Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Austin natives TC Superstar reminds us why we love live music at ACL Fest

Kelsey Bradshaw
Austin 360
TC Superstar performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival on Sunday October 3, 2021 (Robert Hein for American-Statesman)

If you found yourself in the Tito's Handmade Vodka tent Sunday afternoon at Austin City Limits Music Festival you would have found at least a couple hundred people bopping their heads to Austin natives TC Superstar.

You wouldn't have been able to tell who was a longtime fan or who just stopped in after picking up lunch in the food court next door. Everybody was grooving

MORE:Everything you need to know about ACL Fest, including COVID rules

TC Superstar used up every second of their 2:15 p.m. set, playing 10 songs in their 45 minutes to a fanatical crowd. Thankfully, the tent provided shade for the dance party.

Let's talk about the fits: Lead singer Connor McCampbell was dressed in red coveralls and was flanked by four dancers dressed in green tops and blue bottoms, a guitarist in all blue and a keyboardist in all red. 

The primary colors popped on the stage that was illuminated with psychedelic swirling rainbows on the screens behind the group.

The songs were something out of an '80s movie, pop-y and synthwave-y. I imagined Molly Ringwald might show up at any moment.

FOOD:Here are the best things to eat and drink at Austin City Limits Music Festival

So many of the songs brought the sap. During "Dana Be Mine," McCampbell crooned: "Dana, Dana don'tcha wanna be mine?" (I definitely thought the lyrics were: "Don't you wanna be my boo," by the way. Glad I looked that up!) He talked about the only girl he ever loved when he was 16. It hit on something we all experienced; high school sweetheart or not, we all have someone we've yearned for at least once

What are people wearing to ACL Fest 2021? How to be both stylish and practical

"One and Only" starts with: "He drives through the Arizona night/ I stay up waiting to see headlights/ But he don't, he don't, he don't know how I miss his touch/ And he don't, he don't, he don't think it would be enough." 

TC Superstar performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival on Sunday October 3, 2021 (Robert Hein for American-Statesman)

Even with the sad lyrics like, "'Cause he don't want to be my one and only," the tent was full of joy. Huge cheers came with a dance break in the middle. Attendees hugged and swayed.

"With You," from their latest album," is about the "last year we had," McCampbell said. Three dancers pretended to hold up a camera as the fourth dancer took imaginary selfies. McCampbell sang about spending too much time alone or on his phone.

"There's no where else I'd rather be than here with you," he sings. 

READ: I am mad at Doja Cat for being so good at everything at ACL Fest

I don't know about y'all, but this weekend has been an emotional one for me, being back out in the world after such a long time away because of the coronavirus pandemic. I'm sure everyone in that tent felt that lyric because where else would we be than here in Zilker Park together?

This review cannot stand without talking about the dance moves. Think Zumba and Jazzercise class and Jane Fonda. They flounced and twirled like ballerinas and nearly skied side to side. They held each other and spun in circles. And nearly every time they did a big move, the audience screamed in return.

Bands like TC Superstar are why people love Austin and this festival so much. Wandering into a random show at ACL Fest and getting to hear something so full of joy and freedom is what live music is all about and I'm so glad we get to do this again.

"Thank y'all from the bottom of our little Texas hearts," McCampell said. "Thanks for being part of our first ACL show ever."