AUSTIN, Texas — No one is envious of a 4 p.m. set time in the Texas heat.
It takes a great talent to rally an audience into forgetting that they have sweat pouring out of every part of their bodies. But at the Austin City Limits Music Festival on Saturday, Brittany Howard and her backing band were up to the task.
Howard, known as the lead guitarist and vocalist of Alabama Shakes, recently put out her debut solo album, "Jaime" – a soulful record of songs that are perfect to play in the background of your life.
But there was nothing background about Howard's set Saturday afternoon. There was a gospel-inspired organ. There were back-up singers. There were guitar solos. And there was Howard, looking every bit a rockstar in her blood-red cape, sliding and scuttling across the stage – half the time on her bare feet.
The entire backing band was impressive, but it was Howard's strong voice and even stronger energy that had a crowd of sweaty strangers grooving together, blissfully unconcerned about their sweat stains and sunburns. That's what going to a festival is all about.
When Howard prophesized into the microphone that "We are all brothers and sisters," it felt like every soul in the crowd believed her.
If you missed Howard during Weekend 1, she'll be playing another 4 p.m. set next Saturday at the Honda stage.
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