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Cults’ hazy pop can’t combat mid-afternoon FOMO

Eric Pulsifer

As the most central stage at the festival, the Austin Ventures Stage often suffered from inattentive audiences this weekend, as in year’s past. There are bigger, louder noises coming from all sides competing for attention, and it seems many just use the stage’s shade as a stopping point on the way to something else. All of which is a shame, as it’s hosted many of my personal must-sees this weekend.

This afternoon Cults did little to cut through the noise and demand audience attention on their second ACL Fest appearance. The New York band’s Achilles heel in their live show was vocal inconsistency. Madeline Follin’s porcelain voice was lovely at times but at others felt buried in the mix and occasionally missed the mark set by her pristine well-produced album counterpart. Still the duo — playing today as a five-piece — breezed through a dozen tracks of dreary and dreamy surf rock and semi-danceable indie pop.

The instantly recognizable bell riff of the band’s first and possibly biggest hits “Go Outside” was the biggest people-pleaser, followed closely by the gigantic guitar sound on the heavier “I Can Hardly Make You Mine,” which shocked some life into the crowd.

Setlist

High Road

Abducted

Always Forever

Never Heal Myself

We’ve Got It

You Know What I Mean

Were Before

Bumper

I Can Hardly Make You Mine

Total Control (The Motels cover)

Go Outside

Keep Your Head Up