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Preview: ACL Fest 2010, Bands to See Saturday

September 21, 2010

Image Courtesy the Austin American Statesman

If you missed it, we’re previewing this year’s ACL Fest.  I’m giving my recommendations of bands to see for each day, and today, we’re looking at Saturday’s schedule.  If you missed my picks for Friday of the fest, check it out here.

Saturday is an entirely different beast, all full of conflicts and tough choices.  Let’s begin!


Balmorhea – 11:20 am – 12 pm

If you’re going to make an early start on Saturday, you can look forward to catching local band Balmorhea.  A complex mix of classical music, indie, and otherworldly sounds perfect for soundtracks makes this instrumental band the perfect intro to Saturday’s schedule.

Lissie – 12:15 – 1 pm

When you just have to know who the next female voice-of-the-moment is, you’ll want to catch Lissie’s show.  Her full length debut album Catching a Tiger has been heralded by indie magazines and blogs based on the merits of her throaty, powerful vocals.

The Very Best – 12:30 – 1:30 pm

Skip Vampire Weekend on Friday and catch one of the artists pioneering the Afro-Western sound that Ezra Koenig cribs from instead.  (Although, Ezra did appear on The Very Best’s album Warm Heart of Africa, so a guest appearance is always a possibility…)  The Very Best are fresh and fun, and one of the only African-based acts at the fest this year.

Bear in Heaven – 1:30 – 2:30 pm

No, it’s not just the names they have in common: Bear in Heaven is like the love child of Grizzly Bear and Yeasayer.  Sonic psychedelic soundscapes, with a hint of indie pop sensibility to boot.

The Gaslight Anthem – 2:30 – 3:30 pm

The Gaslight Anthem is being heralded as one of America’s best “new” punk bands, but really, they’re a mix of pop, punk, and rock all in one.  Their latest album, The ’59 Sound, was produced by an ex-member of Flogging Molly, they’ve toured with Against Me!, and count Bruce Springsteen among their fans.  See them and feel like you’re at Lollapalooza again.

Mayer Hawthorne & The County – 3:30 – 4:30 pm

The second in the overall don’t-miss category for me is Mayer Hawthorne & The County.  Reviving the traditions of Motown more effectively than anyone else in recent years, Mayer Hawthorne (real name: Andrew Mayer Cohen) has been a fixture on the festival circuit this year.  His smooth crooning will be a major draw at this year’s ACL.

Click the jump to see the bands I recommend for the evening hours!

Broken Bells or Silversun Pickups – 4:30 – 5:30 pm

I’ve broken all the rules!  Anarchy!  Chaos!  Okay, not really…but this was a particularly difficult time slot.  Nevermind the Local Natives and Dan Blacks of the world – indie artists on the verge of breaking into the mainstream – I can practically guarantee you’ll get to see them again for cheap while they make their rounds on tour.

The real decision here is between Broken Bells and Silversun Pickups.  As I’ve said before, Broken Bells has a shelf life as a band, so seeing them seems like a given…except for the fact that I’m unsure how their album is going to translate live.  In that case, you may want to go with the safer bet of a great rock show from Silversun Pickups.  I’ll leave this one up to you.

The Temper Trap or The XX – 5:30 – 6:30 pm

Alright, so this one’s just a cop-out.  Here’s the deal…which one of these bands you should see depends on your mood that day.  If you want some sweeping, uplifting pop to dance to, go see The Temper Trap.  If you want some moody, romantic dream pop see The XX.  Both bands have the potential to make their shows a festival “moment,” so follow your gut.

LCD Soundsystem – 6:30 – 7:30 pm

Though I’m not a fan of James Murphy’s general ironic being (a guy making clever music and pretending to be so unhip that it’s extra hip – meh), he certainly has a way of putting together moving, un-ironic indie sounds.  That’s why, ultimately, I’d recommend this show over Monsters of Folk, whose album I wasn’t a big fan of, or Gogol Bordello, who I have seen twice already.  As I mentioned in my reaction to the ACL lineup, I’m going to be at this show so I can check out what all the fuss is about.  I do expect it to be worth it, so there you have it.

Deadmau5 – 7:30 – 8:30 pm

Gimmicks aside, Deadmau5’s ACL Fest performance is one of the most highly anticipated this year.  A perfect sunset backdrop for a club-style dance party outside should make this show exciting and tons of fun to watch.

Muse – 8:30 – 10 pm

Muse is another show I’m going to check out on faith.  I’ve heard nothing but great things about their live shows, and with music that bombastic, how could it not be super-energetic and entertaining?  Plus, M.I.A. traumatized us at her last ACL Fest appearance, so that makes Muse a shoe-in for the Saturday night closer.

Okay, one more day!  Come back tomorrow for my Sunday ACL Fest picks!

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