ACL Weekend Two: Day Two Recap

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ACL Weekend Two: Day Two Recap

Greg Noire

Greg Noire

Greg Noire

Jake Deven, Entertainment Editor

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The humid Austin heat was in full force for day two of the second weekend at ACL after an early morning of rain. But the weather is rarely an issue for music fans, especially in Austin. And despite the uncomfortable weather, day two seemed a whole lot more crowded—probably because of the diverse lineup Saturday had to offer.

Day two was dominated by appearances by Metallica, Lil Wayne and CHVRCHES—among many other indie groups that drew crowds almost as big as the headliners. The sea of tattoo sleeves and black t-shirts made it clear that there’s a great devotion to traditional hard rock and heavy metal at ACL.

Disturbed

Disturbed showed off its anthems and heavy metal chops at the American Express stage—proving they are worthy of this fest’s tradition of honoring giants of rock.

The tough rage metal of Disturbed seems like it should have a limited audience at a festival, but they ended up drawing out a pretty huge crowd. And it wasn’t because they played right before Metallica since once their set was over a good portion of the crowd disappeared.  

Frontman David Draiman constantly asked the crowd for hands and fists, staying true to the pregame message that flashed on-screen: “When music is the weapon, no one is safe. When music is the weapon, every fist has a voice.”

At one point, Draiman paused to honor his rock peers, “I miss Chester, I miss Chris,” he said, referencing the singers of Linkin Park and Soundgarden respectively, who both died by suicide last year. The band proved that its sensational, raging metal isn’t just over-hyped and lazy tunes for the radio. It has a healing quality and much more heart than it gets credit for.

In the end, their classic, “The Sickness,” drew many fists and aggressive mosh pits spread out throughout the audience. The band, who seems like more of a mean and dude-centric act, brought much more to ACL than that.

CHVRCHES

Pop powerhouse Lauren Mayberry and her group CHVRCHES have always carried an emotional range that is boundless and unique. From calling Ted Cruz a “cock popsicle” to raging on stage about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, there was much to cheer about at the Scottish synth-pop trio’s performance on Saturday.

Unified claps met smooth electronics in the group’s opening anthem “Get Out,” which comes off their 2018 release Love Is Dead. Mayberry had the crowd wrapped around her finger, as it was overwhelming how in sync they were with the band.

Mayberry dedicated the group’s anti-love ode “Leave a Trace” to women survivors of sexual assault and abuse. The rumble of the electronic percussion and the radiance of the frontwoman’s voice could be felt from far away, even if you were standing comfortably at one of the other seven stages.

CHVRCHES did perform some older hits off their debut, The Bones of What You Believe, such as “Gun,” followed by four consecutive tracks from their latest, Love is Dead.

Lil Wayne

Serving as somewhat of a replacement for Childish Gambino, the legendary New Orleans rapper brought out the trap jams, as well as some classic rap beats that some of his older fans may be familiar with.

Accompanied by DJ T. Lewis and a drummer, Wayne hyped up the crowd with classics like “Go DJ,” “Lollipop,” and “A Milli”. Of course, Wayne performed tracks off his long-expected, recent No. 1 charter The Carter V, which brought the 36-year-old MC back into the rap game that he dominated once upon a time.

There’s no question that the Cash Money superstar still has the energy from all those years ago. Wayne ran, jumped and danced all over the stage as much as any hype man would. Overall, Wayne’s performance was a much-needed palate cleanser for all the rock and indie performances happening around him.

Justice

French electronic duo Justice closed out Saturday night at ACL Fest from the Honda stage for those non-metalheads.

There wasn’t much to be surprised about with Justice, since their latest release, Woman Worldwide, was a live album with only a few remixes. So their ACL performance was basically a live performance of a live album? (confused emoji).

But, a classic is a classic no matter the genre or in what way it’s presented. Hearing the famous schoolyard chant of “D.A.N.C.E.” find its way into the electronic steamroller of Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay was very satisfying.

As always, Justice didn’t disappoint on optics. LED strobes, rotating lasers and spotlights looked like giant glow sticks floating freely in space. This was that show at ACL that if you weren’t planning on activating your brain with lyrics, you definitely gave your eyes something to feast onand this set over-delivered in the best way possible.

Metallica

Thousands of metalheads across the festival grounds had their moment as legendary metal ambassadors Metallica graced the American Express stage with much more classics than anyone expected. The band played timeless classics like “One,” “For Whom the Bells Toll,” “Sad But True” and “Master of Puppets”. Tracks off the bands most recent release, Hardwired To Self Destruct, also made it into the setlist. 

Obviously, this performance drew a noticeably different crowd than McCartney’s happy-go-lucky show the day before, and their stage setup was also noticeably different. The band had a U-shaped stage platform that reached out in front of the main stage and into the crowd, which allowed frontman James Hetfield and company to run out towards the crowd like madmen and let fans scream lyrics back at them, as well as letting the crowd strum their guitars.

Drummer Lars Ulrich was the only one stationary, as the band members scattered all over the massive U-shaped stage where they had microphones placed all over in case they felt like parking themselves there for a song or two.

Toward the halfway point of their set, bassist Robert Trujillo began a Willie Nelson tribute, playing the legendary country singer’s hit “Whiskey River” as guitarist Kirk Hammett and the audience joined in.

Ulrich’s drums were by far the loudest element, while Hammett’s face-melting guitar solos had the crowd going absolutely wild. You could tell by the people’s reaction to their playing that they felt like they were in the presence of musical gods.

As the band finished their set, it was clear that the crowd wasn’t going to let them leave without an encore. The legendary four-piece came back out to close the night with “Battery,” “Nothing Else Matters” and with a pyrotechnic-assisted “Enter Sandman” that had fans in awe of the blistering performance from one of metal’s greats.

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