ACL Fest comes clean and reveals a headliner in Facebook Live post

The full Austin City Limits Festival lineup will be revealed Tuesday at 10 a.m., but festival organizers revealed more artists in a Facebook Live post shot at a laundromat on Monday night.

Metallica headlines X Games Austin on the Super Stage at Circuit of the Americas on Saturday, June 6, 2015. (Suzanne Cordeiro / For American-Statesman)

In the video, festival staffers retrieve band t-shirts from a row of tumbling dryers then flash them at the camera. For the most part the tees were from artists who were revealed in a television ad earlier this weekend, but there was one big reveal. Heavy metal titans Metallica will take one of the headline spots at the festival.

As each t-shirt flashed, the comment section exploded with guesses on which artist it belonged to. Savvy viewers said they spotted shirts for Japanese Breakfast and Arctic Monkeys along with these folks who we already knew were coming:

  • David Byrne
  • Sylvan Esso
  • Khalid
  • Residente
  • the National
  • Chvrches
  • Jungle
  • Shakey Graves
  • the Revolution
  • Trampled by Turtles
  • Houndmouth.

A post-Levitation bump: Black Angels will kick off Blues on the Green in May

The Black Angels will play KGSR’s Blues on the Green series in Zilker Park on May 23. Contributed/Alexandra Valenti

Austin psych-rock band the Black Angels will open this year’s KGSR Blues on the Green series in Zilker Park with a May 23 concert, the station announced today. Local dream-pop band Night Glitter, featuring Thievery Corporation touring member LouLou Ghelichkani, will open.

It’s the first of four free Wednesday shows in the park, with June 13, July 18 and Aug. 8 performers to be named later. Music starts at 8 p.m.

The announcement comes a day after Levitation, the festival created and organized by members of the Black Angels, wrapped up a four-day weekend of shows at various downtown venues, including several sellouts. Black Angels headlined Sunday night’s show at Stubb’s to help close out the fest.

PHOTOS: Gallery from Blues on the Green June 2017 with Grupo Fantasma



Waxahatchee makes us feel — a lot — on final night of Levitation Fest

You can’t call it a disconnect. But it was certainly an odd juxtaposition to watch couples embraced and swaying back and forth in reverie Sunday night at Mohawk while Waxahatchee front woman Katie Crutchfield spent a good chunk of her hour on stage reliving the tales of romance crashed on the rocks that fueled her latest album, “Out In The Storm.”

Waxahatchee. Photo contributed by Michael Rubenstein

It says a lot about the power of Crutchfield as both a singer and live performer that she’s able to connect with her audience and stir their own emotions so deeply. And it helps that she seems to have put some emotional distance – or maybe just time – between herself and the parties on the other end of her “What went wrong?” lyrics. Her songs aren’t open wounds so much as scars that provide character and memories of things best left in the past.

DEAL: Get $20 tickets for Jack White, Macklemore and more Austin shows

Sunday’s concert – the band’s last of a tour with Hurray for the Riff Raff – came on the final night of this year’s reconfigured Levitation Fest, which put a few dozen shows in clubs all over downtown over four days.

With the festival’s expanded scope in recent years after its start roughly a decade ago as Austin Psych Fest, hosting distinct shows in different venues made it possible for a night of female-fronted pop-rock bands to seem of a piece with other Levitation attractions like industrial legends Ministry or Austin’s Black Angels.

Starting the night alone on stage with her acoustic guitar, it didn’t take long for Crutchfield’s versatile and arresting vocals to take the spotlight. Whether in a solo and sparse setting or cutting through the swirl of melodies provided by her bandmates for the majority of the show, the singer has one of the most distinct and impressive vocal instruments in music right now and she puts it to maximum use.

MORE MUSIC: Top 10 touring shows coming to Austin in May

New songs like “Recite Remorse” and “Sparks Fly” seemed to shine the best – Waxahatchee’s latest 2017 is its most sturdily produced, feeling at times like the best possible marriage of Neil Young songwriting heft with Sheryl Crow’s pop ear – but there wasn’t a duff note on the evening.

Over the course of 60 minutes the band showed a strong, fluid control of the material and framed Crutchfield as a performer who should be regarded as among the best of her peers. And it didn’t hurt that she closed the night as she began; solo and acoustic, with a kinda raw run through “Fade” giving the lovebirds in the crowd one more chance to hold tight, to their partners and the moment they were sharing.

Get $20 tickets to Kesha and Macklemore, Logic and more Austin shows

Concert juggernaut Live Nation is celebrating National Concert Week (a holiday which was very possibly invented by Live Nation) by offering $20 “all-in” tickets to select shows around the country available for purchase between April 30-May 8.

LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 06: Singer Kesha visits ‘Hits 1 in Hollywood’ on SiriusXM Hits 1 channel at the SiriusXM Studios in Los Angeles on July 6, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

The full list of Austin-area concerts included in the promotion is available here. But notable shows include the Jack White show on Wednesday at Austin360 amphitheater, Primus and Mastodon at the Amphitheater on May 11 and the Adventures of Kesha and Macklemore at the Amphitheater on Jun 22.

Other shows include Logic at the Amphitheater on July 27, Fall Out Boy at the Erwin Center on Sept. 23 and comedian Kevin Hart at the Erwin Center on Nov. 2.


Bye Bye Blackheart: One final day and night at Rainey Street’s best hangout

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On the chalkboard sign out front and in the Facebook page for the event, Sunday’s swan song for Rainey Street’s much-loved Blackheart Bar was dubbed “See You in Hell.” There was a let-it-all-out feel to the afternoon and evening, to be sure, but we thought local band Harvest Thieves might have nailed the title. Peeking at their set list as they took the backyard stage just after 9 p.m., we noticed it was titled: “Bye Bye Blackheart.”

Harvest Thieves play the final night at the Blackheart on Sunday, April 29, 2018. Peter Blackstock/American-Statesman

More than a dozen acts, most of whom had played regularly at the venue over the years, signed on for half-hour finales that rotated between the bar’s dark indoor and bright outdoor stages from 5 p.m. till past midnight. They all wanted to say goodbye to a place that, as Harvest Thieves leader Cory Reinisch put it, “was the best thing that happened to this street.”

Many of the musicians worked at the Blackheart over the years as well. Reinisch even did some work behind the bar on Sunday before his band’s set. Corey Baum of Croy & the Boys mentioned that he used to work the door there. Mike Schoenfeld, who kicked things off just past 5 p.m. in the sunlight on the backyard stage, told amusing stories about watching baby raccoons cavorting on the roof, and that time he called the police on himself. (A missing motorcycle was involved.)

Late-afternoon scene from the last day and night at the Blackheart on Rainey Street, Sunday, April 29, 2018. Peter Blackstock/American-Statesman

Mostly the vibe was celebratory, even as the bittersweetness of the moment was not lost on anyone — particularly co-owner Jeremy Murray, who described the day as an “emotional rollercoaster.” Erica Shamaly, manager of the city’s Music & Entertainment Division, noted that her office had offered help to the Blackheart owners if they wanted to start up again somewhere else, though it’s unclear at this point whether that might happen.

Out on the front porch was another example of the venue’s legacy. There for the taking were a handful of vinyl copies of Austin band Sweet Spirit’s album “Live at the Blackheart,” recorded here a few years ago. The band couldn’t be there on this final day, but with their offering, it was clear they were here in (sweet) spirit.

Inside, the band that followed Schoenfeld early on was an intriguing one. By Pass was a hip-hop collective blending members of Austin’s Mindz of a Different Kind and the group Nouvel R from Angers, France. Its very existence is an outgrowth of collaborative exchanges between the two cities in recent years, including an annual Austin-Angers Week that happens each year in the fall.

RELATED: More about the Austin-Angers musical connection

By Pass, a hip-hop collaboration between Austin’s Mindz of a Different Kind and France’s Nouvel R, played the indoor stage on the Blackheart’s final day, Sunday, April 29, 2018. Peter Blackstock/American-Statesman

The music rolled on with exemplary sets by Croy & the Boys outside, followed by an indoor set from rootsy singer-songwriter Christy Hays, who just released a new album on Friday. I departed for a short time after that in order to catch a special performance by Steve Kilbey, leader of Australian band the Church, with keyboardist Amanda Kramer at east side private club the Pershing. This was an unusually busy Sunday, with the final night of Levitation shows also taking place in the Red River District.

By the time I returned at 9 p.m., the Blackheart was at capacity, with a line stretching down the Rainey Street sidewalk of folks hoping for a chance to pay their last respects. Harvest Thieves were taking the stage with a massive lineup that included current and former members, resulting in a merry wall of five guitarists across the front at one point. The chorus of song “Your Damn Vanity” seemed especially appropriate for the evening: “Austin ain’t quite what she used to be, but then, neither are you and I.”

There was much more to come as the night wound down to a 1 a.m. acoustic duo performance by Not in the Face, which played the first show at the Blackheart six years ago. The line outside might also have been in part for the 10 p.m. set by Chasca, a full-on-costumed glam outfit that was reuniting just for this occasion. Drummer Wiley Koepp loaded in gear and wandered the grounds early on, his face painted but not yet in full costume. There would be “lots more glitter,” he assured, remembering the time that the fire marshal shut down one of the band’s shows at the Blackheart a few years ago.

Chasca drummer Wiley Koepp loads in gear before the band’s performance on the Blackheart’s final night, Sunday, April 29, 2018. Blackheart co-owner Jeremy Murray is at right. Peter Blackstock/American-Statesman.

I didn’t stay till the end, as there was another adieu to bid across the river at the Continental Gallery — which thankfully isn’t going away, but it is going to close on Sundays beginning next month. That means no more Sunday nights there with Jon Dee Graham’s ever-evolving Lo Jinx Orchestra, who closed this final chapter with a wonderful rendition of his song “Airplane.” Aboard for that final flight were his son William Harries Graham and Amy Cook on guitar, Andrew Duplantis on bass and Mike Meadows on drums, with Abra Moore’s haunting vocal swirls soaring above it all at stage right.

The good news: As the song ended, Graham informed the crowd that Lo Jinx would now be playing every Sunday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at El Mercado Backstage. As always, Austin keeps changing. But it’s not all going away.

The backyard of the Blackheart on its final day, Sunday, April 29, 2018. Peter Blackstock/American-Statesman

The top ten touring shows coming to Austin in May

The weather is not yet unbearable, but these artists are bringing heat to Austin.

May 5: Jmblya at Circuit of the Americas. Once again, local hip-hop promotion powerhouse Scoremore has produced a stellar lineup for their annual turn up. Emotional rapper/singer J. Cole leads a bill that includes a powerhouse second tier featuring Young Thug (a last minute swap for Cardi B) and Migos. Kevin Gates, Playboi Carti, Bun B and Trae tha Truth will also be in the house. Festival organizers say they have taken steps to deal with heat and dehydration, the biggest problems from last year’s festival. They promise expanded water filling stations, more bars and food vendors, and shade structures in the field. $89. 2 p.m. gates. 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd. — D.S.S.

RELATED: Scoremore’s Jmblya taps into youth movement

Keith Urban performs onstage during the 2016 iHeartCountry Festival at the Erwin Center on April 30, 2016. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman

May 5: iHeartCountry Festival at Erwin Center. This is the fifth year that the radio conglomerate has invited some of the most-played acts on its country stations to Austin for short sets that add up to a four-hours-plus bash at the city’s largest indoor music venue. On the bill this time: Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Dustin Lynch, Cole Swindell, Maren Morris, Sugarland, Luke Combs, Billy Currington, Dan + Shay, Jon Pardi and Brett Young. $20-$400. 7 p.m. 1701 Red River St. — P.B.

10: Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons at Bass Concert Hall. From 1960s hits with the Four Seasons to a major comeback thanks to the 1970s musical-turned-movie musical “Grease” to a late-career revival with the Broadway smash “Jersey Boys,” Valli has stretched what might have been a short window as a star of rock’s early years into a lifetime of pop stardom. At 83, he’s now an elder statesman dealing mostly in nostalgia, but the songs have a timeless appeal. $45.50-$139.50. 8 p.m. 2350 Robert Dedman Drive. — P.B.


17: Khalid at HEB Center at Cedar Park. Still young, but much less dumb and broke than he was a couple years ago, the 20-year-old honorary Texan, who found fame as a high school student in El Paso, was one of the biggest artists to play SXSW this year. Backed by a full band and a cheer squad, he delivered a radiant performance with effortless vocal prowess. $49-$59. 8 p.m. 2100 Avenue of the Stars, Cedar Park. — D.S.S.

SXSW review: In Khalid’s utopia all are welcome

18: The Championship Tour with Kendrick Lamar, Sza at Austin360 Amphitheater. Kendrick Lamar is arguably the most important rapper alive right now. He makes sonically complex, lyrically dense music that still moves the masses. Powerful works like “We Gon’ Be Alright” remind even the most cynical among us that sometimes a song can change the world. This tour presents not just Lamar, but the whole Top Dawg Entertainment crew including first lady Sza, whose stunning 2017 release “Ctrl” was one of the strongest R&B albums of the year. The bill also includes Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock and more. $35-$125. 7:30 p.m. 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd. — D.S.S.

RELATED: Kendrick Lamar brings his healing energy to Austin


18-19: Nada Surf at 3Ten. The beloved New York indie-pop band’s career has now reached the point where other artists are doing tribute records of their songs: Check out “Standing at the Gates,” released earlier this year and featuring contributions from Aimee Mann, Ed Harcourt, the Texas Gentlemen and others. Hear the real thing at this two-night stand; the first night sold out early, but tickets were still available for night two at press time. $20-$25. 8 p.m. 310 Willie Nelson Blvd. — P.B.

19-20: Emmylou Harris at Paramount Theatre. It was no surprise when the Grammys gave a lifetime achievement award to Harris this year, given that she’d already won more than a dozen of them in a variety of categories across a stellar five-decade career. At 70, she’s still making great music that pushes outward on the boundaries of country, shining especially in recent years through collaborations with Rodney Crowell, Mark Knopfler and others. Too big for just one show at the Paramount, she’ll play two nights. $40-$90. 8 p.m. 713 Congress Ave. — P.B.

May 25: Sa-Roc at Empire Control Room. The self-described Goddess MC from the Rhymesayers crew, tackles heavy themes like spiritual evolution and social injustice with powerful lyricism laid over soulful grooves. Her new single “Forever” is the flip-side of Beyonce’s “Flawless,” a self-love anthem that refuses to deny the struggle. She opens up about eating disorders, and episodes of self-harm and encourages the listener to never let the scars stop you from shining bright. $10-$15. 9 p.m. doors. 606 E. Seventh St. –D.S.S.

May 26: Red Baraat at 3Ten. NOLA brass band meets Bollywood dance party in the best only-in-America sonic mashup you can ask for. $20. 8:30 p.m. 310 Willie Nelson Blvd. — D.S.S.

May 27: Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers at Austin360 Amphitheater. The death of Walter Becker last year means that Steely Dan is now steered only by co-founder Donald Fagen. But the songs they wrote together are a lasting legacy, and Fagen’s distinctive vocals are central enough to the band’s big hits that longtime fans likely will want to be there. The Doobies are sort of the flip side of the equation, missing showcase singer Michael McDonald; but the group had racked up hits before he’d joined the band, and they’ve proven plenty capable of pulling off a quality opening set  on previous Austin visits in recent years. $35-$149.50. 7:30 p.m. 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd. — P.B.

1: The Darkness, Diarrhea Planet at Emo’s

1: The Distillers at Mohawk outdoors (sold out)

2: Jack White at Austin360 Amphitheater

2: Lloyd Cole at 3Ten.

RELATED: Jack White, cell phones and the art of capturing a moment

2: Mansionair, Mikky Ekko at Parish

2: Kiefer Sutherland, Rick Brantley at Antone’s

2: Tune-Yards, My Brightest Diamond at Emo’s

2: Rogue Wave at Empire Control Room

2: Bing & Ruth at Central Presbyterian Church

3: Greta Van Fleet at Stubb’s outdoor (sold out)

3: Devin the Dude at Empire Control Room

3: Kathy Mattea with Bill Cooley at One World Theatre

3: Walter Trout, Lance Lopez at Antone’s

4: Afghan Whigs, Built to Spill, Ed Harcourt at Emo’s

4: Madeleine Peyroux at One World Theatre

4: Madison Beer at Parish

4: Fu Manchu at Barracuda

4-5: Superchunk at 3Ten

5: Lyle Lovett & his Large Band at ACL Live

5: Cinco de Mayo 2018 at Fiesta Gardens

5: Punk in Drublic with NOFX, Bad Religion, Interrupters, Mad Caddies, Bad Cop Bad Cop, Last Gang, more at American-Statesman parking lot

5: Led Zeppelin 2 at Emo’s

5: Autograf at Empire Garage

5: Will Johnson at Mohawk indoor

6: Echosmith, Score, Jena Rose at Emo’s

7: Hayley Kiyoko at Emo’s

8: Gordon Lightfoot at ACL Live

8: King Tuff at Barracuda

9: Andrew McMahon & the Wilderness, Allen Stone, Zac Clark, Bob Oxblood at Scoot Inn (sold out)

9: Franz Ferdinand at Emo’s

9: Parker Millsap at Parish

9: Of Montreal at Mohawk

9: Sofi Tucker at Vulcan Gas Company

10: Babymetal at ACL Live

10: Metalachi, Money Chicha at Scoot Inn

10: Nav at Emo’s

10: Helmet, Prong at Mohawk outdoor

10: Mike Farris & the Roseland Rhythm Revue at Antone’s

10: David Wilcox at One World Theatre

11-13: Finding Euphoria Festival with Gramatik, Hippie Sabotage and G Jones at Carson Creek Ranch.

11: Primus, Mastodon, All Them Witches at Austin360 Amphitheater

11: Blood, Sweat & Tears at One World Theatre

11: Todrick Hall at Emo’s

11: Travis Greene at Scoot Inn

11: Dweezil Zappa at Mohawk outdoor

11: Shemekia Copeland at Antone’s

11: Skizzy Mars at Empire Control Room

12: Dr. Dog, Son Little at ACL Live

12: Gipsy Kings at Paramount Theatre

12: Webb Wilder at Cactus Cafe

12: Shinyribs at Scoot Inn

12: Kid Koala’s Vinyl Vaudeville Floor Kids Edition at 3Ten

12: Party Thieves at Empire Control Room

14: Courtney Barnett at Saengerrunde Hall (sold out)

14: Blue October at Mohawk (sold out)

15: Dirty Projectors at Mohawk outdoor

15: Apocalyptica Plays Metallica by Four Cellos at Emo’s

15: American Pleasure Club f.k.a. Teen Suicide at Mohawk outdoor

16: Kenny Chesney, Old Dominion at Austin360 Amphitheater

16: Pond at Mohawk outdoor

16: Joe Pug at 3Ten.

17: Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang at ACL Live

17: Rainbow Kitten Surprise at Stubb’s (sold out)

17: Karla Bonoff at One World Theatre

17: Frenship at Parish

17 :Runaway June at 3Ten

18: Koe Wetzel at Scoot Inn

18: Jimmy Eat World at Stubb’s outdoor

18: ZZ Ward at Emo’s

18: Geographer at Parish

18: MC Chris at Barracuda

18: Ginuwine at Empire

19: X Ambassadors at Stubb’s outdoor

19: Kat Edmonson at ACL Live

19: Tritonal at Emo’s

19: Kimbra, Son Lux at Mohawk outdoor

20: Anvil at Barracuda

20: Less Than Jake, Face to Face at Mohawk outdoor

20: Trashcan Sinatras at 3Ten

20: Brian Culbertson at One World Theatre

21: Tash Sultana at Stubb’s

22: Dave Matthews Band at Austin360 Amphitheater

22: David Crosby & Friends at Paramount Theatre

22: Smokepurpp at Mohawk outdoor

22: Amber Mark at Mohawk indoor

23: Peter Hook & the Light at Mohawk outdoor

24: Hot Snakes at Mohawk outdoor

25: Joe Bonamassa at ACL Live (sold out)

25: Galactic at Mohawk outdoor

25: Chief Keef at Empire

26-27: Lone Star Jam at Travis County Exposition Center

26: David Bromberg Quintet at One World Theatre

26: DDG at Empire

26: Okkervil River at Mohawk outdoor

27: Peanut Butter Wolf at Mohawk indoor

29: Midge Ure solo at 3Ten

30: Shilpa Ray at Sidewinder

31: Josh Garrels, Strahan at Emo’s

31: Nightmares on Wax at Mohawk outdoor

31: Richard Buckner at Cactus Cafe

Willie Nelson turns 85 today! Here’s a look back at some recent history (and beyond)

Willie Nelson turns 85 today, April 29, 2018. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2o17

Lately Willie Nelson has been celebrating his birthday in the most ideal way possible for one of the world’s greatest musical artists: By giving us new music.

Born Aug. 29, 1933, Willie released last year’s terrific “God’s Problem Child” on his birthday weekend. He did the same this year with “Last Man Standing,” which came out on Friday and included an entirely new batch of songs he wrote with producer Buddy Cannon.

READ MORE: Our review of “Last Man Standing”

Nelson, who performed at Whitewater Amphitheater in New Braunfels last weekend, next performs in Austin on another birthday: America’s. The legendary Willie Nelson Fourth of July Picnic returns to Circuit of the Americas for the fourth straight year in a couple of months.

Our Picnic expert Dave Thomas — he’s @williepicnic on Twitter, naturally — has compiled the best timeline of past Picnics likely to be found anywhere. Check it out:

Timeline: The definitive history of the Willie Nelson Fourth of July Picnic

Birthday wishes for Willie come from far and wide on the web every year. Still, we remain sentimentally attached to this one posted a few years back. It’s from Darcie Jane Fromholz, whose late father, Steven Fromholz, was a good friend of Nelson (and wrote Willie’s chart-topping hit “I’d Have to Be Crazy”). Here’s what she said in 2014: “Happy birthday, Willie- thank you for letting me drive a golf cart into a pond when I was nine. Love you!”

Want more to read on this celebrated day? Here’s a Willie wormhole for you — dozens of articles we’ve written about the Red-Headed Stranger in recent years:

More Willie Nelson stories on Austin360

And then there’s “The Year in Willie,” the annual wrap-ups we’ve been doing since 2014. Read last year’s version here, and check out the highlights in this video:

This week’s music picks: Jack White, Lloyd Cole, Curtis Roush, more

Wednesday: Jack White at Austin360 Amphitheater. His latest album, “Boarding House Reach,” is an insane mix of thrash funk, rap rock and the gutsy garage rock we know and love. There are hits and misses, but it’s an interesting collection from an artist who’s constantly evolving. He debuted the album live with a series of intimate gigs in London and the reports are promising, but if you go, prepare to stow your phone. White ejects fans who attempt to record him. $40-$89.50. 8 p.m. 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd. — D.S.S.

Wednesday: Lloyd Cole at 3Ten. There have been lots of entry points into Cole’s work, from his 1980s rise in Britain fronting the Commotions, to 1991’s orchestral-rock masterwork “Don’t Get Weird On Me Babe” after his move to New York, to his later collaborations with Jill Sobule in the Negatives. For me, it was 1995’s “Love Story,” one of the great acoustic folk-pop albums of its time. He’s released just a couple of records this decade, but he has plenty to draw from in his live shows. $21-$25. 8 p.m. 310 Willie Nelson Blvd. — P.B.

Thursday: Curtis Roush at Barracuda. Written largely in the West Texas desert, Roush’s “Cosmic Campfire Music” reflects those wide-open environs with spacious production that leaves plenty of room for the music to breathe. Touches of the psychedelic rock Roush plays with Bright Light Social Hour are evident here, but the acoustic foundation of mesmerizing tracks such as “Polestar” and “You Already Got Me” suit his tuneful arrangements and plaintive tenor vocals well. $12. 9 p.m. doors. 611 E. Seventh St. — P.B.

Tune-Yards are at Emo’s on Wednesday. Jay Janner / American-Statesman 2014




  • Marian Hill, Michl at Emo’s
  • Melvins, Spotlights at Mohawk outdoor
  • Thee Oh Sees, Dream Decay, Leather Girls at Hotel Vegas
  • Dale Watson, Peterson Brothers at Continental Club
  • Mystery Monday with Christine Albert, Bill Kirchen, Redd Volkaert, Earl Poole Ball at El Mercado Backstage
  • Church on Monday Band at Continental Gallery
  • Jonathan Terrell, Nathan Fleming at Sam’s Town Point
  • Dylan Bishop Band, Blue Monday at Antone’s
  • Open mic with Kacy Crowley at Cactus Cafe
  • Mood Live series with Texas KGB at Opal Divine’s Grill




ACL Fest just sneakily revealed a peek at the festival’s 2018 lineup

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Austin City Limits Festival organizers revealed a portion of the lineup for this year’s festival with a clever ad that aired on Austin NBC affiliate KXAN on Friday night.  The spot peddled a drug called Acielle (zilkerus festum) aimed at patients “struggling with a lack of musical exposure.” Mixed in with a list of outcomes like “permagrin” and “liquid courage” were artists from this year’s roster.

CHVRCHES performs at the Radio Day Stage during South by Southwest on Friday March 18, 2016. (JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Art-pop icon David Byrne, synth duo Sylvan Esso, teen sensation Khalid and Puerto Rican rapper Residente will all play the fest this year. Also on the bill are mope-core lifers the National,  Scottish pop pixies Chvrches, U.K.  dance scene standouts Jungle, local singer-songwriter Shakey Graves, Prince’s backing band the Revolution, Trampled by Turtles and Houndmouth.

RELATED: Who will play ACL Fest? Beyoncé? Janelle Monae?

The ad will air on the station again Saturday at 10:45 p.m. and the full ACL Fest lineup will be released on Tuesday, when weekend passes go on sale.

So where does this leave our speculation?

Well, we correctly called four of these artists and seeing Prince’s old backing band in the mix while Janelle Monae is giving interviews about her creative relationship with the Purple One, gives us a very good feeling about our most coveted pick.


Ty Segall, Parquet Courts play it loud and loose as Levitation opens

Over the past 12 months while outdoor clubs along Red River Street have enjoyed a trial period of later weekend noise curfews as a tactic to increase bar business, Austin city staff closely monitored noise levels in surrounding neighborhoods and kept a close eye on any increase in complaints of loud music.

With no statistically significant uptick in noise disturbances to report and economic data showing modest increases in ticket sales and bar tabs – both a plus for Austin musicians – on Thursday the City Council voted to make the later weekend concerts permanent.

In this file photo, Parquet Courts performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in 2013. The band played Thursday as part of Levitation Fest’s opening night. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

In a fun bit of circumstance Thursday also happened to be the day that indie guitar hero Ty Segall wound up on the calendar at Stubb’s and delivered a majestically ear-shredding set so intense and just plain loud it’d be hard to imagine the folks up in Hyde Park didn’t get at least a little rumble and opportunity to head bang, if they were so moved. No word on whether the city’s 311 call center saw a spike on Thursday, but let’s all be grateful the later noise curfews are here to stay.

Wonkiness and wisecracks aside, the Segall/Parquet Courts double bill that was one of the opening volleys of Levitation Fest 2018 was as dynamic and energizing a touring show as you’re likely to have seen in Austin this year.

BACKGROUND: How Levitation organizers — and the fest — came back after 2016’s cancellation

After a raucous opening set from local punks A Giant Dog – themselves afforded a spot in front of a sold-out crowd because of the later noise curfew providing an hour more of show time – New York quartet Parquet Courts spent an hour displaying the many hues of post-punk they’ve become adept in since their formation in 2010.

A key to their success is an absolutely enormous bass and bottom end sound in nearly all of their material, making it danceable and somehow more personal than most of the spiky and jagged sounds favored by bands who trace their influences back to Pavement, Modern Lovers and Gang Of Four.

The more aggressive, almost hardcore leanings of the band’s newer material has clearly bled into some of their back catalog as well, with an early, extended run through “Ducking & Dodging” turned up in volume and vocal intensity as a pit of roughly 50 crowd members churned and jostled in front of singer Andrew Savage as he barked out a small epic poem’s worth of lyrics.

With stylistic turns aplenty – a two-song suite featuring an Omnichord synthesizer turned things slow and trancelike near the end – the set was an example of the variety crowds can enjoy with Levitation Fest expanding its scope from its beginnings as Austin Psych Fest.

At various points throughout his 90-minute set, Segall hued a bit closer to straight psychedelic rock, but any languid and trippy moments were soon to be swallowed up by a tornado of violent and noisy guitar. Acclaimed as one of the most talented and adventurous songwriters of recent indie rock vintage, it was at times hard to fathom how Segall makes a coherent, unified sound in songs where layered melodies and Brian Wilson-esque pop hooks lead into a vortex of guitar distortion and feedback.

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That contrast was on constant display Thursday but hearing the pristine beauty of “My Lady’s On Fire” braced against the noise-rock alto sax squawks and guitar shredding of “Can’t Talk To You” a few minutes later was a lesson in how performers can enrapture an audience by being willing to try anything creatively.

By the time Segall and his bandmates edged up to their close at 11 p.m. there wasn’t much sonic territory from the rock music canon that hadn’t been explored. As an indicator of what might be in store for the rest of the festival weekend, the show set an extremely high bar for the rest of the Levitation roster to try to reach.