Austin City Limits kicked off its second day to a larger crowd than the day before. This is what you missed.
Conan Gray was the first artist that really drew me in at the start of day two. The moody California pop star was actually raised in a small Texas town. Austin may as well be a home away from home, and the audience was more than welcoming. He managed to cram a lot into his setlist, from his opening with “Disaster” to his finale with Memories.
Manchester Orchestra came on strong with a blast of rock n roll energy notably lacking in this year’s lineup. The Atlanta quartet opened their set to a dedicated following with “Pride.” They played a solid show to a notably respectful audience. It skewed older and more towards the rock scene, so people who grew up with a clear picture of what concert etiquette looks like. The band closed with a beautiful rendition of “The Silence,” then retreated off-stage after their summer chucked his drumsticks into the remaining crowd.
Lil Nas X
A standout performer of the festival was Lil Nas X. Originally breaking out onto the scene thanks to the international hit “Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X has only kept the momentum going, proving he is fast from a one-hit-wonder. He divided his set into three acts, each accompanied by its own costume change. He began his performance with “Panini ” before an unusually large crowd for that time of day Acy three kicked off with a stunning rendition of “Montero,” with Lil Nas X appearing onstage in glittering butterfly pants set. The whole show, he’d been heavily favoring crop tops, showing off his six-pack during tightly-choreographed dances. He kept the energy going during “Down Souf Hoes,” bringing some people on stage to twerk during the song, notably targeting people dressed in pinks that matched his own costume. He closed his set with “Industry Baby,” leaving fans delighted and casual viewers with their jaws on the floor.
Diplo’s set was a different beast altogether. It took place after sundown, and his fans swarmed the area surrounding the stage and turned it into their own little rave. The DJ opened with “Biturbo,” then raced through almost 30 covers, adding his own personal spin/ The fans opened up dance circles in the pit, waving around neon lights in rhythm. Some fans climbed up a flagpole a festival-goer had brought in, somehow managing to use it as a sort of stripper pole. He closed with another original song, “Heartless,” then let the crowd disperse.
The War On Drugs
The War On Drugs brought a refreshing sound to the festival. The lineup wasn’t as rock-heavy as in other years, but they were sure to bring a bit of grit to the sound. They started their set with what one could argue was their most popular song, “Holding On.” I noticed a lot of other artists saved this song until later in the set, but The War on Drugs didn’t seem to feel the need to do that. Notably, a lot of the people in the audience seemed to be avid fans of the act, with very few leaving early in the set.
P!nk close out the night on a high note. The artist came to the scene with bright pink hair and an edgier take on pop. To make it even better, P!nk wrote her own songs. She appeared in a jacket and parachute pants for her opening song, “Get The Party Started,” a very fitting song with which to start a concert. The clothes soon fell away to reveal different clothes underneath, making multiple costume changes notably easy. The conversations P!nk had with her audience in between songs made her personality shine, showing us she was clearly the same person who was writing relatable, attitude-ridden songs. P!nk poured out hit after hit after hit, astounding some audience members as they realized exactly how many huge songs she’s written over her career. But she also took time for a few covers, delivering an astounding performance of “Like a Rivers” around the halfway mark of the set. P!nk made ACL history near the nbd when she donned her iconic ariel harness and flew over the audience during her encore, “So What?” Concertgoers screamed in fear and delight when P!nk dipped over their heads, faces coming inches from their own. The aerial performance was an absolute delight, and certainly an unforgettable way to end the evening.
Austin City Limits put on an excellent show on Saturday night, swerving the sophomore slump curse with ease. If you’d like to catch P!nk or any of the other performers mentioned, you can still buy tickets to weekend 2.