Our Picks For ACL Fest 2017

Rick McNulty, Host Left of the Dial/Fri. 7 p.m. – 11 p.m. & Uptown Saturday Night/Sat. 7 p.m. – 11 p.m.


Vulfpeck – It’s the one band I’m most excited to see as I’ve heard nothing but great things about their live shows. They’re a bunch of smart and funky music nerds who model themselves after legendary session musicians of the past (Muscle Shoals, Stax, Motown). **Plus two nights @ Emo’s 10/9 & 10/10.

Car Seat Headrest – Will Toledo and his young buddies may still look like they need permission slips signed by their parents to go out on tour, but they can rock like a mother. Furthermore, their star is ascending and pretty white hot right now. See ‘em before you’re over ‘em. **Plus late night @ Mowhawk 10/12.

Thundercat – Stephen Bruner has some of the most bizarre and varied vocabulary in music these days (working with Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, Suicidal Tendencies and Michael McDonald for starters). His bass playing is extraordinarily complex and suave;  too bad he was thirty years too late to join Steely Dan or play with McDonald the first time around. **Plus late night @ Scoot Inn 10/7.

Gorillaz – I’m a big believer that you can’t see a band too soon, which is to say, before they call it quits or get crusty and stale. Gorillaz has never seemed like they’re a permanent fixture so my advice to is to catch them before it’s too late. And you know they’ll play “Clint Eastwood.”

Nick Hakim – If you hit that point in the festival when you need to mellow out, Hakim may be your best bet. The man has a sweet and honeyed voice supported by minimalist instrumentation with lots of wonky honks and beeps. Honestly though, he could sing the phone book and it would still melt your cold jaded heart. **Plus late night @ Antone’s 10/13.


Susan Castle, Host M-F 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.


La Femme – A French psych-punk rock band whose influences range from The Velvet Underground to yeye, so, yeah.  Friday 5:15 BMI stage – Weekend One only.

Tove Lo – A vibrant combination of ‘80s dance-pop and EDM from the award-winning Swede.  Plays both Saturdays at 7 p.m. at the new Barton Springs stage. Will see her Weekend Two so I can watch the Longhorns beat Kansas State at home first weekend!  Hook ‘em Horns!

The Killers & GorillazCompeting Sundays at 8:15 on opposing BIG stages.  Unsure of the logistics, but nice to have the both weekends’ option to decide.

Chance the Rapper –  “Is you is or is you ain’t got gaaaaas money…”   Both Saturdays at 8p at Honda Stage. 

Methyl Ethyl From Australia AND on the 4AD record label?!?  Hope I can make it there in time from our live KUTX Four Seasons mini-ACL broadcast on Friday at 12:30 on American Express stage. Details at KUTX.org.

Fresh, Host The Breaks/Saturday 11 p.m. – 1 a.m.


Jay-Z – Do I need to say more? I mean it’s Jay-Z. This is an artist I have a huge admiration for who I look to as someone that has raised me with his lyrics. Also, I haven’t seen him live since the 2009 Blueprint 3 Tour. 

Ice Cube – I’ve never seen him live and would love to see him perform the classics from albums like Amerikkkas Most Wanted and Death Certificate.

DRAM – An amazing artist and songwriter whose first debut album I highly enjoyed and recommend everyone here. The guy bounced back from Drake stealing a whole song and has become a sort of bright spot in today’s music. 

BadBadNotGood – After hearing them collab with rap artists like Mick Jenkins and Ghostface Killah I was really intrigued by them. I look forward to hearing and seeing this amazing band take the stage. 

Melat  This young local talent is someone I’ve been championing for the longest now. I’m excited that she’s made it onto the ACL Fest stage and look forward to seeing her live for only the second time. 

Jay Trachtenberg, Host Monday – Thursday 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. & Jazz with Jay Trachtenberg/Sunday 7 a.m. – 10 a.m.


Bonobo – L.A.-based British producer/DJ Simon Green of late has been incorporating the sounds of world music into his heady electronic brew.  Migration is an apropos title for his current album.

Middle Kids – This young band from Sydney, Australia was quite impressive when we hosted them at the Four Seasons during SXSW in the wake of their eponymous debut EP.  Definitely a band to keep an eye on.

Ragin’ Fyah – One of the very best traveling (as opposed to studio) roots reggae bands to emerge from Jamaica in this century.  Crucial and dread!

Spoon – The band’s been touring virtually non-stop since the release of Hot Thoughts in March.  They’ll be well-oiled and, no doubt, psyched for this homecoming of sorts.

Thundercat – aka Stephen Bruner is a much in-demand bassist/producer who’s worked with everyone from Kendrick Lamar to Childish Gambino and is an integral part of L.A.’s cutting-edge, multi-genre West Coast Get Down Collective.  Kudos all around for his latest album, Drunk.

Taylor Wallace , Host Thursday 8 p.m.-11 p.m. & Saturday 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Lemon Twigs – One of my new favorite bands. I saw all three of their Austin sets in February: acoustic at Waterloo Records, intimate in Studio 1A, and the tried and true club set at Stubb’s Indoors. I’m excited to see how their sound fits the festival stage.

Portugal. the Man – When the band who released one of your favorite albums of the year plays in town, the excitement is rrreeeaaalll

Run the Jewels –  Killer Mike and LP back-up their hard-truth lines with incredible production and stage presence. Their words crush your soul, but the beats fill you back up with SJW blood.

The Killers –  I fell in love with Hot Fuss when it came out in my junior high years. 13 years later, I finally get to feast on their live energy, which I’ve heard is incredible.

Thundercat –  The balance of brilliant bass and knucklehead lyrics is refreshing and invigorating. Love the man, love the show.

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