It’s not easy to follow headlining acts such as Radiohead, Kendrick Lamar and Mumford and Sons. But on Sunday, LCD Soundsystem concluded the festival with the most passionate performance of the weekend.
Best: Frontman James Murphy brought stellar vocals to LCD Soundsystem’s performance, backed by hooking bass lines and hypnotizing percussion in songs such as “I Can Change” and “New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down.” Whether the members of the crowd were lifelong fans or newcomers who stumbled upon the set as they were exiting the park, they couldn’t help but do one thing: dance.
While some acts before a headliner may feel as though they only serve as openers, everyone at the Samsung stage was there for Willie Nelson. Flags and posters that said "Willie for Prez" were scattered throughout the audience. Matthew McConaughey even made a guest appearance to introduce Nelson — if the crowd wasn't already hyped, they were certainly energized by his presence. Willie gave a performance similar to his past sets, but the crowd loved it, finding comfort in his 83-year-old legend status. Willie's old school country performance slowed down the pace and made the crowd appreciate their experience here.
Young the Giant deserves an honorable mention as well. With outstanding vocals from Sameer Gadhia, the band produced one of the fullest sounds of the festival. With hits like "I Got" and "My Apartment" threaded into the first half of their setlist, the band immediately had the crowd hooked. Even those who were unfamiliar with their most recent album Home of the Strange were mimicking Sameer’s floppy dance moves.
Worst: Atlas Genius’ performance felt quaint and intimate, as if the band was playing in someone’s backyard. That being said, nothing set their performance apart from other local indie bands. Although their stage presence was lively, their sound was overall too quiet for the audience to groove to. On a few occasions, frontman Keith Jeffery tried to get the audience to participate, asking them to dance, jump or sing along. But despite his attempts, the crowd could only headbob to the beat.
Oh Wonder also had a quiet performance. The duo had never been to Texas, but instead of impressing a new crowd, their set proved anticlimactic. In some songs, such as “All We Do,” the audience was humbled by soothing harmonies and simple instrumentation. But with only one album of songs in their back pocket, the performance quickly felt repetitive.
Although his most recent album, Arranging Time, came out earlier this year, Pete Yorn is most well-known for his 2001 album Musicforthemorningafter. Yorn lost the crowd after playing hits like “Strange Condition” early on in his set. The band had a full-bodied sound, but Yorn and his bandmates failed to entertain the audience, remaining static onstage without any theatrics.
Sunday concluded the last weekend of the 2016 Austin City Limits Music Festival.