AUSTIN — To many Austin City Limits Music Festival performers, one of the most coveted time slots for performing is during the sunset hour. This year, one of those slots was snagged by the Scottish indie rock band CHVRCHES.

The sun-kissed skies made for an emotional moment during Day 2 of Weekend 2 as singer and frontwoman Lauren Mayberry took some time out of the show to dedicate the song "Leave a Trace" to survivors of sexual assault and abuse.

Mayberry, 31, previously said in an interview with music blog Pitchfork that the hit is actually an "anti-love song."

"'Leave a Trace' is the middle finger mic-drop," Mayberry told Pitchfork. "It’s about that point where you’re like, 'There’s no point having this conversation anyways: There will be no resolve, I won’t feel better about it, you won’t feel better about it, no outcome from this will actually change my reality.' It makes me feel better to write about that."

The dedication came after Mayberry began to comment on the Texas heat smudging her makeup. Luckily, bandmate Iain Cook was on hand as her certified "smudge tech."

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Chvurches performing on the Honda stage at ACL Fest. (Photo: John Gusky/KVUE News)
John Gusky/KVUE News

"I'm looking like a pure trash panda," she laughed. "Could be the heat, or maybe just the state of the world."

She then began a curse-filled commentary on the Supreme Court confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who was recently confirmed to the nation's highest court after being accused of sexual assault in high school, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who voted to confirm him.

In fact, during Weekend 1 of the festival, a protest against Kavanaugh at the nearby Lamar bridge temporary halted traffic to and from Zilker Park.

As protests take place across the country, Mayberry said now is an important time for women. Especially after she said she woke up to learn that hip-hop star Drake recently invited Chris Brown, who was convicted in the assault of pop star Rihanna, to perform on stage with him in Los Angeles.

"It's like we're living in the 'Handmaid's Tale'" she said, adding that women are not for men to be walked over.

Still, Mayberry said she was thankful to be back in Austin, performing on a stage as big as ACL's. She called her rise to fame a "true Cinderella story," recalling a memory when she was just 22 and working in a cafe. She hated the music they played, but when doors closed and it was time to mop the floors, she would jam out to the rock band Boxer -- a sentiment that reflected as she rocked the crowd with CHVRCHES hits like "Graffiti," "The Mother We Share," and "Get Out."

She also took a moment to reflect on sharing the ACL stages with headlining acts like Paul McCartney and being invited to sing with The National.

The band behind the song "Miracle" also performed during Weekend 1, when a flock of geese flew overhead.


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