ACL Day Two got off to a slow start. After last night's Kanye Fest and Saturday morning's much-needed rain, my crew didn't get into Zilker Park until later then we planned. But with the exception of the Antlers, Twin Shadow (who Current writer Mike Barajas saw and is a fan of), and Allison Krauss, Saturday felt like the weakest daytime schedule of the fest. But once 4:00 rolled around, big guns were making noise — all leading up to Stevie Wonder on the main stage.
Australian disco-rockers Cut Copy brought an impeccable performance (with the exception of singer Dan Whitford's mic cutting out at the start, a common theme of the weekend — what gives, ACL?), and their songs translated well to the festival stage. The ACL first-timers, dressed like the men of a Haggar Pants commercial, excitedly ran through older hits like "Feel the Love" and "So Haunted," occasionally slipping in songs from 2011's Zonoscope. The crowd loved it, and Cut Copy loved them back. While their songs tend to blur together too much for my taste, they delivered nothing but good vibes.
TV ON THE RADIO
I'm a big TV On The Radio fan. Apparently, so is Christian Bale, who I spotted watching from the wings. In keeping with his Dark Knight persona, I don't think I saw him smile once — but he looked like he was enjoying the show. Watching TVOTR live is a sensory overload. The band borrows and steals from all genres, and singers Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone can croon, rap, and scream. But their focus never strays from rhythm, and they can switch from pounding out punk ("Halfway Home") to soulful sex jams (Nine Types of Light) with ease. But they took a moment in their set to pay homage to Saturday's headliner, stopping the show to simply say "Stevie Wonder." The crowd erupted in applause, and many of them left the TVOTR set early to try and get good spots for Stevie.
However, Stevie was about 20 minutes late. While the crowd got bigger and bigger, My Morning Jacket was blaring from the AMD stage, with no sign of the 61-year-old icon. Finally he appeared, opening with James Taylor's "How Sweet it is (To Be Loved by You)" and jamming on the keytar like it was 1986. Unfortunately, the Bud Light sound system didn't pump enough volume to people in the back half of the crowd (myself included), so we got a mashup of Stevie Wonder and My Morning Jacket.
Despite that, Stevie and his large band were in top form, playing hits Iike "Jammin'", "Living for the City," "Higher Ground," and — in keeping with Kanye's ACL tribute — Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel" (which was classier than 'Ye making the crowd shout "MJ gone, our n----- dead"). Two days in and both ACL headliners paid respect to the late King of Pop. Arcade Fire better be planning a re-staging of "Thriller."
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