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Cautious Clay saxophones home at ACL Fest Weekend 2

Kelsey Bradshaw
Austin 360
Cautious Clay performs on the Miller Lite stage during day three of weekend two of the Austin City Limits Music Festival on Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021.

Cautious Clay brought down the house — well, field — with his saxophone playing on Sunday, the last day of Weekend 2 of Austin City Limits Music Festival. He played a flute, too.

By the end of his set, which started at 3:30 p.m. on the Miller Lite Stage, we'd come up with enough saxophone puns or sayings to last a lifetime and were cursing ourselves for not also learning how to play the saxophone.

(Sax and the City, Sax City Limits and vaxxed and saxxed, just to name a few. Please, artists, if you're reading this, bring saxophones to ACL Fest! We love.)

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Clay took the crowd through "Strange Love," "Wildfire" and megahit "Cold War."

On "Cold War," Clay sings: "But if we just spoke/ like we meant it/ would you reference/ this open part of me/ the minute I know/ the time we spent it/ came corrected/ in my anatomy."

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Cautious Clay was the perfect artist to help close out the festival for the year. He was smooth and breathy and brought soul and R&B to Zilker Park. Every time he wailed on the saxophone, it felt holy.

The crowd was swaying, and at one point, Clay lied down on the stage — the music was just too good. 

The melodies were beautiful, which was a good thing, because whether it was a sound mishap on stage or the football game in the Beer Hall next door, Clay was hard to hear. 

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Cautious Clay performs on the Miller Lite stage during day three of weekend two of the Austin City Limits Music Festival on Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021.

But even if we couldn't totally hear his lyrics, we knew we liked them. And so did the crowd.

"It's beautiful to share a space and connect again," he said.

As Clay played in the hot sun, something magical happened. He pulled out his sax during "French Riviera" and the wind picked up around us, making for a lovely breeze.

It was just what we needed after a long, two weeks of sticky, sweaty, rainy weather.

Cautious Clay performs on the Miller Lite stage during day three of weekend two of the Austin City Limits Music Festival on Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021.