Water bottles and hand-held fans were an absolute must, getting lost from your friends was bound to happen and walking until your legs were sore was a promise. Austin City Limits, the second largest festival in the city of Austin, was hot and sweaty, but it was also joyfully energetic.With notable headliners like Drake and Florence and the Machine, ACL was bound to be exciting. Although I would have loved to have seen everyone, there was so much to do at the festival, I only got to see so much. Here are my thoughts on some of the performers from the festival.
Disclosure - Disclosure won me over this entire weekend. Although the band only played on the first night, Oct. 9, they were my favorite. By playing much of their hits, Disclosure gave the audience so much energy it was impossible to not dance. The strobe lights in their set illuminated the night. Towards the end, music duo, LION BABE made a guest appearance for their song "Hourglass" and the crowd came together to sing along to "Latch." Disclosure finished off Day 1 with one hell of an end the crowd will never forget.
Sugar & the Hi-Lows - Just ask the grandfather I saw dancing in the crowd, Sugar & the Hi- Lows gave an incredible performance on Saturday afternoon. The band's high energy and soulful, country-rock mixed sound had people swaying to the beat of the music. "High Roller" had the crowd up and moving. I spoke to Trent and Amy backstage and learned so much more about them and their music. Make sure to keep an eye out for them, they'll be killing the music charts soon enough.
Steelism - Music without lyrics doesn't usually sound like something most people would be into these days, but this group is changing that perception. Steelism, an instrumental band, played a few of their songs at the BMI stage Sunday afternoon and easily captivated the crowd. Before I knew it, the crowd was filled by the end of their show. They were one of the best performers of the day and certainly a band you need to know ASAP.
Alessia Cara - This up and coming artist has more talent than I had ever expected. Alessia has a grand amount of talent and an enormous stage presence that attracted, what seemed to be, the largest crowd at the BMI stage this weekend. She was so electric, it was almost like you had to sing along, even if you didn't know the words. Starting off with "I'm Yours," Alessia sang all of her songs from her latest EP Four Pink Walls, did a few covers and even sang an unreleased song off her album coming out soon. Without a doubt, she's an artist to watch out for.
Drake - Probably the most sought-after artist of the night, Drake stole the crowd Saturday night. My friends and I somehow made it near the front and the energy from the crowd was incredible. Starting off with his old hits, Drake came in and had a few surprises for the crowd. After declaring this was his last show of the year, Drake didn't take long to introduce his friend, rapper J. Cole, to the stage to perform. The crowd went wild. To say the least, the crowd stayed this wild for the entire show.
Hozier - Opening with "Like Real People Do," Hozier started his set a bit slow but went straight into some of his energetic songs. His charming character enamored the crowd that grew as he performed. The most thrilling part of his performance was when he covered "Blackbird" by the Beatles. It was an unexpected delight. Even after a long and hot day, the crowd was still up and ready to sing as loud as they could to his biggest-selling single, "Take Me to Church," which ended his set in the best way possible.
Florence and the Machine - Florence Welch closed off the festival with an exuberant performance. It seemed a little chaotic, as she was running all over the place, but nevertheless the crowd was enthralled with her presence. Starting off with "What the Water Gave Me," the band sang a few songs from their previous albums and their latest album, "How Big How Blue How Beautiful." They even did a couple of covers, including a brilliantly covered "You Got the Love" by The Sources. During the concert, Florence ran barefoot all over the stage and into the crowd numerous times and, by the end of the festival, even called out to fans to "get as high as [they could]." It certainly was a memorable performance.
Other artists that I watched perform included The Hunts, Mandolin Orange, LION BABE, Holychild, and Vance Joy, who all killed it on stage. If you can, I recommend you see them all live. I even had the privilege of interviewing The Hunts and Mandolin Orange and they were just as incredible in person as they were on stage.
About 75,000 people attended this festival daily this year and I can see why. From the food to the performers, it was a weekend to remember. This was my first time going and I had a blast. I got to see my friends from all over the states, who I usually don't get to see without Skype, and got lost in the music. ACL, you won me over and I can't wait until next year.