In contrast to the first day of ACL festivities , Saturday saw rain clouds roll in early, keeping temperatures in the low 80s. The sprinkling of rain in the afternoon became pouring rain just as the 5 p.m. bands took the stage. But the brief dousing only livened up the event, as fans frolicked in the rain to the beats of Colorado’s livetronica band Big Gigantic before taking in The Shins and more.
Neil Young and Crazy Horse vs. Jack White
From “Cinnamon Girl” to “Down By The River,” “F***ing Up” and “Hey Hey My My,” Neil Young and Crazy Horse entertained the older crowd during their co-headlining two-hour set. The 66-year-old Canadian musician jammed out to his old classics, extending the songs, in ways only he could (see “Driftin’ Back” off his upcoming album with Crazy Horse, “Psychedelic Pill).
Across the park in the same timeslot, Jack White roped in the younger crowd with songs from the White Stripes and Raconteurs – including “Steady As She Goes, ” “We’re Going To Be Friends,” “Ball and Biscuit” and “Seven Nation Army” – while slipping in some tunes from his debut solo album, “Blunderbuss.”
Bassnectar Parties as Gotye Invites Kimbra on Stage
Bassnectar drowned out Gotye‘s soft vocals at times, but that was the plan. “Scream at the other stages. Tell them to come over here,” the DJ told the crowd of mostly teens and 20-somethings bouncing to “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked,” “Intergalactic,” a remix of Nirvana’s “In Bloom” and “Say Yeah.”
While Bassnectar hosted a dance party at the Honda Stage, Gotye kept things mellow at the Barton Springs stag. Fans eagerly awaiting “Somebody That I Used To Know” saw a guest appearance from Kimbra but many quickly shuffled off when the song was over to save room at the Bud Light and AMD stages for Neil Young and Jack White, respectively. Those who stayed were treated to a change of pace in the last song of the set, “Learnalilgivinanlovin.”
Rufus Wainwright Takes a Jab at Liza Minnelli
Rufus Wainwright stirred the pot during his early afternoon set, taking a jab at Liza Minnelli. Wearing a zebra-print suit with red and blue accents, Wainwright played several covers, including homages to his parents – Loudon Wainwright and the late Kate McGarrigle – with “I Don’t Know” and “One Man Guy.” He also took on Judy Garland’s “The Man That Got Away,” renaming it “The Bitch That Got Away” after finding out Garland’s daughter was “a little touchy” about him singing the song.
Flag Bearers Get Creative
Burnt orange dresses, t-shirts and caps were aplenty as Austinites showed their support for the University of Texas football team in its game against their University of Oklahoma rivals Saturday, which aired on screens at vacant stages around Zilker Park in the morning. While the quirky fashion statements made their rounds – notably a man in a red velvet smoking jacket and boxers – the flags guiding groups through the masses were the most eye-catching fan accessory of the day. From state and international flags, to a “Bieber fans” balloon and Rafiki’s drawing of baby Simba from “The Lion King,” ACL attendees showed off their creativity with their banners.
The Shins Shake Off the Rain
Despite the rain, The Shins rocked on promoting their latest album, “Port of Morrow,” with performances of “Rifle’s Spiral” “Simple Song” and “Bait and Switch” during their 60-minute set Saturday. Metric took the same stage before the rain with renditions of “Gold Guns Girls,” “Dead Disco,” “Empty” and “Help I’m Alive.”
Dev, Big K.R.I.T, Bombay Bicycle Club Diversify the Early Sets
Singer and rapper Dev got the early afternoon crowd to “Booty Bounce” and continued her mix of electropop/dance songs with “Backseat,” “Me,” “Naked,” “Lightspeed” and “Dancing in the Dark” with her straight-faced backup singers as a stark contrast to her lively performances.
Big K.R.I.T. (King Remembered In Time) brought the hip-hop with “Hometown Hero,” connected with the Texas crowd in “Country Shit” and took on the haters with “I Got This.”
Elsewhere, British indie rockers Bombay Bicycle Club attracted a large crowd for their 1:15 p.m. set, rocking to “Shuffle” and “What If.”
Kids Get Free Pass to ACL
Children 10 and under got free admission to the Austin festival and had a whole area dedicated to them inside Zilker Park. Austin Kiddie Limits entertained the kiddos with karaoke, a petting zoo, temporary tattoos and punk hairdos. Little ones and their parents also had the Zilker Beach – a shaded sand pit with misters – for beating the heat and creating sand castles while four hours from the coast.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Avett Brothers and Iggy & the Stooges will close out the festival Sunday night. Tune in to the live stream and check back Monday for a full recap of Austin City Limits 2012.