By Avery Viers
Local Music Director
After jumping at the opportunity to apply for media credentials, I was ecstatic to be accepted as a contributing music journalist for weekend two of Austin City Limits Festival. While never having attended the festival before, I was admittedly ill-prepared to embark on a modest 15,228 steps throughout our afternoon spent in Zilker Park. Nevertheless, I couldn’t have asked for a more positive experience throughout my Friday afternoon spent inside the grounds of one of the most iconic music festivals in the country.
Soon after entering the park’s south gates, we were less than enthused to realize that the first set we planned to see, Twen, was to play the stage completely opposite the entrance. After some brief grumbling and defeated resignation, we begrudgingly began our expedition toward the American Express Stage. Despite the unforgiving heat of a Texas October, frontrunner Jane Fitzsimmons maintained an enthusiastically energetic stage presence from start to finish (while wearing unseasonably warm clothes nonetheless)! Assistant Music Director Maddy Lehr had the opportunity to sit down with the band after their Friday set to dive deeper into their history, discography, and creative endeavors that you can read more about here*.
To be expected, the next set we awaited with anxious anticipation was scheduled across the festival grounds on the Honda Stage – forcing us to walk back towards the direction of the gate we initially arrived through. After our expedition through the seemingly limitless claustrophobic crowds and sweltering heat, we arrived just in time for the opening tune that would kickstart the performance of U.K. indie-rock band, Wet Leg.
Traveling halfway across the world from Isle of Wight, England, lead vocalist Rhiannon Teasdale and guitarist Hester Chambers encapsulated their audience with the enchanting whimsy and charm of their adorable stage presence. Towards the end of their brief time on stage, Teasdale began interacting with an audience member holding up a homemade sign that read, “DRAW MY TATOO!” In the blink of an eye, Chambers snatched up the awestruck fan’s pen and paper and began drawing miniature, cartoon versions of both Teasdale and herself before finishing their final song on stage.
After a brief intermission that included hydrating and a couple of 8oz açaí bowls that cost the price of a firstborn child, we made our way toward the Miller Lite stage, to find our seat for Latin Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Omar Apollo. Performing a mix of tracks from his debut and sophomore albums, Apollo captivated his adoring audience with his charismatic sense of humor and seductive movement back and forth across the stage. The Indiana-born artist, whose tour I didn’t get the chance to attend last May, made sure his Austin City Limits performance made a lasting impression –his execution nothing short of bewitching from the first chord.
Though premeditated bias may have had something to my spontaneous affliction, it’s safe to say that one of this year’s headliners for Austin City Limits, SZA, left me starstruck and speechless following her Friday night set. Complete with striking theatrics and stunning visuals, the 32-year-old vocalist sang complex melodies while incorporating physically demanding choreography (despite an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction at the beginning of her set that exposed the singer’s chest for an extended period without her noticing).
After being informed of the malfunction between songs, SZA swiftly adjusted her top and replied, “So… nobody gonna tell me my titty was out?” Without skipping a beat, the contemporary R&B artist dove right back into her set, prompting the thousands of visitors in attendance to forget anything happened. Despite primarily playing tracks from her debut album, CTRL, I couldn’t have asked for a set list – or first day – more perfect.
Didn’t get a chance to attend Austin City Limits 2022? Interested in reading more festival content, artist interviews, or concert reviews from our weekend in Zilker Park? Stay tuned this week as the KTSW Blog keeps you up-to-date on all the gossip, mishaps, and triumphs witnessed by journalists in our Music Staff!
Written by: Jordan Young
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