Austin City Limits 2012 Preview

<div> <a href="features/features/austin_city_limits_2012_preview/"><img src="" alt="Austin City Limits 2012 Preview" /></a> <br /> </div> <p> PBS' <i>Austin City Limits</i> has been the most reliable music showcase on television in America...
Austin City Limits 2012 Preview
Austin City Limits 2012 Preview

PBS’ Austin City Limits has been the most reliable music showcase on television in America for decades now (and not even that Big Bird-hating Mitt Romney can stop that…), and since 2002 its festival has been one of the most reliable music festivals in America – as well as one of the biggest & best.  2012 is no different, with a huge and diverse line-up, everything from iconic country stars to the newest in electronica, stadium-playing headliners to the most recent of up-and-comers, sex-tinged hip-hop to kids music – and more.

So head to Zilker Park Friday-Sunday, October 12th to 14th, for all your music needs:




AMD Stage

AVICII, 8:15 PM – 9:30 PM

Swedish DJ Avicii (QRO photos) was topping the charts last year in countries across Europe, and now is invading America (QRO photos headlining a festival in the U.S.), including performing with Madonna (QRO photos at that festival).

Weezer, 6:15 PM – 7:15 PM

While the new output from Weezer (QRO photos at a festival) like 2010’s Hurley (QRO review) and Death To False Metal (QRO review) or the previous year’s Raditude (QRO review) isn’t up to their nineties classics (and 2008’s red album-covered self-titled – QRO review – can’t hold a candle to the blue- and green-covered earlier Weezers – QRO blue Weezer live review – or PinkertonQRO deluxe edition review), they still play those nineties classics like “My Name Is Jonas” (QRO video), “Say It Ain’t So” (QRO video), “Buddy Holly” (QRO video), “No One Else” (QRO video), “Surf Wax America” (QRO video), “Falling For You” (QRO video), and “Dope Nose” (QRO video), which can even lift later pieces like “Islands In the Sun” (QRO video) and “Beverly Hills” (QRO video).  And their live show (QRO live review) – especially outdoors (QRO live review outdoors) headlining a festival (QRO photos headlining a festival).

And dude, Hurley (QRO photo)…

The Afghan Whigs, 4:15 PM – 5:15 PM

Greg Dulli’s soul-influenced rock group rocketed out of Cincinnati in the nineties, but broke up the same year Americans learned Afghans weren’t just blankets (with Dulli going on with his Twilight Singers – QRO photos at a festival).  But in 2011 not only did the group announce their reunion, but also that they would be curating All Tomorrows Parties in London (QRO photos) and America!

The Afghan Whigs
Delta Spirit, 2:15 PM – 3:15 PM

Out of San Diego comes the indie-Americana/soul of Delta Spirit (QRO photos), who return to ACL for the second time in a row (QRO photos at a festival), touring this year’s great self-titled record (QRO review).

Delta Spirit
Asleep at the Wheel, 12:30 PM – 1:15 PM

West Virginia-born, Austin-living Asleep At the Wheel having been bringing western swing since 1970, racking up not only nine Grammy Awards, but have also appeared at every single Austin City Limits Festival!

Asleep At the Wheel
Honda Stage

Thievery Corporation, 7:15 PM – 8:15 PM

D.C.’s multi-cultural electronic all-star duo of Rob Garza and Eric Hilton (QRO live review) bring not just their expansive, chill, globe-trotting signature sound (and some revolutionary ideals often missing in the ‘party time’, apolitical attitude of electronica), most recently with last year’s Culture of Fear (QRO review), but also an eye-opening live performance with a fifteen-person band and grand light show (QRO photos) – they’re not like other computerized acts that just press ‘Play’ and collect their check (and that’s why Austin City Limits invited them back for a fourth year).


Thievery Corporation

A-Trak, 5:15 PM – 6:15 PM

Montreal’s Alain Macklovitch – a.k.a. A-Trak – got notice when picked to be the personal DJ to none other than Kanye West (QRO album review), but has also produced for the likes of Lupe Fiasco (QRO photos at a festival) & Kid Sister (QRO photos at a festival), as well as his recent work with Armand Van Helden as Duck Sauce (QRO photos at a festival).

Ben Howard, 3:15 PM – 4:15 PM

English singer/songwriter Ben Howard (QRO live review) channels ‘60s & ‘70s folk, but keeps up with the times – he’s also got a great cover of “Call Me Maybe” (but will he play it live?…)

Ben Howard
First Aid Kit, 1:15 PM – 2:15 PM

Sweden’s woods-y sister act First Aid Kit (QRO photos) come to Austin City Limits Festival for a second year (QRO photos at a festival in Austin), now behind this year’s The Lion’s Roar (QRO review).

First Aid Kit
The Wombats, 11:45 AM – 12:30 PM

There are some acts that you can’t help but enjoy, and Liverpool’s The Wombats (QRO photos) are one.  The infectious electric sound of 2007 debut A Guide To Love, Lose & Desperation and songs such as “Moving To New York” (QRO video) and “Here Comes the Anxiety” (QRO video) was followed-up nicely last year with This Modern Glitch (QRO review), and songs like “Techno Fan” (QRO video) and “Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)” (QRO video).  One listen and you’ll realize you never knew you were a Wombats fan.

The Wombats
Austin Ventures Stage

M. Ward, 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Singer/guitarist M. Ward (QRO photos outdoors) has long been best-known for his work with others – first as guitarist for Bright Eyes (QRO live review), then with actress/singer Zooey Deschanel as She & Him (QRO live review), and then with Bright Eyes & more as alt-folk super-group The Monsters of Folk (QRO album review).  However, Ward is finally getting just as known for his accomplished artist work on his lonesome (QRO photos at a festival), most recently with 2009’s Hold Time (QRO review) and this year’s A Wasteland Companion (QRO review).


M Ward

Black Lips, 6:15 PM – 7:00 PM

A band better known for their live show than their records, that’s not just because of the relatively unimpressive recorded material like 2010’s 200 Million Thousand (QRO review) or last year’s Arabia Mountain (QRO review), but also due to their crazy mishmash of genres and styles on stage (QRO live review).  Atlanta’s The Black Lips’ wild live show includes everything from nudity to fireworks – and live animals (QRO photos at a festival) Montreal should hopefully let the boys let ‘er rip (QRO photos outdoors), but be rest assured their rabidly loyal fan base will still be crying out for more (QRO photos outdoors at a festival).

Black Lips
Trampled by Turtles, 5:00 PM – 5:45 PM

From frigid Duluth comes the warm jam-folk of Trampled by Turtles (QRO photos), who are hitting up a number of festivals this summer (QRO photos outdoors).

Trampled By Turtles

Jovanotti, 3:45 PM – 4:30 PM

LP, 2:30 PM – 3:15 PM

River City Extension, 1:20 PM – 2:00 PM

Quiet Corral, 12:20 PM – 1:00 PM 

Infantree, 11:20 AM – 12:00 PMQRO photos at a festival

BMI Stage

Patterson Hood, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Noted for his charming timbre, Patterson Hood has recently released his newest album, Heat Lightning Rumbles In the Distance.  He’s a southern boy from Georgia and has garnered a reputation as a great songwriter for his country styled vignettes with a rock twist.


Patterson Hood

Kenny Vaughan Trio, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Drawing influences from the jazz greats of Count Basie and Miles Davis, it would be hard to imagine for Kenny Vaughan to turn a complete U-turn straight into country music.  However his adept knowledge on the fretboard and for ‘50s styled country, is a testament to his likes of other musical virtuosos.

Kenny Vaughn Trio
Justin Jones, 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

Known for his heart- wrenching and soulful confections, Justin Jones has already performed with the likes of Ray Lamontagne and k.d. lang. He has released his debut album, Fading Light, and has been tour in support of it.



Colorfeels, 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

Megan McCormick, 11:15 AM – 12:00 PM

Justin Jones
Zilker Stage

Umphrey’s McGee, 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM

The ‘progressive improvisation’ of Umphrey’s McGee (QRO photos at a festival) combines the live ways of such hippie legends as Phish and The Dead, with often-changing set lists, heavy live jam sessions, fanatic fans recording.  Their more progressive-inspired music makes them a festival mainstay (QRO photos at a festival).


Umphrey's McGee

The Soul Rebels, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Inspired by the ubiquitous likes of James Brown and Frank Zappa, The Soul Brothers are a four piece band that reminiscence on the soul, funk, and blues era that defined music history.

The Soul Rebels

Lance Herbstrong, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM 

The Relatives, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Shields of Faith, 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM

Stapletones, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Lance Herbstrong
Barton Springs Stage

M83, 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM

How is it that France does such great atmospherics?  M83 (QRO live review) actually exceeded countrymen Air (QRO album review) with 2008’s Saturdays = Youth (QRO review), their most accessible electronica album to-date, and come Austin City Limits (QRO photos at a festival) for a second time (QRO photos), now behind Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (QRO review), which has led the band to bigger shows (QRO live review) and bigger stages (QRO photos) at bigger festivals (QRO photos at a festival) & more (QRO photos at a festival).



Alabama Shakes, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

Actually from Alabama, throwback rock ‘n’ rollahs Alabama Shakes (QRO photos at a festival) are well loved from their numerous, energetic live shows.

Alabama Shakes
Esperanza Spalding, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Before Bon Iver (QRO live review) won ‘Best New Artist’ Grammy and caused all the J Cole fans out there to tweet, “Who the fuck is Bunny Bear?”, Esperanza Spalding ticked off all the Bieber fans by beating him out for the 2011 ‘Best New Artist’ Grammy – and becoming the first-ever jazz artist to win the award (even if the winning record, Chamber Music Society, was her third…).  Since then things have gone very well for Ms. Spalding, becoming last year’s best-selling jazz artist with Chamber, playing the (far-superior-to-The Grammys) Academy Awards, and releasing her latest, Radio Music Society, earlier this year.


Esperanza Spalding

Patrick Watson, 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM

The surprise winner of Canada’s 2007 Polaris Music Prize with Closer to Paradise (QRO review – beating out the likes of Arcade Fire’s Neon BibleQRO review – and Feist’s The ReminderQRO review), Quebec’s Patrick Watson (QRO interview right before winning) still doesn’t have an American presence to match his in Europe, let alone north of the border – yet (QRO live review in America).  His predilection for disappearing & reinventing between records hasn’t helped, but he always delivers orchestral pieces of beauty, more recently with 2009’s Wooden Arms (QRO review) and this year’s Adventures In Your Own Backyard (QRO review).  And he’s got a live show (QRO live review) to make believers out of anyone, with everything from a grand piano to a backpack of megaphones with which to sing from the crowd with (QRO photos at a festival).



He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister, 11:45 AM – 12:30 PM – QRO photos at a festival

Patrick Watson
He's My Brother, She's My Sister
Bud Light Stage

The Black Keys, 8:30 PM – 10:00 PM

The blues-rock from guitar/drums duo of Dan Auerbach & Patrick Carney (QRO photos) sounds like it comes from the deepest (and blackest…) part of the South, but these two white men (QRO photos at a festival) hail from Akron, Ohio.  However, The Black Keys (QRO photos outdoors) are as gritty as anyone, whether on records like 2008’s Attack & Release (QRO review), or live (QRO photos at a festival), as depicted on the Live at Crystal Ballroom DVD (QRO review).  And their latest, Brothers (QRO review), channels all their inspirations into a great sound (QRO photos at a festival) that’s even better at a festival (QRO photos at a festival), as they hit Austin City Limits for the fourth time.


The Black Keys

Florence & The Machine, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Known for her yearning vocals and crooning howls (QRO photos), Florence & The Machine (QRO live review) have garnered the reputation of the world’s most renowned indie pop artists (QRO photos).  However, their singles “Shake It Out” and “You’ve Got The Love” from last year’s Ceremonials (QRO review) are only a short glimpse of her haunting soundscape (QRO photos).

Florence & The Machine
Tegan and Sara, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Identical twin sisters Tegan and Sara (QRO interview) Quinn emerged out of Calgary at a young age over a decade ago, and are coming back to Austin City Limits before the 2013 release of their seventh record, Heartthrob, after a hiatus following the end of their touring behind 2009’s Sainthood (QRO review).  The duo manages to combine both the mature songstress(es) style and today’s indie-rock (QRO live review).

Tegan & Sara
The War On Drugs, 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

Claimed to be “Best New Music,” by Pitchfork for their March album, Slave Ambient, The War on Drugs are often known for the jauntily confections of atmospheric guitars and rolling drums (QRO live review).  The Philly outfit has been on a constant touring schedule in support of the album and will stop by at Austin.

The War On Drugs
Los Campesinos!, 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

Los Campesinos! might just be QRO’s favorite band today (QRO spotlight on).  From catching their second-ever U.S. show (QRO review) to today’s bigger shows (QRO photos), from debut EP Sticking Fingers Into Sockets (QRO review) to last year’s Hello Sadness (QRO review), we’ve been deeply in love with the Cardiff collective (QRO live review).  We’ve interviewed nearly every member of the seven-to-eight person outfit, from lead singer Gareth Campesinos! (QRO interview) to sister & singer Kim (QRO interview), guitarists Neil (QRO interview) & Tom (QRO interview), bassist Ellen (QRO interview), and new drummer Jason (QRO interview) – even former singer Aleks (QRO interview – a favorite among favorites – QRO Tribute to Aleks Campesinos!) and former drummer Ollie (QRO interview).

Oh, and they’re also one of the best live bands out there (QRO live review), thanks to electric songs (QRO live review) like classics “We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives” (QRO video), “You! Me! Dancing!” (QRO video), and “My Year In Lists” (QRO video) to “International Tweexcore Underground” (QRO video), “Miserabilia” (QRO video), and “Romance Is Boring” (QRO video) to newest “By Your Hand” – and they’ve grown up into sad songs as well, like the excellent “The Sea Is a Good Place To Think About the Future” (QRO video) and newest “Hello Sadness”.  We need more Los Campesinos! (QRO photos at a festival) – it’s never enough! (QRO photos at a U.K. festival)


Los Campesinos!

Austin Kiddie Limits Stage

Ralph’s World, 3:30 PM – 4:00 PM

special guest, 3:15 PM – 3:30 PM

Orange Sherbet, 2:30 PM – 2:55 PM

Big Don, 1:30 PM – 1:55 PM

Rocknoceros, 12:30 PM – 12:55 PM

Hullabaloo, 11:30 AM – 11:55 PM

Ralph's World
Waterloo Autograph Tent

Alabama Shakes, 7:00 PM
Trampled By Turtles, 6:30 PM
Tegan and Sara, 5:45 PM
Esperanza Spalding, 5:00 PM
Umphrey’s McGee, 5:00 PM
Jovanotti, 5:00 PM
LP, 4:00 PM
Justin Jones, 4:00 PM
Delta Spirit, 3:45 PM
The Wombats, 3:00 PM
First Aid Kit, 2:45 PM
He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister, 2:45 PM
Alabama Shakes





AMD Stage

Jack White, 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM

The most famous artist in indie-rock, probably the most famous rock ‘n’ roller to emerge in a generation, you already know Jack White’s story (QRO photos) – married & broke-up with drummer Meg White, then formed The White Stripes (QRO live review) with her (pseudo-pretending to be brother-and-sister), massive success as a new generation of rock ‘n’ roll broke out at the start of this century/millennium, Meg’s meltdown, Jack’s work in other bands like The Raconteurs & The Dead Weather (QRO album review), The White Stripes’ final confirmed break up last year, and now Jack White’s solo record, Blunderbuss (QRO review).

White’s been on everything from The Simpsons to The Colbert Report (QRO Indie on Late Night TV), founded his own label, Third Man Records (that includes America’s favorite pundit as an artist), and Blunderbuss has hit #1 on the charts – so don’t expect to get anywhere near the stage unless you camp out there the night before (but hopefully he’ll play for longer than he did at his recent notorious Radio City Music Hall appearance – QRO live review)…

Jack White
The Shins, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

The Shins (QRO photos) are back!  The Shins are back!  The band (QRO live review) that caused Zach Braff (and the world) to fall in love with Natalie Portman in Garden State had one of the most-anticipated & best-received records of 2007 in Wincing the Night Away (QRO review).  Then the band (QRO photos) left label Sub Pop, and soon started losing members around main man James Mercer, who eventually put The Shins on hold to work with Danger Mouse as the middling Broken Bells (QRO album review).  But Mercer & whoever makes up the rest of The Shins (QRO photos at a festival) now are back, reclaiming their indie crown with this year’s great Port of Morrow (QRO review).  They’re once again playing big stages (and big shows, like Austin City LimitsQRO live review on Austin City Limits) and big festivals (QRO photos at a festival), including their third time at ACL Festival (QRO photos at a festival).

The Shins
Metric, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Is it wrong to resent a band for finally getting breakthrough success?  That question is always at the heart of any discussion regarding Toronto based band Metric (QRO live review) – love them or hate them (QRO photos at a festival), the quartet has done pretty well for themselves (QRO live review).  2009’s Fantasies (QRO review) earned them a couple of Juno awards, as well as shot listing for the prestigious Polaris Prize, two Canadian awards the band certainly no stranger to (QRO photos at a Canadian festival).  While they may be one of the more mainstream acts in indie today (QRO live review), they are undeniably a charismatic take on the pop/punk genre (QRO photos at a festival), and their growing fan base (QRO live review) reflects this over and over again (QRO photos) – including just playing Radio City Music Hall (QRO live review at Radio City).

Always a safe bet to tear up any stage (QRO live review), Metric comes to Austin City Limits (QRO photos at a festival) touring their highly anticipated new Synthetica (QRO review).  The band (QRO live review outdoors), fronted by singer/songstress extraordinaire – and your indie-rock crush – Emily Haines (QRO solo album review) is entirely capable of winning over the indie purist in all of us (QRO photos outdoors at a festival) with songs from the new single “Youth Without Youth” (QRO review) & team-up with Lou Reed “The Wanderlust” (QRO video with Reed) to Fantasies” “Sick Muse” (QRO video) & “Stadium Love” (QRO video) to older numbers like “Dead Disco” (QRO video), “Handshakes” (QRO video), “Help I’m Alive” (QRO video) & “Monster Hospital” (QRO video).

The Whigs, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Outta Athens, Georgia, The Whigs are starting their second decade of southern garage rock together.

The Whigs
DEV, 12:30 PM – 1:15 PM

The euro-pop influence is strong in this one.  DEV’s hooks are big and made for foam parties.  Although Austin City Limits isn’t planning any foam parties (or haven’t announced them) DEV’s set will be loud, proud, and it will be very hard to not dance (QRO photos at a festival).

Honda Stage

Bassnectar, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

A festival mainstay (including Austin City Limits 2009), Lorin Ashton (a.k.a. Bassnectar – QRO photos) brings the lights live (QRO photos at a festival) – as well as the hair… (QRO photos at a festival)

Big Gigantic, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Boulder’s Big Gigantic (QRO photos at a festival) mix (big) electronic beats with live drums and even live saxo-mo-phone.  Known to set crowds in a writhing heap of body parts (QRO photos at a festival), Big Gigantic (QRO photos at a festival) has been showcasing their electronic fervor all across the globe (QRO photos at a festival).  The band currently has a downloadable album off their website, and just played the popular Red Rocks Amphitheater.

Big Gigantic
Big K.R.I.T., 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

After making hip-hop music for nearly a decade, cacophonic hip-hop moniker, Big K.R.I.T., finally released his debut album, Live From the Underground, in the summer of 2012.  Working with artists such as ubiquitous Ludacris to the blues legend of B.B. King, Big K.R.I.T has gained his respect from an eclectic range of musicians.

Big K.R.I.T.
Zola Jesus, 1:15 PM – 2:00 PM

Goth-chill is very big these days, including acts like the blowing up Zola Jesus (QRO photos at a festival).  Fronted by the haunting Niki Roza Danilova, they seriously impressed with last year’s Conatus (QRO review).  They are, however, better suited for playing indoor classy places like museums (QRO photos at The Guggenheim), but unfortunately it’ll still be daylight when they play Austin City Limits (QRO photos outdoors in the daylight), not nighttime (QRO photos outdoors at a festival at night).

Zola Jesus
Caveman, 11:45 AM – 12:30 PM

Caveman (QRO photos at a festival) emerged out of one-half of the tricky to pigeonhole Subjects (QRO spotlight on) with this year’s similarly tough to categorize CoCo Beware (QRO review).

Austin Venture Stage

Steve Earle, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

San Antonio’s Steve Earle began playing guitar at age eleven, and hasn’t stopped since.  What he has done is become a major roots-country figure since his 1988 breakthrough Guitar Town, winning three Grammys and done everything from write a novel to play Bubbles’ drug counselor on The Wire (and is father to acclaimed-in-his-own-right Justin Townes Earle – QRO photos).  He comes to Austin City Limits Festival for a fourth time.

Steve Earle
Punch Brothers, 5:45 PM – 6:30 PM

Progressive bluegrass band Punch Brothers (QRO photos) have lately been hitting it big in today’s bluegrass revival, from festivals (QRO photos at a festival in Austin) to performing on Austin City Limits (QRO photos).

Punch Brothers
Michael Kiwanuka, 4:30 PM – 5:15 PM

Compared to the likes of Otis Redding and Randy Newman, Michael Kiwanuka is an acclaimed soul musician known for his confessional and incantatory songwriting.  He released his debut album, Home Again, on March 2012.

Michael Kiwanuka
Father John Misty, 3:15 PM – 4:00 PM

While a member of overrated folk outfit Fleet Foxes (QRO album review), guitarist Joshua Tillman found time to do his own solo stuff (QRO album review), but this year he moved to solo full-time as Father John Misty (QRO photos) with Fear Fun.

Father John Misty
Dry the River, 2:00 PM – 2:45 PM

English folk rock outfit Dry the River (QRO photos) hit up a ton of festivals last year in their native Blighty, and now come across the pond for this festival season.

Dry the River

Wheeler Brothers, 1:00 PM – 1:40 PM – QRO photos

Wild Child, 12:00 PM – 12:40 PM

Quiet Company, 11:15 AM – 11:45 PM

Wheeler Brothers
BMI Stage

Kishi Bashi, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Under the moniker of Kishi Bashi, K Ishibashi is a founding member of Jupiter One (QRO photos at a festival) and has worked with the likes of of Montreal (QRO live review) and Regina Spektor (QRO live review in Austin).  Wholly different from Jupiter One, Kishi Bashi composes whimsical tunes of psychedelic pop.



Space Capone, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Gardens & Villa, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PMQRO photos at a festival in Austin

Native Run, 12:30 PM – 1:15 PM

Nikki Lane, 11:15 AM – 12:00 PM – QRO photos

Kishi Bashi
Gardens & Villa
Nikki Lane
Zilker Stage

Antibalas, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Fusing the afrobeat sounds of percussion, trumpets, and clavinet, Antibalas the Afrobeat Orchestra (QRO photos outdoors) are known for their funkified confections.  They have been touring in support of their self-titled album, Antibalas, and come to ACL for a third time.

Lee Fields & The Expressions, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

Known for their soulful and R&B styled vignettes, Lee Fields and the Expressions is the collective from Brooklyn, NY (QRO photos outdoors in Brooklyn).  Drawing inspirations from the likes of Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield, it’s as if taking a trip down memory lane to the Motown Era.  They have toured across the world so make sure to catch them in Austin.

Lee Fields & The Expressions

La Vida Bohéme, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM 

Sonámbulo, 2:20 PM – 3:30 PM

The Baylor Choir, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Disciples of Joy, 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

La Vida Boheme
Barton Springs Stage

Gotye, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Wouter ‘Wally’ De Backer (QRO photos) was born in Belgium but grew up in Australia, resulting in a uniquely worldly and sophisticated sound as Gotye (as well playing drums in Melbourne’s The Basics).  But he (QRO photos) really hit it big this year with ultra-breakthrough “Somebody That I Used To Know” off of third record Making Mirrors (QRO review).  Currently on his second coast-to-coast U.S. tour (QRO live review on the West Coast), Gotye makes a rare festival appearance (QRO live review at a festival) at Austin City Limits.

Oh, and “Somebody That I Used To Know” (QRO video) guest vocalist Kimbra (see below) is also appearing at ACL, so look for the team-up that you used to know.



Band of Skulls, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

It’s rare to find those rock band gems that lay dispersed upon the barren desert that is the music industry.  Luckily, the Band of Skulls (QRO photos) is on of those few gems.  Rooted in the grit and thunderous distortion of classic rock, the Band of Skulls released their newest album, Sweet Sour, and have been touring in support of it.

Band of Skulls
Oberhofer, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Brad Oberhofer founded his namesake band (QRO photos at a festival) to perform live shows, but it’s turned into a regular gig as things have gotten bigger & bigger for the band (QRO photos outdoors) since releasing debut Time Capsules II earlier this year.

Bombay Bicycle Club, 1:15 PM – 2:00 PM

One of a growing stable of ‘club’ bands (see Two Door Cinema Club, below – Tokyo Police Club – QRO spotlight on), Crouch End’s Bombay Bicycle Club (QRO photos) alt-folk/rock got hot early on with “Evening/Morning” and debut LP I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose in 2009, but have already followed it up with Flaws in 2010 and A Different Kind of Fix, whose deluxe edition (QRO review) came out earlier this year (QRO photos at a festival).



The Deep Dark Woods, 11:45 AM – 12:30 PM

Bombay Bicycle Club
Bud Light Stage

Neil Young and Crazy Horse, 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM

One of the most critically acclaimed songwriters, Neil Young, is known for introspective vignettes with a folk twist.  Before splitting from Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, and then a couple of albums of solo work, Neil Young joined the folk-rock trio of Crazy Horse, and this year he’s returned to the Crazy Horse with Americana (QRO review).

Neil Young
The Roots, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

The ‘best band in late night’ headlines the Bigfoot Stage at Sasquatch!!  Black Thought & ?uestlove’s outfit (QRO photos at a festival) has met with critical and popular acclaim for years now, fusing hip-hop and jazz into an original & enjoyable package, along with collaborating with just about anyone you can name.  Two years ago, the group (QRO photos outdoors) signed on as the house band for the new Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (QRO Indie on Late Night TV), and while this limited their touring (QRO photos at a festival in New York), not so their records, most recently with last year’s Undun (QRO review).  And the Philly natives, when not slow-jamming the news with President Obama, find the time to come to Austin City Limits (QRO photos outdoors).

The Roots
Andrew Bird, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Chicago multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird (QRO live review) plays everything from guitar to whistle, but is best known for his impressive violin work (QRO photos), which manages to be both timely and timeless (QRO photos) on such albums as Armchair Apocrypha (QRO review), Noble Beast, and this year’s Break It Yourself.  Bird (QRO photos) comes to Austin City Limits Festival for the fourth time (QRO photos outdoors).

Andrew Bird
Rufus Wainwright, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

From the acclaimed musical family of Wainwrights, Rufus Wainwright (QRO photos) makes beautiful pop music that includes his flair for the operatic (QRO photos, singing his opera).  He comes to Austin City Limits (QRO photos at a festival) behind this year’s Out of the Game (QRO review) his first since 2010’s All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu (QRO review).

Rufus Wainwright
Civil Twilight, 12:30 PM – 1:15 PM

Civil Twilight (QRO photos at a festival) is a trio originally all the way from Cape Town, South Africa.  The three lifelong friends, brothers Steven and Andrew McKellar and Richard Wouters, have been playing music together since they were teenagers, emulating the rock music they heard coming out of Europe and America.  Currently based in Nashville, Twilight’s music is composed of emotional vocals and stirring alt-rock song craft.  While much of their inspiration comes from American and British artists you can still hear a bit of Africa in Steve McKellar’s lyrics.  The band’s name comes from that in between time, not quite daylight, not quite darkness, but rather a shifting shade of gray.

Civil Twilight
Austin Kiddie Limits Stage

special guest, 3:15 PM – 3:30 PM

Hullabaloo, 2:30 PM – 2:55 PM

Orange Sherbet, 1:30 PM – 1:55 PM

Jambo, 12:30 PM – 12:55 PM

Rocknoceros, 11:30 AM – 11:55 PM

Orange Sherbet
Waterloo Autograph Tent

Punch Brothers, 7:00 PM
Lee Fields & The Expressions, 7:00 PM
Metric, 6:30 PM
Band of Skulls, 6:30 PM
Michael Kiwanuka, 5:45 PM
Oberhofer, 4:30 PM
Father John Misty, 4:30 PM
The Whigs, 4:00 PM
Rufus Wainwright, 3:30 PM
Dry The River, 3:30 PM
Zola Jesus, 2:30 PM
Wheeler Brothers, 2:15 PM
Civil Twilight, 1:45 PM
Caveman, 1:15 PM
Punch Brothers


AMD Stage

The Avett Brothers, 6:15 PM – 7:30 PM

One of the bigger – and better – hits of today’s new Americana (QRO photos at a festival), The Avett Brothers (QRO photos) won a wide audience with 2009’s fine country of I and Love and You (QRO review), including playing on The Grammys with Bob Dylan, and now come to Austin City Limits for a second time, with follow-up The Carpenter (QRO review).

The Avett Brothers
The Civil Wars, 4:15 PM – 5:15 PM

Like a classy, dueting Bon Iver (QRO live review), things have blown up very fast for The Civil Wars (QRO photos) – including their own pair of Grammys in 2012 (Best Country Duo/Group Performance and Best Folk Album).  And while Joy Williams & John Paul White haven’t yet appeared on SNL (yet…), they have on Austin City Limits (QRO photos on Austin City Limits).

The Civil Wars
Gary Clark Jr., 2:15 PM – 3:15 PM

Austin’s Gary Clark Jr. (QRO photos at a festival in Austin) is the latest artist to be said to be ‘bringing blues back’ – when did it ever leave?  And if it did, it’s surely come back many times since then (just look at Jack White – see above) – and this is his fifth appearance at Austin City Limits Music Festival.

Gary Clark Jr.
The Boxer Rebellion, 12:15 PM – 1:15 PM

London-based (though includes an Australian & Tennessean) The Boxer Rebellion (QRO live review) have been nicely and impressively channeling Anglo tragedy for three self-released yet successful records, Exits, Union (QRO review), and most recently last year’s The Cold Still (QRO review).

The Boxer Rebellion
Honda Stage

Crystal Castles, 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Most electronic acts are restrained on stage, even when their crowd is going nuts, but the duo of Ethan Kath & Alice Glass (QRO live review) match their audience’s fervor – which has gotten them booted from more than one stage, especially at festivals (QRO photos at a festival).  So even if you fall on the ‘hate’ side of this love-them-or-hate-them act (from Canada, surprisingly…), show up for the spectacle… (QRO live review)

Crystal Castles
Die Antwoord, 5:15 PM – 6:15 PM

In this day & age, it can be hard to for an act to truly surprise, but Die Antwoord (QRO photos) have done it.  Not only South African but Afrikaans (the descendants of the Dutch settlers who instituted & later repealed apartheid), vocalist Ninja & Yo-Landi Vi$$er took the internet by storm with a baffling mix of rave & hip-hop, English & Afrikaans in “Enter the Ninja” and 5 EP (QRO review).  They’ve followed up earlier this year with Ten$sion (QRO review), and have been baffling minds & blowing them away (QRO photos at a festival) while stealing the show (& shedding clothes) wherever they go (QRO photos outdoors at a festival).

Die Antwoord
Poliça, 3:15 PM – 4:15 PM

Minneapolis indie/electronic/R&B outfit Poliça (QRO photos at a festival) have been getting serious attention recently (and not just for the ‘ç’…).

Freelance Whales, 1:15 PM – 2:15 PM

Seriously blowing up (QRO photos at a festival) are multi-instrumentalist alt-folksters Freelance Whales (QRO photos), whose packed shows (QRO photos outdoors) created real interest (QRO photos at a festival) in debut Weathervanes (QRO review), and songs like “The Great Estates” (QRO video).

Freelance Whales
The Features, 11:30 AM – 12:15 PM

Southern alt-rock shall rise again, if The Features (QRO live review) have anything to say about it.  After a failed major label run, the Tennesseans returned to self-releasing for 2004’s Exhibit A and 2008’s Some Kind of Salvation (QRO review), but have since been picked up by friends (and tour-mates) Kings of Leon (QRO photos on tour with The Features) with last year’s great Wilderness (QRO review).

The Features
Austin Ventures Stage

Randy Rogers Band, 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Known for his charming Southern drawl and country confections, Randy Rogers is noted to be one of the best country songwriters to take root in Texas.  He has yet to release an album since 2010 but has released two singles, “Last Last Chance”, and “One More Sad Song”.


Randy Rogers Band

Old 97’s, 6:15 PM – 7:00 PM

Old 97’s helped forget the alt-country sound-scene in the nineties alongside the likes of The Drive-By Truckers (QRO album review) and proto-Wilco (QRO live review) Uncle Tupelo, and have just kept on truckin’ ever since, up to ten albums with last two year’s The Grand Theatre, Volume One and Two.  They return to Austin City Limits Festival for their fourth time.

Old 97's
The Lumineers, 5:00 PM – 5:45 PM

Folk trio from Colorado, The Lumineers are known for their songs riddled with cello, mandolin, acoustic guitar, and charming vocals.  Their songs are jauntily and nonabrasive tunes with a sing-along vibe.  The have been touring in support of their spring self-titled release.

The Lumineers

Bad Books, 3:45 PM – 4:30 PMQRO live review

The Devil Makes Three, 2:30 PM – 3:15 PM

Moon Duo, 1:20 PM – 2:00 PM

Kopecky Family Band, 12:20 PM – 1:00 PM

The Eastern Sea, 11:20 AM – 12:00 PM

Bad Books
BMI Stage

Willis Earl Beal, 6:15 PM – 7:15 PM

There is a certain timeless quality to Willis Earl Beal’s music. Whether it is his abrasive timbre or booming croons, Willis Earl Beal (QRO photos at a festival) is reminiscent to the cathartic blues of the ‘50s like Howling Wolf.  It’s revolutionary.

Willis Earl Beal

The Dunwells, 4:15 PM – 5:15 PM

Lera Lynn, 2:15 PM – 3:15 PM

Royal Teeth, 12:15 PM – 1:15 PM

Noah Gundersen, 11:05 AM – 11:50 AM

The Dunwells
Zilker Stage

Barrington Levy, 7:15 PM – 8:15 PM

Marked for his heavily influenced reggae hits, Barrington Levy has released a slew of successful albums that reap of jazz influences as well.  Make sure to catch his set at ACL.

Barrington Levy

Ruthie Foster, 5:45 PM – 6:45 PM

Thundercat, 4:15 PM – 5:15 PM

The Aaron Ivey Band, 2:45 PM – 3:45 PM

The Mighty Sincere Voices, 1:15 PM – 2:15 PM

G.S.T., 11:45 AM – 12:45 PM

Barton Springs Stage

Childish Gambino, 7:15 PM – 8:15 PM

The world is littered with rappers trying their hand at acting, and actors trying their hand at rapping (to say nothing of sports stars trying both) – with usually poor results.  Standing out from that crowd is Childish Gambino (QRO photos), a.k.a. Donald Glover of NBC’s great Community.  Joel McHale ain’t the only one with a second job – but will Danny Pudi (QRO photo) or Alison Brie (QRO photos) be there?

Childish Gambino
The Weeknd, 5:15 PM – 6:15 PM

Check out the latest highly hyped alt-hip-hop star, Canada’s own The Weeknd (QRO photos at a festival).

The Weeknd
Tennis, 3:15 PM – 4:15 PM

The indie-pop of Denver’s Tennis (QRO photos at a festival) is as cute as the husband-and-wife duo, though a little lightweight for Austin City Limits (QRO photos at a festival).

Stars, 1:15 PM – 2:15 PM

2008’s In Our Bedroom After The War marked a proverbial fork in the road moment for Montreal’s Stars (QRO photos).  While the band was still pumping out high quantities of admirable, very layered pop songs, their swooning ballads were a little too close to becoming overindulgent and underwhelming.  With 2010’s The Five Ghosts (QRO review) and now this year’s The North, the band took the road less traveled, proving their pop relevance and then some.  Known for the powerfully energetic shows (QRO live review), Stars are set to mesmerize festivalgoers (QRO photos at a festival).



alt-J, 11:30 AM – 12:15 PM – QRO photos at a festival

Bud Light Stage

Red Hot Chili Peppers, 8:15 PM

How can you be into music and not know the Red Hot Chili Peppers?  RHCP (QRO photos) emerged from the same sweaty Los Angeles eighties music scene that gave birth to Jane’s Addiction (QRO live review), and the Peppers mix alt-rock with the funkified bass of the one-and-only Flea plus the sexy energy of singular frontman Anthony Kiedis.  Along with drummer Chad Smith and guitarist John Frusciante, the band racked up awards and record sales with such classics as Mother’s Milk, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, “Higher Ground”, “Under the Bridge”, and much more.  Frusciante left in 1992 to be replaced by Jane’s Addiction’s own Dave Navarro, before Frusciante returned in 1999 for the band’s biggest selling record ever, Californication.

More recently, Frusciante has left again, to focus on his solo work (QRO review), replaced by upgraded touring guitarist Josh Klinghoffer for last year’s I’m In You (QRO review).  Ain’t nothin’ stoppin’ the Red Hot Chili Peppers!


Red Hot Chili Peppers

Iggy & The Stooges, 6:15 PM – 7:15 PM

If there is such a thing as ‘post-punk’, then there’s also ‘proto-punk’, and no act more paved the way for the raw rock explosion than Iggy & The Stooges (QRO photos at a festival).  Fronted by the iconic Iggy Pop, they’d burned the candle at both ends before there was any “Anarchy In the U.K.”, but reunited in 2003 (QRO photos at a festival) – and the only non-original Stooge in the twenty-first century line-up is the iconic-in-his-own-right Mike Watt (QRO photos – Minutemen, fIREHOSE).  They even survived 2009’s death of legendary guitarist Ron Asheton, by bringing back other original guitarist, James Williamson, and kept on going (QRO photos).

Iggy & The Stooges
Two Door Cinema Club, 4:15 PM – 5:15 PM

Hailing from Northern Ireland, but debuting on French label Kitsuné (QRO photos at a festival in France), Two Door Cinema Club (QRO live review) have made a splash in America (including ACL 2010) with songs like “What You Know” (QRO video) and “I Can Talk” (QRO video), as well with breakthrough debut Tourist History (QRO review) & this year’s follow-up Beacon (QRO review) – so come to da Club (QRO photos at a festival).

Two Door Cinema Club

South Carolina’s NEEDTOBREATHE (QRO photos) began on the Christian music charts but have since moved to rock with last year’s The Reckoning (QRO review) – as well as opening for Taylor Swift (QRO photos) last year as well (QRO photos).

Kimbra, 12:15 PM – 1:15 PM

While she’s only just getting known in the States (QRO live review) thanks to contributing vocals on “Someone I Used To Know” by Australia’s Gotye (see above), New Zealand’s Kimbra (QRO photos on tour with Gotye) is already well known down under, as her debut Vows charted in ANZAC (QRO photos at an Australian festival) – and now America (QRO photos at a festival).

Austin Kiddie Limits Stage

Ralph’s World, 4:05 PM – 4:30 PM

special guest, 3:50 PM – 4:00 PM

Peter DiStefano & Tor, 3:15 PM – 3:45 PM

The School of Rock, 2:30 PM – 2:55 PM

The Q Brothers, 1:30 PM – 1:55 PM

Jambo, 12:30 PM – 12:55 PM

Big Don, 11:30 AM – 11:55 AM

School of Rock
Waterloo Autograph Tent

Ruthie Foster, 7:15 PM
The Lumineers, 6:15 PM
The Dunwells, 5:45 PM
Two Door Cinema Club, 5:45 PM
Bad Books, 5:00 PM
Tennis, 4:45 PM
Randy Rogers Band, 4:00 PM
Stars, 2:45 PM
Freelance Whales, 2:45 PM
Royal Teeth, 1:45 PM
The Features, 1:00 PM
alt-J, 1:00 PM
The Eastern Sea, 12:30 PM
Two Door Cinema Club



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