Capital Cities took the main stage at 2:15PM on a hot and sunny Friday afternoon at Austin City Limits (ACL) Festival in Zilker Park to a decent-sized crowd of loyal fans. With blue skies overhead and dragonflies buzzing around the crowd, the guys kicked of their second weekend set with  “Tell Me How to Live” followed by “Chartreuse,” two mid-tempo B-side tracks off 2013’s In A Tidal Wave of Mystery.

The crowd was a bit sluggish at the start of the show, but as the BPM’s started to rise so did the crowd’s spirit as the band sped into one of their hits, “Center Stage.” In an effort to end the obligatory hangover shuffle of early festival shows, frontmen Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian led the crowd in an organized dance for their next song, “Kangaroo Court.” After that, the dance party had begun and everyone was in full swing. Their mega-hit “Safe and Sound” arrived two-thirds of the way through the set to a crowd that had tripled in size and energy. After two covers, Prince’s “Nothing Compares to You” and Madonna’s “Holiday,” they boldy returned to a remixed version of “Safe and Sound” to finish the set.

Capital Cities

For an electronic duo who could do this show easily with a couple laptops, mpcs and synths, I was impressed that they decided to go with a traditional rock band layout for their show. Simonian took care of vocals/synth/programming while Merchant was on guitar/ vocals duty with a very strong rhythm section behind them. Though some of the songs were a little heavy on unnecessary backing tracks, the overall mix was spectacular. The real highlight of the show was trumpet player Spencer Ludwig’s crowd appearance during the second half of the set. Driving the crowd into a frenzy with a combination of trumpet blasts and fist pumping, Ludwig didn’t miss a beat wading into a sea of cellphones and grabbing fans. He seemed to love every moment of it as did we!

– Submitted by Rafe Lockaby, Audio Production