ACL Live Shot (Second Weekend): Widowspeak
Ethereal Brooklyn duo proves itself on the main stage
By Michael Toland, 10:21AM, Sat. Oct. 12
Given Widowspeak’s obvious penchant for the Mazzy Star side of psychedelic rock, it’s easy to be skeptical of the Brooklyn duo’s ability to capture a festival crowd, especially on one of ACL Fest’s bigger stages. Aided by a rhythm section and a small but faithful crowd, singer Molly Hamilton and guitarist Robert Earl Thomas managed to do just that.
The bass drum and guitars sat too high in the mix at first, but that gave the songs an extra kick they don’t possess on the band’s recorded output. By the time the sonics evened out and Hamilton’s breathy wisp of a voice sat front and center where it belonged, the energy level buzzed too strong for fairy etherealness.
“Perennials” and “Spirit Is Willing” began the set with that kind of dreamy loveliness. By the time the quartet got to “In the Pines” and “Calico,” the rock quotient rose to simmer, but never quite reached boil.
Gentler pop tunes like “Harsh Realm” and “Thick As Thieves” provided some contrast, but the group reached its peak with more expansive tunes like “Ballad of the Golden Hour” and “The Dark Age.” Hamilton’s voice became more textural than narrative and Thomas filled the stage with sound. By the time Widowspeak exited, there was little doubt that its place on the premium platform was justly deserved.
For more ACL Fest coverage, see austinchronicle.com/acl. For photo galleries from the fest, see austinchronicle.com/photos.