ACL Weekend One Recap

Missed Weekend One of Austin City Limits? We’ve got you covered on highlights from each day to satisfy your fatuous desire to know all.

Day One – Friday, Oct. 6

It was hot, but what’s new? Day one radiated an enlivened crowd of novice and veteran ACL-goers ready for three days of music, food and fun. As Zilker park slowly filled with college students skipping class, Austinites and tourists, crowds praised artists like Crystal Castles, James Vincent McMorrow, La Femme, Skepta, The Revivalists and more with plenty of cheers and applause. 

Foster the People’s set got the audience out of their lawn chairs for a sunset of dancing and beach-ball-tossing to widely-known tracks like “Houdini” among others. However, the American indie rock band declined to perform their hit “Pumped Up Kicks” following the tragic Las Vegas musical festival just last week.

After a 20-minute delay, Solange did not disappoint with an enthralling performance that was worth the wait. Solange broke out a few of her songs from previous albums, while remaining faithful to her 2016 album “A Seat at the Table.” Red uplighting illuminated Solange’s white jumper and white braids as she performed a variety of choreographed dances. Solange’s message of positivity and empowerment beautifully translated as she reached into the crowd to sing to select audience members.

JAY-Z’s anticipated performance offered a wide array of tracks from the past decade and from his recent summer album “4:44.” The 47-year-old rapper performed songs like “Dirt off Your Shoulder,” “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem),” “Empire State of Mind,” “The Story of O.J.” and many more– classics and new songs. The Brooklyn rapper paid tribute to Chester Bennington’s passing by performing “Numb/Encore.” Starting 15 minutes late and only staying for one encore with “99 Problems,” many were displeased with the amount of time JAY-Z stayed on the American Express stage.


Day Two – Saturday, Oct. 7

Day two, hotter than the last, but ACL Weekend One was now in full swing. Much praise went to performances by Spoon, Russ, A$AP Ferg, Tove Lo and Thundercat, among many more. If ACL-goers were not at these shows, you could probably catch them in the Beer Hall watching the Texas Longhorns defeat Kansas State.    

Iconic Los Angeles actor and rapper, Ice Cube, took the American Express stage just before sunset to deliver an exhilarating set packed with classics from his solo career and his time with N.W.A. The audience couldn’t help but excitedly sing along to well-known tracks like “Straight Outta Compton,” “Gangsta Gangsta” and “It Was a Good Day.”

It’s unfortunate that Chance the Rapper and Red Hot Chili Peppers performed at about the same time, forcing a choice on attendees. Either way, Chance the Rapper delivered a performance nothing short of stunning. The Chicago rapper had the crowd dancing with their hands in the air to popular, upbeat tracks like “All Night” and “No Problem.” Chance’s authenticity shined as he periodically stopped between tracks to take a moment to soak in the crowd. The 24-year-old rapper expressed great amounts of gratitude by claiming his excitement for being in “the beautiful city of Austin in the great state of Texas.” Chance’s trumpet man’s performance reverberated across the Honda stage with tracks like “Angels.” Other “Coloring Book” tracks that led the audience to instantly begin singing along included “Blessings” and “Same Drugs,” which consequently brought everyone in the audience to church.

For those who chose the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the American Express stage across Zilker Park started off the performance with “Can’t Stop.” Bassist Flea (Michael Balzary) offered words of encouragement following the recent Las Vegas attack by prompting the audience to “rise above.” Singer Anthony Kiedis also took time to recognize the memory of recently passed rock legend Tom Petty by saying “You did not die in vain, brother.” The Red Hot Chili Peppers dove into “The Getaway,” “Give It Away” and “Dark Necessities” to immerse the audience in the band’s musical influences.


Day Three – Sunday, Oct. 8

On the hottest day of ACL Weekend One, with temperatures in the mid-90s, attendees sought shade wherever they could and filled their Camelbak bottles to the brim at the hydration stations. The blazing heat surely paid a factor into the lively crowd for Kingston, Jamaica-based band, Raging Fyah, in the shaded Tito’s Homemade Vodka Stage. Other notable artists included DRAM with well-known track “Broccoli,” Run the Jewels, The Head and the Heart, Milky Chance, First Aid Kit, The Growlers and Zhu.

At the end of the day, once more, it came down to the choice between highly anticipated headliners The Killers and Gorillaz. Attendees typically bounced back and forth between the two to catch an unmissable conclusion to ACL Weekend One. The Killers opened with a Tom Petty tribute and then seamlessly transitioned into their widely-known hit, “Mr. Brightside.” Other performed tracks included “Smile Like You Mean It,” “When You Were Young” and “Somebody Told Me.” Gorillaz did not disappoint while performing popular tracks like “Clint Eastwood,” “Andromeda,” “M1 A1” and “Rhinestone Eyes.” All in all, attendees surely got their rock music fix with these two staples in the genre.