.
At 6:10, Maggie Rogers dominates the Honda Stage. She enters in a lovely black dress, hitting every single note perfectly. With songs such as “Overdrive” and “Want Want,” Rogers’s performative nature balances with her acoustic track “Love You For A Long Time.” She states that this is her last performance of the year and the end of the cycle for her album Surrender. Additionally, she laughs at her multiple haircuts during the tour and shifts in her appearance. The pop powerhouse makes her last performance of the year memorable, hitting multiple high notes on songs such as “Say It” and “Be Cool.“
As a late minute edition to the festival, DJ trio, Major Lazer, pumped up the crowd at the American Express with a mix of many hits. From “Starships” to “Run the World (Girls)” to “(It Goes Like) Nanana,” the group remixed many different songs across a variety of genres. They also played originals such as “Cold Water,” “Lean On” and “Que Calor.” The crowd’s high energy was acknowledged when member Walshy Fire exclaimed, “This might be the best crowd of the year!” They also kept the energy going by telling the crowd to do all sorts of things such as getting low, running from side to side and even doing jumping jacks. Overall, the set was a giant dance party that incorporated music for all types of people to enjoy.
Portugal. the Man
To start off their set, member Zachary Carothers came out to introduce two students from the University of Texas at Austin’s Indigenous Member Organization to discuss their message about taken lands, tying into the band’s Portugal. The Man’s PTM Foundation. The band came out on stage and started with the intro of “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Metallica, bleeding into “What Me, Worry?” followed by the classic track “Purple Yellow Red and Blue.” Throughout their set, they continuously played songs with a fresh take, such as a new rendition of “Feel It Still.” The crowd was packed all the way to the Honda Stage, and PTM definitely made sure the crowd remained energetic throughout the night – a perfect way to get warmed up for the Lumineers.
The Lumineers took the stage and started off their set towards the front of the stage’s catwalk. They started their set with beloved songs like “Cleopatra” and their well-known hit “Ho Hey,” both of which got the crowd screaming at the top of their lungs. The ACL Lightshow was also happening on the otherside of the park, which caused great visuals for the band’s heart-wrenching tunes.
After a rocky entrance during weekend one, Kendrick Lamar made up for lost time at the American Express stage. Entering at 8:45, Lamar was in his “ELEMENT” during the introduction. He paid tribute to his Compton roots, rapping in front of paintings of an African-American Family. The set honored his journey as his artist performing older hits such as “King Kunta” and even a feature from Pusha T’s song “Nostalgia.” Lamar’s discography ranges intensely, such as hits from his 2012 album Good Kid m.A.A.d City like “Swimming Pools (Drank),” “m.A.A.d City,” and “Money Trees.”
The set’s second half highlighted his dancers, who symbolized Kendrick throughout the years. He played tracks from his infamous 2017 album, DAMN, such as “DNA,” “LOYALTY,” and “HUMBLE.” Fireworks accompanied all these tracks during beat drops, fog machines, and Lamar’s fantastic flow. As the night sky glowed on the stage, Lamar ended his set between “LOVE” and “Alright.” Overall, Lamar was a fantastic headliner; his set honored his roots while maintaining a good flow in his rapping and balance in his ranging discography.