With big names such as Kendrick Lamar, Radiohead and LCD Soundsystem headlining this year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival, it’s easy to forget there are a host of talented artists at the bottom of the bill. Although you might not be able to catch all their sets, here are some acts from the bottom four lines of Weekend Two’s bill that will make showing up early worth it.
- Friday 3:30–4:15 p.m.
- Tito’s Handmade Vodka Stage
Bombino, Niger-based musician and member of the nomadic Tuareg people, spreads Saharan culture through the universal language of rock ‘n’ roll. Bombino creates earthy and brooding rock and blues music. His gritty and psychedelic guitar playing mirrors the likes of Jimi Hendrix and the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach. His songs are characterized by undulating dance grooves and hypnotizing vocals. Bombino represents the new voice of the Sahara, fusing traditional African music with the excitement of rock.
Similar to: Tinariwen and Dirty Projectors
- Saturday 2:30–3:30 p.m.
- BMI Stage
After attending Berklee College of Music for one semester, Margaret Glaspy ran out of money. She dropped out but continued to sneak into master classes with her student ID. Her musical knowledge is evident on her 2016 album, Emotions and Math, where each recording is crisp, clean and urgent. Her songs are intimate and feature bluesy guitar complimented by her smoky, silvery vocals. Glaspy’s songs describe heartbreak and longing; on the opening track she cries out, “Counting all the days ‘til you’re back. Shivering in an ice cold bath of emotions and math.” Her penetrating lyrics and polished sound should make for a poignant set.
Similar to: Liz Phair and Mothers
- Sunday 11:30–12:15 p.m.
- Miller Lite Stage
Magna Carda is at the forefront of Austin’s budding hip-hop scene. After forming in 2012 at St. Edward’s in Austin, they’ve made soulful and lyrically dense music that draws heavily from Native Tongues artists such as A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul. The five-piece group’s production features jazz instrumentation, laid-back drums and subtle guitar which are all elevated by the intense lyricism of group leader, Megz Kelli, who touches on themes of peer pressure and cultural slavery. Their set on Sunday is the first of the day but will easily be one of the more memorable performances of the weekend.
Similar to: The Roots and Fugees
- Sunday 12:15–1 p.m.
- Honda Stage
Minneapolis-based rapper and singer Lizzo is a sharp-witted and fierce artist. Her 2015 album title, Big GRRRL Small World, references the feminist hardcore punk movement “riot grrrl.” Although she focuses on themes of feminism and black empowerment, her songs are certified pop hits. With lyrics such as, “Ridin’ in them chariots like we Ben Hur,” and “Where the hell my phone, huh? How I’m ‘posed to get home?” Lizzo is sure to bring her bubbly personality to her live set.
Similar to: Shamir and Little Simz
- Sunday 2:15-3:00 p.m.
- Tito’s Handmade Vodka Stage
Marlon Williams grew up in New Zealand listening to the Beatles and Mozart, but you’d never guess that after hearing his lush Americana music that draws heavily from country and bluegrass. Williams studied classical music at the University of Canterbury but found the curriculum too restricting, leading him to find other ways to show his musical aptitude. His self-titled album, released internationally this year, features narrative-driven atmospheric folk songs that are perfect for a Sunday afternoon.
Similar to: Damien Jurado and Margo Price