Day two of Austin City Limits 2013 remained mercifully dry, despite weather forecasts and long-running ACL tradition of weekend drenchings. The finest lineup in festival memory continued for a second sweltering day of musical greatness in Zilker Park with Kings of Leon, The Cure, Kendrick Lamar, Portugal The Man, Vintage Trouble and nearly 50 other bands.
Unstoppable: Kendrick Lamar
The chick spazzing with the underpants you'll see further down the page was right to freak out; Kendrick, the lone rapper at ACL, had the crowd eating out of his hand at least 20 minutes before even taking the stage. The level of enthusiasm and anticipation has firmly established the rapper's headliner-worthiness, and it's time a mainstream festival paid attention.
From the leap-off of “m.A.A.d city” to A$AP Rocky collaboration “Fuckin’ Problems” and on through “Money Trees," “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” and “Poetic Justice,” the show was an unstoppable blend roaring enthusiasm and top-level stage command.
Kendrick's name may be making headline rounds these days for beefing reasons in reaction to his controversial "Control" verse, but the man's flow flexibility and anthemic ability far exceed the hype. He exuded confidence in a massive evolution from his packed Bonnaroo performance just a few months ago. He destroyed the stage that day in Tennesee, but presented a modest demeanor, one entirely absent in Zilker Park on Saturday.
Comeback Kids: Kings of Leon
No pigeons to ruin the day! Kings of Leon are back on top of their game. Weaving material from their new album Mechanical Bull into fan favorites, they lead with old gem "Black Thumbnail" before moving through live favorites "Crawl," "Radioactive" and "Molly's Chambers". New track "Supersoaker" struck strong chords with the audience, but overall…
Headliner Battle Winner: The Cure
Kings of Leon delivered the hits and sounded great, but there was a lack of engagement among the fans. After seeing The Cure at Lollapalooza, it was impossible to stay away from the band's endless run of classics in Zilker Park. The UK emo pioneers sounded studio-perfect through a marathon set, with Robert Smith offering 80's soundtracks “Friday I’m in Love”, “Just Like Heaven”, “Lovecats” and “Boys Don’t Cry,” which closed out the night.
Flawless Showmanship: Vintage Trouble
Onstage pre-show handshakes around the band opened the floodgates to a late-afternoon Austin Ventures stage performance that was soulful, hip-shaking and tremendously high-energy. Frontman Ty Taylor is an electrifying James Brown disciple with his own commanding style.
Worth Getting Up Early: Haim
Now that their hysterically anticipated debut album Days Are Gone has finally arrived in America, the sister trio motivated one of the first big crowds of the day with a shredding, groove-rich set that far outshines their recorded material.
Power punch award: The Joy Formidable
Frontwoman Ritzy Bryan has downright scary combination of an adorable, innocent charismatic gravity and raw rock magic. Opening charmer "This Ladder is Ours" immediately engaged the rapidly growing audience, who remained enraptured all through the set as the sinking sun finally began to provide some shade from the towering Bud Light stage.
Closing with a chopping, buoyant version of "Whirring," TJF exited all smiles and satisfaction – on both sides of the stage.
Spooky Excellence: Portugal The Man
Carrying the sprawling rock psychedelia torch from The Black Angels on Day One, Alaska's finest modern export Portugal. The Man drew a positively enormous audience to the AMD stage. Opener "Purple Yellow Red and Blue" was extended into the trippiest guitar-driven glory seen all blazing day, courtesy of delightfully unpredictable frontman John Gourley. After rapturously received renditions of "Atomic Man," "Holy Roller," hit-bait "Evil Friends," "So American" and beyond, the band closed with a reprise of PYR&B that topped the stellar original impression, riding on a wave of eerily high-reaching energy.
Excitement Overload: This girl, waiting for Kendrick
No need for alarm, she didn't have a stroke: