ACL day 2 recap: Billie Eilish and Phoebe Bridgers say 'bans off our bodies,' Doja Cat puts on an ethereal show
As ACL day two comes to a cathartic close with Billie Eilish's soft and angelic voice echoing throughout Zilker Park. ACL attendees must have been good this year because Saturday brought clear skies despite threats of bad weather.
In a word, day two was iconic. Each performer brought the personality—and political takes—to the stage with them, making sure even the people in the back of the audience felt part of the show.
8:30 p.m. Billie Eilish echoes Phoebe Bridgers, saying "shut the fuck up about our bodies."
Billie Eilish, three-time consecutive ACL performer, said her last in-person ACL performance was a favorite of her career but the new abortion law in Texas almost led to her pulling out of the festival.
"When they made that shit a law, I almost didn't want to do this show because I wanted to punish this fucking place for allowing that to happen here," Eilish said. "But then, I remembered that it's you guys that are the fucking victims and you deserve everything in the world."
As she made her speech, the screens read "bans off our bodies." When she finished, Eilish launched into one of her new songs, "Lost Cause." That wasn't the end of her political takes—Eilish reminded the audience about the urgency of climate change.
"If you don't think global warming exists you're a fucking loser," Eilish said.
The rest of Eilish's one-and-a-half-hour set was spent on classic favorites: "Ocean Eyes," "My Future" and "Bad Guy."
7:30 p.m. Doja Cat's set is a body-loving, ethereal paradise
(Greg Noire for ACL Fest)
Dressed like a forest nymph in a tattered ensemble, Doja Cat emerged with a troupe of dancers on an ethereal stage with colorful flora and fauna. As is expected, Doja Cat attracted a frenzied group of fans, including celebrities Shawn Mendes and Finneas.
Doja Cat brought along an autotune mic and sang nearly all of her most popular songs, starting her set with "Rules," then "Juicy," and ending with "Say So." There was no moving around in Doja Cat's crowd—fans were packed shoulder-to-shoulder for most of her performance.
Doja blessed us with a drum solo 🥁 pic.twitter.com/AIP7qs0AyD— Laura Figi (@figlet__) October 3, 2021
Doja Cat showed off her musical prowess with a drum solo right before transitioning into "Tia Tamera," which features Rico Nasty. Doja Cat's set boasted the biggest crowd on the Lady Bird stage of the night, packing people all the way back to the flags.
5:30 p.m. Phoebe Bridgers has a message for Greg Abbott
(Jackie Lee Young and Miranda McDonald for ACL Fest)
Phoebe Bridgers got on the Lady Bird stage at 4:20 dressed in a skeleton-esque top and blazer, with a message for Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
"Suck my dick, Greg," Bridgers said on stage.
The singer-songwriter recently released a cover of Bo Burnham's "That Funny Feeling," benefitting Texas Abortion Funds, and she has been performing the song across her tours.
Watch bands and hold hands . Enjoying ACL and Phoebe Bridgers pic.twitter.com/EnWdFAZKwh— Dave Hilgendorf (@DHilgy) October 2, 2021
Bridgers' loyal fans sang along to every song on her musing set.
4:30 p.m. Remi Wolf gets everyone in Zilker Park dancing
Singing her own unique brand of disco-pop, California native Remi Wolf put up a must-see set on the T-Mobile stage. Even from across the park, near the Lady Bird stage, fans of her music could be seen dancing to "Photo ID" while they waited for Phoebe Bridgers to perform.
Wolf had a little something for old and new fans alike: "Disco Man," "Liz" and "Monte Carlo" had the audience excitedly screaming the lyrics right back at her.
Missed her set? Wolf will be back, same time and place, next weekend.
4 p.m. 'Fit check!
From left to right, 22-year-old Grace Spruce, 23-year-old Kendal Smith and 21-year-old Clarissa Smith coordinated their outfits colorfully to stand out in the Doja Cat crowd. The trio said they are most excited to see Tyler, The Creator when he headlines tomorrow night.
2 p.m. Check-in with Primo the Alien
Primo the Alien has been making music since high school but she took it pro in 2017. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
A Texas native and Austin resident, Primo the Alien aka Laura Lee was one of the unfortunate crew that had their sets canceled yesterday. Though Lee was disheartened and sad to miss her first-ever ACL, she said she was still honored to be included in the lineup.
"While I didn't get to have my set, I'm still on the lineup, and that in and of itself is like a big honor," Lee said. "When I first started this project, I was writing producing everything myself from my guest bedroom here in Austin."
Zilker Park missed out on an out-of-this-world set—Lee said she has been inspired by space themes and rock operas since she began performing as her alter ego in 2017.
Still want to support your local artists? Lee said the best way to keep her going is to stream her music, show up for concerts and wear her merch, which is still available in the park.
1 p.m. Austinite Sir Woman plays for a packed crowd at the Tito’s Vodka stage
Singer for Wild Child and Austinite Kelsey Wilson was a crowd favorite, performing under the packed Tito's tent. With new songs, like “Fuck it Up," coupled with older releases like “High Road," Wilson sang with energy and gusto.
"I fucking love this city," Wilson told the audience right before playing "Blame it on the Water."
Sights from the park: El Arroyo wants you to have your taco and eat it too
Catch this cheeky little photo op at the South side of the park near the Lady Bird stage.
12:05 p.m. Aaron Stephens puts on a dreamy set at the VRBO stage
The first Austin-based artist of the day performed to a relaxed crowd as one of today’s starting performers. Stephens’ soulful voice, funky guitar riffs and harmonic background singers lulled the audience, many of whom were lounging back in the grass.
Stephens shared this time slot with LA-based Skyler Day on the T-Mobile stage and PayDay on the Miller Lite stage.
11:50 a.m. Wait times at the Barton Creek West entrance are much shorter but rain clouds are creeping in
Attendees could make it through the Barton West entrance in a matter of minutes around noon but with shorter wait times comes cloudy skies. Chance of rain is still hovering around 15% but no drops to be seen!
10 a.m. weather update
Very little rain fell yesterday—short and light showers during Cyrus' set—and little rain is expected again today. The chance of rain has fallen from 80% to just 15% throughout the whole day.
Don't miss Austinites Aaron Stephens and Sir Woman on the VRBO stage at 12:05 p.m. and the Tito's Vodka stage at 1 p.m., respectively. Other notable acts for the day include Dayglow, Doja Cat, Surfaces and Missio.
Check out the full Saturday schedule:
ICYMI: Miley Cyrus, Megan Thee Stallion, Black Pumas and Machine Gun Kelly pull out all the stops for the long-awaited ACL kick-off
Though the weather caused an opening delay until 3 p.m., there was little mud and lots of fun on day one.
- The first major set to play was punk star Machine Gun Kely, who shredded on guitar and climbed his way to the top of the stage's platform so he could overlook the fans.
- Megan Thee Stallion put on a bumping, twerk-focused show where she brought about a dozen fans on stage to dance. A Houston native, Stallion said she was just happy to be home.
- After criticism for not including enough female artists, ACL atoned with a diverse array of women on stage this year. And they're supporting each other too—both Miley Cyrus and Billie Eilish were shown backstage to watch Stallion perform.
- Cyrus stunning onlookers in a pink one-piece suit and tapped into the nostalgia by playing songs from across her discography, like "The Climb" and "Wrecking Ball."
- George Strait played until 10 p.m. to a massive audience and you could hear the crowd singing "All My Ex's Live in Texas" from across the park.
We'll be updating right here throughout the day
Before you head out, give our guides a quick read so you can get the most out of your wristband.
- Start with our complete guide to ACL fest.
- Worried about a cancelation? Here's why that's not likely.
- Trying to catch some local legends? Here are all the Austin-based bands coming to ACL.
- Need a break from the music? Here are seven things you didn't know you could do at ACL.
- Still don't know what to wear?
- Local bands performing Austin's ACL 2021 - austonia ›
- Austonia's complete guide to Austin City Limits 2021 - austonia ›
- 7 things you didn't know you could do at Austin City Limits - austonia ›
- What to wear to ACL 2021 - austonia ›
- Concertgoers shaken after Astroworld crowd surge that left 8 dead and hundreds injured - austonia ›
- ACL 2022 dates released ahead of presale tickets going on sale this week - austonia ›
As summer temperatures continue to increase, so does Austin's "Party Island"—a hundreds-strong army of kayakers and paddle boarders who gather each weekend in the middle of Lady Bird Lake.
Born from the pandemic, the swarm of paddleboarding partiers has continued to grow each summer and can be seen from the nearby Lamar Boulevard Bridge. And while "Party Island" certainly lives up to one half of its name, it's not actually an island at all: instead, it's located at a shallow sandbar near Lou Neff Point.
With beers, burgers from portable grills and even DJ turntables in hand, more friends and strangers continue to beat the heat in new ways at the distinct Austin hangout.
- Lake Travis party boat operators see high demand after COVID ... ›
- 1 injured after small plane crashes into Lady Bird Lake - austonia ›
- Breath of fresh air: Austinites can't stay away from the party on Lady ... ›
- Photo essay: Austin's 'Party Island' on Lady Bird Lake ›
- Photo story: Austin's 'Party Island' on Lady Bird Lake - austonia ›
If you are a committed, grunge-wearing resident of the Pacific Northwest, it is easy–almost automatic–to look at Texas as an extraordinarily dry, hot and culturally oppressive place that is better to avoid, especially in the summer. Our two granddaughters live with their parents in Portland.
Recently we decided to take the older girl, who is 15, to Dallas. Setting aside the summer heat, a Portlander can adjust to the vibes of Austin without effort. So let’s take Texas with all of its excesses straight up. Dallas, here we come.
Our 15-year-old granddaughter and her sister, 12, have spent summer weeks with us, usually separately so that we could better get to know each individually. In visits focused on Austin and Port Aransas, the girls seemed to be developing an affection for Texas.
Houston and Dallas are two great American cities, the 4th and 9th largest, each loaded with cultural treasures, each standing in glittering and starchy contrast to Austin’s more louche, T-shirts and shorts ways.
Three hours up I-35, Dallas loomed before us as a set of gray skyscrapers in a filmy haze, accessed only through a concrete mixmaster of freeways, ramps and exits. I drove with false confidence. Be calm, I said to myself, it will all end in 10 minutes under the hotel entrance canopy. And it did.
The pool at the Crescent Court Hotel in Dallas. (Crescent Court Hotel)
We stayed three nights at the Crescent Court Hotel ($622 a night for two queens), a high-end hotel in Uptown, patronized by women in white blazers, business people in suits, and tall, lean professional athletes, their shiny Escalades and Corvettes darting in and out, and other celebrities like Bill Barr, the former attorney general who shoe-horned his ample self into a Toyota.
Each morning as I walked to Whole Foods for a cappuccino, a fellow identified by a bellman as Billy the Oilman arrived in his Rolls Royce Phantom. Where does he park? “Wherever he wants to. He likes the Starbucks here.”
We garaged our more modest set of wheels for the visit. We were chauffeured for tips by Matt Cooney and Alfonza “The Rev” Scott in the hotel’s black Audi sedan. They drove us to museums, restaurants and past the enclaves of the rich and famous. In Highland Park, The Rev pointed out the homes of the Dallas Cowboys' Jerry Jones and Troy Aikman along with the family compound of the Hunts, oil and gas tycoons.
The Dallas Museum of Art’s “Cartier and Islam” exhibit (until Sept. 18) attracted an older crowd; the nearby Perot Museum of Nature and Science was a powerful whirlpool of kids’ groups ricocheting from the Tyrannosaurus Rex to the oil fracking exhibit. Watch your shins.
A Geogia O'Keeffe oil painting called "Ranchos Church, New Mexico" at the Amon Carter Museum of Modern Art. (Rich Oppel)
For us, the best museum was the Amon Carter Museum of Modern Art in Fort Worth, a 50-minute, madcap drive away via a 75 mph toll lane along I-30. Don’t try it during rush hour. The Carter has an exquisite collection of Remington paintings and sculptures and an excellent array of 19th and 20th-century paintings as well. Pick one museum? The Amon Carter. Peaceful, beautiful, uncrowded, free admission and small enough to manage in two hours.
The Fort Worth Stockyards, a place of history (with a dab of schmaltz), fun and good shopping, filled one of our mornings. The 98 acres brand the city as Cowboy Town, with a rodeo and a twice-daily (11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.) cattle drive. We shopped for boots, drank coffee and watched the “herd” of 18 longhorns. So languid was their progress that if this were a real market drive the beef would have been very tough and leathery before it hit the steakhouse dinner plate.
The cattle drive at the Fort Worth Stockyards. (Rich Oppel)
But we could identify: the temperature was 97. “I saw a dog chasing a cat today,” said the emcee, deploying a very old joke. “It was so hot that both were walking.”
With limited time, we chose three very different restaurants:
- Nobu, in the Crescent Court Hotel; Jia, a modern Chinese restaurant in Highland Park; and Joe T. Garcia’s in Fort Worth. Nobu’s exotic Japanese menu set us back $480, with tip, for four (we had a guest), but it was worth it.
- Jia was an ordinary suburban strip mall restaurant, but with good food and a reasonable tab of $110 for four.
- Joe T.’s is an 85-year-old Fort Worth institution (think Matt’s El Rancho but larger), a fine Mexican restaurant where a meal with two drinks was $115.
Sushi at high-end restaurant Nobu. (Crescent Hotel)
It was all a splurge for a grandchild’s visit. Now we will get back to our ordinary road trips of Hampton Inns, where a room rate is closer to the Crescent Court’s overnight parking rate of $52. And to corner cafes in small towns.
Did Dallas change our 15-year-old’s view of Texas? “Yes. I think it’s a lot cooler than I did. The fashion, the food.” So, not only Austin is cool. Take Texas as a whole. It’s a big, complex, diverse and wonderful state.