Afternoon ACL Acts Worth Waking Up For

Get the most out of your pass with these nine artists

Those bright eyes and bushy tails might be dragging a bit, especially by the second and third day of the fest. Don't let that pricey pass go to waste and get out for some of the early bands. Here are a few suggestions, so you know what you could miss by sleeping in.

Lewis Del Mar at Stubb's earlier this year (Photo by Shelley Hiam)

Chairlift

Friday, 3pm, Cirrus Logic stage

Brooklyn duo Chairlift now claim a decade-long career, but the ethereal pop debuted on 2008 single “Bruises,” whose dancing falsettos and playful electronic backing became ubiquitous with modern twee (hello, Apple commercial), is still very much at play on 2016’s Moth, third LP for the trendsetting outfit. – Abby Johnston

Flight Facilities

Friday, 3pm, HomeAway stage

This Australian production duo culminated from years of consistency, a result of DIY Soundcloud days boasting sun-kissed disco like “Crave You” and “Clair De Lune.” Now with their jet-set dreams fully realized, debut Down to Earth takes a round trip through deep-house minimalism, breakneck beats, dirty-dancing funk, and A-list cameos (Kylie Minogue). – Alejandra Ramirez

Nothing but Thieves

Saturday, 12:45pm, Honda stage

Five Brits making alternative rock court dark undercurrents and quaking, heavy guitar licks built up from a strong foundation of pop. Just a self-titled under their belt, NBT are big overseas and still green. An acoustic set at Waterloo Records earlier this year gave vocalist Conor Mason the space for his towering vocals, a voice freakishly similar to Jeff Buckley’s when allowed to soar. – Libby Webster

The Gills

Saturday, 12:45pm, BMI stage; Weekend One only

Raucous rock & roll act out of Nashville (following a genesis in Orlando) dedicates itself to both the hell-raising spirit of punk outfits like the Replacements and Nirvana as well as to leader Jesse Wheeler’s precise, melodic songcraft. Following a yearlong, three-single run commencing with the near-lysergic “Rubberband” and capping with the catchy “Lemonade,” this hard-touring, loud guitar band just dropped a fine self-titled LP. - Tim Stegall

Lewis Del Mar

Saturday, 1:30pm, Cirrus Logic stage; 
Weekend One only

Lewis Del Mar became an overnight success after the release of its viral debut single “Loud(y)” last year. An amalgam of folk guitar noodling, low-end bass media samples, and nods to Latin percussion, the Brooklyn duo channeled the eclectic beats of J Dilla, innocuous Jack Johnson acoustics, raw blues of the Black Keys, and polished gloss of James Blake on its January EP. – Alejandra Ramirez


Wild Belle at ACL back in 2013 (Photo by Gary Miller)

The Shelters

Sunday, 11:30am, Cirrus Logic stage; weekend one only

Melodic Sixties melodies conveyed by muscular folk-rock as influenced by the Rolling Stones and Byrds. If that sounds like Tom Petty, this L.A. quartet indeed counts the classic rock icon as a mentor and co-producer. Single “Rebel Heart” and this year’s eponymous debut sound tailor-made for Little Steven’s Underground Garage radio show. – Michael Toland

Shane Smith & the Saints

Sunday, 11:30am, Miller Lite stage; weekend one only

Rolling out of Kaufman County in Northeast Texas, Shane Smith & the Saints unloads a ferocious blend of fiddle-fired stomps and harmony-strapped choruses that mine Appalachia as much as the Southwest plains. The quintet’s 2015 sophomore album Geronimo drifts between high-octane country kickers and Smith’s dusty growl and harmonica on hard-time ballads, while Bennett Brown’s fiddle bends rich tones and blazing riffs. – Doug Freeman

July Talk

Sunday, 11:30am, HomeAway stage

Toronto’s July Talk conquered its native Canada with a gritty attack and conversational co-frontpersons Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay. A rootsy, alternative rock sound with just the right hint of camp tossed them up their home country’s charts, and now the quintet looks to do the same with its brand new album Touch and single “Push + Pull.” – Michael Toland

Wild Belle

Sunday, 1pm, Cirrus Logic stage

Beginning on 2013’s Isles, vocalist Natalie Bergman specializes in channeling Annie Lennox and David Bowie, striding through seductive whispers and crooning hooks over worldly textured pop on April’s Dreamland. Brother and bandmate Elliot teams up in the Chicago duo to coalesce Jamaican ska (“The One That Got Away”), bayou river soul (“Mississippi River”), and polyrhythmic Afrobeat (“Coyotes”). – Alejandra Ramirez

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

ACL Fest 2016, Chairlift, Flight Facilities, Nothing But Thieves, The Gills, Lewis Del Mar, The Shelters, Shane Smith & the Saints, July Talk, Wild Belle

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