Austin 101 Magazine

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  • The Best Shows of 2019 Review with Photos

    austin101bestshows2019

    This year was an amazing year in music across all genres in Austin and cities nearby.  For icon and pop lovers- JLO, Cher, Backstreet Boys, and Billy Joel were epic productions with big fan sing-alongs and the artists looked and sounded great. We covered every genre from country (Tim McGraw, Lyle Lovett, Brett Young, Kacey Musgraves) to hip hop (Wu Tang Clan, Lil Uzi Vert, TI) to Emo (Blink 182).

    final-9843For indie lovers, Imagine Dragons, The Killers, Kaleo, Flaming Lips, The B52’s, Kurt Vile, The Cure, Nick Cave, Vampire Weekend, Hozier, Smashing Pumpkins/Noel Gallagher, and The Raconteurs jammed big time.

    final-9039For true rockers, The Rolling Stones, Sting, Jeff Beck, The Who, Eric Clapton, Dead and Co., Paul McCartney, Todd Rundgren, Zakk Wylde, Warren Haynes’ Gov’t Mule, and Lenny Kravitz were huge highlights as these legends don’t often tour and rarely do you see so many rock icons tour in the same year.

    We covered huge festivals this year including ACL Fest (Lizzo, Billie Eilish, GNR, , Crossroads Guitar Fest, KAABOO (Avett Brothers, Lionel Richie, TI), SXSW, Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion and Outlaw festival, Levitation Fest, iheart Country Music Festival, Superbowl’s Big Night (Foo Fighters), Koke Fest, and Old Settler’s Fest.

    Maggie Rogers
    Heard It In A Past Life

    The most unique and interesting shows by far included: Jake Shimabukuro, Nick Cave, and Claypool Lennon Delirium. The best show for a local Austin artist goes far-and-away to Black Pumas who sold out 3 nights in a row at iconic venue Mohawk.

    Here is our list for the top concerts of the year: (if you want to see more photos just click on the link to the photo gallery for each show)

    final-9786Cher

    This film and music legend gave one of the best shows- seemingly brought her Vegas act to Texas-and not only does she look and sound amazing but the production and the constant costume changes (every few songs) and the nostalgia for Mama Mia and Sonny and Cher make our best of list.

    Cher gallery

    final-5658Lizzo’s ACL Fest

    Although she didn’t headline, Lizzo was by far the highlight and had to take up an additional stage to broadcast to the massive crowd. There was no getting up close to hear hit “Juice”.

    ACL gallery

    Photo Oct 17, 21 43 28Tenacious D

    A funny and unique blend of hard rock and comedy, Jack Black put on a super fun show at ACL Live in Austin. A bit raunchy for kids, but entertaining.

    Tenacious D

    Wu Tang Clan - ACL Live-18Wu Tang Clan

    These hip-hop legends were a hot ticket in Austin and their show was an epic throwback to these rap trailblazers.

    Wu Tang gallery

    SNP_9390v1(photo Scott Newton/KLRU)

    The Raconteurs

    Jack and the boys put on a ridiculously cool and memorable show for their KLRU taping for Austin City Limits-just nights before playing the festival at Zilker park. This is a must-see show if you’ve never seen these guys.

    Raconteurs gallery

    Unknown-2(photo Michael Amico)

    JLo

    Lopez’ It’s My Party tour was a true production. The party celebrated her 50th bday and included epic costume changes, moving stages, and pyro. No other show had more.

    JLo gallery

    final-8836Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Music fest

    The highly anticipated Eric Clapton music festival returned to Texas after many years. This show is special as it’s only held every 6 years and includes the best guitar legends like Jeff Beck, Peter Frampton, Clapton, and more.

    Clapton’s Fest gallery

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    Ella Mai

    Mai was one of the most buzzed shows of 2019. She is young and soulful and we’ll be seeing a lot more of Ella.

    Ella Mai gallery

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    Mike D (Beastie Boys)

    Rachael Ray Party at SXSW

    Ray’s party is always the bucket list item in Austin each year during SXSW at iconic Stubb’s Amphitheater. This year included JS Ondara, Lukas Nelson, Salt and Pepa, Mike D, Bleachers…

    Feedback gallery

    13_Santana.JPPSantana

    This music legend still tours frequently but it was a very unique show at Houston’s rodeo early in the year. His guitar skills blow us away every time.

    Santana gallery

    Lenny Kravitz
    Lenny Kravitz

    Lenny Kravitz

    Lenny hasn’t toured hear in awhile so it was a great treat to catch him for a huge stadium show.

    Lenny Kravitz gallery

    1Solange

    One of the coolest shows in her hometown- we included this release party in our best of because she is one of the best things of 2019. Solange gallery

    11-blackpumasBlack Pumas

    Local band makes big- nominated for Grammy’s- this show is a must see for any music lover.

    Black Pumas gallery

    12232737_10156201107050545_5951359276579487641_o(courtesy Facebook)

    Foo Fighters

    These rockers haven’t been touring much lately so we were floored to get to cover this awesome show in Atlanta for part of Superbowl 2019. Foo put on a ridiculous show that will not be forgotten.

    Foo gallery

    1006-Austin-NickCave-1200x1200-v3-380x380

    Nick Cave

    One of the coolest and most intimate shows we have ever seen. Cave shared deeply personal stories and emotions to help others.

    Nick Cave

    final-0065Paul McCartney

    What can we see. There’s no way Paul is not making this list. His show was nonstop music from this legend and the mere presence of this Beatle was memorable.

    Paul M gallery

    LUCK-35456
    Chris Shiflett

    Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion

    From legend Mavis Staples to Foo guitarist Chris Shiflett, this party goes down near Austin at Willie’s family ranch during SXSW and is a very small gathering that takes place in saloons and churches.

    Willie’s gallery

    JOHN-MAYER-2019-0908-302

    John Mayer

    We covered his last tour too and Mayer never disappoints. He’s not just pop, he’s a great guitarist (and Clapton brought him to his guitar fest to prove it).

    Mayer gallery

    Austin 101 Cage Austin360-3Cage/Beck/Spoon

    Not only was this lineup cool, but each could have headlined individual sold out tours. Non-stop action from Cage’s frontman make it a total surprise- you never know what he’s going to do next.

    Beck gallery

    dac_02Dead and Co.

    John Mayer hits our list twice due to his great work partnering with Bob Weir and the gang. Although yes we agree, nothing can replace Jerry.

    Dead and Co gallery

    final-8873 copyClaypool Lennon Delirium

    One of the most unique and cool collabs around today combines hard rock/metal Les Claypool from Primus paired with Sean Lennon. Feels like you’re on shrooms even if you’re not.

    Claypool Lennon gallery

    final-8297Twenty One Pilots

    From cars on fire to a fan-suspended drum kit, this show was a spectacle and an amazing visual production all night long.

    21 P gallery

    final-9044-2Rolling Stones 

    The Stones are back and make our top spot on the list. Hands down the best and coolest high-energy show of the year. After a brief rest to recover from a heart procedure, Mick and the boys put on a performance that made you scratch your head that these guys are in their 70’s.

    Stones gallery

    See all our photos and concert reviews on our site Austin 101 Magazine

  • Austin’s Own Shinyribs Rocked ACL with Kaleo: Photos
  • Photos- Cher Wowed at One of the Best Shows of 2019
  • Austin Rockers Kaleo Jammed at ACL Live
  • Randy Rogers Brought Country Music to Austin’s ACL Live
  • Tony Winner Dear Evan Hansen Coming Soon to Austin

    Tony and Grammy award winner for best musical, Dear Evan Hansen is coming soon to Austin, Texas.

    What: Dear Evan Hansen

    When: December 10-15, 2019 –Tuesday – Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Sunday at 1 p.m. & 7 p.m.

    Where: Bass Concert Hall (UT campus)

    3- Stephen Christopher Anthony as 'Evan Hansen' and the North American touring company of DEAR EVAN HANSEN. Photo by Matthew Murphy, 2019.jpg(photos by Matthew Murphy)

    The Broadway show starring Ben Platt is still going strong and showing nightly in New York. Dear Evan Hansen features a book by Tony Award winner Steven Levenson, a score by Grammy, Tony and Academy Award winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, The Greatest Showman), and direction by four-time Tony Award nominee Michael Greif (Rent, Next to Normal).

    Dear Evan Hansen tells the story of a young man with a social anxiety disorder who wants to belong so much and to make a connection with his peers that he fabricates a relationship with a deceased student (suicide) to become closer to the boy’s family.

    2- Stephen Christopher Anthony as 'Evan Hansen' and the North American touring company of DEAR EVAN HANSEN. Photo by Matthew Murphy, 2019.jpgThe show is the deeply personal modern musical about life and the way we live it. Evan just wants to fit in. The story is so relevant today with so many kids struggling with identity issues, loneliness and sexuality. With suicide as the topic of today, it’s so important for them to know they’re not alone.

    It shows that parenting is not an exact science and no one can do it perfectly but that caring and ongoing communication are the keys. This show is as much for parents learning to communicate with their kids, as it is for the kids themselves. It’s about hope.

    The music, of course, is amazing. You’ll hear great songs including “Does Anyone Have a Map?”, “You Will Be Found”, “Only Us”, “Waving Through a Window”, and more.

    The show is brought by Broadway in Austin and Texas Performing Arts. For more in depth show information visit the show site.

    Tickets for this show are so hot that a lottery was created and winners will get to purchase $25 tickets. Call the box office at 512-477-6060 or look for tickets here.

    Note: The recommended age for this show is 12 and up.

  • Classical Guitarist Ottmar Liebert’s Beautiful Austin Show: Photos

     

  • Flaming Lips, Chelsea Wolfe, Kurt Vile & More Levitation Fest Photos
  • Photo Highlights From Levitation Fest 2019

     

     

  • The Doobie Brothers Performed at DKR Fundraiser in Austin
  • Levitation Festival 2019 Returns to Austin

    The reinvented Austin Psych Fest returns NOV 7-10 at venues around Austin with a great lineup of alt, indie, goth, psychedelic rock music.

    LEV-2019-phase-finalThere are great bands beyond the obvious headliners for fans to discover new music.  Check out the Spotify Playlist to check them out ahead of time.

    Check out great Austin local bands like Hundred Visions, The Black Angels, Ringo Death Starr.

    Check out Black Moth Super Rainbow, John Cale, Frankie & the Witch Fingers, Black Marble, Death Valley Girls, Ioanna Gika, BRONCHO, Night Beats.

    Chelsea Wolfe will be performing at an all acoustic set on Saturday night.

    Venues on this year’s schedule include many of Austin’s famous iconic locales:

    Barracuda: 611 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78701 | Website
    Cheer Up Charlies: 900 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701 | Website
    Central Presbyterian Church: 200 E 8th St, Austin, TX 78701 | Website
    Elysium: 705 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701 | Website
    Empire Control Room: 606 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78701 | Website
    Hotel Vegas: 1502 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702 | Website
    The Mohawk: 912 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701 | Website
    Stubb’s: 801 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701 | Website

    Tickets and 4-day passes are on sale!

    More info on their site: http://www.levitation-austin.com/

  • Post Malone Was Dope at Texas Show w. Swae Lee- Photos
  • Texas Rising Star Paul Cauthen Rocks Austin
  • Mt. Joy w/ Wilderado Austin Concert Photos
  • Maggie Rogers Triumphs in Austin Shows: Review

    by Brianna Caleri

    A week after the Austin City Limits Music Festival, the internet is buzzing about another Austin concert that happened right after the fest. Maggie Rogers, the young dance music sensation, returned to Austin for 3 sold-out shows at the iconic ACL Live at the Moody Theater. Rogers went viral as a student, when Pharrell Williams appeared on video during a class workshop and declared that her song, “Alaska”, was beyond criticism.

    Maggie Rogers

    On Saturday, at ACL Live, as Rogers reflected in a speech about her journey, she was interrupted by a fan at the back of the crowd. “Free the nips!” he yelled. Rogers pressed on, finishing her speech with a reminder that her show should be a safe, joyful and vulnerable experience. “We create that space for each other,” Rogers said. “Don’t forget that.” That impressed us.

    Maggie Rogers

    Rogers takes time during her show and extends support not just to the audience and the tumultuous emotions that lead fans straight into her empowering arms, but to others on her tour. She heard opener Jacob Banks’s grave, soulful voice at a festival and said she “had to have him onstage with her”. Banks’ powerful voice and folk roots complemented the headliner’s, while his statue-like performance starkly contrasted hers.

    On night 2 of her 3-night ACL Live run, Rogers brought on a surprise guest: a refugee from Eritrea who helped her perform an upbeat song from his home country, “Shalala.” Always supporting a cause, Rogers made time to support partners Planned Parenthood and HeadCount.Maggie RogersRogers also gave effusive credit to her crew, which was well-deserved, especially by the lighting crew. They crafted a dramatic opening to the folksy sounds of “Color Song” (complete with chirping crickets) by casting shadows on a gigantic sheet in front of the stage. When the sheet dropped, Rogers christened the show with a mighty first note, high, clear and even fuller than that of the studio version of “Fallingwater.”

    The stage, divided in three tiers (and looking a lot like a late-night set from the ‘60s), was almost sterile if not for the strobing lights that became a character themselves. In an exciting rendition of “Light On” that ditched the studio version’s gentle arrangement for something more electric, lights pulsed in reassuring patterns and Einstein bulbs glowed.

    Maggie RogersEven in an empty room, Rogers would be a captivating performer. She moves as if she can’t help it, punching the air in sync with the drums that define her sound, and stepping in time. She merges confidence with whimsy, while maintaining a solid musical performance. Miraculously, her voice always remained pure and powerful, even while she pranced across the stage with a pride flag handed up from the audience during “Dog Years.”

    Maggie finished as expected with an acoustic version of “Alaska” for the short encore. Her voice unwavering but missing a few beats in her strumming, and rushed off the stage. Thankfully, despite getting derailed in its last moments, Roger’s show was a stunning success; a beautiful example of the intersection of professionalism and vulnerability. And she repeated it the next night, without a hitch, successfully ending her tour and redeeming her Austin experience.

    That first night, fans left lamenting the unwelcome guest who harassed their candid hero. But having mostly recovered, Rogers gets the last laugh. Her show is at the tip of everyone’s tongue, and she used the opportunity to set a strong example for other sensitive fans who admire her unguarded power.

    See all the show photos at Austin 101

    Set list:

    Color Song
    Fallingwater
    Burning
    Say It
    The Knife
    Give a Little
    On + Off
    Dog Years
    I’m Gonna Love You for a Long Time
    Past Life
    Overnight
    Retrograde
    Back in My Body
    Light On
    Encore:
    Alaska

  • Tenacious D Brought Post Apocalyptic Metal & Comedy to ACL Live: Review

    by David McCready

    In their anticipated return to Austin the comedy/rock duo, Jack Black & Kyle Gass-Tenacious D-presented the  audience with a performance of hilarity and rock music to support their new film and album, “Post Apocalypto”.

    Photo Oct 17, 21 43 28

    Tenacious was joined during the show by country band Wynchester, which features Kyle Gass Band singer Mike Bray and Tenacious D guitarist John Konesky.

    A large screen over the stage projected a raunchy animated short movie/rock opera film for their new album, Apocalypto. The film followed the duo’s epic misadventures ranging from discovering an all-female inhabited island quickly turning against them, to fighting their way through swarms of Nazi’s and Klansmen guarding a sacred treasure to save the world.

    In between segments of the film, the duo performed songs from their new album that followed with the film’s storyline that never ceased to amass a wave of laughter from fans. As the animated film concluded singer, Jack Black took the stage to thank the audience for their premiere and was instantly met with roaring applause.

    Photo Oct 17, 21 40 34 (1)With all the formalities out of the way, Tenacious D then launched the explosive second part of their performance which included playing all their well-loved classics, leading with “Rize of the Fenix”. In true comedic fashion, Black came sporting a large tiger print shirt in which he would tuck both his arms into and exchange satirical jokes with guitarist, Kyle Gass.

    Photo Oct 17, 21 42 07The entire night was filled with laughs and humor and seeing the duo entertain the crowd alone, was nothing short of an incredible experience. As the night came to a close, the duo thanked the audience and departed the stage with thunderous applause. Tenacious D’s unique performance brought many laughs and entertainment to ACL Live, and will be remembered as one of the most interesting and creative shows of 2019.

    See all our photos in our photo gallery.

  • Shining Star Maggie Rogers Wows at ACL Live Photos
  • Review: Highlights of Another ACL Festival in the Books

    ACL Festival Weekend Two Review

    Austin, TX,

    Edging ever closer towards to 2 full decades at Zilker Park, this year’s Austin City Limits brought 2 weekends full of local and international music (up-and-comers and big headliners), great eats, and lots of great times.

    ACL 2019 proc-1 Hippie SabotageWeekend 2 was certainly a dramatic weather shift from the hot and muggy weather from ACL weekend 1. Both weekends broke weather records. The first was one of the hottest, the second the coldest. The first day of weekend 1 had temps in the 40’s and 50’s- people wearing hats, coats, and scarves and each day the temps got slightly better in the 60’s and 70’s but was mostly cloudy. We felt we won the weather lottery.

    ACL 2019 proc-2As festival fever sweeps the nation this time of year, thousands of fun-loving people gathered at Zilker Park in Austin to listen to an electric lineup of musicians from a lot of genres, styles and generations. Don’t think that ACL is just another festival to check off the list, Promoter, C3 did a great job bringing a great mixture of up-and-coming artists, viral sensations and musical legends. ACL truly did a great job bringing something for everyone. Come with us as we recap some of the bands that we felt were highlights, some of them you may have heard of and some you may not and will quickly add to your playlists.

    ACL 2019 Friday proc-12 El Band Camino(the Band Camino)

    Friday

    The Band Camino, Houses, Savannah Conley and Madison Beer, Cherry Glazerr, Jai Wolf, King Princess, K.Flay, Lil Uzi, The Raconteurs, Tame Impala and Guns n’ Roses

    We started our ACL experience checking out some awesome lesser known artists during the coldest hours on Friday.

    The Band Camino was on the early part of the first day lineup. This band is dominating the indie rock scene and with good reason. Their musical magnetism is undeniable and even if you don’t know the song they’re playing, you often feel like you should. The band showcased powerful vocals, vibrant guitar solos and heart pounding drums. Their energy was undeniable and they proved what makes them one of the hottest up-and-coming indie rock bands.

    The band Houses from Chicago brought their indie pop tunes to ACL. The band’s huge acoustic drum beats and slow burning guitar tones support the dreamy music box samples and the lush vocals. I enjoyed the dreamy and almost hypnotic rock and their explorative sounds.

    Savannah Conley dazzled us with a rich set of singer-songwriter organic pop songs. Her quirky lyrics, moody instrumentation, and sarcastic lines make her music engaging. As you listen to her music, you can hear the abundance of her Nashville roots along with the rock undertones. I loved her crisp and vulnerable vocals.

    Madison Beer started posting videos of popular songs early in her musical career. After she gained the attention of Justin Bieber, she became a musical sensation. Her positive lyrics and presence could be felt throughout her set. Her music was fun, melodic and upbeat.

    ACL 2019 Friday proc-57 Cherry Glzr(Cherry Glazerr)

    The Los Angeles trio Cherry Glazerr burned up the VRBO stage with their hi-energy noise pop tunes. I covered the band during their ACL Late night showcase and was looking forward to seeing them again. Clementine Creevy’s scrappy idealism, punk lyrics, and her grungy guitar riffs were felt through the speakers as the weather turned from brisk to nippy. I have followed this band for a few years now and am impressed at how they have stayed true to their alternative rock roots. I loved how they oscillated from fragile to ironclad and back to fragile.

    To mix things up, I was ready for a little electronic music. Jai Wolf has taken the world of electronic music by storm with tracks that awaken the internal euphoria we all have inside. From the beginning of the set, Jai had the cloud dancing, jumping, and pushing against each other. He brought his hi energy synth-pop electronic sounds from a semicircle of pads in front of him. The awesome neon landscapes and the occasional videos only added to the need to dance. For anyone that thinks electronic music is past its prime, I highly recommend checking out Jai.

    final-1297(King Princess)

    Brooklyn’s King Princess was the next must see of the day and she did not disappoint. Her style is as close to perfect as pop music can be. Think sparse drums, bubbly guitar riffs and memorable choruses and you have King Princess. The lead singer Mikaela Straus leaned on her wicked sense of humor and her whip-smart comments to keep us all smiling and wondering what she would say next. Her set was full of joyful harmonics and vulnerable lyrics. Straus has been vocal about politics and queer identity and wants to help the next generation of queer youth. This year brought a lot of ‘out’ artists and they were embraced.

    ACL 2019 Friday proc-86 KFlayIt’s surprising that K.Flay is not the next megastar yet. It might not be long until this happens. I would call her style a sophisticated blend of indie rock, electro and pop rock blended with her signature raspy voice. Her devoted following was in full force and enjoyed the set. Her set was entertaining and powerful. I loved how passionate and honest the band’s lyrics were.

    final-1816(Lil Uzi Vert)

    Lil Uzi Vert cancelled his weekend one performance so he was on my must see list for Friday. I started to get worried when he was not on stage after 15 minutes but he eventually showed and dropped a solid set. It was the chest-shaking bass and the half-sung, half-rapped vocals that everyone was all there to see and he brought all that and more as he flew back and forth across the stage. The rapper commented how effortless it is for him to perform. Indeed, his well known energy and vocal skills did make it look so effortless. In the end, it was a great set and most definitely worth the wait.

    THE RACONTEURS by Chad Wadsworth for ACL Fest W2 2019 DSC05015.jpg(photo Chad Wadsworth)

    The Raconteurs- One of the biggest sets we planned to cover this year- Jack White doesn’t tour much so this was a huge deal. From the guitar-laden “Bored and Razed” which rattled the soul of the crowd with deep pounding chords. “Don’t Bother Me” and “Only Child” followed from “Help Us Stranger”, the first release from The Raconteurs in over a decade. Jack White and Brendan Benson traded off on vocals, guitar riffs, and songwriting contributions. Bassist “Little Jack” Lawrence, drummer Patrick Keeler, and touring member keyboardist / back-up guitarist Dean Fertita (QOTSA) also shared their master musicianship. Their communal spirit awed in “Shine The Light on Me”, one of the songs that motivated The Raconteur’s to return to the studio.

    final-2388(Tame Impala)

    Tame Impala had the very tough job of co-headlining the day with the legendary Guns n Roses. I love both bands so I had to make it to both of their sets.The Australian band fused their psychedelic pop melodies and modern electronic production to delight the tens of thousands that were in attendance. I love the blend of visuals, the synthesizers and tight drum programming that the band puts together to create dope dance floor melodies. I would have loved to catch all 90 minutes of their set but I couldn’t. The pull for GNR was too strong and I headed toward the American Express stage on the other side of the festival in Zilker Park.

    Guns' N Roses by Katarina Benzova at ACL Fest W2 20199 29 20 AM.jpg(GNR by Katarina Benzova)

    There are bands that take you back to a place, whether that place is good or bad, the music has the power to take you there. GNR (Guns n Roses) is one of those bands for me. As I sat on the lawn listening to Axl and Slash rock the stage I remised about my youth and whatever it was that I was doing in the 90s. The band sounded as good as I remember when I saw them many years ago. Axl’s legendary powerful vocals and Slash’s unmatched guitar skills (often considered one of the best guitarists) were in full display as the festival closed its first day. The band played hits like “Sweet Child of Mine”, “November Rain”, “Live and Let Die” and “Welcome to the Jungle” and many more songs in the crazy-long 2 ½ hr set.

    See all our photos from the festival at Austin 101.

    Late Night Shows: There were tons of great official ACL Late shows this year at venues all around downtown Austin. The highlights were Pink Sweat$, Banks, Cherry Glazerr, Jenny Lewis.

    Austin 101 Pink Sweats proc-13

    ACL Late night Jenny-7

    Photo Oct 07, 20 51 51

    ACL Late night Cherry Glzr-13

    Saturday

    After a few much needed hours of sleep, it was time to get back into the groove. The artists today were separated in mostly two categories: love them and can’t wait to see them again or love them and have wanted to see them for a long time.

    Diamante Electrico was a band that I’ve been wanting to see for a long time. The Colombian Spanish-rock band took the stage and they meant business. The trio played a great set filled with smooth Spanish rock with great vocal hooks and catchy riffs. The band’s sound has evolved during the past several years incorporating funky guitars and garage-rock tracks. Whether you speak Spanish or not, you can feel the musical influences from the Stones, Led Zeppelin and a bit of Muse. If you already love Spanish rock this is a band to check out.

    final-2589Shifting gears and musical genres, Florida rapper Denzel Curry came to ACL prepared to do his thing. Curry’s gained a lot of recognition and has broken into the mainstream largely because of his fresh take on the rap. Curry leans on the confusion of youth, chaos and troubles of our current society to create beats with a high level of emotional resonance and insightfulness. The set was super high energy with big jumps and cruising from one end of the stage to the other. The crowd loved the beats and the distinctive blend of dynamic hip hop. In the end, the lyrics pulled us closer to the stage and offered us a chance to listen in to the message behind the rhymes.

    Hippie Sabotage by Roger Ho for ACL Fest W2 Fest 2019 RH106834.jpgACL was the first stop of 17 scheduled performances for California duo Hippie Sabotage. The fans packed in at the Miller Lite stage to dance to the hi-energy psychedelic electronic inspired tracks. The crowd went completely wild, starting mosh pits and crowd surfing while the brothers joined in and mixed their unique blend of EDM and hip hop. Sitting down was not an option as we heard the Saurer brothers mix, remix and blend electronic vibes.

    Dayglow by Sydney Gawlik for ACL Fest W2 2019 SG101018.jpg(photo Sydney Gawlik)

    The local artist Dayglow made his debut at the BMI stage during the ACL festival. With a massive 9 million plus plays on Spotify, the Texas native knows something about putting together catchy tunes. The synth ripples and the smooth reverb shuffles ran wild through the 60 minute set. I particularly enjoyed the refreshing mix and the vocal echoes of the song “Can I Call You Tonight”. Sloan Strumble’s climb to the top of the music world may just be getting started; we’ll hear a lot more from this bright star.

    final-3240I was looking forward to hearing Pink Sweat$ for the second time this week. I got to hear his ACL Fest Late show at Antone’s earlier in the week and was blown away by the soothing vocals and the subtle percussion. The Philadelphia singer’s version of R&B is undoubtedly fresh and unlike other artists being heard now in the genre. The set was tranquil and harmonic, filled with acoustic instruments, infused with drums and augmented by intentionally unassuming lyrics. As David Bowden performed the hit song “Honesty”, his remarkable talent was in full display and the crowd could not help but sing along. The rest of the set was unique and personable, with a lot of stunning melodies and memorable lyrics. Now we know why this guy has been blowing up since his 2019 SXSW appearance.

    Christian singer Lauren Daigle would fill the spot on our hit list with her chart-topping pop music. Daigle’s been blowing up since 2018 topping the Billboard 200 and racking up fans worldwide. She’s been called the Christian Adele and has pushed Christian rock songs into the secular mainstream. Her set was emotional, dispensing smoky powerhouse vocals and memorable arrangements. Daigle’s soft pop united the fans in the crowd; Christian, Jewish, Muslim, secular, conservative, liberal, young and old. Isn’t that what music is made to do?

    final-9208You may have heard a small band called the Foo Fighters before. Chris Shiflett is their amazing guitarist and a must see on our list. He’s recently branched out with a side hustle and gaining some buzz. Although his music doesn’t exactly resemble that of his “other” gig, his solo work embraces his twangier side. He brought the look too, with his attire and boots. His rock and country guitar skills, as well as the top notch group of musicians that comprise his band added depth and emotion to his performance. Undoubtedly, both fans and newcomers in the audience loved listening to his well forged songwriting and his killer riffs (and seeing a Foo band member).

    Billie Eilish by Greg Noire for ACL Fest W2 2019 GN_00127(photo by Greg Noire)

    The time came for one of the most anticipated set of the festival. She was also the youngest performer to ever play at ACL. What can I say about that hasn’t already been said about the 17 yr old megastar pop idol Billie Eilish? Fresh off her SNL appearance, she’s becoming a household name-certainly among younger fans. She’s one of the fastest rising stars to emerge in the past years and she is showing no signs of slowing down. She’s a global sensation and has sold out every stop of her “When We All Fall Asleep World Tour”. Her music is broadly appealing and catchy. She uses pulsating beats and soft melodies mixed with spooky industrial sounds and hushed whispers on her unique songs. Eilish stepped on the stage in her traditional baggy clothing with colorful hair and just killed it. Her set was one of the most popular of the fest. She was relatable, likeable and fun.

    final-3508
    Gary Clark Jr.

    Headlining for the first time at ACL Fest, local Austin hero and Grammy winner Gary Clark Jr. had his minute in the spotlight. Unlike past years, this time he was at the massive AMEX main stage. He came out in his cool fashion, all black, leather jacket, silver chains, the pimp’n hat, the sunglasses, the boots, the guitar. He was backed by his killer band and group of singers-13 piece band including horns and two drummers for a rich sound. Playing hits like “This Land” and “Bright Lights Big City” Clark shined in his unique blend of blues and rock and seemed to be truly having a good time. Clark now shares the stage and seems to be grooming young musicians. Highlights included bringing out they bluesy Peterson Brothers, and his Blackillac group (Zeale and Phranchyze), rapper Trae The Truth, playing his Flying V, and the seeing the sun setting during his set was truly spectacular. He’s come a long way since first playing the fest as a teenager.

    final-3076Brittany Howard (of Alabama Shakes) had a killer set. With a full band and back-up singers, Howard proved why she can have her own solo gig. At times she sang and others she played guitar and sang as well.  The depth and power of her voice are inspiring and her energy dancing around the stage was infectious.

    Metric by Sydney Gawlik for ACL Fest W2 2019 _G__5938.jpg(by Sydney Gawlik)

    The Canadian alt band Metric would be the next stop before the 2 massive headliners. Most have heard them before as they’ve been touring awhile, and are familiar with their synth-heavy, moody music. The gritty vocals, the killer electric riffs and the hard hitting bass make for a really enjoyable live music experience. Judging from the size of the packed crowd, fans agreed. Overall, the set was high energy, offering us dance-floor ready tracks, pop rock raucous melodies and blistering rock tracks. Simply all that you need and nothing that you don’t.

    Childish Gambino by Charles Reagan Hackleman for ACL Fest W2 2019 DSC_3003(photo Ryan Hackleman)

    Actor, comedian, writer, producer and musician Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) made his presence felt during his headlining performance on Saturday night. As fans packed in to watch the artist the air was full of joyful anticipation. It was one of the biggest crowds of the fest. Early in the set, Glover announced that this would be his last show, and end to his Childish Gambino persona and therefore it would need to be the craziest, wildest show ever. Glover had already sung, rapped, jumped and danced so much that it was hard to conceive how it could get any wilder or crazier. Glover turned it up another notch as hordes of screaming fans sang and danced along with him. Glovers set had all the crowd favorite tunes like “This is America”, “Awaken, My Love!” and “Redbone”. Fans said it was the best set of Childish they’d ever seen. We love that he engages with the audience a lot and in the beginning said “keep your phones down… this is an experience”.

    final-4169The legendary British post-punk band The Cure was headlining at the other end of the festival and  sounded great. These rockers aren’t young anymore so I were impressed. I’ve seen The Cure many times and they always blow me away with their well known songs that almost make time stand still. As I sat on the grass on a brisk Saturday night, surrounded by 60,000 of my closest friends, it felt like no time had passed since I first heard songs like “Pictures of You”, “Just Like Heaven” and “Friday I’m in Love”. Robert Smith stays true to his goth look persona wearing black, crazy red lipstick, and hair that looks like he’s been electrocuted. He made a slow, moody entrance to the mic, pausing just to stare at the crowd in awe. The Cure’s performance was simply timeless, delighting fans with their distinctive vocals, the clean guitars and rich drums. Even though their music was conceived many decades ago, it’s clear to see why their music is able to transcend time and touch people so many years later. It was a fitting ending to a full day of amazing music.

    Sunday

    After an outstanding day of musical performances on Saturday, Day 3 had indeed a lot to prove. The weather was outstanding and it was time to close out the festival’s second week strong. The day had a lot of memorable performances and great vibes. The day also had Lizzo-one of the most anticipated sets of the fest this year. Her performance was so tremendous on Weekend 1 that the organizers had to make special changes so more fans could enjoy her music. The day was filled with so many must see performers and the fandom was ready to go.

    Caroline Rose By Roger Ho for ACL Fest W2 Fest 2019 RH108123.jpg(by Roger Ho)

    The funky, edgy and irreverent musical force Caroline Rose made her appearance at ACL. The punchy pop artist brought her playful style and tunes from her 2018 album Loner to get the last day of the festival started. Rose delivered a blended cocktail of pop, folk, rock along with a fun list of catchy pop melodies. As the crowd warmed up to Rose’s bright melodies, synths, organs and her funny sense of humor it was impossible not to nod your head and hum along.

    As the day warmed up, the L.A. rapper Duckwrth jumped onstage at the T-Mobile stage with his bouncy beats and warped electronic production. The rapper had enough energy to provide power to a small factory as he delivered catchy hooks, dope rhymes and smooth beats.

    The UK punk rockers IDLES wasted no time setting the stage for an intense head banging, heart pounding, highly danceable tempo that would carry them through the 60 minute performance. The band is well known for their furious punk rock with post punk angularity. What exactly does that mean you ask? Well, this is something that is better to experience than explain, but in short, the band delivers powerful songs that also carry a brilliant (and just as powerful) message. The band touched on hot topics like immigration, love, toxic masculinity and so many other, less discussed areas, all in a memorable punk style. Like I mentioned earlier, this is best to be experienced (go check them out!)

    final-4521Exotic Flamenco pop star Rosalia lit up the Honda Stage later in the day. To say that she is quite talented is a complete understatement. She is actually a force to be reckoned with. The Latin artist walked onstage featuring an eye popping outfit, long nails and 5 dancers dressed in white ensembles. The thousands of fans excitedly witnessed a 60-minute spectacle full of emotional Spanish songs, great choreographed dancing, amazing Andalusian guitar rhythms and powerful clapping (there was a lot of clapping). Rosalia even performed a heart stopping acapella song that left us all completely awe-struck. Ole!

    One of the performances I was most excited to see was the California iconic screamer band Third Eye Blind. The rockers have been around since the 90s and have delivered a large number of hits over their career. Some artists sprinkle a few hits during a set and mainly showcase their new material. While Stephan Jenkins and the band did play a lot of new material, they delivered all the hits that we were excited to hear. They just slayed with classics like “Graduate”, “How’s It Going To be” and “Semi-Charmed Life”. The band did not slow down and kept the hi level of energy throughout the set.

    final-5380(Kacey Muscgraves)

    Texan and Grammy-award winner Kacey Musgraves has been making waves on Billboard charts for quite some time. Backed by a full band, The country queen brought good vibes, irreverent banter, yee hawing and crowd favorite songs from her Grammy winning album, “Golden Hour” to the ACL stage. She was gorgeous, doll-like, in her matching dress and boots and made sure to walk out on the cat walk to get closer to her fans. She alternated between playing her acoustic guitar and singing. Her sweet simple country voice and her two stepping magic delivered an entertaining show to thousands of fans that resisted the urge to leave early to grab a close spot for Queen Lizzo.

    final-5675Houston’s singer/rapper Lizzo performed for one of the biggest ACL Fest crowds. If you saw weekend 1 or had friends there, you heard how huge the crowd was. Massive is a better description and it was impossible to get close to the set if you weren’t there early. She was likely booked for the fest before her recent hits and the crowd was displeased at the smaller stage she was on. To counter that, the fest had her set on the screens at nearby Honda stage. The meteoric rise of this young star was on full display by the huge numbers of screaming fans that sang, danced and hi fived each other during the set. Of course, Austinites have been lucky to see her many time over the last few years and loved her before her huge blow up this year with “Juice” and “Boys” (the video has over 24 million views). She even brought her famous flute out later in the set. Her positive message of self love and acceptance (against body shamers and bullies) reverbed through her words, her music and even her entourage. Of course she performed crowd favorites like “Boys”, “Truth Hurts”, “Good as Hell” and “Juice”. I read somewhere that it’s now Lizzo’s world and we are just living in it. I tend to agree.

    MUMFORD & SONS by Chad Wadsworth for ACL Fest W2 2019  DSC06792.jpg(by Chad Wadsworth)

    The very popular British band Mumford and Sons headlined the final day of ACL 2019 for the second time. The excitement was palpable and we all knew that the folk-rocker band had several surprises for us. The band has became well known over the years because of their unique blend of authentic lyrics, banjo hammering rhythms and sharp guitars in a format that takes the shape of modern rock. Marcus Mumford and his band set the tempo early by opening the show with the hit “Guiding Light”. They would then go on to play a number of hits and new material from behind the beams of light that illuminated the state. Mumford and his band had also rehearsed earlier with the Austin High band and had invited the teens to play with them onstage Sunday night. About halfway through the show, the students piled in the stage to play one of the band’s hit song “The Cave” . The crowd erupted in cheers and we all enjoyed the unique take on the song. After the encore, the band closed an outstanding ACL weekend 2 festival with hits like “I Will Wait for You” and Delta”.

    We can’t wait to see the line up for next year even though we’re still recovering from the festival. Check out all our festival photos and more at Austin 101.

  • Texas Artists Shined at ACL Festival 2019

    This year’s ACL Fest included a slew of great Texas talent including: Kacey Musgraves, Lizzo, Gary Clark Jr., Black Pistol Fire, Jane Ellen Bryant, Asleep at the Wheel, Blackillac, Otis the Destroyer, Kady Rain, Alesia Lani, Megan Thee Stallion, The Barton Hills Choir, Stone Wheels, NightCap, Pike & Sutton, Wesley Bray & The Disciples of Joy, Abhi the Nomad, Shandon Sahm. Check out a few of our favorite photos.

  • Julia Michaels Bathes Heartfelt Songs in a New Light

    by Sabrina LeBoeuf

    On a stage of flowers and colored lights, Julia Michaels sang her inner monologue aloud. Through her contagious, relentless smile and incessant dancing, a random person would not have guessed she was singing about the anxiety she experiences and her past heartbreaks.

    Julia Michaels 016But Michaels fans knew. When she entered the stage at Emo’s Austin with blue eyeliner, polkadot pants, and a skip in her step for her first song “Pink,” the crowd immediately filled in an entire verse without any help.

    The jumping crowd Michaels ignited was a stark contrast from opener Rhys Lewis. His songs like “Living In The City” and “No Right To Love You” touched on similar subjects to that of Michaels’s songs. But Lewis didn’t jump or dance to his heartache like she did. With eyes closed, he belted like his heart was being broken all over again. His falsetto felt like a glimpse of hope.

    Rhys 006

    That’s not to say Lewis was a downer. He was raw in every emotion. For “Some Days,” a lighter song, he filled the room with love. Couples swayed in harmony under the blue light. Friends put their arms around each other for his final song “Things You Can’t Change.”

    Before Michaels sang “Worst In Me,” she announced that it was her first headline show in Austin. With that sentiment, she asked for cellphone lights and everyone followed suit. All darkness left the room.

    For a song about about remembering lost happiness, the crowd, submerged in sound waves, threw their arms side to side, and Michaels whipped her hair like a rockstar.

    Julia Michaels 008Throughout the show, Michaels emphasized how this was a judgement-free zone for people to sing, dance, jump, laugh and feel. And she meant it. There was a sign to prove it.

    Julia Michaels 001In the middle of her set, Michaels walked down the middle of the crowd to stand with her people. She wanted to see everyone in the back and to the sides. At first, people gave her a ring of space, assuming the security guards wanted them to stand back. Michaels didn’t want that. She beckoned them to come as close to her as they could.

    After playing “Falling For Boys,” Michaels started her walk back to the stage and ran into someone who was visibly not having a good time. She reached out and asked them if they were okay before resuming the program and displaying her true emotions onstage.

    Julia Michaels 023Holding back tears, she spoke about how she wrote “Anxiety” over a year ago in response to dealing with panic attacks. She asked for a show of hands for anyone with anxiety or depression. The majority raised their hands.

    Then, she prompted an exercise of two cathartic screams and one hug from a neighbor.

    Immediately after Michaels said goodnight and ran offstage, the crowd chanted “Julia” loud enough for a quick encore.

    Julia Michaels 014First, she brought Lewis back for the duet “What A Time,” a song Michaels released with Niall Horan. The second, and last song, was one the crowd expected. The song that started it all: “Issues.”

    A confetti-cannon finale sent colored pieces of paper raining down, and the first light to leave the room was Julia Michaels.

    Setlists

    Rhys Lewis:
    End Like This
    Living In The city
    Under The Sun
    Some Days
    No Right To Love You
    Better Than Today
    Things You Can’t Change

    Julia Michaels:
    Pink
    I Miss You
    Make It Up To You
    Worst In Me
    Heaven
    Deep
    Into You
    Hurt
    Happy
    Fuck You // Apple
    Falling For Boys
    Priest
    Anxiety
    Uh Huh
    Julia Michaels Encore
    What A Time (feat. Rhys Lewis)
    Issues

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