Iggy Azalea was clearly booked on an ACL Fest side stage (RetailMeNot) before her hit song “Fancy” fully saturated commercial airwaves propelling her toward the upper echelon of pop superstars. The jury’s still out on whether she’s “the realest” or not, but fans eager to catch her set began to gather early forming a thick crowd around the stage. As the 5:30 p.m. start time rolled around, it seemed that the best strategy to navigate the madness would be to skip trying to see the stage and just watch the jumbotron from the back of the crowd. The problem was there didn’t seem to be a back of the crowd.
With masses stretching all the way back to the beer tent and everyone trying to align within sightlines of the single screen on the left side of the stage, it was easy to get lost and tangled up in the throng. “Find the tallest guy you can and get on his shoulders,” one teenage girl said to her friend as they passed through the crowd. Families and groups of friends heading for Lana del Rey’s 6:30 p.m. set on the Galaxy stage joined hands so as not to lose each other as they tried to move through. (Expect a similar crush at Azalea’s set next week, and even more madness next Sunday when Lorde plays her only ACL Fest set on that stage at 7 p.m. on Sunday.)
Meanwhile Azalea, clad in a mod color blocked dress, performed a solid set backed by a team of dancers. Debate rages on about whether she writes her own lyrics, but her delivery makes her sound like a credible rapper and her pop music sensibility has primed her to be a fine performer. The dance routines were fun eye candy (yes, they included the requisite twerking). By the time she rounded out her set with her biggest hits the entire crowd, mostly young and disproportionately female were singing and rapping along. They all knew every word to songs like “Black Widow” and “Work.” When she closed out her set with her signature hit “Fancy” the crowd went wild. “The realest” or not thousands of ACL Fans are happy to see her in the fast lane from ACL to Tokyo.