Local Acts at ACL
Homegrown music at its finest
By Thomas Danh,
3:04PM, Wed. Sep. 28, 2016
What's ACL festival without some local music? Here are the homegrown acts you can't miss out on at this year's fest.
Asleep at the Wheel
Asleep at the Wheel has kept Western swing alive for longer than most attendees of ACL have been alive. With more Grammy Awards than you can count on one hand, over 20 studio albums, and more than 20 singles on the Billboard country charts, Asleep at the Wheel has kept a genre alive with an integrity that doesn’t seem to falter.
Roger Sellers, also known as Bayonne, arms himself with an arsenal of gear that he uses to loop and build into an ambient, immersive sound. His latest release on Mom + Pop records, Primitives, has allowed him to amass a following here in Austin. While his music may seem minimalist, each instrument's repeated melody results in something hypnotic and absolutely needs to be seen live.
Synths, drums, and an upright bass? This distorted, retro rock self-described by the band as “pop music with teeth” is a must-see. David Beck, Bryan Mammel, and Dees Stribling cite influences like Bob Dylan and the Beatles, and bring a confidence that is shown in their onstage chemistry.
You wouldn’t know it by their sound, but Charlie Belle exudes a refreshing indie-pop sound that is rare even for the experienced. For sister and brother, Jendayi (vocals, guitar) and Gyasi Bonds (drums, vocals), and Zoe Czarnecki (bass), their sound was developed in the short amount of time it took for them to hit their mid-teens. “Still young, but by no means inexperienced,” says Wired. You won’t want to miss these kids grow as a band.
Austin’s own DJ Mel is one of Texas’ most high-profile DJs. Boasting several of our own "Best of Austin" Awards, Mel was inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame in 2014. If you have the opportunity to see this, bring your dancin’ shoes. With skillful mixing techniques, he’s not going to have a problem keeping the dance floor moving.
Gina Chavez has pulled influence from her heritage, teaching English in El Salvador, and her hometown of Austin to concoct a fiery sound that reeks of authenticity and culture. Backed by a six-man band, what you’ll get from her performance is a passion and warmth that’ll make it seem like she’s performing just for you.
Kupira Marimba has a high-energy, family-friendly performance that’ll cause an uncontrollable urge to dance. Armed with African marimbas, their goal is to cause a foot-stomping celebration of life. Bring your kids; we’ll bet you aren’t able to keep still.
A unique combination of psychedelic, soul, and rock & roll, Los Coast brings a energy to their live performance that boils down to one word: Funky. Trey Privott, John Courtney, and Megan Hartman tend to feature local percussionists and horn players, bringing an energy straight from the heart of Austin.
When you envision the live music capital of the world, hip-hop may not come to mind. That’s changing – and Magna Carda, led by rapper Megz Kelli, is helping to lead that movement. Hailed by Mashable as “Austin’s answer to the Roots,” this hip-hop outfit boasts a live band, complete with mellow guitar-picking, jazzy piano, and Megz’s slick flow that’s as smooth on record as it is when you see them live.
Matt the Electrician
Yes, Matt was actually an electrician. Prefacing his performance with this fact in order to help explain his appearance, he’d drive straight from work to his shows. He brings about a modern-day folk backed lyrically by his real life, 21st century experiences that you can’t help but to connect with on a personal level.
Nakia & The Barton Hills Choir
Barton Hills Choir is performing yet again at ACL, this time with Austin-based singer-songwriter Nakia. Led by Barton Hills Elementary School music teacher and choir director Gavin Tabone, these 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th graders boast a repertoire dating back from the Beach Boys to current-day group Muse.
Influenced by the likes of Ray Charles and Curtis Mayfield, this collective of church singers and blues players will make you sing, dance, and shout. Fronted by two of Austin’s finest local church voices, you don’t want miss out on spreading positivity with some of the grooviest gospel.
Walker Lukens and the Side Arms
Backed by the Side Arms, Walker Lukens brings a soulful pop that’s received praise from NPR, Billboard, and American Songwriter, to name a few. Seemingly cool and collected, don’t doubt that they can bring a performance that’ll easily rock the stage and get those feet moving.
Wesley Bray and the Disciples of Joy
New Age gospel and a repertoire of contemporary, modern, and traditional gospel songs have found a home in Wesley Bray and the Disciples of Joy. This music ministry includes both family and friends and brings a high-energy performance with a gospel message that appeals to all walks of life.
If you’re curious about what homegrown music sounds like, look no further than Austin natives Wild Child. Piecing together their band with friends and family rather than instruments awarded them with a reckless, but somehow refined sound that conveys all their emotions to the audience in what seems like more of a conversation than a performance. Armed with strings, a trumpet, and keyboard, Wild Child brings an eclectic indie pop sound that’s as unbridled as the city they hail from.
What else is there to say? Willie Nelson.Want more ACL content straight from the Austin Chronicle? Head over to www.austinchronicle.com/acl