In case you forgot how this whole ACL Fest thing works, Austin glam band Sphynx shook off everyone’s cobwebs noon Friday. If there’s another cover of Haddaway’s “What Is Love” at this festival, I’m sure they’ll eat their matching skintight white denim and leopard print jeans.
That head-bobbing moment (“A Fest At the Roxbury”?) wasn’t entirely unexpected if you got one look at the electropop trio on the Austin Ventures stage: synthman Cory Dennis in a white and gold leather jacket, guitarist Aaron Miller in the fur coat straight from Joan Crawford’s closet, drummer Todd Harris giving tiger-print blazers a good name. And to top it all off: a bunch of long hair ripe for the whipping.
Miller was quick to remind the crowd (which rightfully filled out after initial sparseness) that the band are hometown boys living their dream at Zilker Park. And they did the city proud: one of their best jams, the ebulliently poppy “Orbs,” showed off the band’s penchant for light choreography and tambourine battles. At one point in the set, Harris rose from his kit and pointed his stick at the audience, as if commanding them to dance. The crowd, mostly young, obliged with gusto.
Before the triumph of the Haddaway cover, Sphynx offered their fatted calf at the headliners’ altar with a brief mashup of OutKast’s “Ms. Jackson” and one of their own songs. A final volley of tunes, including current single “Hunger,” brought the band from disco funk slithering into a set-ending surge of headbanging and top-notch shredding.
No hometown bias intended: With the moves, the tunes, the energy, and the deft use of animal print, there’s no good reason why Sphynx shouldn’t be as big as the monument they’re named after. The dirty knees on that white denim by the end of the set is proof.
(The band also noted they will play a surprise set at Austin Kiddie Limits at 3:15 p.m. Get ready, kids.)