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Austin City Limits’ 2015 Lineup: One Day Later

Fact: They have Disclosure, and you don't.

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There’s hardly a bad excuse to visit Austin, Texas. Whether you’re attending a college, visiting a friend, starting an internship, or simply passing by for the night, it’s always a guaranteed good time. The state might have its own nightmare issues, but this gem of a city is truly an American diamond. Having said all that, if you’re galloping in for a music festival, then shit padnah, you’re not only going to have a ball, you’re gonna be the ball.

South by Southwest, Fun Fun Fun Fest, and Austin City Limits. Pick one, pick all, you can’t go wrong. However, if we’re being choosy, the first one’s overwhelming, the second pops up a bit too close to the holidays, and the last gig … well, shucks, it’s kind of perfect. Set during the first two weekends of October, ACL offers a Texas autumn that burns bright during the day and chills over by evening — the purples and oranges are a sight to see.

acl weekend 1

View weekend two poster here.

So, even if they booked a lineup headed by Ted Nugent, Seether, and Bruce Willis performing The Return of Bruno, it’d be well worth your money. There’s a friendly atmosphere to Zilker Park that’s breezy and remote without feeling altogether spacey, if that makes any goddamn sense. Fortunately, we don’t have to fret over those acts because C3 Presents… has assembled a far more compelling lineup that should satiate the most argumentative festivalgoer out there.

Still, there are definitely a few blemishes to the two-weekend palooza, which is why we sat down with both lineups over the past 24 hours and sorted out the highlights, the surprises, the omissions, and, yes, the least interesting of the bunch. As my father used to tell me after reading my grade school book reports, “You could do better, Mike,” and that advice applies to ACL, even if their festival will most assuredly be exhausting in all its awesomeness.

In hindsight, seeing Bruno live wouldn’t be so bad, huh?

 

–Michael Roffman
Editor-in-Chief

Highlights

Foo Fighters

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Photo by David Brendan Hall

Dave Grohl is ready to mess with Texas again! As expected, the Foo Fighters will return to Austin after profiling the city as part of their HBO documentary last year, and it’s about time. While there’s no shortage of big bands to anchor this year’s proceedings, ACL was smart to bring back the rock ‘n’ roll veterans, who haven’t played their festival since 2008. Perhaps the most universally appealing headliner at Zilker this year, it’s hard to think of a better close to the weekend than a blistering set from one of the best modern rock acts in the business. Friday and Saturday night would suffice, too. –Zack Ruskin

Florence + the Machine

Florence and the Machine by Heather Kaplan

Photo by Heather Kaplan

When Florence Welch broke her foot by acting like a possessed woman at Coachella, it might have been hard to see the silver lining in the injury. In forcing her to strip down the live presentation for a bit while she heals, it makes her fall performances all the more anticipating. By ACL, she will be like a dolphin released from captivity, free to perform in the wild as she was meant to this year. In fact, a post-injury Welch might even be more active on stage than ever before, if only to prove herself as tough as we already suspect. –Philip Cosores

The Strokes

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Photo by David Brendan Hall

To paraphrase Dr. Peter Venkman, “There’s always room for The Strokes.” Even on their off nights, the New York outfit know how to bring the cool, and that’s sometimes all you need out of a headliner. It’s highly unlikely we’ll hear any new material — after all, they didn’t preview Angles or Comeback Machine ahead of its release — but since they’re all free from RCA and doing what they want on Julian Casablancas’ Cult Records label, who knows. Maybe they’ll have something up their leather jackets. They’re in the studio, right? –Michael Roffman

Kurt Vile and the Violators

kurtvile1 tomhardy bostoncalling Austin City Limits 2015 Lineup: One Day Later

Photo by Tom Hardy

He’s one of the most intriguing songwriters of his generation and yet he’s only now apparently written his “best song ever.” Those are Kurt Vile’s words, not those of some hackyened critic like me. And said song will be on his next album, All Over the Place, which is due out in fall, which is when ACL takes place, which means we’ll either have it all memorized or we’ll just be hearing it or we’ll be dying to hear it live or we’ll just be stoked to hear Kurt Vile and his Violators again. If he plays around twilight, it doesn’t matter what song he plays, he’s bringing magic. –Michael Roffman

Alabama Shakes

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Photo by Philip Cosores

 Alabama Shakes were born for a festival like Austin City Limits. Also, you’ve heard their new album, right? Sh’yeah. –Michael Roffman

Surprise

Disclosure

New York, NY- Jan. 17, 2014 Disclosure performing at Terminal 5

Photo by Robert Altman

Disclosure only recently left the festival circuit, having appeared regularly just last year. But what makes this stop at ACL exciting is that it’s expected to coincide with the release of their sophomore LP, whose first song just appeared last week. This booking almost guarantees the release schedule we’d been expecting from the English duo. What’s more, this appearance might be the first large stage for Disclosure to debut new material. Less a surprise when all things are considered, but still a welcome booking that other festivals didn’t have the opportunity to match. –Philip Cosores

Omissions

AC/DC

AC/DC Grammys

Give the lineup a quick glance and you may notice something missing: a legacy band. The slot previously filled by the likes of The Eagles, Lionel Richie, or Iggy & the Stooges seemed ripe for AC/DC, a loud, raucous throwback band fresh off a headlining set at Coachella. Amidst fresh faces like Drake, The Strokes, and Deadmau5, ACL seems to have forgotten to include anyone at the top of the bill to entice their older audience. Just imagining Dave Grohl potentially storming the stage to join in on an encore of “Back in Black” is enough to wonder what better plans the Aussie quintet could possibly have planned. Guess Grohl has his work cut out for him. –Zack Ruskin

Ryan Adams

RyanAdams-BenKaye-NewportFolk2014-35

Photo by Ben Kaye

This guy’s everywhere this year. Everywhere. And the crowds at ACL would embrace him with a hug, a beer, a plate of BBQ, and near-deafening applause. Why he’s missing is anyone’s guess — maybe he’s overseas or plans to hibernate with horror movies come October? — but his omission might be the strangest. It’s like if your favorite uncle missed your 10th birthday. “There’s no way Bill would ever miss this. Right, Dad?” Christ, what the hell is up with my sad bastard metaphors today. –Michael Roffman

My Morning Jacket

My Morning Jacket

Photo by Nate Slevin

Circuital was a fine effort by My Morning Jacket, and it’s still beloved by many. Still, no one’s calling it their best, but ACL booked the band during that cycle anyway. On the other hand, people are calling their latest release, The Waterfall, their greatest effort in a decade. And yet no MMJ. When Jim James and co. put out a record, you book them for your festival. When they put out a great record, you have to go all out. Instead, just like with Lollapalooza, the only thing we have to match their big-band rock ‘n’ roll is Alabama Shakes. But it’s still not MMJ.–Ben Kaye

Explosions in the Sky

explosions in the sky Austin City Limits 2015 Lineup: One Day Later

This one hurts. Not only have the Austin rockers been teasing new music, but they also just confirmed a headlining appearance at this September’s Utopia Fest in Utopia, Texas. That’s only three hours away — specifically 162 miles — from their hometown, so it’s not like they couldn’t, you know, come back, sip on some Juicy Juice, and hit up ACL. To hear them play “Home” as the sun sets behind them would have been unreal. Unreal. Better luck next year? #TexasForever –Michael Roffman

Mumford and Sons

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We all know music festivals can devolve into an endurance contest, and that it’s crucial to make a schedule that varies between high-octane sets and more low-key affairs. Many people could’ve had a nice dose of the latter with Mumford and Sons and their British brand of banjo and harmonies. In the midst of a world tour that currently ends in August, ACL appeared to be an ideal venue for the band to play tracks off their latest Wilder Minds. Perhaps the Mumfords just aren’t big on barbeque? –Zack Ruskin

Billy Joel

billyjoeljazzfest2013dianatalyansky Austin City Limits 2015 Lineup: One Day Later

Well, he is playing Bonnaroo. On the plus side, at least they got this Billy:

billy idol Austin City Limits 2015 Lineup: One Day Later

 –Michael Roffman

Least Interesting

Drake

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Photo by Philip Cosores

When Drake was announced as a Coachella headliner, I made some bold declarative statements about how it would be essential viewing for everyone. With two weak performances and one dementor’s kiss in the rear view, I’m prepared to walk back those statements, but only a small bit. This isn’t the most exciting rap headliner that ACL could’ve grabbed, as every rational non-Glasto attending person clamors for some of the rarified air that surrounds Kanye West these days, but as long as Drake doesn’t botch these shows he should be watchable at the very least. As admitted in Ernest Baker’s eminently readable Four Pins profile of Toronto’s brightest export, Drake knows he “took an L” at Coachella. Look for a valiant attempt to better himself at ACL. –Pat Levy

Deadmau5 and Bassnectar

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Photo by Brad Bretz

There seems to be little to no diversity in EDM superstars these days, with the top 10 or so artists having apparently cemented their status as the only artists worth booking. Bassnectar has played every festival under the sun at least twice at this point, and Deadmau5 is far too ubiquitous for a man who wears a giant mouse helmet, leaving Disclosure as the only exciting electronic act topping the bill. If you’re not going to do something new and exciting with the genre that is supposedly the new and exciting one in today’s music landscape, quit getting the same people to play your fests over and over again. EDM fans, are you not tired of seeing the same people? Don’t you want to try new things? How about this year you drop your beans and go see someone with a fresh approach to electronic music that’s genuinely worth checking out like Sylvan Esso or Lion Babe. –Pat Levy

Alt-J

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Photo by Philip Cosores

Feeling a little déjà vu?? A couple months back, Kevin McMahon discussed how Alt-J is currently being recycled for Lollapalooza, and that they’ve made their rounds multiple times over, and that they’re “a solid band that plays right into the meaty pith of the sub-25 year-old radio wave majority.” Rinse, repeat, and slap on the ACL brand: What works for Argentina and Chicago must work for Texas, right? Sure, but it doesn’t mean we’re excited. –Michael Roffman

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