ACL Day One recap: Radiohead tops last weekend’s performance, M83 dazzles crowd

Elizabeth Hlavinka

Yesterday, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke turned 48 and Flying Lotus’ Steven Ellison turned 33 — and during their performances, they decided to celebrate.

Best: Radiohead lived up to high expectations, putting on a show that met the audience at every song. Kicking off with “Burn the Witch,” the intro to their most recent album, A Moon Shaped Pool, the crowd immediately began singing along. When they seamlessly transitioned into some older songs from In Rainbows, OK Computer and The King of Limbs, Thom Yorke came into his element, dancing along with the crowd. His vocals made the show feel personal and intimate — several fans were moved to tears at the conclusion of songs like “Nude” or “Fake Plastic Trees.”

Sharing a birthday with Yorke, Flying Lotus had already started celebrating on stage. Drinking a bottle of tequila throughout the show, he loosened up midway through and started playing more obscure, avant garde jazz and hip hop to hype up the crowd. He played a few songs from his new album, leaving the crowd wanting more after he asked them for just one thing before he left: to sing “Happy Birthday” to Thom.

M83 dazzled the crowd with heavy laser lights and a bold sound. Although frontman Anthony Gonzalez was fairly static throughout the show, Kaela Sinclair made up for his lack of energy with her own dance moves and keys performance. When they played one of their most popular songs, “Midnight City,” fans flocked to the stage, racing to get the best dancing spot on the lawn.

Worst: Cold War Kids put on a mediocre performance. Although frontman Nathan Willett’s vocals were outstanding, their overall sound cut in and out, perhaps giving the first few rows an intimate experience, but providing an inaccessible performance for the rest of the crowd. Many people left after just a few songs to get in line for Die Antwoord or Flying Lotus’s performances.

Although they were faced with high expectations from a dedicated fan base, The Front Bottoms put on a disappointing performance. Frontman Brian Sella’s vocals were spotty and he and the other band members stayed stationary on the stage. Although many dedicated fans in the first few rows were singing along to every song, those who were less familiar with the band couldn’t groove with their punk-rock hits.

Today, fans who aren’t camped out in front of Kendrick Lamar’s stage can see performances from bands such as The Naked and Famous, Anderson.Paak and Cage the Elephant.