ACL Fest Aftershow: Beck

Mr. Hansen keeps the rain at bay for Stubb’s

ACL Fest Aftershow: Beck

A rain-threatened Stubb’s BBQ played host to the triumphant return of Beck Thursday night. Having taped a episode of Austin City Limits to a full Moody Theater in April for the show’s 40th anniversary season, this ACL Fest aftershow of sorts played out far more intimate than what’s promised for his Zilker Park appearances on consecutive Fridays.

At times, the Beck experience runs analogous to lucid dreaming in Technicolor – one that dips in and out of sensory overload. Tempo changes and unusual juxtapositions happen with no rhyme or reason. Complete immersion follows.

Resistance is futile.

The overstuffed show brought out an age-diverse crowd, many reliving nostalgic fragments of the soundtrack to their collective youth. The youngest audience members seem to have inherited the 44-year-old Los Angelino. They feel compelled to partake in it all before it disappears.

“He never tours,” exclaimed one. “I had to come.”

Yes, you did.

Starting with a booming, riff-driven rendition of “Devil’s Haircut,” the band made clear its intentions to rock out heavy with five guitars. “Black Tambourine” contained just enough cowbell to satiate Christopher Walken.

As usual with Beck, left turns changed the tone and tenor, starting with “Gammy Ray” being spun up to nearly 45 rpm. An almost too faithful version of “Think I’m In Love” quickly gave way Donna Summer. The older fans threw their hands up after the announcement and excellent execution of George Harrison’s “Wah Wah.”

The younger masses began their turn-up upon the first 8-bit blips and boops of “Girl,” though the bass swallowed the acoustic guitars and background vocals, items central to the track. The singer shredded the captive swarm with an experimental take on “E Pro.” He rolled out crime scene tape to further prove the slaying.

Toward the conclusion of the 90-minute set, Beck announced, “Tonight, I’m going through some changes,” then proceeded into a chunky, Prince-influenced breakdown into an awkward but sultry “Debra,” for which may have spoken for the entire set.

“I’m fucking serious tonight,” he insisted. “I’m talking about real love.”

They still love you, Mr. Hansen. And it’s real love.

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Beck, ACL Fest 2014, Blondie, Christopher Walken, Prince, CBGB, George Harrison

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