ACL Live Review: Weyes Blood

All aboard for astral pop magic

A little past 5pm, in the stretch of shade cast over the smaller BMI stage, Weyes Blood began enchanting almost immediately. Natalie Mering’s project came to Austin to finish its Something to Believe tour, yielding a set somewhere between alien and angel, an ornate, cosmic tangle of Laurel Canyon wistfulness and her rich, velvety voice.

Photo by Gary Miller

Opening with slow-burn piano ballad “A Lot's Gonna Change” and backed by a fourpiece, the L.A.-based musician donned a cream nudie suit and aviator sunglasses, a Seventies dream dropped serenely into Zilker Park.

2016’s Front Row Seat to Earth lent “Used to Be” and “Diary” to the set-list, the latter’s atmospheric sigh interrupted by bass bleed from a neighboring stage. Most of the hour pulled from the spectacular, haunting pop ballads of Titanic Rising, Weyes Blood’s fourth LP released earlier this year. Bop along “Everyday,” hushed “Picture Me Better,” and the ethereal “Something to Believe” constituted obvious standouts.

“If there’s any baby boomers out there, we’re gonna do a little song from your time,” the multi-instrumentalist winked, launching into a cover of Procol Harum Sixties jam “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” slipping so seamlessly into the performance that it felt like just another Weyes Blood song.

The swaying, modest crowd grew slowly during the set, enraptured by unassuming star power. On the cover of Titanic Rising, Mering peers at the viewer from a childhood bedroom entirely underwater, flipping the mundane décor into something fantastical and unrecognizable. The same goes for Weyes Blood’s live show: She works as a musical magician, her striking vocals and grace ushering the sound into something otherworldly.

“You guys wanna get a little astral?” Mering asked before “Andromeda.”

The question could’ve framed her entire set, particularly the scintillating ascension of closer “Movies.” Slivers of hopefulness felt intrinsic to Weyes Blood’s sound, each track poised for some planetary liftoff.

Weyes Blood

Friday, Oct. 4, 5:00pm, BMI stage

Check out our daily ACL coverage with previews, reviews, interviews, photos, and more.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 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 Weyes Blood
ACL Fest Interview: Weyes Blood
ACL Fest Interview: Weyes Blood
“Once I felt like I’d journeyed to the far corners of the music universe and back, I could return to the center and write songs.”

Rachel Rascoe, Oct. 4, 2019

More by Libby Webster
ACL Live Review: Nilüfer Yanya
Nilüfer Yanya
English singer-guitarist animates acclaimed Miss Universe

Oct. 7, 2019

ACL Live Review: Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish
Superstar teen proves she should’ve been a headliner

Oct. 6, 2019


Weyes Blood, ACL Fest 2019, Natalie Mering, Procul Harum

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

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