Everybody likes a lazy Sunday afternoon and that is exactly what festival-goers got for the final day of the first weekend of ACL. With a lineup that consisted of more low-key bands and headliners that included Mumford & Sons and LCD Soundsystem. The weather held out with sunny skies and a nice breeze. Many stages saw a large percentage of the crowd sitting in chairs or lazing about on the grass. And of course, the beer tent was packed with casual festival-goers crowding around the large TV screens to watch Sunday football with live music in the background.
As the crowds started filing into the park in the early afternoon, many made their way to the Samsung stage to watch Texas native Kacey Musgraves perform some country music. With neon cacti on the stage and her band dressed in cowboy jackets that replaced rhinestones with LED lights, it was obvious that Musgraves doesn’t quite fully fit into the traditional country genre. With songs that talk about safe sex, weed, questioning religion and homosexuality acceptance, playing in a place like Austin seems like a safe bet. After covering Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy”, Musgraves had thousands of people singing along to her single “Merry Go ‘Round” which falls into her theme of writing songs about growing up in a small own.
Shortly after that singer-songwriter Pete Yorn took the stage on the opposite end of the park. After opening with a cover of Morrissey’s “Suedehead”, Yorn’s set consisted heavily on material from his first two albums. Songs like “For Nancy (‘Cos It Already Is)”, “Come Back Home” and “Life on a Chain” saw many in the audience jumping up from their chairs to dance and sing. Before playing “Black” from his debut album, Yorn invited the audience to sing the backing vocals which they were only too happy to oblige.
One of the big draws for the first weekend was the inclusion of country music’s newest star, Chris Stapleton. While no stranger to the business, the past fifteen years has seen Stapleton more in the songwriter seat than a performer. This year Stapleton and his band took to the ACL stage to showcase why he’s been selling out shows across the country. Though he played hits like “Nobody to Blame” and “Hard Living”, Stapleton’s set fit into the mellow vibe of the day by not really including too many upbeat numbers in his set.
The three sisters from L.A. love the city of Austin and rightfully so, as it was at SXSW a few years ago that shot Haim onto the scene. With a new album looming on the horizon, the Haim sisters returned to the road to try out some new material. In that spirit, they played two new tracks; “Give Me Just a Little of Your Love” carried a heavy amount of Prince influence while “Nothing’s Wrong” pays tribute to bands like The Bangles and The Pretenders. As the sisters rocked out a set full of material from their debut album and a cover of Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U” it was obvious that they were having as great of a time onstage as the audience was having watching them.
As the final bands of the weekend were due to take to their respective stages, it was surprising the amount of people that swarmed to the Mumford & Sons stage. On the opposite side of the park the newly reunited electronic rockers LCD Soundsystem took to the stage under an enormous disco ball and played “Us v Them”. Throughout their set the band was largely backlit making them mostly silhouettes in front of the large screens that showed visuals for each song. James Murphy ran around the stage singing and playing drums and keyboards as the band played the songs that made fans love them for the last decade. When the band launched into “Daft Punk Is Playing at My House”, fans that had been lagging behind could be seen sprinting to get closer to the stage. Other hits like “I Can Change”, “Dance Yrself Clean” and “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” kept fans dancing and singing until the end. Even though the reunion was mostly what brought them headlining status this year, there is no denying that LCD Soundsystem knows how to put on an unforgettable show.