“Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit” return for their third performance on AUSTIN CITY LIMITS – Nov. 11 at 10 pm

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Austin City Limits

“Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit”

Saturday, November 11 at 10:00 pm

“We’re just overjoyed to be back on Austin City Limits!” said Jason Isbell as he led his band the 400 Unit to their third appearance on the ACL stage.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit performing on Austin City Limits. Credit: Scott NewtonWith the acclaimed documentary Running With Our Eyes Closed on Max and his even more loudly hailed new album Weathervanes in the cultural conversation, Isbell is hitting a career high, which makes it the perfect time to host him once again.

The new record is filled with expertly crafted, passionately performed songs featuring characters facing hard times, and that’s what the songwriter and the group presented during their performance. With every lyric thoughtfully considered and every tune an ear worm, the setlist abounded with future anthems, from the anxiety-ridden “Save the World” (in which the protagonist contemplates raising a child in a world of common school shootings) and the acoustic “Cast Iron Skillet” to the tension-filled “Death Wish” and the rackety opener “When We Were Close,” an ode to a fallen musical comrade.

Isbell reached into his bag of deep cuts with the loping anthem “Overseas,” from the 2021 album Reunions, but kept the set Weathervanes-centric – a choice that suited the polished but powerful rock & roll machine the Unit has become. Thanks to the bandleader’s chemistry with guitarist Sadler Vaden, bassist Anna Butterss, keyboardist Denny deBorja, and drummers Chad Gamble and Will Johnson (who last appeared on ACL with Monsters of Folk), “King of Oklahoma” roared, “Miles” blazed, and the Southern rock-frosted “This Ain’t It” burned the way only two dueling guitars can do it.

The main set climaxed with a dip into the songwriter’s breakthrough Southeastern via “Flying Over Water,” to mighty applause, before returning for a two-song salvo of certified Isbell classics: the fan-favorite “24 Frames” and the soulful “Cover Me Up.” The audience loved every single second. “This is a good time – I sure do love doing this show!” the artist declared. Right back atcha, Jason, right back atcha.