Sunday at the Honda stage, rock band Arizona offered post-U2, drifting arena rock all about the festival #vibes. The electro pop chords were universal, with slick melodies perfectly suited for a Netflix rom-com. The band covered Drake’s meditative and lovesick “Passionfruit,” and NFL star and LGBTQ activist Michael Sam swayed to the R&B-tinged falsetto jams in the crowd.

“I’m seeing sounds, I’m freaking out,” frontman Zachary Charles sang, between millennial whoas and heys. (Think Lumineers and the 1975 singles.)

“We are Arizona: the band and not the state,” he clarified. “Go ahead and stay hydrated.”

Charles said onstage that the name came from a late-night recording session — a can of Arizona-brand iced tea was in the studio.

Guitarist Nate Esquite wore the same unicorn furry costume he donned backstage in the media tent. The message was obvious: Let’s make a splash because our music is atmospheric and works best as a poolside, Bluetooth speaker add-on. Two songs in he ditched it and showed off a Torchy’s Tacos T-shirt.


PHOTOS: Day 3 at ACL Fest

Rock music like this is an algorithm built for a Spotify session. By contrast, Yungblud preened like My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way at the HomeAway stage earlier. It was calculated theater-kid emo — complete with bratty songs about anarchy and pink duct tape slapped onto amps. It was for young music fans who probably hate Arizona — juvenile and brash, but at least spirited.

“She just wants to be like the girls on the television,” Charles lectures with empathy on sensitive bro groupie jam “What She Wants.”

“There’s no script for this,” Charles said. “We’re up here partying.”

These Jersey boys have been longtime friends, and they seem like smart and nice people. Songs were punctuated with the beaming synth lines that fueled Passion Pit albums. This Atlantic Records band will be a dorm room standard soon enough. You could do worse, kids.