Broods’ pretty shadows swallowed in noise, but ACL Fest ate it all up

Georgia Nott didn’t seem like she could believe the crowd she and her brother, Caleb, pulled Sunday at Austin City Limits Music Festival.

“This is the earliest set we’ve played this summer and it’s the biggest crowd,” the Broods singer said with visible excitement early in the set.

It might not be wholly accurate to call Broods a breakout in their second ACL Fest appearance, because the dark-pop sibling project obviously has a wide extended fan family. If you didn’t know, now you do.

Georgia Nott (left) and Caleb Nott of Broods performs at the Miller Lite Stage during weekend two of the Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Park in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. TINA PHAN / FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN

PHOTOS: Sunday at ACL Fest 2017 Weekend 2

When the vibe’s that good, it felt weird to find flaws in the New Zealand artists’ Goulding-esque party. Regardless, the delicate alchemy of Georgia’s gleaming, lilting voice and Caleb’s thunderous beats didn’t quite make 24-karat gold Sunday afternoon. All-enveloping songs like “We Had Everything,” which sweep you away in their drama on the recording, swam against a noise whirlpool live.

Georgia’s vocals, while passionately delivering on pretty lyrical moonglow like “Dancing at night, you’re the light that I won’t let go,” couldn’t quite slice all the way through overpowering backing track and distortion, despite an earnest showing. The percussive showpieces and warehouse-party synth washes from Caleb and the band sparked a bouncey castle in front of the Miller Lite stage, but the unrelenting hour cried out for a more intimate, stripped-down rest stop, especially on “Mother & Father.” Toward the end of the set, “Free” opened a small airhole for Georgia to breathe and show her pipes without burden. It was like a brief peek at autumn light from behind heavy velvet drapes.

You can’t critique ecstasy, though. Broods received a rapturous response when Georgia asked who was already familiar with the band. She genuinely thanked the people who stumbled in, and she gave the band and the crew heartfelt praise, too. Georgia dedicated the anthemic “Bridges” to all the Broods fans out there. The band certainly didn’t burn any of their own bridges at the fest. 

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