Austin City Limits is getting close! We’re counting down the days until some of the biggest rock bands in the world will be in Austin for the annual music festival that draws bands from around the world who want the exposure that only Austin can offer them.
If you plan on going to ACL 2019 here are the top bands that you don’t want to miss.
Rock Legends: The Cure
For all the doom and gloom their look suggests, few bands have ever balanced the sad and the sublime as well as goth icons The Cure. The group recently entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and spent the summer doing festivals around the world; their ACL appearance marks their first performance in Texas in over three years. Whether “Boys Don’t Cry” is a personal anthem, “Lovesong” has a permanent home on your makeout mixes, or you simple enjoy the joy of “Friday, I’m in Love,” you’re going to get the hits and then some. They are a band you want to appreciate while you’ve still got the chance.
See Also: Guns N’ Roses. This might be your best shot to see your favorite mercurial frontman without having to worry about the show starting two hours late.
Current Star: Childish Gambino
Is Donald Glover really going to retire his Childish Gambino moniker? That news came out over a year ago, yet he returns to Austin still rocking that name and the songs that made him one of the most loved figures in modern music. Even those who may not appreciate his rapping or his singing have to admit that he’s an excellent showman, putting together headlining shows and festival performances that are stunning in their presentation. You’ve never seen a crowd respond the way Gambino crowds respond when “This Is America” kicks in.
See Also: Billie Eilish. Yes, she does have a headline Houston date in between ACL gigs, but there’s something to be said about witnessing a rising star rock a crowd of 30,000 festival-goers.
Houston’s Own: Lizzo
In 2016, Lizzo was the first artist to hit the Honda stage—one of the festival’s two main stages—on Sunday morning. In front of a crowd of a few hundred, she performed like she was a headliner, giving all of herself in the time she was given. It was the type of performance that wins over every set of eyes there to witness it. She returns to the festival this year with a prime evening slot, the direct support to Cardi B (weekend one) and Robyn (weekend two) and the owner of one of the most popular songs of the year, “Truth Hurts.” What a difference a few years makes.
See Also: Megan Thee Stallion. God willing a cold front will have blown into Texas before ACL kicks off, but “Hot Girl Summer” really is a state of mind.
Right at Home: Joseph
Before ACL was amping up their hard rock and hip-hop offerings, most folks thought of it as more of a folk festival. While Joseph does have their edge—“Good Luck, Kid” is one of the low-key best rock songs of the year—their musical roots are very much in that folk realm. This trio of sisters has some of the best harmonies going right now and a catalog of songs that display them splendidly. Looking for an easy into their work? Check out their lovely cover of the Tears for Fears classic “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”
See Also: The School of Rock. Every year kids get their first taste of the world of music festivals, and we should all support the next generation of musicians.
Crossover Sensation: Faye Webster
Earlier this year Faye Webster released her third studio album, Atlanta Millionaires Club, to glowing reviews, and for good reason: It’s a gem of a record. Her blend of throwback country and folk with a modern R&B twist works better and goes down smoother than another country/hip-hop adjacent projects released this year, delivering hooks that’ll stick in your brain long after you’re done streaming them. A potential star in the making, get on the bandwagon now so you’ll look cooler if and when she blows up down the line.
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