Austin City Limits came to a close on Sunday night and it is time for us to reflect on the best moments of the weekend. The beautiful city of Austin hosted their 12th annual festival this yea and it has one of the most diverse lineups in its history.
Billy Idol still has it going on at 60. It seems as though we were transported back to the 1980’s as Billy Idol and his band came out sporting Idol’s classic blonde hair and clad in leather and denim. Still looking great at 60, it seems like Idol and the band haven’t aged at all in terms of energy. Playing hits like “Dancing With Myself” and Rebel Yell” (although having to restart “Rebel Yell” three times and sarcastically saying “one more time and if we can’t do it this time, I’m retiring”). It was an energetic set was jam-packed with hits and new material, which seemed to drag the show a little bit. However, the band can still put on a dynamic show 34 years later.
Father John Misty did everything you could ever imagine him doing, and even more. He walked out, immediately raised his mic stand behind his back and continued to do his usual pretend striptease as Misty and the band went straight into their set. Although there were not as much sarcasm as expected from him during the set, he still made fun of those filming with their iPhones and even faked filming on a lucky fan’s phone, moving around and holding the phone out. His performance was dramatic, smooth, and entertaining as one would expect from Tillman.
Tame Impala brings a psychedelic mood to the festival as they played a variety of songs from their catalog of albums and EPs including their debut album, Innerspeaker. Moving from song to song, the band accommodated to their hour-long set, joking about the heat and spraying water bottles over the front rows of fans during an instrumental break in between the songs. Kevin Parker’s voice was as trippy as it is when Tame Impala is in the studio. Even though they played shorter than they should have, it was a still a stunning set.
High intensity is the simplest way to put Twenty One Pilots’ set as they played through their songs, ranging from hit to hit from “Tear In My Heart” from their smash album, Blurryface to “Car Radio” from Vessels. Running around across the stage, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun seemed to be relentless and filled with energy. They also initially came out in ski masks and Joseph with the classic black on his body that represents insecurities that he and everyone face that suffocates them. The highlight of the set was when Joseph climbed their stage, the Samsung stage, the largest stage at the festival, and performed the rest of “Car Radio” (or at least tried to with microphone issues) at the top of the stage, holding onto the Texas flag.
As dreamy as in the studio, José González performed at Tito’s Homemade Vodka stage and seemed to put his audience into a trance with his enthralling yet quiet voice and fascinating instrumentals. Without talking much, González went through his set, which included a Junip song and new songs from Vestiges & Claws. The light show that went on worked perfectly with his calming music and the setting sun behind the audience. His set was like the calm before the storm at the hectic, crowded, and sold out Saturday of the festival.
Although coming on ten minutes late and the occasional slip of lyrics, The Strokes performed a worthy set for being closing out the first weekend of the festival. With the occasional snark from frontman Julian Casablancas, the band played through the majority of their discography including a large chunk of their hits including “Reptilla,” however disappointing a number of fans by not playing “Under the Cover of Darkness.” It was a special set as there have been rumors of the band having internal conflicts, but still recording a new album. Nonetheless, the band still sounded and performed as intensely as ever, even performing a one song encore, if it should be called that as they left the stage initially twenty minutes before they should have.
There is one word to describe the Foo Fighter’s headlining two-hour set on Friday night: rambunctious. The band tore through their career-spanning hits, from “Best of You” to the set opener, “Everlong.” Still in the “throne” Grohl performed as energetically as ever, lecturing the crowd how to scream like him, claiming his secret his “vocal juice” (his champagne and beer). It was, to say the least, expected from everyone in the crowd that Gary Clark Jr. would join the band on stage as they recorded What Did I Do? / God As My Witness with him at the legendary Austin City Limits studio in Austin with him and Clark performed at the next stage an hour before. Nonetheless, it was as rowdy and loud as anyone would expect from the Foo Fighters, even twenty years after their debut album. Die-hard fans and the casual listener can all agree that this set proves that the band still has it going on.