The Austin360 crew awards some favorite — and sometimes less favorite — moments from two weekends at Zilker Park:
Best Video (above): We’re biased, of course, as we shot this one. And technically it wasn’t part of the fest, though it co-stars Margo Price, who lit up the HomeAway stage both weekends. But, really, what could be cooler than Price and Shawn Sahm singing songs that Doug Sahm used to sing, with the sun setting over Doug Sahm Hill in Butler Park? — Peter Blackstock
Best Reunion: Who cares if they didn’t really break up? LCD Soundsystem, who last played the fest in 2010 right before their sorta-split, felt like a classic headliner. James Murphy and band spun old-school digital dance magic before creating a truly communal moment with a closer of songs like “Someone Great” and “All My Friends.” Major Lazer for the kids;
, LCD Soundsystem for the grown-ups. — Eric Webb
Best Use of Booty (tie): Major Lazer should have reigned supreme in a category that seems tailor-made for the “Bubble Butt” crew, and their four-piece dance team did perform phenomenal gluteal acrobatics. But Lizzo and her Big Girls brought a body-positive, bootylicious celebration that was “Good As Hell.” — Deborah Sengupta Stith
Worst Use of Booty: Die Antwoord’s Ninja showed the audience his butt in the most hostile way possible, like a primate, right before it starts pelting you with poop. — D.S.S.
Best Use of Air: We’re talking air sofas, and they have divided our ACL nation. They are large and comfortable looking and seemingly a dream spot to lay a body down for a power nap. They are large and comfortable looking and not very rock
’n’ roll (it’s a fest in a park, not your living room). ACL officials have officially declared them chairs and subject to chair rules. — Sharon Chapman
Worst Use of Air: Nature’s delivery of ragweed. Our clogged sinuses will not forgive you, evil pollen. — D.S.S.
Best Radiohead Song Played Only Weekend 1: “2+2=5” is Radiohead’s Orwellian protest epic; it builds, whirls, and melts steel beams. During a season of political paranoia and presidential uncertainty, it was a resonant moment of clarity. — Ramon Ramirez
- READ MORE: Radiohead delivers during Weekend One
Best Seat in the House: Bathroom lines flowed freely, streaming in and out of new modular bathrooms with two big benefits.
No. 1: more bathrooms per square foot and the introduction of urinal trough walls for the guys. No. 2: toilets that flush! (Think: airplane bathrooms.) —Eric Pulsifer
Most Uncontainable Emotion: With his smoldering set closer “Weight In Gold,” R&B artist Gallant kicked over the mustard-colored, mid-century chair that gave his stage a regal feel. He also brutalized a mic stand, convulsed wildly, thrashed ‘til he fell to the ground, and unleashed a falsetto firestorm that seared the moment into all of our hearts. — D.S.S.
Best Form and Function: The sunbrella is a UV-ray shielding miracle — a portable shade provider — that helped us survive the mid
–afternoon sets in style. Once you add it to your fest pack, you’ll never go back. — D.S.S.
Most Likely to Succeed Willie: One of the biggest stories of ACL 2016 was the triumphant return of Willie Nelson. But his puffing pal (and former Austinite) Kacey Musgraves made her festival debut with an assured set that seemed like she’s been around for a decade. Combining progressive chill with rhinestone twang, Musgraves is watching the throne. — E.W.
- READ MORE: Review of Kacey Musgraves on Weekend One
Best Guitar Licks: Hundreds of axes were slung over the weekend, but we doubt anyone worked as much texture and color into their playing as Bombino, the Tuareg guitarist who blew our minds. — D.S.S.
Best Off-Campus Event: “Other Voices,” second weekend at Arlyn Studios. The Irish television program’s semi-secret tapings at one of Austin’s most storied recording hubs was a home run for those who had a chance to sneak over Friday through Sunday and catch acts ranging from locals Wild Child to headliners Mumford & Sons. — P.B.
Longest Birthday Party: Thom Yorke was pleased as punch to ring in his 48th year with ACL and Radiohead. Most birthday parties I have been to have more cake and fewer hours of sinister whining. — E.W.
Best Olive Garden-esque Tour of Italy: The 7 p.m., Friday night stack of M83, Flume and Band of Horses. Every set was distinct and lively (oh, I took the tour my friends) and the tail end of Band of Horses — a sturdy unit at the end of a tour — was stunning. — R.R.
Best Veteran Eats: The Mighty Cone, people, the Mighty Cone. We can eat it year-round in Austin these days, but there seems to be something extra special in the sauce when it’s at Zilker Park. — S.C.
Best Moment of Sports Catharsis: The Aggies had this wild, double-overtime win over Tennessee on the fest’s second Saturday. All of those godless maroon-clad fans made sure to let everyone know. — R.R.
Best Dressed Band: You were likely toasty wearing jeans at the fest, so imagine how the sharp-dressed gents of Alabama soul outfit St. Paul and the Broken Bones felt in their snazzy suits. Probably how they looked: hot. Singer Paul Janeway was devastatingly dapper in a fuchsia and teal floral blazer and a pair of golden boots, to match his golden microphone — and voice
. — E.P.
Best Fest-Welcoming Vibe: Brett Dennen’s easy-breezy 12:15 p.m. set on the Samsung stage was a perfect way to begin a sunny Sunday afternoon, as a few solid gold ACL Fest dancers could attest. — P.B.
Most Outdated Performance Trope: The encore. Can we go ahead and kill the encore? Over the past 10 years or so it’s evolved from a pure expression of fan love into a forced exercise. Artist leaves the stage without playing biggest hit. Audience is obligated to cheer enthusiastically before artist returns to play said hit. Austin audiences are often a bit lazy — and I’ve seen this play out embarrassingly at club shows too many times. At a tightly structured festival, it just doesn’t make sense. Die Antwoord, Major Lazer and Radiohead are among the artists I watched try to pull off an encore at Zilker. Radiohead was the only one who didn’t immediately hemorrhage half their crowd — and that’s only because they pretended to shut down their set a full 30 minutes early and we all knew they weren’t done. Artists, please play everything you want us to hear. If at that point the crowd really won’t let you go, it will be so much more meaningful for everyone. — D.S.S.