Julien Baker

Almost immediately after introducing herself, Julien Baker reminded her crowd that they were missing the group “Die Antwoord” for her. She then encouraged everyone to leave and watch them instead. Unfazed by her proposal, the crowd stayed and watched in awe as Baker plugged in her Fender semi-hollow electric guitar and began playing songs off her debut album “Sprained Ankle.” Baker shook her head in disapproval of herself as her amp started to pick up feedback from her guitar pedals throughout her set-list. However, after each song, Baker picked up momentum, and suddenly her melodic whispers turned into well-organized screams of rage. Just when you thought she was going to explode off of the P.A. system, she stopped, wiped away a few tears and walked off stage without as much as a goodbye.



ACL attendees came from far and wide to claim their spot in the crowd an hour before Radiohead’s headlining set. At exactly eight o’clock, the band emerged from a smoke-filled stage and began their psychedelic rock-filled set. Radiohead singer Thom Yorke mesmerized the audience with his soothing, drone-like singing style. At the end of their set, the lights dimmed as the band said goodnight. However, that did not stop crowd members from waiting 15 minutes past their final song “Karma Police” in the hopes of hearing their famous debut single “Creep.” After a while, crowd members realized that Radiohead was continuing their promise of never playing that song live.


Nothing But Thieves

“I chose the wrong state to wear a velvet top in,” Nothing But Thieves singer Conor Mason joked. The five-piece English alternative rock band fought through the Texas heat to put on an electrifying performance for the ACL crowd. The band’s matching black guitars exploded off the amplifiers, exciting the crowd with songs such as “Trip Switch” and “Honey Whiskey.”


Melanie Martinez

As light rain fell on Zilker Park, a lone baby cradle moved onto the center of the Miller Light performance stage. A man in a rabbit mask and doctor scrubs emerged from the baby-themed props strewn out around the stage and excited the crowd. Simultaneously, men wearing baby hoods picked up instruments and began to play a jewelry-box-inspired jingle. Melanie Martinez then took the stage and performed her debut album “Cry Baby.”


Kendrick Lamar

Moments before Compton-born rapper Kendrick Lamar took the Samsung main stage, the screens were filled with random black and white images, ranging from footage of Ellen DeGeneres dancing with President Barack Obama to social justice protests in the U.S. After a few short minutes of this visual phenomena, the screens blacked out, replaced by an extreme close-up of Lamar’s eyes. The rapper stepped on stage and immediately acquired the whole crowd in the palm of his hand. This performance included pyrotechnics and spontaneous rap battles with audience members, as well as some of Lamar’s hit songs including “Swimming Pools,” “Money Trees,” “i” and many more.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

Nathaniel Rateliff addressed the crowd, formally thanking them for believing in the band and caring about their music before starting his performance. He continued to thank the crowd in between songs such as “Shake” and “ I Need Never Get Old.” As crowd members danced and jigged in the burning hot sun, Rateliff reciprocated, getting down “the way (his) momma taught (him).” He even threw his guitar across the stage for roadies to catch. Rateliff finished his set with an electrifying performance of his song “S.O.B.” that had the whole crowd singing in unison, bringing ACL attendees closer than they could have ever imagined.


St. Paul & The Broken Bones

Paul Janeway of St. Paul and The Broken Bones took the stage in a purple, floral blazer that ordinarily would have given any person a heat stroke under the Austin sun. Nevertheless, at the snap of his fingers, his band played genuine soul music that sounded like it came straight out of the 1960’s. This Birmingham, Alabama band is a force to be reckoned with. Janeway exasperated his vocal chords as he howled lyrics to songs such as  “I’ll Be Your Woman” and “Call Me” while simultaneously prancing around stage in sparkly golden boots. The amount of genuine effort put into this performance remained unmatched in all three days of the ACL festival. As Janeway fell on his stomach, he screamed in a piercing falsetto that could be heard for miles during his song, “Broken Bones and Pocket Change.” Crawling underneath the golden curtain below the drum set, he emerged again with a newfound respect from the ACL crowd. He then took a massive leap over the protective barriers, garnering him some love from the crowd.