Day 3 of ACL 2017 Leaves Much To Be Desired (FESTIVAL RECAP/PHOTOS)

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It may not come to a surprise to anyone that Sunday made for a pretty lazy day, both in terms of the bands playing and the energy of the audience after a weekend full of heat. Most of the day’s schedule lacked any real conflicts for anyone and most times warranted a response like, “I guess we’ll watch this set.”

Many would be surprised to learn that folk-reggae group Milky Chance is actually a trio from Germany. The sounds on most of their songs bring to mind sunny beaches and dancing. And predictably it seemed as though half the audience was dancing along to their songs. Their hit singles “Cocoon” and “Stolen Dance” saw masses of both older hippie types and young college kids dancing and singing along. The other material on their albums, though not as well known to the crowd, still saw majority of the audience dancing along.

Southern California’s “Beach Goth” band The Growlers performed one of the best sets of the day. Upbeat surfer garage rock played beneath singer Brooks Nielsen’s unique crooning voice. The set was mainly made up of songs from their newest album, City Club, which was produced by Julian Casablancas. “City Club” and “I’ll Be Around” made great additions to their already stellar sets. The Growlers also played through a couple covers and made them their own. Country and western singer Eddie Noack’s 1968 hit “Psycho” was played early on and felt right at home.

Toronto’s BadBadNotGood have made name for themselves doing jazzy interpretations of hip hop tracks and collaborating with the likes Kendrick Lamar, Ghostface Killah and other artists. However, left to their own devices they are an improvisational jazz group. And that is mostly what their set sounded like in the Tito’s Tent on Sunday. Their set was ultimately a nice way to chill out while basking in the shade. They did do some joking “interpretive dancing” to help the crowd “meditate” during a song but otherwise their stage presence was pretty minimal.

One of the most anticipated sets of the weekend for many ended up being both highly entertaining and highly disappointing. Taking the stage to “M1 A1” from the first album, Damon Albarn and the current iteration of Gorillaz began what seemed primed to be an epic set. Even new songs like “Andromeda” and “Saturnz Barz” from their new album, Humanz, were fun to listen to in the beginning. The crowd listened and danced along to favorites like, “On Melancholy Hill” and “Last Living Souls” as a giant screen showed animated videos behind the band. On this tour, as in tours past, Gorillaz have been known to have guests take the stage to reprise their parts from songs or fill in for others, but this show had a noticeable lack of guests anyone cared about. Aside from Del the Funky Homosapien rapping his part for set closer “Clint Eastwood”, the guests that did take the stage to sing new songs were largely unrecognizable. Listening to only the studio version of Del La Soul’s part on “Feel Good Inc.” as Albarn performed his part felt very flat and disappointing. This could have all been forgiven, however, had Gorillaz performed a full headlining set. Clocking in at roughly seventy minutes with no encore left many in the crowd feeling like they had been cheated. Most headlining sets last anywhere from ninety minutes to two hours, and the band have playing sets that long at other festivals this year, so we are left to wonder why they were given a headline slot to only play for the same length of time as every other band.

Even though this year saw some of the best improvements to the festival in recent times, the lineup as a whole felt very lackluster and underwhelming. Moving stage positions and adding an additional entrance and more food locations definitely helped make the festival more comfortable by eliminating sound bleed over from other stages and dispersing the crowd out more efficiently. It will be a welcome sight to see some truly awesome artists taking to the stages next year. Hopefully.

All photos by Maggie Boyd. 

Read our coverage of ACL day 1 and day 2!

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