Austin City Limits as a model — be it the 45 years-running PBS tv present or its multi-day competition, which kicked off the primary of two weekends at Zilker Park for its eighteenth 12 months on Friday (Oct. 4) — is traditionally about preserving all musical traditions. For a lot of the previous decade, the competition’s roster has advanced to incorporate heftier helpings of prevalent hip-hop, digital, pop and just about each different rising model to enchantment to more and more youthful demographics.
So was it a threat to e book a legacy headliner headliner like Guns N’ Roses which may solely entice a comparatively small diehard contingent? Absolutely. The seminal Los Angeles arduous rock band — which noticed the reunion of frontman Axl Rose, guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan in 2016 — wouldn’t resonate as universally as final 12 months’s Paul McCartney Friday finale, however pitting them in opposition to millennial darlings Tame Impala arguably served the fest’s general inhabitants higher by breaking it up into extra pleasantly even plenty.
Besides, since GNR began their 2.5-hour conquest of the American Express stage an entire 45-minutes earlier than the Australian psych rock fusionists, casually curious patrons received to witness Axl Rose lead the septet by acquainted hits like “Welcome to the Jungle” and one they may’ve acknowledged from watching Macca final 12 months, the nearly-two-decades-standard rendition of Wings’ “Live and Let Die,” earlier than high-tailing it to the opposite finish of the sphere to spherical out the general inhabitants’s pretty 50/50 cut up.
Everyone that stayed for the rest noticed the sharpest model of the band in latest reminiscence. Rose, carrying a black Alamo Drafthouse T-shirt to start out, appeared energized and vocally on-point, delivering devoted takes on mainstays like “Civil War,” “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” the grand-piano-led “November Rain” and encore-ending anthem “Paradise City.” He also asserted his own amped-up spins on the Misfits’ “Attitude” and Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” Slash, sporting a Rolling Stones tour tee, effortlessly shredded what felt like each millimeter of his fretboard: he demonstrated the textbook definition of creating a guitar sing, and accounted for a minimum of half an hour of the fireworks-laden spectacle.
GNR superfans who camped out on the major stage for hours in the day’s practically 100-degree warmth probably additionally reveled within the full-throttle raucousness of the Raconteurs’ previous set, which was cut up between 10-plus-year-old fan favorites and new cuts off just lately launched third album Help Us Stranger. Co-founder Jack White paid delicate tribute to just lately departed Austin legend Daniel Johnston by donning one in all his “Hi, How Are You?” shirts, and tried to assist followers beat the warmth by repeatedly proclaiming that “the sun does not exist because there’s no proof!”
Hopefully, a minimum of some among the many steadfast rocker crowd ventured to the opposite finish of the park to witness the day’s most profitable style crossovers. Local rock duo Black Pistol Fire did it early on by masking Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” and welcoming South Austin-bred hip-hop duo Blackillac (scheduled for their very own full set subsequent weekend) to mix silver-tongued asides with rowdy blues-rock on standout “Well Wasted.”
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But the prime instance was New York’s King Princess (stage identify for 20-year-old Mikaela Straus), who launched her tour behind upcoming debut full-length Cheap Queen (Oct. 25) by flaunting a playful persona as large because the Honda stage she commanded for a couple of dozen (prominently new) tunes.
“Hi baby, hi baby… welcome to the first show of the [tour],” she stated with a sly grin. “Bitch, we have got transitions now. We’ve received a funds now. It’s lit, OK?”
The genderqueer singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist demonstrated each pop prowess (“Cheap Queen,” “Pussy is God” and “Trust Nobody”) and a penchant for rippin’ rock riffs (“Talia” was probably the most riveting amongst them, and spurred her headbanging about in a white jumpsuit with “69” emblazoned throughout the butt cheeks). Some of her messages would possibly’ve come off surprising to extra conservative sorts, however for probably the most half — whether or not by way of swagger-soaked lyrics or fast quips — it felt like she was simply voicing what others didn’t have the center to say.
“I’m so horny for Texas [and] so happy to be back… with the great Guns N’ Roses,” she stated. “You will see me there, titties out!”