10 Must-See Artists at 2011 Austin City Limits Festival

10 Must-See Artists at 2011 Austin City Limits Festival

Gillian Welch @ Tipitina's - 8/11/11 - Photo © Julia Pretus

@ Tipitina's - 8/11/11 - Photo © Julia Pretus

Alas, weekend is upon us. As is generally the case with these monster fests, the amount of talent we’ll be seeing in Zilker Park is hard to fathom and my currently aggressive plan of attack will undoubtedly vary greatly from what actually occurs over the next four days. Deviations will occur – late-afternoon fatigue sets in, the inconvenience of meal breaks invokes a necessary break in the action (Taco City Limits – does that exist? If not, it should), a walk to one show is interrupted by a detour to another where “______ is supposedly coming out with _____,” (Jay-Z with Kanye? Just sayin…) or I become entranced by a legendary dance performance I’ll tell my kids about. Nevertheless, these detours from the schedule are what generally lead to the best festival discoveries, so if I could offer one bit of advice it would be to stay flexible. LMB main editor Justin Ward is also in Austin from San Fran to cover the festival so we’ll hopefully find some time to report back as the weekend goes on and you can expect a fair amount of coverage from both pages next week. For more realtime updates, follow along on Twitter @LMBNOLA. Without further adieu, continue on for brief descriptions of our 10 can’t miss artists, a video from each and set times at the festival. As for me, I’m looking forward to the epic hipster-watching that is sure to ensue at the Austin airport later this afternoon.

Friday, September 16

Avg age of artists featured for Day One is approx. 23.6 years – The Future Is Bright

:: 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m. :: Google+

Get out there early kiddies. Athens, GA’s Futurebirds are in the first wave of bands performing at Zilker on Friday morning and will be gearing it up before noon. The ‘Birds are nothing new to the lofty responsibility of cutting a stage’s ribbon at a major festival after kicking things off in That Tent last month at Bonnaroo in front of an estimated 4,000 early comers (they did not disappoint). The band is comin’ in hot from a killer show in New Orleans alongside J. Roddy Walston & The Business on Tuesday night in New Orleans and will also be performing at the ACL Kick-Off Party tonight at Emo’s with J. Roddy and Delta Spirit. Should be a real shit-kicker.

Futurebirds – Ski Chalet (Live from Bonnaroo 2011)

:: 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. :: Bud Light

This dude came across my radar this summer after reading this article about his four-star debut LP Timez Are Weird These Days. The man is a rising star, and at 23 the possibilities for growth for this Trinidad native are without bounds. Very much looking forward to seeing what he’s all about on the live stage. With Delta Spirit, Big Boi, NAS, Damian Marley and Kanye West following, a lazy fan could conceivably park it in front of the Bud Light stage all day Friday and see a helluva slate.

Theophilus London – Last Name London (Live on Jimmy Kimmel Live)

Reptar :: 1:20-2:00 p.m. :: Austin Ventures

Yet another youthful bunch from the Classic City, Reptar has quickly built quite a name for themselves and their first major release Oblangle Fizz Y’all (Vagrant Records) has been well-received critically. Following this gig, the dinosaur band that could will be hopping on the road with Cults and Foster The People for a string of dates, something that has undoubtedly de-prioritized the completion of college for the time being. These guys are the real deal, cross-pollinating the rock vocals that helped propel Modest Mouse over the last decade with the psychbeat weirdness of an Animal Collective or similarly tweaked out troupes to produce a powerful narcotic sound that’ll zone you into the bounce early. Blast Off with Reptar.

Reptar – Stuck In My Id by VagrantRecords

Reptar – Blast Off

Day Two: Saturday, September 17

@ Bonnaroo 2011 - Photo by Brad Hodge

We’re beyond psyched to see My Morning Jacket headline another 2011 mega fest and those who haven’t had the chance to see Stevie Wonder should definitely go see the living legend rock Zilker Park, but if you’re reading this, chances are you don’t need any convincing to see either of Saturday night’s headliners. So here are four artists that perhaps weren’t on your custom schedule for Saturday’s Day Two.

Twin Shadow :: 1:15-2:00 p.m. :: Google+

Twin Shadow was one of the bigger success stories of 2010 in the indie rock nebula, releasing the widely praised debut LP Forget on Chris Taylor’s (Grizzly Bear) Terrible Records imprint after George Lewis Jr. caught the artist’s attention with his early demos. Lewis is also playing a DJ set aftershow the night before with Cut Copy at Emo’s Outside. Twin Shadow made some serious waves at this summer’s Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival with their mid-evening Thursday night set and Lewis’ narcotic and atmospheric vocal style should help ease those still weary from Day One back into festive spirits. That and a good taco.

Twin Shadow – Tyrant Destroyed (Live – Bonnaroo 2011)

J. Roddy Walston & the Business :: 2:00-3:00 p.m. :: Bud Light

Organic, genuine and raw rock-and-roll music is in sparse supply these days and these guys pack that old familiar sound high with soaring harmonies and grinded-out riffs that are great on record, and having not seen them myself, these songs sound like they were fit to boom out with tenfold emphasis in the live setting, without the restraints of knowing that a studio retake is an option. Oh yeah, these guys absolutely blew the gaskets out of One Eyed Jack’s in the French Quarter on Tuesday night, instantly claiming fans in droves and making these guys a can’t miss band, not only this weekend, but any time they are within striking distance.

J. Roddy Walston & The Business – Brave Man’s Death (Live at Lollapalooza 2011)

Gillian Welch and Wanda Jackson (split) :: 5:30-6:30 p.m. :: Austin Ventures and Vista Equity

The Duchess of Americana v. The Queen of Rockabilly. This is one of those instances where splitting time is an absolute necessity in order to see two can’t-miss artists. Both ladies serve as torchbearers for their respective genres and have gained their respective hordes of adoring fans by staying true and following their chosen stylistic muse. Welch starts 15 minutes before Jackson, so a start at the Vista Equity stage is probably the best move before a scoot over to catch the latter half of Jackson’s rockin’ set. Jackson has been touring with ADELE this fall and Welch stopped in a couple weeks ago for a show at Tipitina’s.

Wanda Jackson w/ Jack White – Shakin’ All Over

Gillian Welch – Tiny Desk Concert

Sunday, September 18th

's Win Butler @ Jazz Fest 2011 - Photo by Jimmy Grotting

Go here for Day 1 and here for Day 2

With Gary Clark Jr.’s amazing show Sunday show at House of Blues and last night’s FUTUREBIRDS/J. Roddy Walston and the Business bill at One Eyed Jack’s, the mini-ACL that goes on here in New Orleans every year on ACL week has already begun (also, ACL performers Pretty Lights and Chromeo will be in town this weekend). Although we’ve featured mostly lesser-known artists for Days One and Two on here, for Sunday, it feels necessary to endorse the rare American festival sets of Manu Chao and and the fact that Arcade Fire may be disappearing for a bit after an extremely busy year of major shows headlining Coachella, Jazz Fest, Bonnaroo and now ACL, and that’s just in the United States. Continue on for artist videos, set times and a quick blurb to hopefully gear you up for these three major shows on the festival’s final day.

MANU CHAO & LA VENTURA :: 6:30-7:30 p.m. :: AMD Stage

One of the best daytime sets I’ve ever seen at a music festival was Manu Chao’s performance in the sweltering Tennessee heat at Bonnaroo in 2007. In what will surely be similar circumstances playing for a weary late-festival crowd, this is one of the few artists in the world to absolutely blow it out of the water and get the crowd moving like it’s Friday afternoon.

RANDY NEWMAN :: 7:30-8:30 p.m. :: Vista Equity

Not too many 5-time GRAMMY Award winners in the bunch. Along with Stevie Wonder, Newman is in rare territory at this fest as far as critical accolades go. Not positive here, but I’m guessing this is also Newman’s first time playing at the ‘Big 4’ of American alternative music festivals (Bonnaroo, Coachella, Lollapalooza and ACL), which will surely make this a first-time show for a lot of folks in attendance (including yours truly).

I Love L.A. (Live at Jazz Fest)

Arcade Fire :: 8:30-10:00 :: Bud Light

Not much to say here other than the fact that AF’s May Jazz Fest set was one of the best and most energetic shows I’ve ever seen and that these guys are 100% deserving of all the huge bookings, Grammy Awards and high praise thrown their way over the last 9 months. Also, if the balloon drop at Coachella (see below) or Cyndi Lauper’s appearance at Jazz Fest are any indication, there’s no telling what’s in store for this festival-closing set, a performance that also happens to be the final U.S. date listed in 2011. Stick it out on Sunday and complete this last piece of your ACL puzzle.

Arcade Fire – Wake Up (Live at Coachella 2011)

September 15, 2011 |  by  |  Festivals, Jazz Fest, Previews
About the author

Wesley grew up in coastal Georgia and is a former resident of The Music City and The Big Easy where he helped get LMB NOLA off-the-ground after launching in January 2011. Over the past few years, he has also contributed steadily to JamBase and Relix Magazine. Recently, Hodges moved on to L.A. where Abita Beer is hard to find, costs about $6 if located and impromptu parading in the streets will most likely get you arrested on the spot.

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