The annual Austin City Limits Music Festival culminated over the weekend at Zilker Park in the heart of our sister city down the road. Most of the lineup carried over from the previous weekend, although a handful of artists opted only to perform on Weekend Two, with the most beloved and recognizable performer being country legend Willie Nelson.
10. KEEPER OPENS WEEKEND TWO
The Austin synth-soul vocal group blessed the Friday-morning crowd with smooth harmonies complemented by R&B and hip-hop beats. It was a perfect way to kick off the weekend.
9. DIE ANTWOORD PUMPS UP THE ACL ESTABLISHMENT
Many people stood in awe of the South African duo as they bounced around the stage like possessed demons. The group's energy and onstage presence are high-voltage and unnerving, but always entertaining. One of the most mind-altering acts of the weekend.
8. M83 DAZZLES WITH SOUNDS AND VISUALS
One of the most colorful sets of the festival was provided by M83, whose electro-pop/rock sounds provided much glee to the sizable and passionate crowd who gathered at the Cirrus Logic Stage on Friday night. "Midnight City" sounded absolutely heavenly as the sun set and the moon rose above the park, followed by a cold front that provided a much-needed respite from the heat.
7. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, THOM YORKE!
After the band's intro, the most adamant fans in the crowd began to sing "Happy Birthday" to the leader of Radiohead, who immediately blushed and then thanked them for their expression of love and respect. What followed was a transcendent mirage of rock performed by the master sound manipulator and his band.
6. KHRUANGBIN DOMINATES THE BMI STAGE
The dreamy and moody sounds of the partially Houston-based Khruangbin filled the air with sweet surfer rock and inspired instrumentals, captivating the late-afternoon crowd with a mesmerizing trance of guitar, bass and drums. It was a welcome relief of real music devoid of electronics or gimmicks. Just sweet, sweet music to make our lives that much better.
5. DJ MEL CLOSES OUT THE TITO'S VODKA STAGE
Austin's unofficial mayor, DJ Mel, a.k.a. Obama's DJ, closed out the Tito's tent with an absolute barrage of genre-hopping, uptempo mixing, mashups and remixes. He is most definitely one of the best party DJs ever to hit the turntables, and also blessed the festival afterparty with an equally impressive late-night set.
4. ANDERSON .PAAK IS THE FUTURE
Such an amazing talent and a superstar in the making. Fans who were fortunate enough to catch Anderson .Paak on the Homeaway Stage on Weekend Two were treated to the best new talent to hit the R&B/hip-hop world in a generation.
3. CAGE THE ELEPHANT ARE ROCK GODS
Best. Rock show. Ever! Lead singer Matt Shultz channels Mick Jagger as he flies on, off, left, and right of the stage and even into the crowd. The band is unrivaled in their connection to the crowd and intensity of their set. A true can't-miss at any festival.
2. K-DOT DELIVERS
Another bright star in the hip-hop universe, Kendrick is the voice of the Snapchat Generation, equally interested in turning up with club bangers and raising their fist with protest music. A living legend in the making.
1. THREE WORDS...
All right, all right, all right! Actor and part-time bongo player Matthew McConaughey had the honor of introducing his and everyone else's hero Willie Nelson on the last day of the festival. The crowd swelled to see Shotgun Willie perform his litany of classics, with hardly a dry eye in the park when he delivered his timeless ballad "Crazy" into the Austin air for all to feel. An absolutely perfect set, although one hour was a bit short for such a talent.
When he's not roaming around the city in search of tacos and graffiti, Marco points his camera lens toward the vibrant Houston music scene and beyond. You can follow his adventures on Instagram: @MarcoFromHouston.