Austin City Limits 2016 Day 3: LCD Soundsytem, Mumford & Sons and More

Gary Miller/FilmMagic
James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem performs during the Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Park on Oct. 2, 2016 in Austin, Texas.

The first of two 3-day weekends celebrating Austin Limits Music Festival’s 15th anniversary at Zilker Park – which featured top tier performances from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Radiohead, Cage the Elephant and many more – concluded Sunday with a galvanic dance party from LCD Soundsystem, the first Texas stop on the Brooklyn-based electro-rock outfit’s expansive reunion tour.

“Holy sh-t!” exclaimed frontman James Murphy after rounding out the set with surefire one-two punch “Dance Yrself Clean” and “All My Friends.” His expletive was followed by some heartfelt thank-yous, a few of the only words uttered during a 90-minute, non-stop performance that garnered massive sing-and-dance-alongs for key cuts like “You Wanted a Hit,” “Someone Great” (so poignant in the context of this year’s many tragic musicians’ deaths) and “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down.” Murphy and his mates have continually conveyed that genuine level of humble happiness on this jaunt, hinting at a fruitful future for the group.

Austin City Limits Day 2: Kendrick Lamar, Cage the Elephant, Melanie Martinez and More

Before that, the day’s rundown reflected fest organizers’ mastery of scheduling after 15 years in the game – the weekend’s roster overall was the heavyweight champion of festival bills. That was seen Saturday with a stream of more or less consecutive hip-hop acts on one end of the park, and Sunday likewise nailed the seamless genre-appeal by stacking up top contemporary country and roots rock revival artists. 

East Texas native Kacey Musgraves led that charge on the Samsung main stage with her snarky yet charming trailer-park-inspired ballads and twanged-out covers of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” and Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’.” Next, Nashville breakout Margo Price drew modestly across the field on the smaller HomeAway stage with shades of 60s psych and western swing woven into outlaw country tunes (or “shit-kickin’ country music,” as she called it) off her Loretta Lynn-homaging debut solo album Midwest Farmer’s Daughter. Then, two of the most soulful voices in Southern rock, Nate Rateliff (with his hip-shaking, snappy Night Sweats) and “St. Paul” Janeway (with his brass-heavy, boisterous Broken Bones), served up two of the weekend’s most satisfyingly sweaty back-to-back sets.

All of those performances – plus a stellar sunset-drenched dance bash at the Honda stage led by Swedish pop spinners Miike Snow – provided lively lead-ins to British folk-rock titans Mumford & Sons’ headlining turn opposite LCD Soundsystem. While these days they’re leaning more heavily on the straight-ahead anthemic rock of 2015 electric album Wilder Mind, the quartet commanded more momentously with acoustic-led cuts, including staples “Little Lion Man” and “Dust Bowl Dance,” with a stirring bonus rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire.”