Our team was on the ground from opening gates to the last notes ringing out during Weekend One, and we have some recommendations for what to see during Weekend Two, with excerpts from our reports. See full coverage at austin360.com/acl.
Cuco: The Los Angeles-based 20-year-old is good on the internet. But he’s figured out the live thing, too: Have two onstage keyboard players to highlight the dank chillwave elements of his introverted pop; hire a good rhythm section. One of his keyboardists (“my boy J-Quest”) busted a pretty good rap on “Summertime Hightime.” Cuco played fiery trumpet solos on four songs. (12:45 p.m. HomeAway) — Ramon Ramirez (UPDATE: Cuco and his band were in a car accident on their way to Nashville on Monday and have canceled the remainder of their 2018 tour dates.)
Noname: Let’s go ahead and retire the narrative that frames the entire conversation about women in rap as a battle between Cardi and Nicki. Sure, Chicago artist Noname (who has said in interviews that she resents being called the anti-Cardi) moves in a different lane than the stadium-packing superstars, but in an afternoon set at Austin City Limits Festival, she proved her ability to hype a crowd. (2:45 p.m. HomeAway) — D.S.S.
David Byrne: Having drawn rave reviews across the country all year, including a spring concert in San Antonio, David Byrne’s inventive stage show brought light and wonder to a sweltering afternoon. (3:45 p.m. American Express) — Peter Blackstock
Brockhampton: (The group) boasts over a dozen members, but the six that performed during Weekend One delivered on their claim of being “the greatest boy band on earth,” going hard from the first moments when Dom McLennon burst on stage (despite a sound mixup preventing his vocals from coming through at first) to the band’s final ecstatic dance celebration. (6:45 p.m. Miller Lite) — Kayleigh Hughes
Paul McCartney: He has nothing left to prove. He’s doing this for us now. Friday night, a park full of ACL Fest faithful accepted that gift, smiling and singing along. It’s a moment we’ll not forget. And it all goes down again. (7:45 p.m. American Express) — P.B.
Smino: In March during South by Southwest, the “Black Swan” rapper proved at Cheer Up Charlie’s that all he needs is a microphone and a DJ — his charisma handles the rest. With two backup singers and a fill-happy drummer at ACL, his voice meshed well with the instrumentation. It’s a rare feat in rap; two years ago at ACL, even the blazing Kendrick Lamar got lost in the live band’s noodling. (3:30 p.m. Miller Lite) — R.R.
Japanese Breakfast: Charisma for days from an indie rock act realizing the full power of her effortless charisma. Plus, Michelle Zauner plays plenty of songs from "Soft Sounds From Another Planet," one of 2017's best albums. (3:30 p.m. Barton Springs) — Eric Webb
Brandi Carlile: Urging everyone to vote in November, Carlile also played her recent hit “The Joke,” introducing it as a song for “unloved, unaccepted, unnatural or illegal” citizens. For that song and most of the set, Carlile was backed by a stellar crew that included longtime bandmates Tim and Phil Hanseroth — twin brothers on guitar and bass — plus keyboards, drums and a three-piece string section. (4:30 p.m. Honda) — P.B.
Chvrches: You'll dance, you'll cry, you let out a primal scream with the synth-poppers who've achieved their final form as honest-to-goodness sunset slot stars. (6:30 p.m. Honda) — E.W.
Sylvan Esso: Throngs of faithful fans sang and danced along up-front as Nick Sanborn spun sound beds on his keyboard for partner Amelia Meath to sing over, weaving spells of enchantment on tunes including “Hey Mami” from their self-titled 2014 debut to “Radio” from last year’s follow-up “What Now.” (7:30 p.m. Miller Lite)— P.B.
Twin Shadow: Hard to go wrong when God does the set dressing for your ACL Fest gig and has a sense of humor. For Twin Shadow — the musical alter ego of New York’s George Lewis Jr. — a blanket of dark clouds rolled over the American Express stage halfway through a Sunday afternoon set. No metaphor: Good vibes reigned, and the on-the-nose meteorological happening just gave sweaty dancers a second wind, literally. (2 p.m. American Express) — E.W.
Janelle Monae: Her show was rich with grandiose spectacle. She shouted out all the “Queens” while reminding us “the booty don’t lie” with gluteal acrobatics, brought a horn heavy mix to “Electric Lady” and rocked her celebrated lady part pants while executing suggestive dance moves on “Pynk.” But what took her performance over the edge is the pure heart she brings to the stage. (4 p.m. American Express) — D.S.S.
Tinashe: No one at ACL Fest is doing anything like this evergreen next big thing and current "Dancing With the Stars" contestant is doing: Airtight hip hop dancing spectacle. (5 p.m. Miller Lite)— E.W.
Revolution: With Bobby Z on the drums, Matthew Robert Fink (aka Dr. Fink) and Lisa Coleman both on keyboards, Brown Mark on bass and Wendy Melvoin tearing it up on guitar, the group brought life, love and memories to Zilker Park. They kicked things off strong with “America,” a song whose lyrics (“Keep the children free”) never lose relevance. (6 p.m. Tito's) — K.H.
St. Vincent: “I would worship her,” said a crowd-goer during St. Vincent’s set. There was not a hint of hyperbole. They meant they literally would become worshippers at the altar of Annie Clark, finding meaning in her lyrics, guidance in her latex, ecstasy in her solos. They believe she is a higher power. Frankly, same. (7 p.m. HomeAway) — K.H.
WEEKEND TWO ONLY
These acts didn't play Weekend One but are likely to be highlights:
FRIDAY: Fatai, Nicole Atkins, Lily Allen
SATURDAY: Lucie Silvas, Lil Wayne, Rhye
SUNDAY: Vince Staples, Shawn Mendes, Phil Cook