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St. Vincent performs at the first weekend of the 2014 Austin City Limits Music Festival on Friday.

Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

Clad in Converse tennis shoes, shady hats and countless metallic temporary tattoos, festival-goers welcomed the first weekend of the Austin City Limits Music Festival with open arms. With a lineup just as up-to-the-minute as the fashion trends, the weekend was packed with must-see shows. Here is a recap of The Daily Texan’s most memorable ACL
performances: 

Chvrches 

The Scottish synth-pop trio woke up Friday’s drowsy crowds with a lively performance. While their stage presence could have been filled with the typical flashiness of an electronic show, the band opted for a more understated setup, letting front woman Lauren Mayberry’s energetic vocals stand out on hits like “Recover” and “The Mother
We Share.”

St. Vincent

St. Vincent’s live performances define her as an artist: calculated but with room for improvisation. Annie Clark took to the stage Friday evening looking ethereal, delivering a dreamy performance grounded with sharp choreography and heated guitar riffs. “The reason you’re here and the reason we’re here is because we never gave up hope,” Clark said to the cheering, fan-filled audience.

Foster the People

Foster the People sounded better live at the Samsung Galaxy Stage on Friday evening than it does on its albums. Lead vocalist Mark Foster was calm and relaxed while his bandmates brought energy to the performance. Dedicated fans sang the words to every song, helping those who only knew the band’s smash hit, “Pumped Up Kicks,” to stay upbeat throughout the show.

Beck

The majority of Beck’s set came from his upbeat, late ’90s and early 2000s albums. Straying from the expected, the rocker played his most well-known hit, “Loser,” early on in the set. Beck commented on the audience’s lackluster energy and proceeded to slow down the pace by playing music from his 2014 release, Morning Phase

Mac DeMarco

“Hey, I’m Mac. I’m here to play some music,” the Canadian singer-songwriter said as he entered the RetailMeNot stage, a cigarette in hand. DeMarco took to ACL in his typical slacker style, performing a laid-back set from his latest album, Salad Days, punctuated with lewd jokes, conversations with audience members and dreamy guitar melodies.

Iggy Azalea

The Australian rapper’s crowd Saturday afternoon was so huge that it could easily have been a headlining audience. While most of her songs were her originals, Azalea also incorporated feature tracks, such as Ariana Grande’s “Problem.” When she sang her signature “Who dat? Who dat?,” a screaming crowd replied with an enthusiastic “I.G.G.Y.” 

Eminem 

An hour before Eminem was scheduled to appear on stage, the crowd had already started chanting. “Marshall! Marshall!” and “Shady! Shady!” Marshall Mathers did not disappoint, performing songs from each of his albums, such as “The Real Slim Shady” and “Without Me.” After finishing his set list, Eminem returned with an encore of “Lose Yourself” as the crowd jumped along to a spectacular finale to end the night.

Miniature Tigers

Brooklyn-based Miniature Tigers walked the line between teenybopper and electronic ’80s pop with their Sunday performance, showcasing their signature breezy
harmonies. Charlie Brand, lead singer and guitarist, took a break to lead the noticeably younger crowd in a cheer, shouting, “Fuck school. No, I’m just joking. Stay in school.”

AFI

Outfitted in all black despite the afternoon heat, the alternative punk rockers performed a heavy set on the Honda Stage. The unshakable fans defined AFI’s performance, supporting a stage dive from lead singer Davey Havok within the first two songs of the set.

Jenny Lewis 

Just as the sun was beginning to set Sunday evening, Jenny Lewis took the Austin Ventures Stage dressed in her trademark pastel blazer. Opening with Rilo Kiley’s “Silver Lining,” Lewis paid homage to her former band and followed with tracks from her latest solo album, The Voyager

 

To see more photos from Weekend one of Austin City Limits, check them out here -

Justin Timberlake performs with a live band at DirecTV’s Super Saturday Night. His new album The 20/20 Experience is highly anticipated after his six year break. 

Photo Credit: Courtesy Photo | Daily Texan Staff

First he was a child star, then the breakout singer of a multi-platinum boy band, then a solo artist, actor and entrepreneur. 

Now, in 2013, we find the 32-year-old Justin Timberlake in an R&B/pop stage, and his album The 20/20 Experience is only his third in 11 years. Though he was still at the forefront of the public consciousness, he returns to the music scene six years after FutureSex/LoveSounds with longtime producer/collaborator Timbaland at his side. 

The album begins with an orchestral crescendo in “Pusher Love Girl,” displaying a more mature start than “Señorita” off of 2002’s Justified. Through a played-out metaphor, Timberlake likens his loving affections to a drug addiction. For the first five minutes, he creates soulful harmonies and solos over himself before a bridge leads to a much more rhythmic section. 

Because of the song’s distinct parts, it could be split in two, establishing a trend that continues for the entirety of the album. Much like Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city, soundscapes and vocal interludes are frequently used to combine two songs into one. 

The first single, platinum “Suit & Tie,” was released Jan. 14 and topped the charts within hours. Timberlake’s soothing falsetto makes up for one of Jay-Z’s worst rap verses to date. 

“Tunnel Vision” focuses Timberlake’s vision on a female, probably his wife, Jessica Biel, and features some of the album’s best production, with Timbaland using vocal percussion similar to “Cry Me a River.” The ending instrumentals highlight why Timbaland is one of the best producers — the music could stand alone without Timberlake’s vocal melodies and inversions. 

As the title suggests, the album’s main lyrical themes revolve around optics and perception, like the second single “Mirrors.” The song’s chorus outshines the rest of the album — it is lengthy, tender and infectious.      

The album ends with a relaxing ballad “Blue Ocean Floor,” consisting mainly of backmasked synthesizers and the orchestral melody introduced on “Pusher Love Girl,” proving that what goes around comes around.     

It’s not all incredible, though. With an average length of seven minutes, the 10 songs are full of musical twists and turns. The biggest question being: is the length necessary? Some songs like “Strawberry Bubblegum” have a less-than-subtle bridge, and what comes after it doesn’t add anything spectacular. Even the best track, “Mirrors,” falls prey to this problem, with a drawn out a cappella bridge that repeats the cheesy line “You are the love of my life.” The radio edits will undoubtedly shave off the excess minutes of many of the songs.     

It’s the record of a pop artist attempting to redefine himself through a triumphant return against grandiose expectations. It plays a little overly ambitious, but Timberlake will hopefully work the formula out, and is rumored to have plans to release a second volume of The 20/20 Experience later this year. Regardless, the album solidifies Timberlake and Timbaland’s continued domination of the modern pop scene.

“And I’ll be here till the colors fade/And I’ll be here till your dying day,” sings Casey McPherson on Bloom’s lead single “Sing Loud,” ensuring us that he will never stop making music. Austin’s own Alpha Rev lists 13 former members, but McPherson’s determination results in the band’s third alt-rock release. Caught somewhere between an unhurried Coldplay and a less mainstream Of Monsters & Men, Bloom is an atmospheric, well-produced record that Austinites can be proud of.  

Printed on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 as: Timberlake focuses musical vision 

Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys plays on the Bud Light Stage Friday night.

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

Out-of-town artists and musicians at this weekend’s Austin City Limits Music Festival received a good sampling of the unpredictable weather that is characteristic of an Austin fall. High humidity and ominous clouds loomed overhead all day Friday and Saturday until the rain finally began to fall late Saturday afternoon. While some festival attendees took refuge under umbrellas, ponchos and pavilions, others opened their arms and embraced the refreshing yet inconvenient precipitation. Bands continued to play, crowds continued to bounce and festival hippies continued to walk barefoot through the grass.

This year’s turbulent incarnation will be remembered as the last one-weekend ACL before it expands to two weekends next year. 

FRIDAY:

Umphrey’s McGee: 
Umphrey’s McGee proved its musical versatility through epic, genre-transcending songs that seemed to have no end. The guitar work was some of the best heard all weekend and showcased the members’ shred abilities. The band’s chemistry and raw musical talent went unmatched by any other act of the night. Crowd members with no previous experience stared in awe at the six-man human mix tape.  
“I heard them while walking out to go home but they were so good I had to stay,” John Shields from New Jersey said. “The best part of this festival isn’t the bands that you know, it’s the bands that you don’t know. And the chicks.”

Florence + The Machine: 
“We are Florence and the Machine, we come from England, and we have a reputation for demanding human sacrifices,” Florence Welch, lead singer of Florence + The Machine said at the opening of the band’s hour-long set. The dynamic show was one of the most enjoyable performances of the day, audience members said. Welch wore one of her signature ball gowns and took the stage in a slow, steady saunter. Her charm lay in the way she would quickly transform from an ethereal dominatrix bellowing out guttural verses, to a giddy schoolgirl skipping across the stage in her black Mary Janes. The set ended in a massive jumping spree to the band’s hit, “Dog Days Are Over.”

The Black Keys:
The rockers gave an energetic performance that included an array of new hits, as well as older, bluesy tunes from albums in their extensive library. The band relied mainly on its music to provide entertainment, and there was very little commentary given by lead-singer Dan Auerbach. Fans didn’t seem to object to the lack of banter, and danced along to the garage rock stylings until the set ended.

SATURDAY:

Father John Misty:
Lead singer Josh Tillman came prepared for his set at the Austin Ventures stage. Carrying a bottle of Tito’s Vodka and wearing a pair of red, heart-shaped sunglasses, Tillman opened the band’s highly energetic and eclectic set in a prayer laced with sarcasm. In true Tillman fashion, he held his steadily emptying bottle of liquor and yelled, “I’m ready for anything now. Just try to fuck with me!” The entire set seesawed the line between entertaining and outright ridiculous, a common theme in Father John Misty’s performances.

Jack White:
Appearing on stage with a seven-piece all-girl backup band, White played songs like The White Stripes’ global hit “Seven Nation Army” and that one Raconteurs song, concisely summarizing his prolific career within an hour and 30 minutes. His expert guitar playing was supplemented by a wide array of instruments like pedal steel guitar and organ, providing an alternative to the old-school Neil Young crowd.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse:
The crowd  was filled with everyone from neon-clad teenagers to middle-aged men wearing shirts from previous Neil Young tours. Young and his band of graying, balding rock stars took the stage before thousands. Long instrumental breaks were frequent and several songs lasted for more than 15 minutes. Audience members didn’t seem to mind the altered versions of classic songs such as “Cinnamon Girl” and “Down By The River” as everyone was held in awe by the sheer fact that they were given the chance to see the rock legend live.

SUNDAY:

Stars:
The Canadian indie band cosmically fascinated, playing old tunes like “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead” and new songs from their latest album, The North. Dual lead singers Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan engaged in conversational vocals while drummer Patrick McGee displayed his 30 years of experience through incredible syncopation in a classic stadium rock drum setup. The provocative and sensual lyrics even provoked one audience member to throw her bra on stage. Afterward, Campbell exclaimed, “We’re going to come back to your town and blow your fuckin’ mind!” at which point McGee hurled his drumsticks into the unsuspecting crowd.

Two Door Cinema Club:
Back for their second festival since 2010, Two Door Cinema Club lit up the stage with alternative rock music that feels tailor-made for atmospheres like ACL’s. Crowd surfers were common and teenage girls were sporadically hoisted above the bobbing heads of the sweaty, bikini-clad throng. The entire crowd clapped their hands and danced along as the performance came to a close with the band’s hit “What You Know” from their first album, Tourist History