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ACL Live Shot: Gary Clark Jr.

Zilker Park, Oct. 14

Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Oct. 19, 2012

ACL Live Shot: Gary Clark Jr.
Photo by Jana Birchum

It's a little over two miles from Antone's to Zilker Park; Gary Clark Jr. took the long way around this year. Capping off a summer that brought Austin's brightest shooting star raves at every major music festival across the country, Clark was welcomed home by an adoring crowd proud to claim the native son. Clark was impeccably smooth with a set tightened to perfection, from the relentless opening build of "When My Train Pulls In" and gritty breakdown boogie of "Don't Owe You a Thing" to the epic "Third Stone From the Sun/If You Love Me Like You Say," complete with his guitar scratch-out that would show up most DJs. Eric Zapata complemented with his own axe-grinding, wielding a double-necked beast and more turquoise jewelry than an Arizona truck stop. Clark's vocals stood out on the falsetto soul of "Please Come Home" and slow jam groove "Things Are Changin'," but the closing trifecta of "Travis County," "Blak and Blu," and "Bright Lights" sent the set into a cataclysm of riffage. The only thing hotter than Gary Clark Jr. onstage Sunday was the high afternoon sun, but as he declares on "Ain't Messin 'Round," "I don't believe in competition. Ain't nobody else like me around."

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