The second weekend of Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL Festival) is upon us at Zilker Park beginning tomorrow at noon. For once, it looks like there will be no rain this year (fingers crossed). Here’s to hoping that prediction rings true on Monday morning. You are likely asking yourself (if you’re a regular reader of this column) why read a weekend two preview when most of the lineup is similar to opening weekend? The answer is simple. We now have the benefit of hindsight. We can look both back to last week and forwards to this weekend’s slate of music and intelligently choose our weekend two lineup. It sounds scientific when we say it like that doesn’t it?
The truth is there is no science to figuring out which bands to see at ACL Festival but we did our best to give you our top recommendations minus headliner slots. Who knows? You may even discover a new band or two before this is all over. To avoid repetition, we will not list acts previously mentioned in our ACL Festival 2015 coverage. To find those lists, scroll to the bottom of the page and find links to those previews.
Tameka Jones – Friday – 11:15 a.m. – Austin Ventures Stage
We get it. You’ve heard every sultry soul singer God ever created but Tameka Jones has the sexy, silky voice you have been looking for. Trust us. Examiner recently had the opportunity to catch Ms. Jones and her band at a charity event where we were reminded of her vocal prowess. If you are one of those ACL Festival fans who get to the park early tomorrow you’re in for a treat at the Austin Ventures Stage.
The London Souls – Friday – 2 p.m. – BMI Stage
Here at Examiner, we feel music festivals are a place for discovering new bands. Sunday’s lineup at ACL Festival sets the table to do just that; discover new acts and learn about new music. The London Souls on the smaller BMI Stage is a natural segue from the soul sounds of Tameka Jones. These New Yorkers are perpetuating the rock and roll dream by merging rock and roll with soul in the same tradition of legends Cream and Zeppelin with the more contemporary psychedelic sounds of My Morning Jacket and Wilco. Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? Find out for yourself Friday.
Gary Clark Jr. – Friday – 7 p.m. – Homeaway Stage
Perhaps the most celebrated currently touring guitarist in Austin, Gary Clark Jr. is a rocketship of blues and rock headed straight for the sun. The Austin native has experienced a meteoric rise in recent years. Clark just dropped his sophomore effort, “The Story of Sonny Boy Slim,” a fictionalized, semi-autobiographical record that has drawn praise from nearly every music publication on the planet. Add the fact that Clark is a down-to-Earth truly good guy and you cannot help but like the lanky musician. We know you’ll like his performance. That goes without saying.
Echosmith – Saturday – 1 p.m. – Samsung Galaxy Stage
L.A. alt-rockers Echosmith garnered a fair bit of attention last week when they gave 7 year-old budding photographer Ryder Blue the opportunity to shoot their set from the stage. The daughter of Austin camera jockey Daniel Cavazos gained a bit of celebrity snapping photos of one of her favorite bands. It is easy to see why she likes the group of siblings fronted by the ethereal-voiced Jamie Sierota.
The indie-rockers play the main Samsung Galaxy Stage early Saturday at 1 p.m. so you will have a chance to get up close to these future stars before the masses catch on.
Sounds del Mar – Saturday – 4:30 p.m. – BMI Stage
Austin’s Sounds del Mar have been getting some attention for their unique rock sound forged by the merging of several popular local acts (What Made Milwaukee Famous, The Gourds, ‘Til We’re Blue or Destroy) forming an Austin supergroup of sorts. With dual guitars, spacey synth and pop vocal sensibilities Sounds del Mar seems to have found a winning combination.
Their music is perfect for the happy hour time slot scheduled on Saturday at the BMI Stage. Sounds del Mar and cocktails sounds good to us.
Modest Mouse – Saturday – 6:20 p.m. – Honda Stage
Isaac Brock and Modest Mouse have earned long-term success by taking the mantle of Alternative / Grunge further down the road with their own brand of rock from Pacific Northwest. In their case, Idaho where Brock befriended local scene idol Doug Martsch of Built to Spill who has acted a mentor of sorts to younger bands in the area. The group’s unorthodox approach to songwriting has carved out a permanent place for the band in contemporary rock and roll.
One part folk, one part rock, three parts genius songwriting, Modest Mouse delivered a smashing set last year at Fun Fun Fun Fest punctuated by an enormous meteorite streaking through the Texas sky behind the stage. We’re curious how the group will top that amazing performance.
deadmau5 – Saturday – 8:20 p.m. – Honda Stage
Electronic music has become increasingly popular on the festival circuit and deadmau5 is one of the genre’s defining personalities. His trademark mouse helmet fitted with smart electronics that allows synchronized lights to operate with the larger stage show is well-known with EDM fans.
The ground-breaking performer returns to Austin City Limits for the second time and promises a thrilling multi-media production rivaled by few acts currently touring the festival circuit.
Spirit Family Reunion – Sunday – 2:30 p.m. – BMI Stage
We first caught Spirit Family Reunion at the Heartbreaker Banquet in 2013 and they left a considerable impression. The old-timey folk / bluegrass outfit from New York City are truly talented. Their brand of music fits well with the Sunday bill laid out at the BMI Stage. Head over that stage at 2:30 p.m. for some feel-good music and good times.
Alt-J – Sunday – 6:30 p.m. – Honda Stage
We heard so much about Alt-J’s killer set last weekend, we added the group to our schedule for weekend two. Having never seen the indie-rockers perform, we hardly know what to expect beyond the praise the band earned from music writers last week and the monumental success of their debut record, An Awesome Wave which sold over a million copies. They must be doing something right.