So many bands to see and so little time…
Weekend 1 of Austin City Limits 2015 is officially here! With 130-plus artists representing every genre of music performing throughout the festival, there are plenty of fantastic bands at every turn. Here are a few top picks to help decide which sets to catch!
Leopold and his Fiction – Austin Ventures – Start off this year’s ACL fest strong by taking in this blues-infused up and coming rock band.
*Meg Myers – Samsung – With her angsty single Sorry quickly climbing the charts, Nashville singer-songwriter Myers is the second of two solid opening acts worth getting to the park early to see.
*Ruen Brothers – HomeAway – This rising brother duo is a little bit vintage pop, a lot a bit rock, and just what the festival needs to get kicked into gear. Anchored by brother Henry’s big melodies, the Ruen Brothers’ skillfully play homage to 60’s rock greats with aggressive guitar and drum beats while still managing to sound fresh. Excited to see these guys!
The Maccabees – Miller Lite – If you are looking for something slightly more low key, this London-based band’s indie rock/folk sound is perfect for easing into the afternoon. Throw down a blanket, grab a cold beer and enjoy!
Nate Ruess – Honda – Best known as the front man for Fun., singer/songwriter Nate Ruess quickly found success all on his own with his solo album released earlier this year, thanks to his unique voice and big anthem ballads. He doesn’t stray too far from Fun.’s successful formula so if you’re a fan of the band, you will like what Ruess brings to the table.
*Royal Blood – Samsung – While Ruess is no doubt the popular choice during this time slot, you will find me posted up at blues rock duo Royal Blood. They remind me a little bit of The Black Keys’ early albums with an edge, and generally speaking it’s a sound that translates well on stage at ACL.
I’ll be taking my first of many Austin EATS breaks around this time in lieu of the 3:00pm sets, but still plenty to see!
Cherub – Miller Lite – One can’t help but dance to this funk-infused pop duo, best known for last summer’s hit Doses & Mimosas. If you are just now arriving, this is a great way to get excited for a big afternoon to follow.
*Albert Hammond Jr. – HomeAway – Strokes fans will of course recognize rhythm guitarist Hammond, Jr. who is doing double duty during weekend 1 of this year’s fest. His recently released third solo album is reminiscent of the band that made him famous but slightly more refined and polished. It’s a great album and will be excellent to see live.
With so many great choices packed into the second half of Friday, deciding which sets to catch is no easy task. Grab some Austin Eats and a cold beer or two because you might not be able to pull yourself away for the rest of the evening!
Leon Bridges – Honda – As one of the biggest rising stars of the festival, crooner Bridges will likely draw quite a crowd and for good reason. His soulful 60s-inspired sound, combined with heartfelt songwriting, makes for a must-see set at this year’s fest.
*Billy Idol – Samsung – As one of the lucky few who scored tickets to Leon Bridges’ sell out late night show, you will find me Dancing with Myself (sorry) at the musical styling’s of the one and only Billy Idol.
*Run the Jewels – Miller Lite – Though I usually don’t like to try and dart from opposite ends of the park at this point in the day when the crowds are thick, I may have to make an exception for this energetic hip-hop duo.
Moon Taxi – Austin Ventures – For something a little less intense, indie alt-rock group Moon Taxi is a solid alternative. Known for their extensive touring schedule and fantastic live shows, the five-piece jam band was a highlight of SXSW two years ago, and certainly one set I wouldn’t hesitate to see again.
*Tame Impala – Samsung – Since breaking out in 2010, Tame Impala has consistently produced some of the more original music out on the market. Their psych pop/rock sound has evoked comparisons to the Flaming Lips and the Beatles and should be great to hear live. And with plans to catch either George Ezra or Gary Clark, Jr. at nearby stages in the next hour, sticking close by for Tame Impala is a no brainer for me.
Brandon Flowers – Honda – Fans of the rock group The Killers will remember the group’s well-received ACL performance a few years back. Now touring in support of his solo project, Killers front man Flowers will no doubt make for a solid choice thanks to his new wave pop sound and radio friendly library of singles.
With three solid and unique acts occupying the 7:00pm timeslot, deciding which to see is no easy task. I recommend deciding which headliner you plan to catch and go with the band playing at the stage closest to your final stop of the day.
*Gary Clark, Jr. – HomeAway –Austin’s native son and festival staple Gary Clark, Jr. is hard to pass up, especially since the rock and roll star is better than ever. And given the HomeAway stage’s close proximity to the Samsung stage, catching GCJ before Foo Fighters is a no brainer.
*George Ezra – Austin Ventures – English singer/songwriter Ezra is perfect for those looking for a little more folk with their blues-rock. If Gary Clark, Jr. is your guy, don’t worry; with his unique voice and talent way beyond his years, Ezra is a name I’d expect to see on festival line-ups for years to come.
Flosstradamus – Miller Lite – For those looking for plenty of lights and bass to get ready for Disclosure, look no further than the Miller Lite stage.
*Foo Fighters – Samsung – Though I love Disclosure, the Foo Fighters are a band I have wanted to see for quite some time having grown up listening to them over the years. David Grohl knows how to bring a house down, and this should be a great headlining act.
Disclosure – Honda – Known for their pop collaborations and futuristic funk sound, this electronic duo will be a fun and exciting way to cap off the day if you’ve had your fill of rock music.