ACL Fest: Gorillaz takes crowd on an adventure

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Damian Albarn of Gorillaz performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park on Sunday October 8, 2017. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Tickets for Gorillaz concerts should come with passports.

That might sound simplistic and fawning but over the past 16 years Damon Albarn and animator Jamie Hewlett’s animation project has evolved into one of the most stylistically adventurous pop/rock acts in modern music.

That we’ll-try-anything ethos was on grand display Sunday when Albarn, 13 backing musicians and enough guests to field an NBA starting five (plus a small bench) took the stage for their top-line billed set at Austin City Limits Music Festival.

A light thread of Britpop ran through most of the material, which veered into dub reggae, simple folk, assorted African musics, disco soul and more. As jam-packed with musicianship as the band’s 65 minutes were they managed to never reach sensory overload levels.

And when Albarn and a guest rapper turned the chorus duties on undeniable hit “Clint Eastwood” over to the audience in front of them, it felt natural to have thousands of voices lending a hand to a band where there’s always room for more.


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