Austin City Limits 2011 Preview

<div> <a href="features/austin_city_limits_2011_preview/"><img src="" alt="Austin City Limits 2011 Preview" /></a> <br /> </div> <p> The longest-running live music show on television, in the ‘Live Music Capitol of the World’,...
Austin City Limits 2011 Preview
Austin City Limits 2011 Preview

The longest-running live music show on television, in the ‘Live Music Capitol of the World’, has been throwing one of – if not the – best music festivals out there for more than a few years now, and 2011 is no exception.  From massive headliners that still manage to be diverse (all Kanye West, Stevie Wonder, and Arcade Fire share are Grammys…) to tiny Austin locals looking to get a break, from brand-new acts riding a wave of hype as they create their own musical subgenre to veterans so venerable they’re collecting Social Security, Austin City Limits Music Festival has it all in 2011:




Kanye West, 8:30 PM – 10:00 PM, Bud Light Stage

There is no bigger music star in the world than Kanye West.  No one is more talked about, no one is more known, no one can get the kind of attention as Kanye West.  He’s one of the best-selling artists today, as well as being one of the most critically acclaimed, a particularly rare feat.  He’s also notorious for such unscripted moments as taking the mike from Taylor Swift at last year’s MTV Video Music Awards, and saying that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” during a live Katrina benefit show held immediately after the hurricane (as well as recently admitting he was wrong to say that, when the former President called it one of the worst moments of his Presidency).  Oh, and he’s a major producer (Beyoncé, Snoop Dogg, even Justin Bieber remixes), and his GOOD Music label is home to the likes of John Legend, Common, and Kid Cudi.

West did have a somewhat dicey festival appearance a few years back, headlining Bonnaroo, but you know that the consummate showman will be in full force at ACL, on the back of his recent collaboration with the also-huge Jay-Z, Watch the Throne (QRO review).

Kanye West
Coldplay, 8:10 PM – 9:40 PM, AMD Stage

Everyone’s gone through their period of hating the massively successful Coldplay (how can you not find fault with singer/Mr. Gwyneth Paltrow naming their child ‘Apple’?…), but also loving Coldplay (QRO photos at a festival) – breakthrough Parachutes and “Yellow” were some of the strongest of 2000.  But even if you lost interest in the group as the last decade wore on (they’re in, they’re out, they’re both at the same time…), seeing them getting bigger but not better, 2008’s Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (QRO review) was a strong and enjoyable record, haters be damned!  They just put out their first piece of music since Viva la Vida, single “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall”, so look for new material at their second ACL appearance.

Sara Bareilles, 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM, Austin Ventures Stage

Singer/pianist Sara Bareilles has been getting mainstream success ever since her 2007 single “Love Song”, as part of a new generation of musical leading ladies.  Her appearance at ACL is, however, preceded by tragedy: she had just finished performing at the Indiana State Fair when the stage collapsed last month, killing five people.  But the day after ACL, Bareilles begins her duties as one of the celebrity judges on the season premiere of NBC’s The Sing Off

Sara Bareilles
Pretty Lights, 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM, Google+ Stage

Colorado-based producer Derek Vincent Smith (QRO photos) puts some energy behind his electronic work as Pretty Lights (QRO photos at a festival), with 2009’s Filling Up the City Skies free to download.

Pretty Lights
Mavis Staples, 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM, Vista Equity Stage

ACL welcomes artists old and young, and one of the legendary vets this year is Stax icon Mavis Staples, who’s actually playing the festival for a second time, after gracing the stage all the way back in 2003.

Mavis Staples
Santigold, 7:10 PM – 8:10 PM, Honda Stage

Formerly known as Santogold (changed due to threat of lawsuit from an infomercial jeweler Santo Gold), Philadelphia’s Santi White (QRO photos) toured with everyone from Coldplay (see above) to Kanye West (see above) – so will be right at home at ACL, behind her sophomore release, American Dreaming.

Nas & Damian Marley, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM, Bud Light Stage 

The youngest son of legendary reggae artist Bob Marley, Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley actually breaks somewhat from the Marley tradition by embracing ‘toasting’, a Jamaican song styling that predated rap.  Starting in 2009, he began collaborating with famed rapper (and political lightning rod) Nas (QRO photos), for the ‘Rock the Bells’ tour, Distant Relatives, and the festival circuit (QRO photos at a festival).

Nas & Damien Marley
North Mississippi Allstars, 6:15 PM – 7:00 PM, Austin Ventures Stage

From Hernando in – you guessed it – northern Mississippi, these Allstars are bringing southern blues & jam into the twenty-first century, fitting for ACL – no wonder this is their third time at the festival.

North Mississippi Allstars
Bright Eyes, 6:10 PM – 7:10 PM, AMD Stage 

Welcome back, Conor Oberst (QRO photos at a festival).  As Bright Eyes (QRO photos), Conor Oberst won legions of hearts (including Summer’s on The O.C.QRO Music of The O.C.), but after 2007’s Cassadega (QRO review), he dropped the name and strayed into unfortunate country terrain (QRO live review).  However, not only is the Bright Eyes name back (QRO live review outdoors), but also the Bright Eyes (QRO photos at a festival) sound on The People’s Key (QRO review).

Bright Eyes
Charles Bradley, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM, Vista Equity Stage 

The ‘Screaming Eagle of Soul’, Charles Bradley (QRO photos at a festival) is one of the many great soul singers to emerge from Brooklyn’s DapTone Records, which also brought the world Sharon Jones  & The Dap-Kings (QRO album review) and Budos Band (QRO album review).

Charles Bradley
Foster the People, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM, Google+ Stage 

Los Angeles’ Foster the People (QRO photos at a festival) may feel like a wanna-be Passion Pit (QRO album review) in their electro-pop, but it’s a wanna-be that you can dance to (QRO album review).

Foster the People
Cold War Kids, 5:10 PM – 6:10 PM, Honda Stage 

After a string of EPs, Fullerton, California’s Cold War Kids (QRO photos) blew up in 2006 with their full-length debut, Robbers & Cowards.  While 2008’s Loyalty to Loyalty (QRO review) suffered something of a sophomore slump, this year’s Mine Is Yours (QRO review) lifted things, and their live show (QRO photos) is still electric, especially outside (QRO live review outdoors), as they still ring with singles (QRO photos), from the more recent “Mine Is Yours” and “Audience” (QRO video) to their break-outs “We Used To Vacation”, “Hospital Beds” (QRO video), and “Hang Me Out To Dry” (QRO video).

Cold War Kids
Kurt Vile & The Violators, 5:00 PM – 5:45 PM, Austin Ventures Stage

Even amongst all the lo-fi guitar-punks out there, Kurt Vile has made a name for himself.  The former member of The War On Drugs (QRO photos), Kurt Vile has since formed his own ensemble with his Violators (QRO live review), and recently contributed to/opened for alt-punk guitar god J Mascis (of Dinosaur Jr. – QRO live review) on his new solo record, Several Shades of Why (QRO review), and subsequent tour.

Kurt Vile & The Violators
Big Boi, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM, Bud Light Stage

Still probably best known for being one-half of massively successful duo OutKast, Big Boi (QRO photos at a festival) first showed off his solo skills (QRO photos at a festival) in the Speakerboxx half of OutKast’s 2003’s double-LP, Speakerboxx/The Love Below (the latter half being partner Andre 3000’s own solo debut).  But the hip-hop artist is out with his own (QRO photos at a festival), fully solo Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty last year.

Big Boi
Ray LaMontagne, 4:10 PM – 5:10 PM, AMD Stage

He may be soft-spoken, but singer/songwriter Ray LaMontagne is one of the finest voices in today’s alt-folk scene.

Ray LaMontagne
Electric Touch, 3:45 PM – 4:30 PM, Austin Ventures Stage

Electric Touch can attribute their playing this late in the day to their hometown status.

Electric Touch
Smith Westerns, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM, Google+ Stage 

Chicago’s Smith Westerns (QRO photos outdoors) have been getting some definite attention (QRO photos at a festival), but is that for their rock (QRO photos at a festival), or is it for their persona – none old enough to drink yet, and notorious for getting kicked out of clubs for breaking that rule…

The Smith Westerns
James Blake, 3:10 PM – 4:10 PM, Honda Stage

If you didn’t live in London, you might never have heard of dubstep, so you probably would have been surprised when people started talking about ‘post-dubstep’, in the form of highly-hyped Brit James Blake (QRO live review).  But the former singer of (actual) dubstep outfit Mount Kimble (QRO photos at a festival) has been making massive waves with his self-titled debut (QRO album review), so see for yourself what all the fuss is about.

James Blake
Delta Spirit, 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM, Bud Light Stage 

Out of San Diego comes the indie-Americana/soul of Delta Spirit, who return to ACL touring last year’s release of History From Below, the follow-up to 2008 debut Ode To Sunshine.

Delta Spirit
Fool’s Gold, 2:30 PM – 3:15 PM, Austin Ventures Stage

Mixing Western pop with African rhythms & melodies is the highly hyped Fool’s Gold.

Fool's Gold
Brandi Carlile, 2:10 PM – 3:10 PM, AMD Stage

Singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile (QRO interview) has emerged alongside a whole new generation of socially minded melodic songstresses (like Sara Bareilles – see above), and this year put out her first live album (QRO photos outdoors), Live at Benaroya Hall with the Seattle Symphony.

Brandi Carlile
Wild Beasts, 1:10 PM – 2:10 PM, Honda Stage

From the Lake District in England is the dream-pop Wild Beasts, who are neither wild nor beastly.

Wild Beasts
Theophilus London, 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM, Bud Light Stage 

Trinidad-born, Brooklyn-bred Theophilus London (QRO photos at a festival) mixes and supercedes genres in his hip-hop (QRO photos at a festival).

Theophilus London
An Horse, 12:20 PM – 1:00 PM, Austin Ventures Stage 

After touring the U.S. with Tegan & Sara (QRO spotlight on), and acting as Australia’s go-to ‘tour buddy,’ An Horse (QRO album review) looks to break into Texas with this slot at Austin City Limits.  The band (QRO photos at a festival in Austin) was originally cooked up as an after hours hobby for two record store employees down under, but dates with Death Cab for Cutie (QRO album review), Cage The Elephant (QRO photos) and Silversun Pickups (QRO album review) as well as an iTunes Free Single of the Week quickly paved the Brisbane pair’s way to America (QRO photos at a festival).

An Horse
Cults, 11:45 AM – 12:25 PM, Honda Stage 

When Cults (QRO photos) broke out last year with infectious single “We Go Outside”, they’d achieved the near impossible: being famous without anyone knowing anything about them (QRO photos outdoors).  Since then, the wall of silence has broken down, with the catchy sixties male/female duo recruiting a band, playing South-by-Southwest (QRO photos), and signing to major label Sony.  But even if you’ve got a face to put to the un-Google-able name, they’re still a hook-laden band (QRO photos at a festival).



Stevie Wonder, 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM, Bud Light Stage 

If you don’t know who Kanye West (see above) is, maybe you’re just middle-aged.  If you don’t know who Stevie Wonder is, maybe you’re in Al Qaeda.  One of the greatest singers of his generation, Wonder has given the world such classics as “Superstition” and “I Just Called To Say I Love You”.  He’s also a noted social activist, whose efforts led to Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday becoming a national holiday, among many other accomplishments.  Oh, and he’s an inspiration not just in the African-American community, but also among the blind.

Wonder comes to ACL celebrating his fiftieth year in music – to be fair, he was signed at age eleven.  But that’s fifty year with the same label, the one-and-only Motown Records.  He’s been receiving lifetime achievement awards by the bucketful (Library of Congress’ Gershwin Prize – given to him by President Obama, for whom Wonder played at his inauguration – French Commander of the Arts and Letters, Apollo Legends Hall of Fame…), but hasn’t stopped performing, including the festival circuit, including Bonnaroo, Glastonbury, and now Austin City Limits.

Stevie Wonder
My Morning Jacket, 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM, AMD Stage 

The current alt-country wave has lifted the boats of bands that had already been doing it for a long time, such Wilco (QRO live review) and My Morning Jacket (QRO live review).  The Louisville outfit, fronted by singer/guitarist Jim James, doesn’t have to just play it sweet, but also keep the rock. They reached the bigger time with 2008’s Evil Urges (QRO review) and this year’s Circuital (QRO review), but are still growing – even had a whole episode of American Dad about/with them (okay, not Family Guy, but still…).  They’re also one of the rare acts to play ACL for the third time.

My Morning Jacket
TV On the Radio, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM, Google+ Stage

One of the bands that put Brooklyn not only on the indie-map, but at the top of it, is the borough’s TV On the Radio (QRO live review outdoors in Brooklyn).  2004’s debut Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes introduced their complex-yet-accessible indie-tech-punk-rock, 2006’s Return to Cookie Mountain proved it was no fluke, and 2008’s Dear Science (QRO review) saw the band launched into the top tier of alternative music (QRO live review).  The group took something of a break after that, as members such as Tunde Adebimpe, David Andrew Sitek, and Kyp Malone did various side/solo projects, but returned this year with Nine Types of Light (QRO review).  Nine Types was a return in quality as well as success for the band (QRO photos at a festival in Austin), though they unfortunately recently lost bassist Gerard Smith to cancer, but have kept on magnificently.

TV On the Radio
Chromeo, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM, Honda Stage 

There are combos and then there are combos: Montreal’s Chromeo (QRO live review) are the electro-funk duo of Dave 1 (David Macklovitch) and P-Thugg (Patrick Gemayel) has been best friends since childhood, billing themselves as, “The only successful Arab/Jewish collaboration since the beginning of time” (but what is their stance on Québécois independence?…).  And their electronica works outdoors (QRO photos outdoors), day or night, even at a festival (QRO photos at a festival).

Court Yard Hounds, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM, Austin Ventures Stage

When Dixie Chicks Marie Maguire & Emily Robison wanted to start work on a new record in 2009, but frontChick Natalie Maines didn’t feel “inspired”, Maguire & Robison went the side-project way as Court Yard Hounds, making the Billboard Top Ten with their self-titled debut last year.

Court Yard Hounds
Cut Copy, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM, AMD Stage 

The international electro-dance scene has seriously touched Down Under, and one of the biggest acts coming out of Australia these days is Melbourne’s Cut Copy (QRO live review).  Breaking through in 2007 with the acclaimed In Ghost Colours (QRO review), Cut Copy (QRO photos outdoors) followed that up this year with Zonoscope (QRO review).  While some think it’s a step down, no one can argue that their live show is anything les than electric (QRO live review).

Cut Copy
Wanda Jackson, 5:45 PM – 6:30 PM, Austin Ventures Stage

The likes of Jack White & Conan O’Brien have sparked something of a rockabilly revival, and acclaimed artists from that bygone era have returned with the sound, none more so than ‘The Queen of Rockabilly’, Wanda Jackson (QRO live review outdoors).

Wanda Jackson
Cee Lo Green, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM, Bud Light Stage

When singer Cee Lo Green and producer Danger Mouse scored a massive hit as Gnarls Barkley in “Crazy”, everything about it said ‘one-hit wonder’ – and follow-up LP The Odd Couple didn’t do as well.  But fuck it if Green didn’t come roaring back with the summer jam of 2010, “Fuck You!” (or “Forget You!” as it’s had to be redubbed for radio & television…) on The Lady Killer (QRO review).  This success has been longer-lasting – he’s one of the vocal coaches/judges on NBC’s The Voice, alongside Christina Aguilera, Black Shelton, and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine.

Cee Lo Green
Skrillex, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM, Google+ Stage 

Originally frontman for L.A. post-hardcore outfit From First to Last, Sonny Moore – a.k.a. Skrillex (QRO photos) – has since reinvented himself as an electro-house/dubstep DJ.

Fitz & The Tantrums, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM, Honda Stage 

While acts like Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings (QRO album review) revive the soul sound, Los Angeles’ Fitz & The Tantrums are reinventing it with an indie-pop twist.

Fitz & The Tantrums
The Moondoggies, 4:30 PM – 5:15 PM, Austin Ventures Stage

From far to the north comes one of the acts ever to call Alaska home, The Moondoggies (QRO photos at a festival).

The Moondoggies
Alison Krauss & Union Station, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM, Bud Light Stage

Today’s leading lady in bluegrass, Alison Krauss is the most awarded singer & most awarded female in Grammy Awards history.  She’s also a killer artist to work with, from the soundtracks of Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? and Cold Mountain to her work with Robert Plant (QRO live review), which last brought her to ACL in 2008.

Alison Krauss
Iron & Wine, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM, AMD Stage 

As Iron & Wine (QRO photos), Samuel Beam has become one of the leading voices in today’s alt-folk troubadour arena, making it to #2 on the Billboard charts with his latest, Kiss Each Other Clean (QRO review), despite it being a bit of a slide in accomplishment.  And though he hails from the Confederacy, him & his beard will be right at home at ACL, which he plays for a third time.

Iron & Wine
Daniel Lanois’ Black Dub, 3:15 PM – 4:00 PM, Austin Ventures Stage

Producer extraordinaire Daniel Lanois is best known for his work with Brian Eno & U2 (QRO album review), but has also worked with country-folk greats like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, and Willie Nelson.  What’s more, he’s a songwriter in his own right, with his Black Dub (QRO photos).

Daniel Lanois' Black Dub
City and Colour, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM, Honda Stage 

Dallas Green, singer/guitarist of emo-punk band Alexisonfire, embraces his sad, acoustic side as City and Colour (he’s Canadian, thus the extra ‘u’ – 2005’s Sometimes only came out in America in 2009 – QRO review).

City and Colour
Alexander, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM, Google+ Stage 

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros (QRO spotlight on) frontman Alexander Ebert goes solo as Alexander.

Young the Giant, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM, AMD Stage 

These Irvine natives toiled for years as The Jakes, but when they changed their name to Young the Giant (QRO photos at a festival), things finally took off, with their self-(new) titled album & TV performances this year, including at MTV’s recent Video Music Awards.

Young the Giant
Phosphorescent, 2:00 PM – 2:45 PM, Austin Ventures Stage 

Alt-country/indie-folk has been booming recently, especially on the festival circuit, and ACL is heavier on it than most alternative music festivals, but there’s still a slot for Athens, Georgia-by-way-of-Brooklyn, NY Phosphorescent (QRO photos outdoors).  Hitting ACL after touring Europe (QRO tour review) with The National (QRO spotlight on), they’re less jam & more touch than their contemporaries, and love to play outdoors (QRO photos outdoors).

Twin Shadow, 1:15 PM – 2:00 PM, Google+ Stage 

With one of the best debut album of 2010, Forget, produced by Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear (QRO live review), George Lewis Jr. (a.k.a. Twin Shadow – QRO photos) shot up on the hype meter.  Turns out, the ‘80s new wave-influenced pop of the Dominican Republic born musician (QRO photos at a festival) actually lived up to its reputation. Sophisticated melodies and catchy hooks abound, the tracks of Forget easily transitioned from haunting poetics to infectious dance numbers (QRO photos at a festival).

Twin Shadow
The Antlers, 12:30 PM – 1:15 PM, AMD Stage 

The newest of the next wave of Brooklyn acts is The Antlers (QRO photos), who first blew people away with epic concept album Hospice, then opened for the likes of Ra Ra Riot (QRO live review, opening for Ra Ra Riot), Editors (QRO album reviewQRO photos, opening for Editors) and The National (QRO spotlight onQRO photos, opening for The National).  But now they’ve graduated to headlining their own big gigs (QRO live review, outdoors & headlining), and are out with their new Burst Apart (QRO live review), the follow-up to their critically acclaimed breakthrough debut, Hospice (QRO photos at a festival).

The Antlers
Telekinesis, 11:45 AM – 12:30 PM, Google+ Stage

Seattle’s Michael Benjamin Lerner is that rarest of items – a drummer/singer.  He keeps that up as Telekinesis (QRO photos at a festival in Austin), both on record with this year’s sophomore release 12 Desperate Straight Lines (QRO review), and in a great live show (QRO photos).




Arcade Fire, 8:30 PM – 10:00 PM, Bud Light Stage 

After making the biggest indie-smash since ACL 2010’s The Strokes (QRO album review) with the already-seminal Funeral back in 2004/2005, and leading the charge of the ‘Canadian Invasion’, Montreal’s own Arcade Fire (QRO live review) followed that up in 2007 with the excellent-even-if-it-couldn’t-be-Funeral Neon Bible (QRO review).  But after playing to bigger-and-bigger-and-bigger venues (QRO live review outdoors), the massive ensemble took a much-needed break.

A serious break, as the group seemingly fell off the face of the earth.  Yet now they’ve returned (QRO photos of first U.S. show in three years), and as one of the biggest bands in indie-rock (QRO photos at a festival), with the ultra-anticipated The Suburbs (QRO review), which managed to win the Grammy for Record of the Year (of course, now that means hipsters are obligated to hate the band – QRO photos).  A rather late add by ACL (which they’ve played twice before), but a great one (QRO photos at a festival).

Arcade Fire
Arcade Fire
Empire of the Sun, 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM, Google+ Stage

Australia has been doing very well in the international electro-dance scene, such as The Midnight Juggernauts (QRO spotlight on) & Miami Horror (QRO spotlight on), and one of the biggest is Luke Steele & Nick Littlemore – a.k.a. Empire of the Sun (QRO photos at a festival), who burst out in 2008 with Walking On a Dream and “We Are the People”.

Empire of the Sun
Social Distortion, 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM, Honda Stage

Sometimes, plugging away pays off, even for a punk band.    Fullerton’s Social Distortion (QRO photos) started all the way back in 1978, and, other than a year-long break in the eighties due to drug & legal problems, have kept on going (albeit without singer/guitarist Mike Ness as the sole remaining original/twentieth century member).  They helped establish both the ‘cowpunk’ sound, and today’s workingman’s punk – and reached #4 on the Billboard charts this year with eighth record, Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes.

Social Distortion
Hayes Carll, 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM, Austin Ventures Stage 

Austin’s own Hayes Carll proves that being independent isn’t limited to indie.  The country-folk singer/songwriter turned down a multi-album deal from Sugar Hill Records to release his Little Rock on his own label – and it became the first self-released record to reach #1 on the Americana charts.  He did eventually sign with Universal imprint Lost Highway, and is returning to ACL for his second year in a row.

Hayes Carll
Randy Newman, 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM, Vista Equities Stage 

Okay, we all knew that ACL would welcome some older artists, but those are usually of the influential-if-not-successful category, or one-of-the-biggest-artists ever (like Stevie Wonder – see above).  But Randy Newman?!?  The man responsible for soundtracks from The Natural to Toy Story 3?!?

But don’t sell the Oscar winner quite so short.  Before his soundtracking days, Newman brought the idea of the unreliable narrator to the wider songwriting world – yacht-rock classic “Sail Away” is actually a slave trader’s recruiting pitch to the natives.  And if Wilco’s 2007 Sky Blue Sky was rather ‘Randy Newman-y’, it was a great record (QRO review)…

Randy Newman
Fleet Foxes, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM, Bud Light Stage 

The most overrated band in alternative music returns!  After the decent Sun Giant EP (QRO review), maybe no band broke out in as big a way in 2008 as Fleet Foxes with their self-titled debut full-length (QRO review) – certainly no band blew up as much on the back of as little (QRO photos at a festival).  The Seattle band’s boring folk hymnals somehow garnered huge popularity (some of which was due to their more engaging live shows – QRO photos).  After the whirlwind, the Foxes took some time off, but are back this year with Helplessness Blues (QRO review), a copy of Fleet Foxes that will probably earn them hype-backlash.

Fleet Foxes
Manu Chao La Ventura, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM, AMD Stage 

Circling the Bay of Biscay is France’s multi-lingual Basque-Galician Manu Chao, who mixes Old World and New.  Chao returns to ACL on his ‘La Ventura’ tour.

Manu Chao
We Are Augustines, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM, BMI Stage

Out of the ashes of Brooklyn’s great Pela (QRO spotlight on) comes We Are Augustines (QRO photos), who sound like Pela – and that’s a good thing.

We Are Augustines
Gomez, 6:15 PM – 7:00 PM, Austin Ventures Stage 

Southport, England’s Gomez (QRO photos) utilize three singers, four songwriters, and a wide variety of instruments, from traditional to electronica, for a new type of alternative music, and come to ACL for their third time.

Elbow, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM, Google+ Stage 

After the very well received Asleep In Back back in 2001, it wasn’t until 2008 that Elbow lived up/surpassed themselves with the Mercury Prize-winning The Seldom Seen Kid (QRO review).  While this year’s Seldom follow-up, Build a Rocket, Boys! (QRO review), isn’t quite that excellent, it’s still a strong follow-up – and the art-rock act is sure to play Seldom songs more than once.

Death From Above 1979, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM, Honda Stage 

For an act that only broke up five years ago, Death From Above 1979’s reunion is actually one of the most anticipated (QRO photos at a festival).  It helps that the duo of Jesse F. Keeler (who’s been in MSTRKRFT since the break-up) and Sebastien Grainger (who had his own solo career after the break-up – QRO album review) basically invented the dance-punk/noise-rock scene.  Their initial reunion gig at South-by-Southwest earlier this year (QRO recap) was so mobbed that policemen came in on horses and used mace – won’t be that nuts at ACL, but expect a wild time (QRO photos at a festival).

Death From Above 1979
Joseph Arthur, 5:00 PM – 5:45 PM, Austin Ventures Stage 

A ‘musician’s musician’, Joseph Arthur (QRO live review) was discovered by Peter Gabriel, and has been praised & covered by the likes of fan Michael Stipe (of the little-known R.E.M. – QRO album review).  He also has a highly regarded live show (QRO live review) that includes not just pedal loops & distortion, but a recording of it immediately available afterward for purchase (no word on if that’s possible for his ACL gig).  After two albums and a string of EPs (QRO EP review) with backing band The Lonely Astronauts (QRO photos), Arthur (QRO photos at a festival) returned to strictly solo with this year’s The Graduation Ceremony (QRO review).

Joseph Arthur
Broken Social Scene, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM, Bud Light Stage 

Since being part of the indie-rock ‘Canadian Invasion’ of 2003/2004, Toronto’s Broken Social Scene (QRO photos) have also become one of the most sought-after festival bands (QRO photos at a festival) in the alternative music arena (including ACL in 2004), whether indoors at industry showcases (QRO photos at a festival) or outdoors at more traditional fests (QRO photos outdoors at a festival), to the point where they’re headlining (QRO photos headlining a festival).  Fronted by singer/guitarists Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning (QRO interview), this giant collective includes The Apostle of Hustle, Andrew Whiteman (QRO interview), Do Make Say Think’s Charles Spearin (QRO interview), and a rotating female vocalist spot that’s included Metric’s Emily Haines (QRO live review), Leslie Feist (QRO live review), and Land of Talk’s Elizabeth Powell (QRO interview). While the previous releases were ‘BSS Presents:’ albums focused on Drew (Spirit If…QRO review) and Canning (Something For All of Us…QRO review), last year’s Forgiveness Rock Record (QRO review) is a return to the Broken Social Scene (QRO photos outdoors at a festival), and their live show (QRO live review) has included everything from Spearin’s fascinating Happiness Project (QRO review) to the old ‘hits’ like “K.C. Accidental” (QRO video) and “Fire Eyed Boy” (QRO video) – as well as numerous guest stars (QRO photos outdoors at a festival).

Broken Social Scene
Broken Social Scene
Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM, AMD Stage 

New Mexico native Ryan Bingham straddles the down-home and more contemporary sides of the roots rock revival, most recently with this year’s Junky Star, and returns to Austin City Limits for a second year in a row with his backing band, The Dead Horses.

Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses
Chiddy Bang, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM, Google+ Stage 

Alt-hip-hop duo Chidera ‘Chiddy’ Anamege and Noah ‘Xaphoon Jones’ Beresin form Philadelphia’s Chiddy Bang.

Chiddy Bang
AWOLNATION, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM, Honda Stage 

The solo project of Aaron Bruno, formerly of Under the Influence of Giants and Hometown Hero, AWOLNATION (QRO live review) have been getting attention quickly.

The Airborne Toxic Event, 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM, Bud Light Stage

Mixing rock and orchestral is the über-grand Airborne Toxic Event (QRO photos).  The overwrought ensemble returns to ACL for the second time in three years.

Airborne Toxic Event
The Walkmen, 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM, AMD Stage 

A ‘Brooklyn veteran’ by now, The Walkmen (QRO live review) have grown from their more soused early days (QRO photos – which included a front-to-back cover of John Lennon & Harry Nilsson’s drunken weekend Pussy CatsQRO review) to a sadder, but more accomplished band (QRO photos) by 2008’s You & Me (QRO review).  Their live show (QRO live review) has similarly evolved (QRO photos at a festival), if losing some of that early fun, but certainly gotten classier (QRO live review).  But, even at festivals (QRO photos at a festival) or outdoors (QRO photos outdoors), they range nicely from barstool rockers like oldies “The Rat” (QRO video) and “Thinking of a Dream I Had” (QRO video) plus the new “The Blue Route” (QRO video) to sadder pint glass-raisers like older “Another One Goes By” (QRO video) and “Louisiana” (QRO video) plus the new “On the Water” (QRO video) from last year’s classy Lisbon (QRO review), made on site in Portugal (QRO live review in Europe).

The Walkmen
The Head and The Heart, 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM, Google+ Stage 

Very recently, things have been seriously booming for The Head and The Heart (QRO photos at a festival).  The Seattle alt-folk/pop band (QRO photos outdoors) was signed by Sub Pop, named their city’s best new band by Seattle Weekly, opened for everybody from Dave Matthews to Death Cab (QRO album review), and even played Conan (QRO Indie on Late Night TV)! 

The Head and the Heart
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM, Honda Stage

Detroit’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. combine electro-rock with endorsement patched jumpsuits (QRO photos) on this year’s debut, It’s a Corporate World (QRO review).

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
Mariachi El Bronx, 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM, AMD Stage 

Los Angeles’ hardcore act The Bronx (QRO photos) don their sombreros to become Mariachi El Bronx (QRO photos at a festival).

Mariachi El Bronx



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