Editor’s Note: This article is the second in a series of coverage on the Austin City Limits Music Festival.
Crisis averted. Day two of ACL had been plagued with worry and stress about what looked like an unavoidable storm, but as the day went on the clear sky was visible leaving many guests still sweating bullets.
The morning started off with a young, charismatic band called the Wallows. Many people might not have heard of them but will surely recognize front man Dylan Minnette from his leading role as Clay Jensen in “13 Reasons Why.” Don’t let the fandom of that get in the way because the Wallows actually put on a great live performance.
Braeden Lemaster vocally led the way for a handful of songs with an almost Paul McCartney esque singing style. The multi-talented Dylan, Braeden and Cole Preston sat down for a quick interview later in the day where they talked about inspirations for soon to come music and even let a future tour destination slip.
Smino, the Chicago rapper who’s built music with friends Saba and Noname, took the Miller Lite Stage to flaunt his versatility in both rapping and singing. Off of his latest album “Blkswn,” he opened with the title track where he let a lazy flow of memorable verses fall into the crowd before launching into a flurry of syllables for his sticky hook that’s hard not to rap with after only one listen. Smino’s highlight performance was of his 2018 single “Coupe Se’ Yern” that when started, visibly attracted more and more audience members.
Following in similar music fashion of Smino’s light flow and swaying tracks, the critically acclaimed artist Dev Hynes, or more popularly known as Blood Orange, took over ACL for a pitch perfect show. Blood Orange’s set hardly seemed to be a live performance as each song he pulled from his latest album “Negro Swan” was spot on to its original recording and as emotionally involving as well. The waves of synths and the smooth uttering of “No one wants to be the negro swan,” seemed to move audience members to holding back their tears as best as they could.
Although Metallica and Justice, both notable in their own ways, were set to headline the evening of day two the last-minute addition of rapper Lil Wayne seemed to overshadow their performances with the amount of excitement and buzz he caused. Placed at the HomeAway Stage meant to be for acts that wouldn’t attract huge amounts of viewers, Lil Wayne’s presence produced an almost unimaginable sea of people eager to see the legendary Cash Money artist after his recent release of his long-awaited album “Tha Carter V.”
To say the least Lil Wayne pulled all the stops and gave the audience exactly what they wanted. Dressed in matching shorts and shirt he stomped from one side of the stage to other in his black fur boots that uncomfortably resembled a pair of Uggs (then again it is Lil Wayne, and if he wants to wear a pair of Uggs, no one in their right mind would try and stop him).
He worked his way around songs such as “A Milli,” “Lollipop” and “6 Foot 7 Foot” that sent not just the front row, but the entire buzzing audience into motion as people seemingly lost their minds while hearing these radio gems live.
Although Lil Wayne performed a shorter glimpse of his past hits, he gave the most care and attention to his new music off of “Tha Carter V.” During the dark evening of night two at ACL an army of lighters and phone lights lit up Lil Wayne as he started to perform his now beloved track with XXXTENTACION “Don’t Cry.” Both “Dedicated” and “Uproar” gave his older tracks a run for their money with the amount of hysteria they caused.
What was on everyone’s mind for the evening though was whether or not he was going to play “Mona Lisa,” a track that became an fan favorite from the album almost instantly as the internet raved and hailed the track as the best off of the fifth instalment of the Tha Carter series. He didn’t save it for his last song but once “Mona Lisa” began to play the audience’s dreams were fulfilled as many fans rapped word for word with Lil Wayne through his tongue twisting verses.
Day two of ACL was populated with quality acts, sunny weather that was countered with a cool breeze and seemed to bring joy to each ACL attendee whether they were looking for rap, R&B, indie, dance or rock. The last and third day of ACL is close by and is sure to hold some amazing moments from Shawn Mendes, Vince Staples, Arctic Monkeys, Janelle Monae and many more.
Colton Newman is the photo editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @Coltonperson.