Archive for July, 2011


One of the saving graces of the Austin City Limits Music Festival for people who don’t have $200 laying around is the fact that they usually have a chance to catch some of their favorite artists perform in real venues at official aftershows. For those without passes, picking and choosing which aftershows to go to is an event in itself. This morning, the festival revealed it’s official list for 2011, with shows scheduled around Austin from Sept. 15-18. While there were no huge announcements like the Strokes preshow last year, it is a solid list that should provide plenty of choice for those who want to get in on some of the action.

Perhaps the biggest of these shows will occur on Sunday night, when Iron & Wine plays the Paramount Theater with My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James’ alter ego Yim Yames. Given the success of both of these artists over the last several years, this one is guaranteed to sell out in a matter of days. Some of the other big names include Nas, who is confusingly opening for derivative electronic act PRETTY LIGHTS in a show before the festival at Austin Music Hall, Manu Chao at Stubb’s on Friday, and Bright Eyes with Kurt Vile and the Violators at Stubb’s on Saturday.

There are also several great shows from some of the festival’s smaller acts. For me, the most exciting of these shows is Wild Beasts performing with Telekinesis at the Parish on Saturday. The English quartet’s latest album, Smother, is easily in the running to be one of the top albums of 2011, and the fact that the festival is the only stop in Texas on their US tour is more than enough reason to see them. Unfortuneately, this means missing out on the chance to see the recently reunited Death From Above 1979, who play with much hyped UK band The Vaccines at Emo’s.  However, it is likely they will be back in Austin again before Wild Beasts.

Friday night will probably see me at Emo’s for a stacked lineup that includes Twin Shadow with a DJ set from Cut Copy outside, and Theophilis London and Diamond Rings inside. This show marks the only chance to see Diamond Rings during the festival, as he is not part of the ACL lineup despite touring nationally with Twin Shadow. Another show that should not be missed on Friday night is Smith Westerns and Cults playing the Parish.

There is no doubt something for everyone this year, and it should give those who don’t have the means to pay for a three day pass a chance to feel a part of the festival. To see the full list, which includes Delta Spirit, The Head and the Heart, Fitz and the Tantrums and others, visit the festival’s official aftershow page.

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It’s safe to say that Fun Fun Fun Fest has made the process of announcing artists more entertaining than most over the past couple of years. From incorporating band names in old video footage to encoding the names of this year’s performers in semaphore, they have made their leaks into events that should help in getting people excited about the festival. This morning they used another semaphore video to announce five more acts, and judging by these and the previously announced groups, they are well on their way to having their deepest lineup ever.

The first performer announced was stand-up comedian/musician Reggie Watts, who has gained notoriety for how he uses little more than his own beat boxing techniques, minimal instrumentation and his soulful voice to form full-fledged songs. Next came beat making hero Flying Lotus, who’s 2010 album Cosmogramma won scores of accolades from critics and listeners alike. The festival continues it’s track record of reuniting your older brother’s favorite bands with the addition of Kid Dynamite, a major player in the late 90’s emo scene that have only performed a handful of times since breaking up in 2000. Perhaps the most exciting of today’s leaks came in the form of tUnE-yArDs, who released one of the most original, and thereby critically acclaimed, albums of the year with w h o k i l l. This album was a monster leap forward for Merrill Garbus, and when I caught her at SXSW this year, I was stunned by the amount of energy and presence she brings to the stage. Rounding out the announcement was class of 2008 indie pop darlings Ra Ra Riot. Their sophomore album The Orchard, released last year, cracked the Top 40 on Billboard’s album charts. It’s safe to say that the band will have a healthy turnout when it’s their turn to perform.

These groups join M83, Okkervil River, X, Brian Posehn, and Odd Future, who were announced last week. Between the addition of a third day, relocating to Auditorium Shores, and the overall quality of the lineup so far, this year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest is shaping up to be the biggest and best installation of the festival yet. I’m curious to see who they add to the lineup in the coming weeks and months, and I look forward to attending for a third year in a row. It’s been great to watch how the festival has grown over the last few years, and 2011 may just be the year it breaks through as another can’t miss Austin festival.