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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Austin City Limits: Decisions, decisions…

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Dedicated to discussing and promoting both local and regional musicians, venues, and festivals, this culture blog is updated every Monday. Readers can look forward to music reviews, concert updates, and commentary on the best in the music world.
For Aggies, September tends to be a month full of chaos and commotion as the semester begins; classes fill up and the search for that obscure textbook required for your hip-hop philosophy elective becomes more and more hopeless. Admittedly, it’s even harder to transition back into the college lifestyle after a summer of non-stop partying (or in my case, a summer of slumber).
For Aggies who happen to be music lovers, September is a month full of anticipation. Just this past weekend, two great music festivals, Ziegfest, which took place here in College Station, and Wild Frontier Fest, in Austin, have come and gone featuring some of the coolest up-and-coming bands in the country. If you missed out on all of the fun this last weekend, fear not! It’s not too late to get your festival fix.
Celebrating its 10 anniversary on the fast approaching weekend of September 16th, the three day long musical ruckus, Austin City Limits has become one of the largest and most popular music festivals in Texas. Every year, dedicated music lovers from all over the world trek to the now famous festival grounds at Zilker Park to see their favorite bands perform for the dangerously rambunctious Texas crowd.
Tickets for the festival went on sale long ago, but if you are willing to pay a little extra, it is still possible to barter with one of the countless scalpers that prowl the streets of Austin this time of year. If that route doesn’t appeal to you, Sunday passes are still available on the ACL website (but they will not be available for much longer, so jump on it). If you are a member of the proactive lot who actually purchased a ticket on time, I applaud you. I myself have never been able to buy tickets on time, for whatever reason (laziness). Right now, I’m frantically trying to scour up enough cash for a golden ACL ticket. Regardless of the manner in which you got your ticket this year, believe me when I say that you are in for quite an experience. Never failing to impress, the hard working bunch over at ACL have put together a lineup that is simply amazing. Obviously I can’t go over all of the artists, but here is a little preview of which ones I am looking forward to.
Make your own ACL schedule!
Friday: Most likely playing to a crowd that has just gotten out of bed, Cults will be kicking off ACL with their own adorable brand of indie-pop. Their self-titled debut is full of infectious sunny day sing-alongs that are sure to make for a great live show.
After Cults, be sure to then check out Reptar. (Awesome name, right?!) I have no doubt that these guys are going to get more than a few people moving with their psychedelic dance tunes that remind me a little of Prince mixed with Portugal, The Man and MGMT. After the dance party, definitely check out Delta Spirit. Their high-energy songs have a unifying quality to them that will have the crowd locking arms and screaming for more.
The act that I am most excited to see, however, is the magnificent Kurt Vile. I’ve been listening to his album “Childish Prodigy” on repeat for a week now, and I simply can’t get enough of his harsh, yet ambient Animal Collective-ish sound. He has an interesting approach, mainly utilizing drum loops and an acoustic guitar, so I am excited to see how this translates to his live shows. Kurt does have a backing band, The Violators, who will definitely help to make the droning, subdued tunes more exciting for the crowd.
Newcomers, Foster The People, are definitely going to be drawing a massive amount of people over to their stage thanks to the massive success of their hit song, “Pumped Up Kicks,” so if you can get anywhere near the stage, I congratulate you on your dedication and persistence. Lastly, in what is going to be the most difficult dilemma that some people have ever faced, attendees are going to have to make a choice between seeing Coldplay or Kanye. No one can make this decision for you, but if worst comes to worst, you can always flip a coin. I’m going with Coldplay.
Saturday: With the crowd slightly more, shall we say “drowsy” (hung-over), than the morning before, ACL won’t be packed until around 12:30 p.m. This will give you a chance to get a good spot for one of my favorite acts right now — Twin Shadow. The name of the group is actually the stage name for front man and songwriter George Lewis Junior, but once you see these guys live it becomes clear that Twin Shadow is meant to be a band, not just a solo act.
Their sound can best be described as woozy 80’s nostalgia pop similar to the likes of Beach House. Fans ofdance bands like Chromeo will also get a kick out of these guys so be sure to park yourself front and center. I mean it!
Iron & Wine are sure to put on a peaceful set.. It will also most likely be the “it’s so hot I have to take a nap immediately” performance of the day, so be sure to head their way for a relaxing set of hippie lullabies mixed with louder rock tunes. Afterwards, with the crowd now refreshed and the sun slowly setting, it will be time for dance freaks, Cut Copy, to take the stage. I saw these guys at this year’s Free Press Summer Fest in Houston and they had the entire crowd moving and grooving by the first song. If you haven’t let your freak flag fly by this time in the festival, prepare to fly it high. The end of the night presents yet another tough choice between My Morning Jacket and Stevie Wonder. This is an easy one for me though because it’s freakin’ Stevie Wonder.
Sunday: I’ll be honest. I probably won’t make it to ACL on Sunday until around one or two in the afternoon because of sheer exhaustion. The final day of ACL is a true test of physical fitness, a quality that I sadly do not possess. However, having heard excellent things about local artist Susana Choffel, I fully intend on starting the final day of the festival with her interesting brand of indie-pop. It’s always a kick to see a local artist play for their home crowd, so if you’ve never experienced the “Here I am!” moment that bonds a city and an artist together, this is the show to see. After Susana, I will probably pass out on the grass until Canadian indie-rockers Broken Social Scene takes the stage.
I have seen these guys a few times before, and believe me, they know how to put on a show. The sheer size (varying from six to 19 members) of their band contributes to their exciting stage presence. If you are looking for a great indie rock set, stop by their stage.
As night begins to fall, Fleet Foxes will take the stage to what I predict will be the world’s largest gathering of facial hair and plaid shirts. With the voices of angels, these guys make cinematic folk music that transports you to a world devoid of the problems of the modern man. Personally, they make me want to venture out into the wilderness for an indefinite amount of time, forcing me to adapt to a life full of rabbit hunting and cabin building. After they take you on a scenic trip through nature, immediately head to the Arcade Fire stage.
I love Arcade Fire. Their latest release, “The Suburbs,” is absolutely phenomenal and I can only imagine how many people are going to ACL mainly to see these guys perform. I have yet to see them live, but something inside of me says that their performance will be nothing short of a religious experience. I recommend getting to their stage at least four hours before they are scheduled to play, if you have any hope of getting a good spot. If this is not possible for you, another option could be to coat yourself in far too much sunscreen, enabling you to slip and slide past the crowd with ease. This is the final performance of ACL, and it will be an experience unlike any other.
Life is full of tough choices. Do you want white or wheat bread? Should you wear shoes or sandals? Stevie Wonderor My Morning Jacket? I hope that this little preview will make it easier for you guys to throw together a schedule of your own. If you weren’t able to get tickets, there are still going to be plenty of free shows and mini-festivals taking place around Austin. I would sell all of my possessions to get my hands on a ticket to this year’s festival, but instead of having to resort to a life of homelessness, I am simply donating my bodily fluids for money. See you there!
Steve Wells is a senior marketing major at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School. In addition to being a student, he is also a local musician and promoter.

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