ACL Review: Annabelle Chairlegs

Austin’s Joplin-esque Lindsey Mackin cuts like a knife

2015 bubble-gummy debut Watermelon Summer still their sole recording, townie rockers Annabelle Chairlegs have promised a spookier sophomore follow-up ever since. Their Friday morning ACL Fest set delivered an array of tougher, shriek-ier unreleased compositions outside of their YouTube iterations.

Photo by David Brendan Hall

And if the locals’ giant blowup likeness at the Austin airport ACL store is any indication, they’ve gained an audience in the interim between releases.

Seeking redemption after a cancelled Levitation performance last year, the high voltage garage group broke in the Miller Lite stage to begin ACL’s second weekend. The tough, sweltering time slot drew a solid crowd of a couple hundred people, hooting at the mandatory announcement, “We’re from Austin.”

The performance rode on the shoulders of powerhouse songwriter and vocalist Lindsey Mackin, who was mostly concealed by her waist-length mane. Guitarist Matt Schweinberg and bassist Derek Vaughan Nunez Strahan completed the frontal wall of brunette hair thrashing, providing the psych and surf accessories to the front woman’s flipping croon, all backed by the drumming of Billy Wong.

Sassy Chairlegs classic “Axe Me If I Care” cut like a knife, swirling rhymes sharpened by Mackin’s girl-group-gone-gritty voice. Newer gem “Candy Apple Red” followed by unleashing the singer’s full-throated growl, which blithely channels Janis Joplin in scatty, yipping ferociousness. Added noir and snarl signaled the next LP’s direction, keeping some catchy jangle for the fun of it.

Oozy shredding propelled fresh closer “Brainfreeze,” a twisted tale of questionable decisions with a few of Mackin’s typically cryptic pit stops. As the finale faded into guitar oscillations, some watchers pushed up to stake a front row view of the next act, but many headed their separate ways. They had come to see Annabelle Chairlegs.

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Annabelle Chairlegs, ACL Fest 2017, Lindsey Mackin, Matt Schweinberg, Derek Vaughan Nunez Strahan, Billy Wong, Janis Joplin

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