ACL Fest: Ought hates waking up early too

You ought to have seen Ought. The brainy retro art-rockers have a sound that seems clearly (and wonderfully) shaped by post-punk heroes of ole, ranging from The Fall to Television to Talking Heads. Or, to compare them to bands of the past decade: they blend The National’s stoic indifference with Parquet Courts’ heady, sing-spoken lyrics, bleak but danceable Franz Ferdinand guitars, and an air of Interpol gloom.

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Though the Montreal-based band claim their throwback underground sound is an unintentional coincidence, it proved a most serendipitous one for the small group of early-rising fans gathered at the HomeAway Stage just before noon Saturday at ACL Fest 2017.

AUSTIN, TX – OCTOBER 7, 2017 – Tim Darcy of Ought performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival.(Erich Schlegel/Special Contributor)

“We played Stubb’s last night at like 1 a.m. Was anyone there?” singer and guitarist Tim Darcy asked. A lone cheer rang out in response. “Yeah, we didn’t want to wake up this early either. You can go back to sleep after this.”

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Darcy is slender and all arms and legs. Behind sunglasses, he conveys the carefree, cool persona of an artist who survives on cigarettes and old rock-n-roll records.

AUSTIN, TX – OCTOBER 7, 2017 – Tim Darcy of Ought performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival.(Erich Schlegel/Special Contributor)

Mid-set, the band dove into what may ultimately prove their magnum opus, “Beautiful Blue Sky,” a sublime 7-minute, chorus-less track about small talk and feigned sentimentality with casual acquaintances that is both crushing and lovely. “I’m no longer afraid to die, because that is all that I have left,” sings Darcy in his British-sounding slur, followed by a David Byrnes-ian, “Yes! Yes!”


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