Photo Courtesy of Coog Radio Amarylis Rodriguez
With that October heat only Texas can create, Austin City Limits Music Festival 2023 kicks off the second weekend of music, food and entertainment. Thousands were able to attend acts that spanned from Nessa Barrett to Lil Yachty to The Lumineers.
Opening the day’s events were acts like School of Rock, The Altons, Jaime Wyatt and more.
Over on the IHG Stage, Ethel Cain captivated the festival crowd with her sound. Leaning over the barricade to interact with front-row fans, the artist played hits including “American Teenager,” “A House in Nebraska” and ended the set with “Crush.”
Taking on the Honda Stage was British artist Raye. The vocals Raye produced during songs like “Escapism.” filled Zilker Park. Festival-goers were standing in awe, or stopping to listen on their way to get lunch from one of the various vendors.
Some sets that included heavy bass and production on the American Express Stage were Lil Yachty and Major Lazer. With echoes throughout the park, Lil Yachty played a crowd favorite, “iSpy.”
Major Lazer was a delayed addition to replace Kali Uchis’ spot on the lineup. The act kept the beats coming with hits such as “Lean On” and “Cold Water,” while also throwing in a few remixes.
As the sun was starting to set, Maggie Rogers took the Honda Stage. This performance was the last show in the ‘Surrender’ album cycle for Rogers. She stunned with hits like “Want Want,” “Love You For A Long Time” and “Shatter.”
Maggie Rogers even tested out a new song for the crowd called, “Don’t Forget Me” as she pulled out an acoustic guitar.
As the night went on, acts like Portugal. The Man and Above & Beyond warmed up the crowds for the incoming headliners. Both sets put on a show that allowed attendees to dance freely. Portugal. The Man acheived a rock sound and put a spin on their well-known hit “Feel It Still” while Above & Beyond created a rave-like space with flashing lights and heart-pounding songs.
On the Honda Stage, The Lumineers headlining the day opened with “Cleopatra” and kept audiences hooked with hits like “Flowers in Your Hair” and “Ophelia.”
Over on the American Express Stage, the drone show was seen overhead as the crowd waited for Kendrick Lamar. After the late start to Lamar’s show at Weekend One, fans were estatic when the artist appeared on time to perform an entire set before curfew.
The musician even made a regard during one of the songs, commenting on being on stage on time.
For the first few songs, including “Element” and hits from his most recent album “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers,” the screens at American Express Stage were only showing Kendrick in bits and pieces. As the crowd ached to get a glimpse of the performance from the back, many people were surging forward to see the stage.
As the perfromance progressed, the screens were done blacking out by songs like “Backseat Freestyle” and “Loyalty.”
Throughout the high-energy additions to the set list, Lamar let the crowd do a lot of the work when it came to chanting the iconic bars he is known for. The large focus, it seemed, was the performance aspect as dncers, visual effects and strobe lights were a crucial part of the experience. What we were watching was valued over what we were hearing.
It was safe to say, the energy was not hard to keep up as fireworks would appear at the beat drop to “DNA” and “Humble.”
As a chance to engage the audience, Kendrick Lamar let fans sing the intro to “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” urging them to go louder before the music cut in. The most crowd-interactive, danceable and overall visually stunning bit of the show had to be when “Money Trees” came on.
Overall, the music experience at ACL could not have been better. Look for our coverage of the day two events!