This morning, right at the stroke of midnight, the Austin City Limits Music Festival released the lineup for this year’s installment of the three day extravaganza. While the list is relatively solid, it featured very few surprises and left this reporter hoping that the selection of after shows will allow the have-nots to enjoy several of the bands in more intimate settings.
As the AV Club Austin pointed out yesterday (full disclosure: I contribute to the site), the June issue of Spin cited three acts, Kanye West, Stevie Wonder, and Arcade Fire, as headlining the fest with no evidence to support their claims. Turns out they didn’t need any prediction forums or announcement scratch-offs to prove they were right. The fact that all three acts appear on the bill first means that either: a) the people at Spin had someone deep undercover inside the C3 offices, or, b) they got really lucky with this one. All speculation aside, the headliners make perfect sense for the festival’s 10th anniversary. The festival organizers continue to turn the clock back even further with Wonder, West just came off of a whirlwind year that deserves a victory lap, and Arcade Fire are pretty much at the apex of their popularity (not to mention the fact that they put on an amazing live show). Each of these sets are bound to be packed, and they represent the most diverse set of headliners the festival has ever seen.
Plenty of other great bands have signed on for the festival, including Fleet Foxes, Cut Copy, TV on the Radio, The Walkmen, Elbow, Wild Beasts, Twin Shadow, The Antlers, Smith Westerns, Broken Social Scene, and Bright Eyes just to name a few. Also, past favorites like My Morning Jacket, Alison Krauss, Iron & Wine and (hey, look!) Coldplay have joined the party. Several other groups and artists are making their ACL debuts, and there is no doubt that James Blake, Cee Lo, Death From Above 1979, Big Boi, and Santigold will be big draws.
However, as I have explained before, festivals like ACL have their drawbacks. In addition to those grievances, three-day passes to this year’s festival sold out before a single band was announced. This leads most music lovers to hold out until the after shows are announced in September. Over the past couple of years, there have been great combinations of bands from the festival playing together at venues that are far more intimate and well suited for them (what I would have given to see Sonic Youth and Warpaint last year). Though tickets to these shows aren’t necessarily cheap, they serve as an opportunity for those not fortunate enough to afford a pass or a single-day ticket to see their favorite groups in their element. Here are a few bills that would make me forget that I (still) don’t have the means to experience the festival at least once:
TV on the Radio with Twin Shadow
The Walkmen with The Antlers
Elbow with Wild Beasts
Broken Social Scene with Death From Above 1979
Twin Shadow with Smith Westerns
A man can always dream… Until then, here’s something everyone can enjoy from one of the most puzzling choices for this year’s lineup: