Riders Against the Storm bring a magical opening set to ACL Fest

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Riders Against The Storm performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park on Saturday October 10, 2015. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

“Make some noise if you believe in magic!” Chaka, the male half of the husband/wife hip-hop duo Riders Against the Storm commanded the crowd halfway through the group’s 30-minute ecstatic opening set at Zilker Park on Saturday. The crowd went wild.

It’s clear that Austin’s premiere hip-hop outfit, who appeared with a nine-piece backing band for a break it down, rock it to the rhythm dance party, very much believes in magic. They don’t just believe in it. They breathe it. They bleed it. They spread it everywhere they go.

But it’s not the kind of magic that makes rabbits appear in hats.

They began their set bowing respectfully to a crowd of tens that swelled to well over 100 by the end of the performance. Then they proceeded to throw down a high energy set rich with soul and propelled by a guiding message of unity, positivity and so much love. Most of the set was built around newer tracks although they did drop last year’s party rocker “Booty Sweat” and “Holy Water” the strongest single off their 2013 self-titled EP.

But the message stayed consistent, strong and more important than ever throughout.

“We’re all made of the same substance, the same source,” Qi Dada, the group’s female voice said near the end. The two emcees then drove that point home leading the crowd in a chant of “One! One! One!”

Riders Against the Storm believes in magic. It’s the kind of magic that comes from the earth, that comes from the sweat your work up dancing madly to a primal rhythm that possesses your body. It’s the kind of magic that with the right amount of commitment, heart and belief just might have the power to change the world.


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