Austin City Limits

ACL Last Night: Avicii at Zilker Park

See Avicii, Afghan Whigs, Florence + the Machine, M83, Esperanza Spalding and more in our slideshow of Friday's ACL performers

Avicii AMD Stage Austin City Limits Music Festival, Zilker Park October 12, 2012

While the rest of the Rocks Off staff has fully immersed itself in EDM, I sorta took a reserved stance on it, not really sure how to approach something based on party-party-party and not rawk rawk rawk.

You're describing a party, and not so much the music. At least that's how I take it.

Avicii's set Friday night on ACL's AMD stage was one of the first EDM sets I had seen in this brave new world of wubs and clubs and glowsticks.

Swedish artist Tim Bergling -- aka Avicii -- was ensconced on top of a giant white expressionless head (cue Election 2012 jokes) for what seems like a few thousand million college kids, a non-scientific estimate. The set opened with a Who sample, mostly just "Baba O'Riley" on a distorted, warped loop, as a mass of tank tops and glowsticks ran towards the stage and really, the lights.

On the other side of the park, the Black Keys were getting to work. The Avicii crowd was dwarfed, but no less party.

Artists like Avicii lord over their crowds, making messianic poses from on high, before decimating them with a beat. It's like a friend at a house party cuing up "Sister Christian" on his laptop at just the right moment -- 3 a.m.

(Soon, see my tale about the dancing couple and penis in our Friday ACL recap. It's too grand to copy and paste here.)

Great, scintillating light effects and lasers were shot onto the large head, with Avicii stuck inside the crown of it. Songs would swell, swell, and then swell some more, with beach-dressed kids stuck in mid-air before falling back down with the bass drop.

I was actually surprised to see ACL had only a handful of EDM acts this year. After the massive crowd for Skrillex, Chromeo, Pretty Lights and a few others in years past, I would have assumed that there would be a sea of furry boots and duct-taped nipples at Zilker Park in 2012, our last year on Earth.

To sum up the Avicii experience, it grew tiring after about 45 minutes, but no less interesting. It was more entertaining witnessing the crowd's reaction to Bergling than watching was going on onstage. I like watching people go apeshit to things I don't understand.

See more photos on the next page.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty