Quin NFN, corook, ​​and More Highlights From Sunday at ACL Fest

From viral “If I Were a Fish” to M83’s essential “Midnight City”

The party’s over. Pleasant temperatures held for the final date of Austin City Limits Festival, where the Chronicle team caught another heavyweight run of Austinites in Quin NFN, Kathryn Legendre, and Caramelo Haze. From out of town, corook brought their viral “If I Were a Fish” and M83 arrived at 2011 classic "Midnight City.”

Read more on the festival standouts below, and revisit all of our ACL Fest coverage – including last weekend’s recaps of major Sunday acts like Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Death Grips – at austinchronicle.com/acl.

Quin NFN Finds His Moshing Teenage Fan Base

Quin NFN (photo by David Brendan Hall)

Quin NFN impressively opened for DaBaby (Round Rock Amp) and Kodak Black (Moody Center) on consecutive days last November, but Austin's most-streamed rapper doesn't usually perform much in town. Despite first going viral five years ago, the 22-year-old surprisingly hasn't gone on a proper tour – as a planned August jaunt stopping in Oklahoma and multiple Texas hubs was canceled shortly after its announcement in July. Some of his inexperience and timidness showed on Sunday afternoon at the Tito’s stage as he allowed overbearing backing tracks to do the heavy lifting during most of his 41-minute festival debut. “I’m from this bitch – this home for me,” he said as a modest introduction to those unfamiliar with his résumé. A decent chunk of people, many of whom looked teenage, already knew of him and started an active mosh pit by fourth song “Sewed Up.” The 78724 native, tucked inside of a red Jordan hoodie, reciprocated the crowd’s exuberance during his Lil 2z collaboration counting nearly 20 million YouTube views, but that pace eventually dissipated mid-set. His explosive breakout track “Talkin’ My Shit” felt more like a nightclub appearance or an outright DJ set as he practically lip-synced his way through and grinned at youngsters moshing. As time wound down, dance party vibes unintentionally heightened when his DJ and hype man scrolled on a laptop and asked attendees what songs they wanted to hear. Still, this performance demonstrated Quin NFN has a solid and potentially untapped youthful fan base in Austin. – Derek Udensi

Kathryn Legendre’s Rousing Preview of Here’s Your Honky-Tonk

Kathryn Legendre (photo by Gary Miller)

Seven months pregnant, Kathryn Legendre was two-stepping for two as she opened the final day on the IHG stage. The local honky-tonker brought an all-star backing in support of her ACL debut, including Geoff Queen’s pedal steel and Brian Broussard’s guitar, but Legendre’s smooth Texas twang and sharp songwriting provided more than enough spark to light the early afternoon. The singer slings a mix of straight-ahead dancehall kickers and smart country ballads that hearken to Nineties heroes like Patty Loveless, whose “Blame It on Your Heart” provided the only cover of the set that otherwise drove across her decade career in Austin, including three new songs from her upcoming sophomore LP expected next year. “Picking Up the Pieces” kicked off, reaching back to 2013’s Old Soul along with the dark drift and burning guitar of “Setting the Hills on Fire.” The steel-swept “Build My Home” pled small town escape from 2016’s Don’t Give a Damn EP, and hilarious barroom sendup “Letters From Prison” stamped 2019’s Making It Up. Still, Legendre’s most recent work proves her best, including the gorgeous soulful sway of “One Long Sad Song” and new single “Cigarettes,” accenting her lyrical intrigue with rousing choruses. Closing out with the premiere of the title track to her new album, Here’s Your Honky-Tonk, Legendre’s 2024 promises at least two major deliveries. – Doug Freeman

Post-Kerrville, corook’s Positivity Plays in Contrasts

corook (photo by Gary Miller)

Microscenes reveal when artists are pulled from the lengthy ACL lineup for other area events. Austin indie lovers Resound presented papier-mâché-adorned Nashville punks Snõõper at the Ballroom for an aftershow to their Saturday BMI stage set. And yesterday, corook made their own BMI debut after playing the new Welcome Home Festival on the Kerrville Folk Festival grounds, which placed the Nashville-based singer-songwriter alongside outsider music giants like Laraaji and Kimya Dawson as an up-and-coming folk-pop-ish booking. For those unfamiliar with 28-year-old Corinne Savage, I’ll offer the words to their internet-beloved, campfire-ready self-acceptance anthem – “If I were a fish and you caught me/ You'd say, ‘Look at that fish!’/ Shimmering in the sun/ Such a rare one.” A few in the Zilker crowd wore frog bucket hats, as the singer did in their viral April video. Backed by a guitarist and drummer, the Atlantic Records signee mixed a kiddie rainbow aesthetic, including a furry, googly-eyed orange keyboard stand, with adult sentiments like “Has anyone in Austin ever felt mentally ill?” The bouncy, funk-touched pop journey through Lizzo-level-positivity – especially on punchier live presentation of “Hell Yeah” – managed to integrate spirit fingers, sock puppetry, and a plastic toy saxophone. Slotting “If I Were a Fish” second to last, the threepiece gathered to share the mic for finale “It’s OK!” In a corook-y contrast now made familiar, the lullaby twisted in “ oh, you’re fucking kidding me, another school shooter?” before closing out on a festy “ na na na na na .” – Rachel Rascoe

Caramelo Haze’s Spellcasting BMI Stage Cocoon

Caramelo Haze (photo by Gary Miller)

A crucial paradox about ACL involves occupying the capital’s premiere park alongside teeming hordes, yet experiencing certain festival sets completely inside a bubble. Caramelo Haze spun just such a cocoon Sunday afternoon on the final day of the fall occupation. Guitarist/producer Beto Martinez and drummer John Speice of Austin big band Grupo Fantasma met Nemegata dyad Víctor-Andrés Cruz (vocals/percussion) and bass constant César Valencia halfway, and crooning keyboardist and emcee Alex Chavis split the difference. Rumbling protean rhythms, crackling spidery riffs, and spellcasting harmonies between the two singers, Caramelo Haze locked into a Latin roots groove timeless in outlook and contemporary in execution. Opener “Goza el Calor” off summer 2022 full-length bow Noestásaquí set the tiny BMI stage for an hour-long cookout of synthesizers, chicha music, romance: Esquivel! for another age. New single “Una Mañana” wafted woozily under Chavis, while Cruz summoned deep, resonant enchantment from “Un Rezo,” a cinematic flicker straight out of Kiss of the Spider Woman featuring Martinez on baritone guitar. Spontaneous castanet-like claps from the modest but deeply loyal audience, a new tune with a Pet Shop Boys intro, and a flash of Santana in the end jam contented all. Un sueño, dream a little dream of ACL 2023. – Raoul Hernandez

Morgan Wade’s Evolving Brand of Country Rock

Morgan Wade (photo by David Brendan Hall)

Arriving onstage 10 minutes late for her afternoon slot on the IHG stage – apparently due to traffic – Morgan Wade nonetheless powered through a dozen tunes that further complicated the modern country landscape. Wade runs musically restless, emerging through country radio with the surging anthem of “Wilder Days,” but increasingly leaning on her classic rock influences with new LP Psychopath. The range doesn’t always mesh cleanly, though Wade proves such a charismatic performer and voice that her continued evolution undoubtedly leads somewhere compelling. Rocking through “Domino” and the big-hooked bite of “Losers Like Me,” Wade’s gravelly drawl hit like an Appalachian-reared Miley Cyrus, a sound made explicit with her cover of “Bad Karma.” The Southwest Virginian’s songwriting shone best while slowing down for “Matches and Metaphors” and “Take Me Away” from 2021’s Reckless, though other moments like the chaotic keyboard break and superfluous drum solo leading into an Eighties pop medley of “Your Love / Jessie’s Girl” played just bizarrely incongruous. Wade seems to still be figuring out the sound she wants to pursue, but she’s got the talent to tackle whichever direction it may lead. – Doug Freeman

M83 Builds Under the Afternoon Sun

M83 (photo by David Brendan Hall)

There is a joke to make about the crisp fall weather and the progenitors of chillwave music simultaneously sweeping into Austin, but with a weekend of ACL dust caking my nasal passages, it’s a little fuzzy. French electronic powerhouses M83, a Weekend Two-only ACL feature, entranced the crowd with a dynamic hour-long set. Standing six strong, the pre-Yeah Yeah Yeahs Honda stage stop reminded how electronic acts can be created from organic instruments rather than pre-tracked stems – letting stiller moments hang in the air dramatically, and extended vamps on songs turn enough to let the sunlight catch every facet. Synths carried a lot of the load, world building a stunning and eerie thrum as strategic violin pulls weaved throughout. And on millennial anthem “Midnight City,” placed second-to-last in the setlist off their defining 2011 album Hurry Up, We're Dreaming , a beefed-up saxophone solo extended the euphoria. All the way to finale “Mirror,” off the same record, the gripping performance built layer by layer right in front of the crowd. – Abby Johnston

Revisit all of The Austin Chronicle's festival coverage at our ACL hub.

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