Weekend 1 of the Austin City Limits Music Festival has been a wrap since Sunday.
Since I covered Day 1 and 2 of the festival in my online blog, I’ll start off in reverse chronological order with Sunday, then give you some highlights from the rest of the weekend.
Only having four days to spend in Austin (three of which were spent at the festival), and plenty of friends and family to catch up with, I figured I’d wait for the scorching central Texas sun to go down before I made my way to the festival Sunday.
I made my way to the popular Rainey Street area for some delicious bratwurst and awesome New Orleans-style jazz music at Bangers. Their brunch also features the man-sized “man-mosa,” a huge stein filled with orange juice and champagne. This was brought to my attention by my friend, Tiahnna, who kindly pointed it out to me on the menu. Nice way to start a Sunday.
From there, I headed to UnBARlievable, just across the street, to say hello to a bartender friend who was putting me up for the weekend in Austin.
I ran into several El Paso peeps at both stops who were doing the same as I, avoiding the heat before heading out to see headliners Gorillaz or The Killers.
When I finally got to the festival, I proceeded to meet up with my cousin, Eddie, and his girlfriend. We partook in ACL’s craft beer garden and watched some baseball and football.
Since I wasn’t particularly a fan of either of that night’s main performers, I let my Twitter followers decide who I should see. By the time the bands were set to take the stage, it was a dead heat. So, I decided to watch one song from each and call it a night before the long drive home Monday.
It was another fantastic three days in Austin at ACL — my third in a row. The festival continues this weekend. I highly recommend seeing Jay-Z and Chance the Rapper’s live shows if you’re headed that way.
Day 2 highlights
Day 2 of Austin City Limits Music Festival was a humid one.
Funk-jazz fusion bassist extraordinaire Thundercat was the first order of business at the fest. Everyone in his band is a prodigy of their instrument and the group took Thundercat’s songs to some very different places.
I followed that up by seeing the self-proclaimed “King of Soundcloud,” Russ, perform. I was taken aback by the huge midafternoon crowd he attracted, most of them under legal drinking age.
I followed that up with Ice Cube, who brought along his Westside Connection buddy, W.C. Cube’s set ranged from his N.W.A. days all the way through his solo career.
But all the sticky heat was worth enduring as the sun went down and Chicago’s Chance the Rapper blessed the stage, literally and figuratively, with his spiritual blend of gospel and hip-hop.
I wasn’t expecting to be as impressed with his live show as I turned out to be. Chance took the stage along with his full band and five background singers. He performed cuts from his Grammy Award-winning album, “Coloring Book,” and songs he worked on for Kanye West’s excellent “The Life of Pablo,” including an amazing cover of “Waves.”
While the alt-rock veterans Red Hot Chili Peppers were funking up the main stage, Chance was in awe that the audience he attracted was so large. The rapper paused several times to take it in and commented that some people must just be hanging out to see what the fuss is about. But the reaction of the crowd, singing back lyrics from older material up to the new, proved him wrong.
Day 1 highlights
There was only one real reason I went to ACL this year.
You can call him Hova, Hov, Jigga, H-to-the-izzo, the Big Homie, S. Dot Carter: But most prefer to call him Jay-Z.
I’ve only seen Jay-Z perform once, and that was in 1999. Since then, he’s become a perennial chart-topper, a legend, a father and, let’s also not forget, Beyonce’s husband.
Because of the scheduling, I didn’t get a chance to see Solange, aka Beyonce’s sister. That was a bummer and one friend chided me via text for missing her excellent live show. Next time.
Taking the stage before Jay was the massive 40-foot inflatable dog balloon created for Jay-Z’s “4:44” tour by visual artist Jeff Koons.
What followed was a greatest hits collection, plus songs off his 14th No. 1 album, “4:44,” (second only to The Beatles and the most for any solo artist) and a few fan favorites, such as “U Don’t Know,” off of his now classic “Blueprint” album and “Where I’m From,” from his second album, “Vol. 1: In My Lifetime.”
Fans held up the “Dynasty” hand-sign and moshed to “Public Service Announcement” and hits like “H to the Izzo” and “I Just Wanna Love U.” Jay also paid tribute to the late Chester Bennington, of Linkin Park, performing the mash up of his own “Encore” and Linkin Park’s “Numb” that the rapper and the rock band created for their joint “Collision Course” album in 2004.
I can’t wait for the “4:44” tour to hit Texas next month. Hopefully, he’s saving some deeper cuts for the longer shows.
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