ACL Fest: Gallant brings the early afternoon heat

Let it be known Gallant starts his day ready to make you swoon.

Gallant performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park Saturday October 1, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Gallant performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park Saturday October 1, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

He hit the stage for his 1:30 p.m. set to the sound of a beguiling piano line. As he entered, his body was hunched, as if struggling to contain the emotion within. As he released the steamy falsetto melody of “Open Up” he began to unfurl.

At the end of the song, the young D.C.-area crooned paused.

“Hi, my name is Gallant and I woke up an hour ago,” he said. The sizable crowd clustered around the front of his stage cheered raucously in response.

Gallant’s sound bucks current alt-R&B trends. Instead of laying watery tales over chilly soundscapes, he burns red hot. And he does it with a¬†physically immersive singing style that makes him an incredibly powerful performer. Watching him chase the melodies¬†that shake his body is riveting.

His hour long set smoldered with raw baby-making fire. When he reached the climatic conclusion, an explosive rendition of “Weight In Gold” he worked himself into a fury, shaking wildly, toppling a goldenrod colored, crushed velvet chair artfully placed on stage and brutalizing a mic stand.

Though skies were overcast and temperatures mild, it was the hottest early set ACL Fest has hosted in years.

Author: Deborah Sengupta Stith

Deborah Sengupta Stith has been hanging out in dimly lit corners of the city soaking in the music scene for almost 20 years. Twitter: @deborific

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