ACL Fest brings the best to Austin


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Austin City Limits has gained a reputation as being one of the best music festivals in the country. This year’s 2016 festival was perhaps the biggest and best yet, featuring more than 130 artists on six different stages. Weekend Two exceeded the expectations set after a successful Weekend one.

Indie rock favorites the Wombats were one of the first groups to take to the stage on Friday, Oct. 7. The Wombats persevered through an insanely hot and humid afternoon to put on a rocking set. The crowd moshed and danced to their classic hits “Kill the Director,” “Greek Tragedy” and “Let’s Dance to Joy Division.” The trio set a perfect philosophy for the weekend: fight through the beating sun and you will enjoy some great live music.

One of the most surprising acts of the first day was The Struts. Lead singer Luke Spiller, a hybrid of Mick Jagger and Freddie Mercury, truly strutted around the stage while wearing leather and fringe head to toe. Spiller crooned his heart out, engaged the crowd with chanting and even confided that they have found solace in America since their native U.K. won’t play their songs on the radio.

Ending day one as a headliner, Major Lazer played to a crowd of drugged-out teenagers. ACL incorporated many electronic acts this year, but even though Major Lazer satisfied the younger crowd, their set didn’t require much talent. All the trio did was scream at the crowd, run around the stage in sweatsuits and objectify their squad of female dancers (who were the only skilled people on the stage). Those who made it to the other headliner, Radiohead, clearly made the better choice.

Day two, Oct. 7, showcased the most up-and-coming acts in the business. Saint Motel kept the crowd amped their entire set, proving they are capable of one day reaching headliner status. Andra Day brought some much-needed style and soul to the festival, and Jack Garratt wowed with his impressive multi-instrumental setup.

Two Door Cinema Club won the battle against the Chainsmokers on day two. While the Chainsmokers were unorganized and their crowd overrun with pushy teens, Two Door Cinema Club brought out all the stops with a set including hits like “Something Good Can Work” and “Changing of the Seasons.”

Their impressive lighting and stage setup accompanied their new synthpop sound, which warmed up the crowd to newer songs like “Bad Decisions” and “Are We Ready? (Wreck)” from their new album, “Gameshow.”

Kendrick Lamar ended the evening on a high note. Lamar has become a sensation in the rap game, and he showed the ACL crowd exactly why by flawlessly performing tracks from his Grammy-winning album, “To Pimp a Butterfly.”

Day three, Oct. 8, saved some of the best for last. Both Local Natives and St. Paul and The Broken Bones gave noteworthy performances. However, perhaps the highlight of the whole weekend was when Austin darling and musical pioneer Willie Nelson took to the stage. Nelson only performed the second weekend, which led to a jam-packed crowd eager to hear a country music legend. Nelson, at the age of 83, still makes jaws drop as he strums and picks his guitar, “Trigger.”

Mumford & Sons closed out ACL with an epic two-hour-long set. After gushing about their love for the fest, Mumford satisfied old fans with folky favorites from their first two albums, but also proved how great their latest album, “Wilder Mind,” is by playing roaring tracks like “Snake Eyes” and “Tompkins Square Park.” They even surprised fans by playing two brand-new songs and by ending their set with a cover of “With a Little Help from My Friends,” with the ladies from HAIM as well as Gregory Porter.

Weekend Two of Austin City Limits proved that one weekend of the best musical groups in the country is not enough. Austin City Limits will continue to be one of the most-loved festivals, as it truly provides two weekends of the greatest live music in the country.

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