Weekend Two of The Austin City Limits Festival kicks off on Friday and in case you haven’t planned your schedule yet, we have a list of 20 bands to definitely consider. We all know why we are going because of the headliners (Paul McCartney, Metallica, Justice, Arctic Monkeys to name a few). It’s always fun showing up earlier in the day and catching some of the best up-and-coming talent.
The new expanded Barton Springs area is back, which allows for the feel of a bit more room at the festival and more places with shade. We are excited, though that this is supposed to be one of the coolest ACL Fests we’ve had since 2009. We have included a copy of the map at the bottom of the post. Also don’t forget that this year they are only allowing small draw string bags measuring 14” x 11” x 5” or fanny packs. There is a small chance of rain and umbrellas are not allowed. You can get all the details here.
Anyway, here are our 20 picks for ACL 2018.
ALICE MERTON (BERLIN, GERMANY) – FRIDAY 12:00 PM – HONDA STAGE
The soulful singer who was born in Berlin and raised throughout Canada and Europe broke out last year with her song “No Roots”. She followed up with an EP of the same name and is poised for success. Catch her early on Friday before she headlines a show in future ACL years.
ALVVAYS (TORONTO, CANADA) – FRIDAY 2:45PM – MILLER LITE STAGE
Dreamy indie rock quartet Alvvays have been a favorite at The Revue for a while. It’s always great to hear them live as well. Hopefully at ACL there will be a few new tunes to follow up their 2017 Antisocialites album.
AMEN DUNES – (BROOKLYN, NY) SUNDAY 1:00PM – MILLER LITE STAGE
Amen Dunes (Damn McMahon) delivered a wonderful album this year with Freedom. If you are looking for a talented singer-songwriter with graceful vocals and impressive songwriting, be sure to put Amen Dunes on your list.
A R I Z O N A (NEW JERSEY) – SUNDAY 2:00PM – HONDA STAGE
A R I Z O N A combines indie rock and synth-pop to provide super infectious tunes that you can’t get out of your head. We are sure the trio will bring an excitement to their live set that you can already feel from each of their recorded tunes.
ARKELLS (HAMILTON, ONTARIO CANADA) – FRIDAY 4:45PM – BMI STAGE
We’ve been Arkells fans for a while now. We’ve coined the Juno Award winners as a versatile and soul-filled band, who also happen to be touted as the “Best Live Band”. They have recently released new singles in the past month, so it will be great to hear them played live.
BIG THIEF (BROOKLYN, NY) – FRIDAY 12:45PM – BARTON SPRINGS STAGE
If you love beautifully orchestrated tracks with angelic vocals from singer Adrianne Lenker (who just released another solo album, abysskiss) then you won’t want to miss Big Thief. They consistently provide moments that are talked about long after their performances.
THE BLANCOS (NEW YORK, NY) – FRIDAY 11:15AM – BMI STAGE
This NYC duo might just provide the most energetic show first thing on Friday. They are definitely worth getting down to Zilker Park early. They recently did a collaboration with Joyner Lucas, so the duo are on the verge of becoming a household name, much like twenty one pilots.
HIGHLY SUSPECT (BROOKYLN, NY) – SATURDAY 4:15PM – AMERICAN EXPRESS STAGE
If you are looking for a talented rock band, Highly Suspect is it. Their live show is one not to miss as well. Hopefully there will be some new tunes from the trio, as we haven’t gotten a new album since 2016’s The Boy Who Died Wolf.
JAPANESE BREAKFAST (PHILADELPHIA, PA) – SATURDAY 3:30PM – BARTON SPRINGS STAGE
Soft Sounds from Another Planet made our best of list in 2017, so it’s no wonder Michelle Zauner is playing the festival. Her sound is soothing yet also sublime as she offers up dreamy, shoegaze-filled tunes.
LEMAITRE (OSLO, NORWAY) – SUNDAY 11:30AM – HOMEAWAY STAGE
If you are looking for catchy and addicting synth-pop, look no further. The duo from Norway has a huge online following, and it’s only a matter of time before they breakout in a big way. Past collaborations with Betty Who, Bearson, Josh Pan, The Knocks, and Phoebe Ryan will continue to grow this duo’s already growing fan base.
MARIAN HILL (PHILADELPHIA, PA) – SATURDAY 5:30PM – BARTON SPRINGS STAGE
The electronic duo from Philly released a new album, Unusual, earlier this year. It will be good to hear their combo of hypnotic beats and sultry vocals on the big stage. The duo broke out big with 2016’s hit, “Down”.
MT. JOY (LOS ANGELES, CA) – SUNDAY 1:00PM – BARTON SPRINGS STAGE
We’ve been mesmerized ever since “Astrovan” was released in 2016. If you dig lyrics filled with depth and laid-back indie rock with an Americana flair, you will love Mt. Joy. Their live set it not one to be missed, and you can hear tunes from their self-titled debut album that came out earlier this year.
NATALIE PRASS (RICHMOND, VA) – FRIDAY 12:00PM – AMERICAN EXPRESS STAGE
One of today’s talented songwriters providing us songs from a myriad of styles (soul, funk, disco and even ’80s). Her newest album, The Future and The Past, is definitely on the short list for our 2018 best of lists.
PARQUET COURTS (BROOKYN, NY) – SUNDAY 3:00PM – BARTON SPRINGS STAGE
We’ve coined Parquet Courts’ sixth album Wide Awake! as one of the year’s most outrageous and brilliant. The indie rock band travels through ’60s Brit rock, ’70s rock, and fiery punk with their newest offering. They will have plenty of diverse tunes to play live this weekend.
RHYE (LOS ANGELES, CA) – SATURDAY 3:30PM – TITO’S HANDMADE VODKA STAGE
The LA-based king of ballads (Mike Milosh) is sure to deliver an exciting set now with two full length albums under his belt. If you are in the mood for breathtaking vocals and beautiful instrumentation, be sure to check them out Saturday.
SIR SLY (LOS ANGELES, CA) – FRIDAY 2:45PM – BARTON SPRINGS STAGE
For super infectious indie-pop that you can’t help but dance to, go see Sir Sly. Every single one of their tracks from their last album, Don’t You Worry, Honey, will be perfect tracks to play at the festival.
SHAKEY GRAVES (AUSTIN, TX) – SUNDAY 7:00PM – BARTON SPRINGS STAGE
Shakey Graves is one you do not want to miss live. The Austin native has a prime slot on Sunday and well deserved. His newest album, Can’t Wake Up, released this year was triumphant.
SLYVAN ESSO (DURHAM, NC) – SATURDAY 7:30PM – MILLER LITE STAGE
Slyvan Esso now have two albums under their belt as well as a new track released from this year. The eclectic duo are continuing to blaze their own trail with their unique style of production and vocals.
TRAMPLED BY TURTLES (DULUTH, MN) – SATURDAY 5:30PM – BMI STAGE
Everyone needs a little bluegrass in their life. Trampled By Turtles will satisfy your craving and their live set is sure to entertain. Their eighth album, Life Is Good On The Open Road,was released earlier this year, so they will have plenty of material to share live.
VÉRITÉ (NEW YORK, NY) – SATURDAY 1:30PM – HOMEAWAY STAGE
Kelsey Byrne (aka VÉRITÉ) will be performing live at ACL after releasing a few new singles this year and a remix of her 2017 LP, Somewhere In Between. Hopefully there will be more new material revealed from this talented electro-pop star.
THE WOMBATS (LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND) – SATURDAY 2:15PM – AMERICAN EXPRESS STAGE
The Wombats are creating killer indie pop tunes that you can’t get enough of. Their newest album, Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life,already includes hit singles “Turn” and “Cheetah Tounge”. They are a band to definitely prioritize this weekend.
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