Sunday, October 5
Kongos @ Samsung Galaxy, 2:00pm
Starting off Sunday with the neo-folk anthems of South Africa's Kongos is a surefire way to get your blood pumping and your feet moving, especially with their massive single "Come With Me Now." Any banger that makes us rethink the accordion is enough to get us there!
AFI @ Honda, 2:00pm
Earplugs required, 'cause goth punk gods AFI are set to blast yours out with some epic arena-ready screams and rock riffs. It's been about a year since the band dropped the brutal and revealing Burials, so expect a perfected set and lots of cathartic moments.
Jhené Aiko @ RetailMeNot, 3:00pm
One of R&Bs most talked-about "It" girls of the moment (and a Drake, Childish Gambino and Big Sean collaborator), Def Jam's Aiko is cool, calm, collected and an angel-voiced force to be reckoned with.
The Gaslight Anthem @ Samsung Galaxy, 4:00pm
As Get Hurt just dropped in August, The Gaslight Anthem are sure to deliver a set full of brand new material, but thankfully the new stuff is just as gritty and gut-wrenchingly good as the punk you've come to expect from the New Jersey rockers.
The Replacements @ Samsung Galaxy, 6:00pm
Of all the acts at ACL Fest, this is the one that's not to be missed, mostly because there's a pretty good chance you won't be able to catch the seminal punk band again. The Replacements are in the full swing of a reunion tour, and if previous reviews from critics have anything to say about it, you'll be kicking yourself if you head to another stage during their set.
Spoon @ Honda, 6:00pm
All hail the local rock kings! Spoon's insatiably explorations in indie have not only put them on the map as one of the best live acts well outside of Austin, they've turned Britt Daniel into one of the most revered frontmen and sought-after producers, too.
Calvin Harris @ Honda, 8:00pm
Hey, if you're going to find love in a hopeless place, there's a pretty good chance it's waiting for you somewhere in between Calvin's first beat drop and a finale that'll include some of the biggest Top 40 jams to hit EDM in ages.
Pearl Jam @ Samsung Galaxy, 8:00pm
It's been over twenty years since Pearl Jam helped put Seattle on the map for grunge, and Eddie Vedder and Co. have still got it, undeniably. Get ready for a full-throttle burst of old hits and new rock standards from 2013's Lightning Rod that prove they're perpetually relevant.
Ah, Austin: They call it the Live Music Capital of the World for a reason, and the talent descending upon this hub of creativity and beautiful noise makes Austin City Limits Festival a two-weekend event worth waiting for at the tail end of festival season. To help guide you through the fest, here are our picks for who to check out on Friday, October 3, the first day of the fun in Austin's Zilker Park.
Saturday, October 4
Benjamin Booker @ Austin Ventures, 1:00pm
New Orleans' Benjamin Booker caught Jack White's eye for his gritty, grounded and effortless cool, and the Third Man Records prez was so enamored with his soulful blues that he brought him on tour as his supporting act this summer. Expect timeless riffs, facemelting solos and an involuntary dance party.
tUnE-yArDs @ RetailMeNot, 3:30pm
Every single globally-inspired song off May's Nikki Nack serves as a rallying cry to get dancing (or at the very least nodding your head super enthusiastically), and tUnE-yArDs is excellent at motivating and moving the masses—especially in a festival setting.
Interpol @ Honda, 4:30pm
Hiatus? What hiatus?! Interpol have triumphantly returned after a quiet couple of years with El Pintor, their first record since their self-titled 2010 release. Before that, they spent the better part of the past decade playing massive arena shows, opening for U2, etc., so it's great to see them back on the major festival stage where they belong.
Iggy Azalea @ RetailMeNot, 5:30pm
Whether or not you consider "Fancy" or "Problem" the song of the summer, it doesn't really matter: Iggy Azalea's verses had a ton to do with the success of both hits! Catch her performing tracks off The New Classic, and who knows—maybe we'll get a sneak peek of that new collaboration with Ellie Goulding. (Well, sans Ellie, anyway.)
Icona Pop @ Miller Lite, 5:30pm
Admit it: You still "Love It," and the Swedish duo has perfected the art of rallying crowds a football field wide to the point of leaping into the air for four minutes straight with their guilty pleasure pop.
Juanes @ Austin Ventures, 7:30pm
"La Camisa Negra" must go down as one of the most addictive bilingual smashes pop has seen in the past decade, and Juanes' career-making hit only gets better with age, especially when he's performing it live and in the flesh.
Major Lazer @ RetailMeNot, 7:30pm
Want to see a DJ jump into a giant beach ball and walk all over the outstretched hands of a sea full of twerking EDM fiends? Cool! Major Lazer delivers beat chaos each and every single set, and given how busy Diplo's been in the studio with various projects, we'd bet he's saving some new stuff for the ACL Fest crowd's ears only.
Eminem @ Samsung Galaxy, 8:30pm
Slim Shady fans everywhere rejoiced upon hearing that Marshall Mathers was not only back at it and working on new material (and collaborations with Sia!) but preparing for the drop of Shady XV, a two-disc compilation that offers listeners a taste of new tracks while celebrating the best releases to come out of Shady Records. If his set is anchored on Shady XV, new and old fans alike will lose themselves to the music to be sure.
Friday, October 3
Temples @ Miller Lite, 1:15pm
Start your ACL Fest off with a heavy dose of psych-rock via England's Temples. Since releasing their debut studio album Sun Structures in February, Temples have road-tested its singles for adoring festival crowds at SXSW, Coachella, Lollapalooza, Glastonbury and more, and ACL Fest will likely receive the '60s-esque riffs of "Shelter Song" just as warmly.
Robert Ellis @ Austin Ventures, 2:00pm
One of the strongest voices out of Nashville at the moment, Robert Ellis shirks the pop country stereotypes and gets back to the root of Americana and bluegrass. His folkier undertones stun without getting too sentimental, and he's the perfect modern country pairing for a festival with rock-heavy leanings.
Jimmy Cliff @ Honda, 2:15pm
In the pantheon of reggae gods, Jimmy Cliff is right up there with Bob Marley and Toots & the Maytals. Since the '60s, Jimmy's been spreading the gospel of reggae, rock steady and ska, and he's still touring behind 2012's GRAMMY-winning record, Rebirth.
Bleachers @ Miller Lite, 3:15pm
Most know Jack Antonoff as the guitar player from fun. that can be found sprinting across the stage during their super energetic sets, but he's since come out as Bleachers, his solo pop endeavor. "I Wanna Get Better" is a jam and a half, and given how Antonoff's popped up on stages everywhere from Governors Ball to Outside Lands, it's easy to see that festival season's working for him in the wake of the first Bleachers record.
Sam Smith @ Miller Lite, 5:15pm
If you haven't heard the uplifting refrain to "Stay With Me" yet—either Sam Smith singing it solo or with his new BFF Mary J. Blige—you've been living under a rock. A sad, lonely rock without the joys of knowing just how wonderful England's premier pop tenor is. Amend that immediately, because Smith's debut, In The Lonely Hour, has made him one of the most talked about new artists of the year, and we'd hate to see you go another day without "Lay Me Down" in your life.
St. Vincent @ RetailMeNot, 5:15pm
St. Vincent—aka Annie Clark—continues to slay on her way to guitar icon status. With her latest self-titled album, Clark reinvented herself yet again with a futuristic, deliberate and hyper-stylized vibe that's made each and every performance a live set to ponder and remember.
Childish Gambino @ Honda, 6:15pm
If it's good enough for 3-Stacks, it's good enough for us: André 3000 and his son Seven were spotted taking in Childish Gambino's Governors Ball performance from the photo pit, and something tells us that a cameo from Jhené Aiko, who's also in town for ACL Fest, could easily factor into his Because The Internet-heavy set.
Belle & Sebastian @ RetailMeNot, 7:15pm
The ninth Belle & Sebastian album, Girls in Peacetime Want To Dance, is slated for an early 2015 release. Here's hoping ACL Fest will yield a fantastic sneak preview of sorts for the new stuff while banking on the beloved B&S classics. ("Judy and the Dream of Horses," anyone?)
OutKast @ Honda, 8:15pm
It's sad to see the end of OutKast's mega reunion tour of festival headlining spots drawing nigh, but that doesn't mean their ACL Fest showing will be anything short of spectacular, just as it was at Coachella, Lollapalooza, Sasquatch! and nearly 40 more major music events before it. "Hey Ya!" forever 'til "The Whole World" stops spinning.