Last fall, when Stooges guitarist James Williamson told the Chronicle that Detroit's punk pioneers had a local festival date “around the October  time frame," we assumed Fun Fun Fun Fest. In that respect, today's unveiling of the Austin City Limits Music Festival lineup came as a surprise.
Given the Stooges' 2007 South by Southwest set at Stubb's, the ACL announcement wasn't so much a shocker as just simply welcome news. Most welcome.
Where the previous Stooges show reconvened the classic version of the group with the addition of Mike Watt on bass, the subsequent death of original guitarist Ron Asheton forced Iggy Pop to re-enlist Raw Power gunslinger and Texan James Williamson. Those performances have been barn-burning if our own 2010 report was any indication.
Other bands at ACL? Right – yes: top-billed Red Hot Chili Peppers (in the sadly second post-Frusciante era), Neil Young & Crazy Horse, the Black Keys, and Jack White. The B teams (Gotye, Rufus Wainwright, Kimbra) remain solid as ever, and especially promising is this year's soul element: part-time Austinite Esperanza Spalding, full-time local Ruthie Foster, plus recent SXSW and Continental Club firestarter Lee Fields – this year's Charles Bradley – and another SXSWer in Londoner Michael Kiwanuka.
There's the reunited Afghan Whigs versus Athens, Ga., power trio the Whigs, the return of Austin's Quiet Company and Swedish sirens First Aid Kit, and 2012 music festival king Gary Clark Jr. Wheeler Brothers, Wild Child, and Eastern Sea make fine local grassroots introductions, though I'd hoped the Golden Boys would make the cut with their breakout Dirty Fingernails LP, which was positively Replacements-like at the paper's Paper Cuts series last week.
So, to recap: SXSW, followed by Old Settler's Music Fest, then Psych Fest, Pachanga, and next week, Chaos in Tejas. First half local music festivals (Reggae Fest, Urban Music Fest) are almost hurdled. With summer beginning this Memorial Day weekend, the fall season – ACL and FFFF – approaches faster that anyone would care to admit.
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