The ups and downs of the punk artist
The DJ yelled from above, “Are you with us, Austin?”
Yes, but was KennyHoopla with us?
For a few songs there on Sunday at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, it was touch and go. The Ohio-born, Wisconsin-based punk artist came to the festival armed with a discography full of rock-solid emo hymns. The public was ready to hit him; people knew the words, which is really all an artist could ask for.
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But when KennyHoopla, real name Kenneth La’ron, took the stage, his hype man was asking for something the main draw wasn’t giving him. La’ron wore giant sunglasses and an “S — Happens” hat as he alternately stood in place with his shoulders down or moving laconically from side to side on the T-Mobile stage. . The song “Silence is also an answer //” is a high energy anthem (“She’s in a white dress and I’m Ferris Bueller” is very good lyrics), but La’ron’s voice crackled over the mic.
Three songs, it looked like KennyHoopla could have done an Andy Kaufman-style track at ACL Fest. Finally, when “sore loser //” happened, we had screams, and then the old arms of the windmill. And with “smoke break //”, the unconditional heads got the one-arm-behind-the-back micro jumper cries for which they came.
“I’m not feeling very well today,” La’ron told the audience after a trip to the pit, adding “I’ll give my all.” Fair enough.
(However: it’s probably not the ideal thing to hear before a DJ tells the crowd to open up for a mosh pit and the performer dives in among the festival-goers and their droplets. what Zilker Park if not a Petri dish at this point?)
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Without a doubt, the highlight of the ensemble was “how am I going to rest in peace if I’m buried by a freeway? //” Brimming with Bloc Party vibe and propelling festival goers into the clouds, it showed what was a show KennyHoopla could be unbalanced at its best.
La’ron kept telling the audience how grateful he was to be there. OK, there was more mumbling, which maybe was part of the package. His energy also went down and up throughout the set, which sometimes made the 45 minutes a test. One of the strangest ACL Fest we’ve seen in a few years.
But man, these songs go.