Laredo City Limits? That’s where Spanish Gold guitarists Dante Schwebel and Adrian Quesada are from, but Quesada now calls Austin home, which made the band’s early-afternoon ACL Fest appearance on the Samsung Galaxy stage something of a hometown party, with plenty of friends and acquaintances in the audience.
The band has just one album out, last spring’s "South of Nowhere," but it was a terrific debut, garnering them a late-night TV appearance and taking them on the road for a good chunk of the last few months. Locals seemed glad to have a chance to catch them in such a grand setting, and Schwebel marveled at being able to play one of the two big stages at a festival he said he’d attended five or six times in the past.
Though formally a trio — My Morning Jacket drummer Patrick Hallahan rounds out the group — Spanish Gold wisely expanded to a sextet for this show, adding a bassist and two female backing singers who helped bring out the pop-vocal strengths in many of the band’s tunes. Early highlights in their set included the appropriate-for-the-moment "Day Drinkin'" — "you might know something about it," Schwebel cracked to the crowd — and the hard-driving "Movin’ On."
They saved the radio hit "Out on the Street" for the tail end of their hourlong set and followed it with a great R&B tune, "Have Mercy," that put the spotlight on the standout vocals of their backup singers. The sole down side to an otherwise triumphant set was a sound quality that didn’t quite do justice to the band’s album, which balanced the band’s pop instincts and raw energy beautifully. Some of that radiance got lost in muddy mixes too often on the ACL stage.