By Zachary Swickey
There were some interesting sights on day one of Austin City Limits, but day two was no slouch on the “weird” either. I witnessed a full-grown man wearing only women’s underwear, several tween girls attempt crowd surfing for the first time, and an elderly woman with Skrillex clearly circled on her schedule. Just another typical day at ACL, where the weirder you are, the more welcome you seem to be.
First on the agenda were MTV VMA performers Young the Giant. Mere seconds before YTG took the stage, the sky dropped a sudden downpour of rain (two days in a row now after three months of zilch). The rain was coming down rather hard and was a bit chilly as everyone was expecting dry, 100-plus degree weather throughout the weekend, but the many hippies I saw doing “rain dances” must’ve worked their magic.
Frontman Sameer Gadhia embraced the rain, saying, “It’s finally raining Austin! Now let’s have us a good time!” The band wound through the various hits off their debut album, with “My Body” and “Cough Syrup” being the obvious favorites. Gadhia swooned the ladies with his onstage charm as he crooned into his vintage microphone and frequently displayed his tambourine skills. Their catchy track “Strings” had to be my favorite electric, spine-tingling moment.
Next up was the soothing Canadian sounds of City & Colour (who we are big fans of). Frontman Dallas Green was dressed appropriately in a pale yellow button-up shirt with a black bandana tied around his neck (in a cowboy fashion, not the gangsta way). Kicking things off with the opening track from Little Hell, their newest release, “We Found Each Other in the Dark” may be relatively new, but trust me when I say the fans knew every word. The band played to a rather large crowd considering the time and stage, but this was their second trip to ACL after their initial appearance back in 2008. Older classic tunes like “Against the Grain” and “Waiting…” from Bring Me Your Love sent the ladies into a frenzy. Austin definitely has plenty of love for the acoustic melancholy of City & Colour.
The highlight of my day came when I made my way to the Google+ Stage a good hour and a half early to grab a primo seat for dubstep titan Skrillex. Well, it wasn’t even early enough to get me on the rail, but I was smack dab in the middle of a huge sea of fans, which I had no complaints about. The stage set-up seemed pretty lame, with a fold-out picnic table with a black tablecloth simply tossed over it, and only a Macbook with some additional surrounding speakers, but I was planning on dancing and listening to the audio onslaught more than watching anyway.
From the get-go of Skrillex’s set, it was clear he was a festival favorite (it makes no sense that he wasn’t on the main stage). “Rock n’ Roll” was the first track that got the crowd so excited that I slightly feared for my own safety. The rain then became more than just a drizzle just in time as Skrillex dropped into the calorie-burnin’ “Kill Everybody,” which had every single person in view throwing their hands in the air.
The show was momentarily stolen by a little boy with a red mohawk and blue cape (who could not have been more than five years old) as he danced his little ass off with more enthusiasm than most modern day divas. The crowd totally fed off the little guy and shouted encouragement in what will hopefully be an interesting memory for him someday. Oddly, it seemed like a rather appropriate end to the set as Skrillex thanked the enthusiastic crowd and hoisted the little boy, carrying him offstage.