Early Tuesday (6 a.m. CST) Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL Festival) announced the 2014 lineup for the 13th edition of the fest named for the iconic PBS television show. Last year the festival changed formats, moving to consecutive weekends a la Coachella Festival. Marquee names on the just released bill include Eminem, Outkast, Pearl Jam, Beck, Skrillex and Lorde. Below you will find our top five headliners and details about the artists.
A new feature of the lineup is the EDM-heavy listing of artists. We chose to stick to more traditional ACL Festival genres in our preview. A follow-up story on local acts appearing at the festival will cover acts that fall into the electronic/hip hop arena.
C3 Presents the company that produces ACL Festival and Lollapalooza put three-day tickets on sale yesterday as well. There are options to purchase two levels of upgraded passes, VIP and Platinum. Only pricey Platinum tickets will allow fans on the main stage viewing areas. The festival will take place October 3-5 and 10-12. At the time of this article's publishing tickets for both weekends remained available.
Pearl Jam has performed on the main stage at ACL Festival once before during the dillo dirt plagued 2009 show. The band who helped usher in the grunge music era in the early 1990s easily stands out as one of the best headliners ever to play the festival. By that we mean PJ turned in a stellar Sunday evening set and the putrid smell from the reclaimed sewage that pushed up from the soggy, freshly-laid sod was forgotten temporarily while Eddie Vedder and company roared through a hit-filled set list.
Expect to hear songs from the band's 2013 release, "Lightning Bolt." A glance at set lists from recent performances by Pearl Jam indicate there will be plenty of crowd-pleasing songs like "Jeremy," "Even Flow," and "Animal."
A repeat of Neil Young cover, "Rockin in the Free World" would be a welcome encore at their ACL Festival appearance. Last show the band played the song with guest Win Butler of Arcade Fire. Regardless of who guests, Pearl Jam will be impressive.
Beck, the artist who became a household name on the strength of his ode to hipsters (before the term was popular) "Loser" has a much more diverse catalog of songs than what folks heard back in the mid-90s when tracks from albums "Mellow Gold" and "Odelay" dominated the alternative radio airwaves. Current release, "Morning Phase" is a perfect example of that.
The new material is ironically mellower than "Mellow Gold" and features backing singers and over-dubs on Beck's vocals. It will be interesting to see how the lush new songs translate to the festival stage. Expect a smattering of hits in the set list and possibly a cover song or two from an artist known for exceptional live performances.
It is a given that The Replacements reunion tour (the band has not toured in 22 years until last year) will draw a particular subset of ACL Festival goers. After all, the beloved indie-garage rockers from Minneapolis were popular over two decades ago. Therefore, expect the crowd to be predominately 40-somethings if you attend either ACL Festival performance.
At Coachella Festival last week, lead singer and guitarist Paul Westerberg had back issues so an upright Billie Jo Armstrong (Green Day) filled in as guest vocalist while the ailing Westerberg played the guitar parts from a sofa. Hopefully by the time October rolls around The Replacements leader will be feeling better although we would not complain about a guest appearance by Eddie Vedder with this legendary act.
Many Replacement fans are hoping an official after show will be announced soon. We think that is an excellent idea and Examiner will be on hand covering if that wish comes true.
Belle and Sebastian
The last time Belle and Sebastian visited Austin the indie-popsters from Scotland delivered a smashing set to a sold-out ACL Live at the Moody Theater crowd. Lead vocalist Stuart Murdoch is a captivating front man and the band plays their material beautifully. The band is similar to The Replacements in that the band has a cult following but has not enjoyed mainstream success despite overwhelming critical acclaim.
For an act often compared to The Smiths, Belle and Sebastian play a surprisingly energetic set. Stuart Murdoch completely charmed his Austin audience by sharing the mic with audience members, encouraging crowd participation and humorously holding onto the hand of a fan for the better part of entire song.
If you are into great music and good fun put Belle and Sebastian on your ACL Fest schedule. We have them on ours for good reason.
Bob Marley may be the man music fans think of first when the subject of reggae comes up but Jimmy Cliff is the reigning king of the genre today. A Jamaica native like his more famous peer, Cliff is best known for his anti-war anthem, "Vietnam" and the title track to concert documentary, "The Harder They Come," both recorded in the 1970s.
Bob Dylan famously called "Vietnam" the best protest song he had ever heard. The truth is Cliff's body of work is less political and more positive messages. Simply put, Jimmy Cliff is love.
Cliff is currently playing the European summer festival circuit in support of his new record, "Rebirth." Watch an amazing live performance of his uplifting song, "You Can Get It If You Really Want." After that you will likely want to see more.