And the humblebrag of the weekend goes to: Deap Vally.
“I see that Garbage t-shirt out there,” singer/guitarist Lindsey Troy told an audience member during the band’s Sunday afternoon ACL set, her lips curling upward salaciously as the words left her mouth. “I bought the same shirt. We toured with them this summer. Sex is not the enemy!”
She and drummer Julie Edwards then blasted into “Walk of Shame,” the snarky, sex-positive garage rocker off the Los Angeles duo’s brilliantly titled debut album, “Sistrionix.” Troy attacked her battered Fender Mustang as she shouted the song’s brash, narrative-rewriting chorus: “’Cause I got places to go / But I’ve got no change of clothes / Baby I don’t feel no blame / I’m gonna take this walk of shame.”
To compare Deap Vally to the groundbreaking all-female punk bands of yesteryear based purely on gender would be horribly reductive, though Troy’s carnal howl does at times recall the Runaways’ Cherie Currie and L7’s Donita Sparks. But the frontwoman’s blunt-force riffs also nod to the libidinous, bluesy thunder of Eagles of Death Metal, while her interplay with Edwards’ explosive, unhinged drum breakdowns channels another garage rock duo you may have heard of — the White Stripes.
As the first band to grace the American Express Stage on Sunday at 12:30 p.m., Deap Vally had the unenviable task of winning over diehard Killers fans who hugged the barricade and prayed for a respite from the sun’s unforgiving rays. Troy fully rose the occasion, bellowing with every iota of strength, “AUSTIN CITY LIMITS! WHAT THE F*** IS UP!” She unleashed primal shrieks both sultry and savage on “Heart Is an Animal,” her guitar work simultaneously cacophonous and controlled.
The set highlight came during the defiant, empowering “Smile More,” off last year’s raucous “Femejism.” Troy playfully but firmly rejected the male gaze as she hollered: “”Stranger in the bar tells me to smile more / I look at him and I ask, ‘What for?’ / I am happily unhappy, man / And no, I don’t wanna shake your hand.”
At the time of this writing, Troy and Edwards will probably be holding a meet-and-greet at the Waterloo Records tent, where, unlike the subject of “Smile More,” they promised to shake the hands and sign the cleavage of their fans. It’s unlikely many audience members will ditch their front-row Killers spot to go hang out with them. But I kind of hope they do.