Hard to believe, but Austin City Limits Music Festival turns 11 this weekend. Over the years, we’ve seen some ups and downs — the dust bowl, the mud bowl, the propane tank fire, Ben Kweller’s mysterious bloody nose — but the good times have easily outweighed the bad.
This year’s ACL lineup, featuring The Black Keys, Jack White, Neil Young and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, is arguably the best in a few years. A caravan of additional world-class musical acts round out the weekend-long party. Here are the top 10 acts you don’t want to miss.
Delta Spirit, AMD stage, 2:15 p.m. — One of the top buzz bands over the last few years, San Diego quintet Delta Spirit expanded their sound on their self-titled third album. Catch some of their kind-of-country, kind-of-beachy, kind-of-Brooklyn-y sound.
Alabama Shakes, Barton Springs Stage, 5:30 p.m. — Grab a turkey leg and maybe a tallboy (if you’re willing to wait) and head over to the Barton Springs stage to catch one of the busiest and most talked about bands of 2012. The Athens, Ala. southern soul revivalists released their debut album Boys & Girls in April to widespread acclaim. Since then, they’ve been touring to sold-out concert halls across the globe.
Soul Rebels Brass Band, Zilker Stage, 6 p.m. – It’s always frustrating when two bands you want to see are booked for the same time slot; fortunately the Zilker stage is just a stone’s throw away from the Barton Springs stage. After catching the Alabama Shakes, head over to see New Orleans’ Soul Rebels Brass Band. Fusing elements of funk, jazz, soul, hip-hop and drumline, the band is a classic example of why the Big Easy remains one of the world’s greatest music cities.
Metric, AMD Stage, 4 p.m. – Few bands have been more successful without the benefit of a label than Brooklyn-based indie-pop four piece Metric. “Help, I’m Alive” is one of the better indie-pop singles to come along in the last half-decade. It definitely has that radio-ready sound, but it also has a sinister edge and blow-the-speakers production reminiscent of MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular.
The Roots, Bud Light Stage, 6 p.m. — Hip-hop’s greatest live band returns to the ACL stage on break from their primary gig as the house band for “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” The best band on television (apologies to Jimmy Vivino and the Basic Cable Band) has also been one of the most prolific, releasing fourteen studio albums since 1993.
Jack White, AMD Stage, 8 p.m. — What do you do when you have two can’t-miss shows happening at the same time on different stages? Good question. It’s bad enough that the folks at C3 Presents put Delta Spirit and The War on Drugs on at the same time, but double-billing Jack White and Neil Young is just downright criminal. Here is one of the greatest artists of our generation in the prime of his career, fresh on the heels of an excellent solo debut.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Bud Light Stage, 8 p.m. — Neil’s the man. Seriously, one of the greatest musicians ever. Definitely the greatest Canadian ever. Expect him and his legendary garage band Crazy Horse to blow the roof off of the Bud Light stage Saturday night.
Gary Clark Jr. AMD Stage, 2:15 p.m. — In many ways, this may be the one show not to miss this weekend at ACL. Gary’s legend has simmered around Austin over the last 10 years, and later this month the supremely talented guitarist and soul singer’s major-label debut Blak and Blu hits shelves nationwide. The buzz is already palpable, and Gary certainly has the chops to match the ever-mounting hype. This could be one of the very last chances to say you “saw him when ...”
Iggy & the Stooges Bud Light Stage 6:15 p.m. — Old and haggard as they might appear, it’s just not every day that you get a chance to see a band as legendary as the Stooges. Iggy and company were the true progenitors of punk rock, laying out a blueprint for the sound with Raw Power in the early ‘70s. Forty years later, they’re still as wild and unpredictable as when they first started.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers Bud Light Stage, 8:15 p.m. — One of the most convulsion-inducing and widely-appealing bands of our time, the Red Hot Chili Peppers blasted onto the national scene in the early ‘90s and never let go. Over the years they’ve experimented and developed their sound but never lost the original fan base that made them punk-funk heroes to begin with.
Printed on Friday, October 12, 2012 as: Top 10 acts to watch at weekend festival