The first day of ACL was amazing even though it was super humid and cloudy, it was a full day of awesome music. All professional looking photos taken in this post are courtesy of Gabe Guevara, there will be a few I took myself as we couldn’t be at two places at the same time. Probably out of all three days, Friday was witness to some of the best unsuspecting live performances and surprises.
First up we witnessed AVERS whom we have been fans of since the SXSW days, and we were finally able to catch their live set.
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Being one of the earlier set times, they still had a good crowd and had a pretty awesome set, including some new tracks from their upcoming album. Their sound is attention grabbing and commanding for the six member band and their live set is one you do not want to miss.
Next, Gabe hit up Meg Myers and I checked out The Nightowls and The Marcus King Band.
Meg Myers was as rocking as ever live and we have some awesome shots to share (More in the slider below).
The Nightowls are an Austin based soul band.
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They definitely got the crowd moving with the 10 member band whose ACL Festival performance was finally realized (They were supposed to play the second weekend of the ACL Festival in 2013 but their set got canceled due to the flooding). The 10 piece band did not disappoint with their soul filled set.
Next up was The Marcus King band and I wasn’t fully prepared for what Mr. King was about to lay down.
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The 19 year old from Greenville, SC came in with his band and completely impressed us with a very electrified set filled with blues, soul, rock and even a little jazz. This band is definitely one that needs to be shared, as Mr. King is an amazing guitar player.
Next up were The Ruen Brothers and we were super excited to hear their live set after discovering their new yet throw back sound.
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If you dig Leon Bridges, you need to check out The Ruen Brothers. Brothers Henry and Rupert have been playing together for quite a while, and just recently in the past two years have gained major momentum with Rick Rubin producing their first EP and Chad Smith even playing drums. With Henry’s vocals almost a cross between Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison, it’s hard not to take notice.
Another band we have our eye on is Son Little. We believe he is going to eventually rise in the ranks of soul/r&b. After he released his stellar track, “Lay Down” – he now has a brand new self-titled album and is an artist to take note of. He provided a great set, even though photo quality below is not that great.
We have another awesome set we weren’t fully expecting. Enter San Francisco jazzy-soul band Con Brio who easily could have been on a larger stage.
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If you were under the Tito’s Handmade Vodka tent then you witnessed the great energy that frontman Ziek possesses and he pretty much infects the crowd with dancing and jumping up and down. The entire six member band are all truly talented and have great chemistry on stage. There were stand out performances by Marcus Stephens on sax and Brendan Liu on trumpet. If you ever get a chance to check out this band live, do it. Their latest album release of Kiss The Sun is definitely worth checking out, too.
Another great set was from the really awesomely rocking duo The London Souls. The crowd was large on this small stage (they easily could have been on a larger stage, too) and the duo definitely impressed.
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Their story is amazing too with singer/guitarist Tash Neal surviving a serious hit and run accident in 2012. He wasn’t supposed to walk or talk normally for at least a year, and five months after the accident he was playing on stage again. If you dig Gary Clark Jr. and The Black Keys, you will love The London Souls.
Moving down the lineup was the talented Albert Hammond, Jr who definitely rocked the house and was a great act to catch live. You would already know he would be one to watch if you have witnessed The Strokes live.
Up next is the ever talented Leon Bridges with an impressive live set. He played to a large crowd and by 4pm the festival grounds looked like they were at sell out capacity.
While I watched Brand New from a distance, the crowd was just massive and photo opps were not possible, but they put on a great set and Gabe checked out Run The Jewels who never disappoint with their live set on stage.
The next hour was an easy decision with Tame Impala, but I did wander over to check out Rhiannon Giddens live as we did review her album release earlier this year. She has a voice that commands your attention and she was completely elegant and composed on stage. If you dig folk with a sultry twist, Giddens is definitely worth checking out.
Tame Impala is well awesome, and their live set just solidified that fact. It was a great set from the Australian band and cool to hear some of their newest material from Currents played live.
Gary Clark, Jr.The stage he play had a huge crowd, he could have easily been on the two larger stages but he provided us with his stellar live persona and it’s always great to have the Austin native play the ACL Festival, and he never disappoints live.
The final artists of the evening was a split between Disclosure or The Foo Fighters. I am a HUGE Foo Fighters fan so I fought the massive crowd and got to see Mr. Grohl rock it on his guitar laden throne since he is still in a cast from his broken leg. That didn’t slow him down from moving and jiving though and unfortunately I have no picture worth even posting. It was great to see the FF still rocking it after all these years.
Gabe headed over to the Disclosure stage and it was a mind bending set with an awesome light show and amazing stage presence. All in all, it was an awesome first day to a really great festival.
We hope you enjoy the photos in the slider and check back tomorrow for Day 2 recap.
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