Saturday at ACL started hot with the blistering sun and ended even hotter with the incredible headlining sets from Kendrick Lamar and Kygo.
Nothing can signify the electric and diverse lineup more than the headliners Saturday night. On one side of the festival was the Compton born rapper who has skyrocketed to be one of hip hops greatest superstars. And on the other side of Zilker Park, the young Norwegian DJ Kygo played to an audience just as big and hypnotized them to one of the greatest nights of their life.
Kendrick and Kygo were joined with several other acts that made Saturday truly unforgettable.
My expectations for Mr. Lamar were quite high. I have seen Kendrick three times over the past four years, but not since the release of To Pimp a Butterfly. The release of that album took Lamar to an entirely new level of notoriety, talent and superstardom.
As Lamar took the stage Saturday night, He had an incredible collection to fill the 90 minute headlining time slot.
Rolling through his greatest cuts from Good Kid/M.a.a.d city into Butterfly and even a few from his Untitled album Lamar shined. But it was the time he took to visit his first cuts from Section 80 that showed what a giant the man has become. He is a megastar with incredible stage presence to match his unreal flow.
Lamar’s set list was a perfect mix of old and new. He closed out with “Wesley’s Theory” and then encored with “Alright” but then, Lamar came back out to do “A.D.H.D”. his incredible cut from Section 80. This was an incredible treat to the fans that have been there since day one but also a way of showing he has had it all along.
The energy he brings to his hits like “Swimming Pools”, “Money Trees,” and “Alright” is unmatched with most hip hop acts today. With each song, Lamar brings a quality that makes everything so unpredictable. There is an organicness to his shows that mirror something similar to the greatest jam bands of all time, but this is for a rapper. It’s truly an incredible feat. It’s undeniable how deserving he was of the Saturday headlining slot. Lamar is a star that will continue to shine brighter for a long, long time.
The Brooklyn DJ duo is riding the greatest success of their career thanks to their massive single “Closer”, which is the number one single in the United States right now. Along with their other hits “Roses” and “Don’t Let Me Down,” The Chainsmokers played perhaps the most energy packed and off the chain show of the festival.
Even with the success of their own produced songs, The Chainsmokers honor their DJ roots by mashing together some of the greatest pop songs of today with old classics such as Coldplay’s “Yellow” and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under the Bridge”. From the opening drop to the flames shooting from the stage during “Closer”, The Chainsmokers had the audience jumping up and down from the first second. The energy, beats and range of the show made it unpredictable, exhilarating and unforgettable.
This Californian band continues to produce some of the catchiest songs on the radio today. These groovy ear worm hits such as “My Type”, “Cold Cold Man”, and “Move” translate perfectly. Despite playing at the hottest part, this didn’t hold the band or the crowd back from moving and a grooving. Judging by how big their early afternoon crowd was and how much traction every single they have released has had, this band is on a fast track to playing many more festival big stages.
As I wrote in my Lollapalooza recap, there is absolutely no reason why Jack Garratt isn’t the most popular recording artist on the planet. His one man band act has been done before but no one does it with the incredible talent on each element like Garratt.
I saw him for the first time in January and in 10 short months, his performance and stage presence has evolved so much. Adding a full drum set where once was just a drum board makes his set worthy of any big festival stage.
The best part of seeing him now has become watching others experience him for the first time. Garratt is a marvel. An act you should never miss. His performance at ACL only furthered his standing with me and I can’t wait for the world to discover him.
I was lucky enough to attend their ACL after show at the small, intimate Sixth Street bar The Parish. This band from London is as hypnotic as they are loveable. Their infectious harmonies and insane likeability on stage make this band a pure joy to watch. “Lose It” has been a favorite of mine for the past few months, but it was the rest of their setlist that blew me away with their range and outstanding live presence.
The 15th edition of the Austin City Limits Festival will close with two massive headliners. Mumford and Sons and LCD Soundsystem will take their respective stages at the same time leaving many people an impossible decision to make. Other acts to look forward to include Willie Nelson, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Young the Giant and more.
Header Image: Charles Reagan.