ACL Music Fest Friday Listings

Megan McCormick
Megan McCormick

Megan McCormick

11:15am, BMI stage

Not to be confused with the Travel Channel host, 25-year-old Megan McCormick is a Nashville-based singer-songwriter-guitar goddess who writes bluesy rock tunes in the grand tradition of Bonnie Raitt. While her grandparents are immortalized in the Western Swing Hall of Fame, on her 2010 debut Honest Words (Ryko), McCormick weds honest, emotionally open lyrics and a sultry voice to raw, blistering guitar riffs. Definitely file under "one to watch." – Melanie Haupt


11:20am, Austin Ventures stage

Having nabbed the support slot on Neil Young's current tour, Infantree is turning all the right heads with its second album, Hero's Dose. The L.A. quartet enlivens Laurel Canyon-inspired folk rock with quasi-gospel group harmonies and playful sonic party favors. Ghosts of formative R&B groove to a perfectly baked Seventies free-form FM vibe on "What You Wanna Do" and "Bag of Tricks." When Dose begins to meander, its surf-noir title track swims to the rescue. – Greg Beets

The Wombats

11:45am, Honda stage

Irreparably tied to the most recent UK indie-rock explosion (mid-2000s), the Wombats adapted while the rest of the scene perished. Tactfully tongue-in-cheek "Let's Dance to Joy Division" remains the Liverpool trio's calling card, but they made waves with last year's This Modern Glitch, a smart, savvy, and incredibly digestible modern pop album. – Luke Winkie

Los Campesinos!

12:30pm, Bud Light stage

Pseudo family band Los Campesinos! hails from all across the UK, but claims Wales as its origin. Fourth album Hello Sadness packs in sounds from all seven of the so-called peasants, who perform under the last name Campesinos!, into a pop rollick that's the antithesis of its title. Led by the delightfully unsure vocals of Gareth Campesinos! (né Gareth David), this mix of lightning guitar and tinny glockenspiel makes for a surefire dance party. – Abby Johnston

Asleep at the Wheel

12:30pm, AMD stage

Led by larger-than-life and good-natured wiseass Ray Benson, Asleep at the Wheel has character coming out the wazoo. The Western swing preservationists have called Austin home through too many boom-to-bust cycles to count, but while classic musicality and clever songwriting have earned them an arm load of Grammys, it's the big band's eclectic sensibilities and the surefire entertainment of their live show that's made them an international institution. – Kevin Curtin

Delta Spirit

2:15pm, AMD stage

On their third, self-titled LP earlier this year, Californians the Delta Spirit balance subtlety and ambition, a tough sell for any band with Allman Brothers tendencies. Like Georgia's finest, Delta Spirit wield duel percussionists, which feels weighty over singer Matthew Vasquez's already rich vocals and Will McLaren's textured lead guitar. On standout "California" and flickering closer "Yamaha," the tension between big and small is beautifully realized. – Adam Schragin


Black Lips
Black Lips (Photo by John Anderson)

2:30pm, Austin Ventures stage

In the right light, L.P. could be Bob Dylan circa 1962, but under that mess of dark curls is Laura Pergolizzi, a ball of energy who somehow makes a ukulele sound fierce. Making her name as a writer for Rihanna and Christina Aguilera, she put out her third long-player this year. Her vocals are that dreamy/hearty mix reminiscent of the late Nineties, but her edgy pop takes root in 2012. – Zoe Cordes Selbin


3:45pm, Austin Ventures stage

A bearded Tuscan full of magic and mischief, Jovanotti is a middle-aged Italian rapper and teen idol turned political activist. While relatively unknown stateside, he's a superstar at home, selling out stadiums across Europe. Domestic debut Italia 1988-2012 (ATO) serves as both introduction and retrospective. If an artist comes best described by his heroes, Jovanotti name-drops Grandmaster Flash, Lou Reed, and the Beastie Boys on "New York for Life." – Thomas Fawcett


6:15pm, AMD stage

Rivers Cuomo doesn't look like Buddy Holly anymore, but in having embraced parenthood, the Weezer frontman's also matured. On recent tours, the L.A. quartet has focused song selections from its nine-album discography on its eponymous, 1994 debut and the follow-up, Pinkerton, both undisputed catalog high points. Who needs new tunes when you've got "Say It Ain't So" and "Island in the Sun" in your back catalog? – Abby Johnston

Black Lips

6:15pm, Austin Ventures stage

Save for the Stooges, there's no band on the ACL bill playing as raw, fast, and loose as the Black Lips. Since its 1999 inception, the Georgia-bred quartet has evolved from youthful shit show to rock & roll mainstays. Their upbeat collision of blues, punk, rock, surf, and country remains a communion of faith for four guys who consistently bring the perfect energy when they hit the stage. – Kevin Curtin

Thievery Corporation

7:15pm, Honda stage

A Thievery Corporation show is the closest you'll get to the actual act of throwing cumbia, reggae, African music, and trip-hop into a clothes dryer and waiting to see what comes out the freshest. There are simply no limits for the D.C.-based DJ duo of Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, who come stocked with singers, backup dancers, and hordes of horn players at the ready. Last year's tangential Culture of Fear, TC's seventh, dug deep into the darkness. – Chase Hoffberger


7:30pm, Barton Springs stage

Despite an 11-year career, French ambient duo M83 caught fire with sixth album Hurry Up, We're Dreaming scarcely a year ago. Riding on single "Midnight City," M83 sold out venues across the country and scripted catwalks for Victoria's Secret Angels. Brothers Anthony and Yann Gonzalez work with a rotating cast of musicians to create Eighties-fused electronic pop that jams with the vigor of a guitar solo. – Abby Johnston

Umphrey's McGee

7:30pm, Zilker stage

Lumped in amongst jam bands, Umphrey's McGee remains one of the most forward-thinking and unpredictable acts of the day. The Chicagoans' "progressive improvisation" can lead anywhere, even to covers from unlikely sources like Toto and the Staple Singers. Always embracing innovative new technology, the band's September appearance at Red Rocks is already available as a DVD/Blu-ray or HD download. – Jim Caligiuri

M. Ward

7:30pm, Austin Ventures stage

If you're looking for a chill evening at ACL, look no further than M. Ward. The Oregonian raised his profile with She & Him and Monsters of Folk, but his own indie Americana and folk-rock tunes fly all by themselves. Spring's A Wasteland Companion, lush songs that feel timeless, comes complimented by Ward's complex guitar lines, a treat as the sun sets over Zilker Park. – Zoe Cordes Selbin

The Black Keys

8:30pm, Bud Light stage

Guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney have been crusading to save rock & roll for more than a decade, with an assembly line production of maximum R&B and classic rock swagger. On 2010's commercial breakthrough, Brothers, the two finally pulled it off. Latest El Camino, written and recorded with Gnarls Barkley/Broken Bells mixologist Danger Mouse, is the equivalent of a summer blockbuster: campy, loaded with special effects, and ready to rock the whole family. – Austin Powell

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