ACL Live Review: Bones UK

“Austin, you’ve just been boned”

Entering to the beat of touring drummer Aaron Mathews, English industrial punk rock duo Bones UK endured a rocky start to their first ACL appearance Saturday around dinnertime on the intimate BMI stage.

Photo by David Brendan Hall

From the leading note of “Creature,” first single of the year, humming feedback remained a constant through the beginning tracks. Visibly stressed guitarist Carmen Vandenburg eventually motioned to the sound tech to cut out her speaker before they began the third track – only to end up having her vocal mic turned down as well. Backing vocals disappeared for the rest of the nine-song set.

At that point, the performance became a certifiable hot mess.

Fortunately, what was lost audibly, the ladies made up with pure talent and grit. Clad like her fellow guitarist in a khaki jumpsuit, singer Rosie Bones never lost her focus on the crowd. She peered into the eyes of every soul of the 200ish-person audience as Vandenburg shredded riff after riff.

After Bones admitted to the crowd her nerves were on edge for the combo’s ACL Fest debut, Vandenburg launched them into “Skeletone,” taken off July’s eponymous full-length debut. Exhibiting no fear, the latter lightning blonde delivered a striking solo before the stage right speaker went silent, immediately signaled by attending audiophiles and causing much confusion in the crowd.

When made aware of the problem, the Englishwomen asked their onlookers what they should do and were answered with shouts of “Just play!” Issue fixed, they lit into a tastefully raw cover of David Bowie’s “I’m Afraid of Americans.” To the lad who inspired their eighth track of the evening, “Girls Can’t Play Guitar,” consider this: These women played the shit out of their guitars all the way to Austin, while you’re still stuck in Camden Town.

The set proved far from perfect, but the Londoners brushed off the technical difficulties with prowess. Vocally and instrumentally, each note executed efficiency. We await the return of the weekend-one-only pair to a future ACL Fest.

“Austin, you’ve just been boned.”

Bones UK

Saturday, Oct. 5, 5:00pm, BMI stage

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Bones UK, ACL Fest 2019, Rosie Bones, Carmen Vandenburg, David Bowie

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