Kweller's Emotional Return to ACL.

Kweller's Emotional Return to ACL.

October 19, 2023 in Concert Reviews

by DJ rat

On the hottest day of an uncharacteristically cool ACL Weekend two, Ben Kweller donned a mohair cardigan and fur-lined bomber hat enduring the heat. The Dallas native was not oblivious to the scorching sun, the 42-year-old musician elected to instead celebrate his first album, “Sha Sha,” with the album cover's iconic look, toothbrush and all.

The singer-songwriter garnered massive attention for himself in the early 2000s for his combination of indie sleaze rock and alternate folk. The musician’s 20-year run in the music has been sustained by a deep meditation on life and lyrics that have grown in maturity along with the artist.

Kweller took to the Miller Lite stage Saturday with his guitar, harmonica, and piano. His bright teal skinny jeans, a relic of the past, matched the color of his guitar strap. The Dripping Springs legend took to the stage with the kick-ass adjacent movie star bass player Christopher Mintz-Plasse.

Kweller took to the grand piano for the love section of the show

“You know I have to do that”

Initiated with a repeat after me, that was falsely assumed to be directed at the audience instead of Superbad star McLovin.

“I thought I was repeating to you?

“You’re repeating after me don’t repeat. We can have a personal conversation on stage – a unison vibe instead of a call and response.

Now with all of the crowd together, we sing the greatest hits of 20 years ago.

In 2003, Kweller performed at the second ever Austin City Limits. Both young and eager to make a name for themselves in the music scene, a symbiotic relationship blossomed with Kweller performing four times from 2003-2007.

After a long ACL hiatus and absence from the Austin public eye, Kweller gave us an all-time performance fueled by a recent tragedy.

16-year-old Dorian Kweller, Ben and Liz Kweller's son, passed away in a tragic car accident this past February. The young aspiring musician had plans to open for his father on a tour.

Kweller's last ACL performance was 16-years-ago, and the grief stricken father lamented on the loss of his son and how he would never be met with the warm hospitality that Austin festival goers would always show him.

The ACL legend gave us one of the most emotionally devastating performances of the weekend, and Austin’s love for the adopted native was on full display with cries of emotional support.

Kweller gave us a first hand example of how music can get us through the darkest hours.


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