It has been a number of years since I have navigated the terrain of Zilker Park during the ACL Music Fest and this year, weekend two had several stages and bands to choose from over the three days of October 11-13. Instead of having three-digit heat for the second week of the festival, Friday morning had residents and festival attendees scrambling for their sweaters, coats, hoodies and the like as a storm came rolling in, dropping temperatures. Judging from the people on the shuttle busses on the ride to the park and at the festival, festivals attendees did not let the cold weather hold them back. Here are some highlights from Weekend 2.
Friday, Oct. 11
Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist King Princess (stage name for Mikaela Mullaney Straus) from Brooklyn, New York entertained her fans and the audience at the Honda Stage at 4 p.m. Signed to Mark Ronson’s label Zelig Records, the artist has garnered attention with her previously release singles such as “1950” and “Talia.” Her upcoming debut album is titled “Cheap Queen.”
Haitian-Canadian DJ and record producer, Louis Kevin Celestin, known by his stage name Kaytranada, took the Miller Lite Stage at 5 p.m. The artist, who previously opened for Madonna’s “Rebel Heart Tour” and has collaborated with super producer Rick Rubin, entertained a relatively smaller but devoted crowd of fans.
The Raconteurs (Jack White, Brendan Benson, Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler) took the American Express Stage at 5:30 p.m. and the audience was ready for them. It was great to stand in the middle of Zilker Park’s small hill and see the artists down the hill on the stage that had the Austin skyline in the background. There was a sea of people who were ready to hear their first new music in more than 10 years. The two new songs released by Third Man Records, “Now That You’re Gone” featuring Brendan Benson on lead vocals and “Sunday Driver” with Jack White singing lead, are available digitally worldwide.
Saturday, Oct. 12
Singer/songwriter Vanessa Zamora from Tijuana, Mexico was the first to hit the BMI Stage before noon. New York City teenage band Laundry Day followed on the same stage for a short while. It was impossible not to miss the sound coming from the VRBO Stage, where Diamante Eléctrico from Bogotá, Colombia set the stage on fire.
Diamante Eléctrico (Juan Galeano on lead vocals and bass; Daniel Álvarez on guitar; and Andee Zeta on drums) had a nice crowd enjoying the 2015 Latin Gammy winners. Their album “B” is the winner of the “Best Rock Album” category that year. Since then, the band has gone on to share stages with The Foo Fighters and The Rolling Stones. In 2017, they won two more Latin Grammys for their album “La Gran Oscilación” for “Best Rock Album” and “Best Rock Song.” Oh, and in case you had not heard, their song “Dias Raros” is originally recorded with ZZ Top guitarist Billy F. Gibbons.
Sunday, Oct. 13
Austin band Ley Line took the Tito’s Stage around noon to a supportive crowd. The band’s upcoming album, “We Saw Blue,” is anticipated for a spring 2020 release.
Idles hit the Honda Stage that afternoon with an energetic punk rock sound with hints of the CBGB era. My curiosity was sure raised when I saw the band photo featured on the ACL Fest website on which they wear beautiful crowns of flowers on their heads. The band is off on an international tour this fall, starting in Alicante Spain, China and the UK.
I will forever rave about Rosalia after attending the ACL Moody Theater taping of her debut appearance and then again at 4 p.m. on the Honda Stage. The crowd loved the diva as much as her music and dancers. She expressed her joy of being there, loved the audience and said she had been unable to visit with James Blake while he was in town. She is featured in Blake’s song “Barefoot in the Park,” which she performed along with other hits such as “Aute Cuture,” Yo x Ti, Tu x Mi” and “Malamente.”
I decided not to attempt to brave the crowds that surrounded the Miller Lite Stage where Lizzo was set to perform at 7 p.m. By 5 p.m. it was obvious that I was not going to easily return to the Media tent without pushing through the large crowd already in place early to hear Lizzo’s set. I hope to hear her in the future.