ACL Review: Lemon Twigs
New school Sixties/Seventies pomp and circumstance
By Michael Toland,
9:00AM, Sat. Oct. 7, 2017
Brothers Brian D’Addario and Michael D’Addario – the Lemon Twigs – took the ACL Fest stage on Friday afternoon in slacks and button-downs, as if Mom dressed them for the gig. “Now, boys, you need to look proper for the nice people of Austin.”
Never mind the clash with 19-year-old Brian’s long hair and 17-year-old Michael’s white facepaint and eyeshadow, not to mention the Long Islanders’ bratty attitude. Known for carefully constructed pop songs and intricate arrangements on debut full-length Do Hollywood and new EP Brothers of Destruction, the pair – joined by high school mates Danny Ayala on keyboards and Megan Zeankowski on bass – cranked the power onstage, sounding even more like their Sixties and Seventies heroes than on disc.
Like Jellyfish, swathes of Todd Rundgren, Queen, ELO, the Raspberries, and even Redd Kross combined with the brothers’ dedication to both contrapuntal harmonies and rawk stage moves. Brian handled the more overtly orchestrated material in the first half, his clear tenor and classically influenced guitar work powering the busy “Haroomata” and brilliant “These Words.”
Switching places with his sibling from drums to guitar for the second half, Michael kicked the energy up by injecting a glam rock aesthetic into “Baby, Baby” and “Foolin’ Around” that bespoke Broadway as much as the Sweet. The set got loose and sloppy as time went on, concluding with a balls-out “Queen of My School.”
Alas, such old-fashioned stagecraft wasn’t enough to hold the crowd. Die-hards mobbed the front of the stage, but a steady stream of bodies abandoned the field over the course of the set. Too indie rock for the oldsters who recognized the dog whistles from Abbey Road, but too much like their parents’ music for the twentysomethings?
More fool them, frankly, as the Twigs almost perfectly balanced exquisite craft with rock abandon.