ACL Review: Lincoln Durham
Post-blues tug of war between God and the Satan
By Raoul Hernandez,
9:10AM, Sat. Oct. 8, 2016
“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.
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.