ACL Review: Lincoln Durham

Post-blues tug of war between God and the Satan

“Rumor has it you’re all heathens and sinners, ACL,” cracked Lincoln Durham late into his noontime set in the Tito’s tent Friday. The event’s paradigm having flipped like a flapjack – parent rock traded for digital youth – both quotients have backslid. That didn’t stop ATX’s one-man wrecking crew from baptizing a large crowd with cleansing distortion.

Photo by John Anderson

Preaching, beseeching, imploring, Durham struck a Pentecostal pose for the last two tunes of his weekend-two-only slot.

“Amen,” he exclaimed.

Beginning the performance sheltered from the cloudy mist outside as Zilker Park woke up, this wholly blackened prophet of fuzz – black shirt, black pants, black bandana, black mohawk – burned off the haze and summoned the sun by the end of the 45-minute set. Standing at a drum kit equipped with two microphones, one normal and the other some vintage amplifier that switched over its owner’s delivery to police bulletin mode, Durham sounded the apocalypse right out of the gate, with nasty slide on a Resonator guitar and trailer park concerns: mama, mental illness, and bodily fluids.

“Just a bunch of piss and vinegar music for your morning,” he acknowledged. “I apologize for that.”

No need. Despite also making allowances for his own mental instability (“not in a cool, kind of funny way”), his post-blues tug of war between God and Satan was waged between resounding riffs, kick drum time-keeping, and a vocal cadence unmistakably Jack White. When he plugged in a Bo Diddley-esque guitar – something resembling a broomstick attached to a cigar box – his chaotic tumble of devils and angels barreled a punkish exhaust as loud as a 16-wheeler.

Choppy strums, tambourine percussion, the occasional lap steel stomp, and a moan of lyrics, the audience ate it up.

“Hell yeah, Lincoln,” shouted one convert.

Durham smiled saint-like, then bashed on demon-fierce.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Lincoln Durham
Weekend Two Friday ACL Fest Record Reviews
Lincoln Durham
Revelations of a Mind Unraveling (Droog)

Michael Toland, Oct. 7, 2016

Phases & Stages
Lincoln Durham
The Shovel vs the Howling Bones (Record Review)

Jim Caligiuri, April 6, 2012

More by Raoul Hernandez
Extreme Metal All-Stars Vltimas Debut “Monolilith”
Extreme Metal All-Stars Vltimas Debut “Monolilith”
Ex-Morbid Angel singer David Vincent hosted local LP sessions

Feb. 28, 2019

Crypt Trip Falls on “Hard Times” With New Single
Crypt Trip Falls on “Hard Times” With New Single
San Marcos classic rockers tease Haze County with audio premiere

Feb. 25, 2019


Lincoln Durham, ACL Fest 2016, Jack White, Bo Diddley

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle