Raucous cheers of ecstasy erupted from both of the tent spaces on the north end of Zilker Park early Saturday afternoon at ACL Fest. That was expected on the Tito’s Stage, where gospel shouters Tyree Morris & Hearts of Worship were heaping on their praises with an eight-strong vocal front behind seven instrumentalists. But the most noise came from the Beer Hall, where the Texas Longhorns were in the process of defeating the Oklahoma Sooners. Praise the lord, indeed!
Hundreds of Horns fans overflowed out of the edges of the Beer Hall as Texas jumped to a 14-0 lead and kept the pressure up in second half. Nathan Seegmiller, a UT junior from San Antonio, was among them. He was here mostly for the music — he’d caught Milo Greene earlier and was looking forward to sets by Glass Animals and Modest Mouse later in the day. “I didn’t even know the game was going on this early,” he admitted, describing himself as more of a casual fan than a die-hard Orangeblood. That didn’t keep him from celebrating wildly as Texas hung on through the fourth quarter for a huge 24-17 upset win.
Morris and his impressive crew certainly didn’t lag in their performance, even as the crowd was a bit thin for obvious reasons. Combining high-octane spirituals with rapid-fire hip-hop, they brought genuine fervor to the venue long-known as the gospel tent (even as it’s sponsored by a vodka brand this year). They enticed the crowd to “Get On Up” and “Work It Out” … but on this Saturday afternoon in early October, ultimately the only sacred song for many festgoers was “The Eyes of Texas.”