"It took us about three minutes to get here today on the school bus," Barton Hills Choir director Gavin Tabone beamed from the Austin Kiddie Limits stage as his crew of 47 fifth and sixth graders kicked off this year's Austin City Limits Music Festival at 12:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon.
Their short set (about 24 minutes) included nods to three of this year's top-billed acts: Tame Impala's "Disciples," the Cure's "Friday I'm in Love" and Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child of Mine." No guest stars with the choir this year (at least for weekend one; they'll be back next weekend, on Saturday), but that hardly lessened the enthusiasm from parents and fans who gathered round in the welcome shady grove of the AKL stage just before temperatures hit 90 degrees in Zilker Park.
READ MORE: Meet the Barton Hills Choir, our Austin360 Artist of the Month for September 2019
Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke" was an ideal high-energy opener, and Muse's "Starlight" went over quite well too. Maybe the best number was a medley of the Flaming Lips' "Race for the Prize" into Wilco's "Camera," a nod to two stars of past ACL Fests.
We scurried across the grounds to the Honda stage for an even more longstanding ACL Fest tradition. Asleep at the Wheel has played every single one since the fest began in 2002. We missed the first couple of songs but there's a 99.9 percent chance that "Miles and Miles of Texas" was one of them.
The lineup appeared to have one or two new members this year, including a young woman on saxophone who played a great solo on "Milk Cow Blues." Hot pickin' dominated "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens" until band leader Ray Benson slowed it down a bit for Guy Clark's "Dublin Blues" and its classic "I wish I was in Austin" opening and closing verse.