The Austin Chronicle

Saturday ACL Face-Off: The Cure vs. Childish Gambino

Second British noir-pop vs. “This Is America”

By Kahron Spearman, October 4, 2019, Music

Photo by Gary Miller

The Cure

8pm, Honda stage

Government name(s): Robert Smith, Simon Gallup, Roger O'Donnell, Jason Cooper, Reeves Gabrels

Hometown: Crawley, England

Active since: 1976

Number of albums: 13 studio

Influences: Sex Pistols, Stranglers, Beatles, Elvis Costello, Alex Harvey, and of course, Nick Drake

Notable collaborators: David Bowie, Billy Corgan

Breakout moment: 1979 debut Three Imaginary Boys

Songs they should play: "Pictures of You," "Friday I'm in Love," "Lovesong," "Let's Go to Bed"

Songs they shouldn't play: 4:13 Dream, "Killing an Arab"

Fun fact: "Disintegration ... [is] just about what I was doing really, how I felt," explained Smith once. "But I'm not like that all the time. That's the difficulty of writing songs that are a bit depressing. People think you're like that all the time, but I don't think that. I just usually write when I'm depressed."

Best lines: "I've waited hours for this/ I've made myself so sick/ I wish I'd stayed asleep today/ I never thought this day would end/ I never thought tonight could ever be this close to me." ("Close to Me")

Notable beefs: The Smiths/Morrissey in a battle for saddest of the sadboi militia

Last local show: May 13, 2016, at the Erwin Center

Photo by Gary Miller

Childish Gambino

8pm, American Express stage

Government name(s): Donald McKinley Glover Jr.

Hometown: Stone Mountain, Ga.

Active since: 2005

Number of albums: 3 studio, 14 mixtapes, 4 EPs

Influences: Prince, Parliament/Funkadelic, Ghostface Killah, LCD Soundsystem

Notable collaborators: Gary Clark Jr., Jhene Aiko, Thundercat, Miguel

Breakout moment: FX television series Atlanta places its writer/creator, Glover, into distinctly black experiences that hadn't been shown before. 2016's third LP "Awaken, My Love!" owes much to Atlanta and tethers those challenges to his father's vis-à-vis funk influences/tributes. May 2018 single "This Is America" then thrust him into the sociopolitical mainstream.

Songs he should play: "3005," "Crawl," "Riot," "Redbone," "Terrified," "This Is America"

Songs he shouldn't play: Absolutely nothing before 2010's Culdesac

Funny story: A fan petitioned to get Glover cast as the next Spider-Man in 2010, which he ran with for a while before Andrew Garfield was cast. However, he ended up in Spider-Man: Homecoming, cast as Aaron Davis – uncle to Miles Morales, who eventually becomes a (multiverse) version of Spider-Man.

Best lines: "Do you misbehave?/ Haunt you to your grave/ I'm going to eat you alive" ("Terrified")

Notable beefs: Glassnote Records, a former label – royalty issues

Last local show: ACL Fest 2014

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