One of the largest and most popular festivals in the country, Austin City Limits Festival descends on the music capitol of the world this week for three days of pure musical bliss. Now in its 11th year, the festival grows bigger and better each year, showcasing world-class acts from all genres of music, both local and from across the world. Both 3-Day Passes and Individual Day Passes are all sold out, so the park will be absolutely bustling! Each day is jam-packed with so many great bands, many of which are happening at the same time. It’ll be a tough decision sometimes which to watch (Jack White vs. Neil Young is the toughest personally), but here’s a rough guide of must-see bands for the weekend.
Delta Spirit – This band may have played the festival last year, but after slew of breakout performances this year at SxSW, their appearance this year is more hotly anticipated than ever.
Thievery Corporation – There are so many awesome bands performing around this time, but hands down the can’t miss act are these guys. Every performance has so much energy, crowd participation and with a little luck, will turn out to be the biggest dance party of the night.
Black Keys – with their incendiary mix of raucous rock and gritty blues, this Akron, Ohio duo close Friday even in what is sure to be a hip-shaking, rambunctious fashion.
Black Keys’ “Gold On The Ceiling”
Zola Jesus – Sometimes stark and haunting indie pop, other times border on goth or witch house, Zola Jesus is a unique artist, crafting music that inhabits its own isolated universe. It’s the kind of music for late nights or rainy days, so it will be fascinating to see how it translates to a live festival setting.
Metric – Don’t get me wrong, Andrew Bird is a fantastic performer and if he wasn’t such a ACL Fest staple, it would be him without question. But Metric have a spry kinetic energy to their music and live performances that will be the perfect jolt for a Saturday afternoon, full of people dancing and bobbing along to the music.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse – It’s tough to recommend this over the incredible Jack White, but Mr. Young is a living legend, penning some of the best and most-enduring rock songs of all time. His voice still sounds great and with the enigmatic Crazy Horse in tow, you never know what they’re going to do. Maybe we’ll get lots of songs, maybe we’ll get 10-20 minute jams on classics like “Down By The River.” You never know. Regardless of what they play, this will be one to remember.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse’s “Oh Susannah”
Kimbra – Best known for her vocals contributed to Gotye runaway hit “Somebody I Used To Know,” this lady has great music of her own and is worth making it to the festival early to catch.
Tennis – This female-fronted indie group are the perfect music for a Sunday afternoon, playing breezy and fun sing-along that could make anybody smile.
Iggy and the Stooges – These guys are absolute legends. Their songs have appeared in countless films and TV shows and are known for their wild stage performances. Hear one of the seminal rock bands that have been dubbed the “Godfathers of Punk” in what will no doubt be an unforgettable show.
Iggy and the Stooges’ “Search and Destroy”
There’s more to this festival than just music! There’s tons of local vendors supplying great tasting food and of course there’s your usual alcohol vendors but new this year is a specialty beers vendor, providing some quality drinks for those willing to fork over the cash. There’s a village of tents for shopping for all sorts of clothing and other miscellaneous items. Kids aren’t forgotten either, with “Austin Kiddie Limits” providing activities and children’s music for the wee ones. For those sports fans who need to watch a game or at least check the scores, there’s a tent for that. This festival goes to great lengths to ensure that every type of festival goer is accommodated to have the best time possible.
Late Night Rockin’
Three full days of music isn’t enough for you? Well then, there are plenty of late shows happening through the weekend after festival hours! Most of the mid-size to larger bands preforming at the festival are having individual shows for those that want more than shortened festival set or for the other people in town who don’t want the hassle of the festival crowd but still want to see some good music. Check out the Official ACL Music Festival Late Night Shows here. Many shows are sold out but there are still tickets for some amazing shows!
Be sure to follow ACL Festival on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for plenty of pics, information and other festival-related goodness to experience some great moments if you can’t be there. Even better than that, fans worldwide who can’t make it to Zilker Park can still enjoy the ACL experience on YouTube. The live Webcast, powered by DELL, will feature Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Black Keys, Jack White, The Roots, Bassnectar, Thievery Corporation, The Shins and many more. Catch the action at the Official ACL Festival 2012 Webcast.
Jarad Matula | Senior Writer