ACL: Best of the bottom of Weekend One's bill

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of Evan Croker

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 three lines of Weekend One’s bill that will make showing up early worth it.

Bayonne
Friday 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Miller Lite Stage

Austin-based Roger Sellers has been performing under the alias Bayonne for the last year. Working with a plethora of pedals, keyboards, synths and mixers, he creates textured and often percussive electronic tracks. His debut album, Primitives, came out earlier this year, and the high energy of his live set makes him a must-see. 

Similar to: Dan Deacon and Animal Collective

Julien Baker
Friday 6–7 p.m.
BMI Stage

Julien Baker came up in the Memphis underground with her band Forrister, but when her most recent songs didn’t fit with their rockier sensibilities, she decided to go solo. Her latest album, Sprained Ankle, which she released under her real name, spotlights her cathartic songwriting ability and highlights themes of substance abuse and religion. With lyrics such as, “Wish I could write songs about anything other than death,” Baker’s music can be emotionally devastating, and when paired with her beautiful voice and stark instrumentals, her set Friday evening promises to be an emotional whirlwind.

Similar to: Waxahatchee and Eskimeaux

Kamaiyah
Saturday 1:45–2:30 p.m.
Tito’s Handmade Vodka Stage

Oakland rapper Kamaiyah’s debut album, A Good Night in The Ghetto, was a perfect summer hip-hop album. Drawing from west coast ‘90s rap, Kamaiyah’s music is rich, catchy and funky, utilizing bubbly basslines and traditional R&B melodies. Her magnetic and feel-good lyrics defy the standards of what a female rapper should be, and her personality shines in the music video for “How Does it Feel,” in which she casually drinks champagne while playing a Nintendo 64. Her early afternoon set on Saturday should provide plenty of punch to get you ready for the rest of the day.

Similar to: Missy Elliott and YG

Lucy Dacus
Saturday 2:30–3:30 p.m.
BMI Stage

Richmond-based Lucy Dacus writes warm indie rock songs with lyrics that pierce like arrows. Her debut album, No Burden, came about last year when she was asked by guitarist Jacob Blizard to make a record for a college project. Dacus’ voice is front and center on the album and backed by rolling and catchy guitar. Her breakout hit, “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore,” shows Dacus’ lyrical dexterity as she expresses being boxed in by how others see her. Although she laments that she “doesn’t wanna smile for a while” it’s almost certain you will get a laugh out of her stage banter. 

Similar to: Torres and Mitski

NAO
Saturday 5:15–6 p.m.
Tito’s Handmade Vodka Stage

NAO taught singing lessons before she became one of the most interesting R&B singers to come out of the UK. Her debut album, For All We Know, showcases instrumentals that combine soul, funk and R&B, but the main star of the show is her acrobatic, dynamic and crisp vocals. If you are looking for a place to dance in the early evening, then NAO should provide an experience worth remembering. 

Similar to: FKA Twigs and Gallant

The James Hunter Six
Sunday 4:45–5:30 p.m.
Tito’s Handmade Vodka Stage

The James Hunter Six, of Essex, England, have been around for more than a decade making smooth soul and blues music. Hunter’s latest record, Hold On!, out on Daptone Records, one of America’s premier soul labels, highlights his gritty yet expressive voice. His lyrics and the instrumentals hearken back to classic early soul and rock music. After a long weekend at ACL, sit back and let Hunter serenade you with his expressive style. 

Similar to: Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones