ASAP Ferg’s stuff broke at ACL Fest: ‘I don’t know what happened to my music’

“The music is too hot for the computer right now,” ASAP Ferg told the American Express stage faithful. My weather app wouldn’t load, but it seemed to be in the high 80s Saturday afternoon at Zilker Park.

A$AP Ferg performs during the second weekend of the Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Park in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The New York rapper’s set would be shorted out amid technical difficulties. Between 2:40pm and 2:45pm, the show seemed to be over, though a loud rendition of “New Level” sparked life back into sweaty, young fans following the break.

A security member sprays water into the crowd as A$AP Ferg performs during the second weekend of the Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Park in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The 28-year-old Ferg, born Darold Ferguson, was appreciative of folks who waited out the intermittent delays, noting he was “ready to tuck my tail between my legs like a sad dog.”

The short set was salvaged by 2013’s “Shabba.”

“This s**t is so embarrassing, I don’t know what happened to my music,” Ferg said during the first outage, where he seemed to mistake an “OU sucks” chant for a hostile act by a fan in a Longhorns shirt. To kill time, Ferg invited him onstage to banter. Then he scooted offstage.

It wasn’t quite Ben Kweller’s bloody nose, which he plugged with a fan’s tampon during his 2006 ACL set, but it was a frustrating main stage delay for an artist who regularly frequents Austin, most recently during SXSW and opening for Future in May.

Block-thumping crew favorite “Yamborghini High” seemed to salvage things following the first extended delay, but the sound again cut out during “Hella Hoes.”

Wearing an orange, long-sleeved Adidas tracksuit (dude must have been cooking in that thing), Mets cap, and high-top socks, Ferg won on his oddball, winking music. On “Bahamas,” he laments never traveling to the Bahamas, but flips that into a boast. “Doe Active,” which was likely cut from the setlist because of the interruptions in service, recounts a possibly fictional encounter with Adam Levine and makes it the bridge. New single “Plain Jane” is likewise warped and weird, and here fans recorded the moment on their iPads as Ferg asked all the men to put “beautiful women” on their shoulders.

Manny Hernandez, center, dances as A$AP Ferg performs during the second weekend of the Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Park in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

While the throwaway vulgarity is baked into the recipe and lands because of its well-intentioned, goofball humor, Ferg did punctuate most of his songs with a gun shot sound effect. As in, the song ends and his DJ blasts a gun shot via his sound board. It’s an also-ran live rap tradition, but following a mass shooting at a music festival this month that left 59 dead and 527 injured, its inclusion was tone-deaf and pointless.

That no one seemed affected by the constant fake gunfire speaks to how quickly Americans process and move on from these national headlines: For instance, Foster the People returned “Pumped Up Kicks,” a song about a mass shooting, to its setlist Friday at Zilker after not playing it last week.

“Load up the chopper and ride on my enemies,” he rapped on “Nandos.”

Then a gun shot sound effect.

A clever one-off line about butt stuff in the bedroom.

Then a gun shot sound effect.

But Ferg was an outward thinker, imploring fans to go wild because the performance was being streamed on the internet. His music is an amoral party, and a vengeful mood perfect for filing into your seat at a football game. Today it wasn’t working.


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