ACL Live Shot: Black Pumas


Kara Hawley

The Black Pumas perform during Weekend 1 of the Austin City Limits Music Festival on Oct. 1.

Morgan-Taylor Thomas, Life and Arts Associate Editor

“Don’t it feel good to be back, baby,” Eric Burton exclaimed, full of swag two songs into Black Pumas’ Friday Austin City Limits headliner spot. The Austin-born soul train, made up of the lead singer, Adrian Quesada (guitarist/producer), JaRon Marshall (keys), Stephen Bidwell (drums), Brendan Bond (bass), Angela Miller (backup vocals/tambourine) and Lauren Cervantes (backup vocals) continuously take the rhythm and blues world by storm. 

A baggy jean vest and black leather pants partner Burton’s ACDC tee during the hour-long performance, adding to the artist’s timeless and classic aura and masking the sweat of standing directly in the beating golden hour sun. As he belts out every gushing scale climb, packed with raw rasps and electrifying vibrato, Quesada goes ham with mesmerizing solos, earning an overwhelming bulk of “oohs” and “aahs” from the adoring crowd. 

Unrushed and full of poise, the band executed fan favorite “Mrs. Postman” packed with rhythmic loot and blues rock. Closing with Grammy-nominated “Colors,” the duo fused their rich sound with an acapella excursion, hypnotizing all viewers to join in alliance. Bodies swayed, hands clapped and, yes, tears even streamed for the hometown heroes. 

Like a fairytale ending, Quesada ripped a heavy plight showing off his invasively mad skills. Marshall, Bidwell and Bond accompanied, adding a cumbersome force of pure rock and full-out musical geniusness. A show worth a thousand words, the stunning emotional loyalty can’t be broken down into an hour-long set.