Weekend Two Saturday ACL Fest Picks
Day 2 to-do list
SlavesNoon, Cirrus Logic stage
Brutal, two-man British punk outfit spits out singles like "Hey," a working-class drinking anthem that viciously enumerates every downside to alcoholic excess, while bristling with early Clash viciousness and garage-blues riffery driven to near-death metal levels of hardness.
– Tim Stegall
Nothing but Thieves12:45pm, 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
JR JR1:30pm, Cirrus Logic stage
Though dropping the Dale Earnhardt from their moniker, Detroit duo Josh Epstein and Daniel Zott continues setting the pace in electro-pop with sharp harmonies and even smarter beats. Last year's eponymous third LP, their first since renaming, surged with massive hooks and lush arrangements that touched into funk and R&B blasts, lifting their often warm and whimsical lyrics with a melodic flourish.
– Doug Freeman
Andra Day3:30pm, Miller Lite stage
Andra Day launched her career on YouTube through R&B covers of Eminem and Muse. On last year's Warner Bros. debut, Cheers to the Fall, the San Diego singer attempts a similar but more polished sound as her cloudy optimism comes into full focus. "Gold" channels midnight blues, "City Burns" has her head spinning in anguish, and "Cheers to the Fall" toasts heartache with watercolor jazz phrasing.
– Alejandra Ramirez
LL Cool J4:30pm, Samsung stage
Women throw panties (and ChapStick) at Ladies Love Cool James. Debuting before rap's golden era 1985's acclaimed Radio, the 48-year-old MC broke through with three consecutive charting albums: the booming Bigger and Deffer (BAD), softer Walking With a Panther, and rejuvenating Mama Said Knock You Out. 1995's rap ballad classic Mr. Smith cemented the Hollis, Queens, rapper's place in history and laid the foundation for Drake.
– Kahron Spearman
The Naked & Famous5:30pm, Cirrus Logic stage
Shimmering, cracked indie-tronica, 2010's Passive Me, Aggressive You proved prominent for brightly lit Forever 21 retailers. The New Zealanders create atmosphere, too – ebullient, overstimulation driven by youthful buoyancy and a lot o' synths. Three years after their last LP, a third disc, Simple Forms, drops Oct. 14.
– Libby Webster
Anderson Paak5:30pm, HomeAway stage
Not that anyone was looking for a rebirth of Bobby Womack, but the late legend's hip-hop doppelgänger, Oxnard, Calif., native Brandon Paak Anderson, has emerged a superstar. Using a trademark husk that bends rules and genres, the singer/rapper released three projects before his breakout on January's critically acclaimed Malibu, a soulful mix of old school in young buck packaging. Paak's also one half of NxWorries, with producer Knxwledge. Their proper debut drops this month.
– Kahron Spearman
Cage the Elephant6:30pm, Honda stage
Give Cage the Elephant another chance. Yes, the Kentucky quartet stands guilty of perpetrating a supremely annoying radio rock hit with 2008's "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" – a track loaded with lyrical cliches and tired, G. Love-style alterna-poet delivery. Yet, over four albums, Matthew Shultz and company have evolved into true craftsmen, with last year's Tell Me I'm Pretty spinning sharp, concise songwriting.
– Kevin Curtin
Bomba Estéreo6:30pm, Tito's Handmade Vodka stage
On every local festival lineup of the last five years, Bomba Estéreo still gets the call for an explosive mix of every Latin dance style under the sun, including the folkloric sounds of their native Colombia, via EDM, hip-hop, and dancehall. Producer/multi-instrumentalist Simón Mejía and singer Liliana Saumet tread familiar territory on major label debut Amanecer, which features slick club beats and chest-caving bass.
– Thomas Fawcett