Friday ACL Fest 2018 Picks

TGIF picks for Zilker Park

Nicole Atkins

Alice Merton

12:00pm, Honda stage
Alice Merton bursts with a kinetic frenzy of sound and sentiment. The first single and title track to debut EP No Roots landed atop European charts in 2016, introducing the Canadian-born, Germany-based songwriter with jagged beats quaking behind a voice between Fiona Apple and Regina Spektor. New single "Why So Serious" likewise licks anthemic and cathartic. – Doug Freeman

Nicole Atkins

12:45pm, BMI stage
Dubbed heir to the legacy of Roy Orbison and Carole King, this Nashville-via-New Jersey song catcher proved her mettle on 2017's Goodnight Rhonda Lee. While her previous albums – 2007's Neptune City, 2011's Mondo Amore, and 2014's Slow Phaser – glean indie rock, her fourth LP embraces chest-heaving soul, country crooning, and vamped blues belts. – Alejandra Ramirez


12:45pm, HomeAway stage
Out of Southern California, Omar Banos' wistful croons wander between Spanish and English with the grace of a runaway balloon. The Beach Boys' heart-stealing spirit lives on in dream-pop ballads "Lover Is a Day" and "Lo Que Siento." Splashes of analog-washed 808s and gliding synths conjure a trance like a longboard ride. Fangirls and indieheads alike will crowd this 20-year-old phenom's matinee set. – Jeremy Steinberger


2:45pm, Miller Lite stage
On their eponymous, Polyvinyl-backed debut, this Toronto dream-pop troupe offered the irresistible proposal of "Archie, Marry Me." Other synth-shined gems embedded into the acclaimed bow, elevating songwriter Molly Rankin's crystalline, Sixties-sweetened vocal lead. 2017 follow-up Antisocialites packed a sharp, witty punch from standout opener "In Undertow" to dusky final "Forget About Life," putting Alvvays in the running for Canada's Polaris Prize. – Rachel Rascoe

Sasha Sloan

2:45pm, BMI stage
Behind the scenes as writer and collaborator for artists including Charli XCX, Camila Cabello, and Odesza, Sasha Sloan stepped into the spotlight herself with this year's aptly titled debut EP Sad Girl. The clipped and understated pop of singles "Normal" and "Ready Yet" hinge on the Boston native's sharp and earnest songwriting, paradoxically introspective against quivering and confident beats. – Doug Freeman

Lily Allen

Lily Allen

4:45pm, Miller Lite stage
If eponymous hit "Fuck You" was her introduction, then No Shame is her rebirth. The UK songbird has been through divorce, motherhood, and home invasions, but instead of exclamations, this time she looks within. "Three" looks through her daughter's forgotten eyes, "Family Man" finds her fighting for her husband, and "Come on Then" has her confronting her inner demons. An amplified introspection set to a piano-driven pop soundtrack. – Isabella Castro-Cota

The National

5:45pm, American Express stage
Leaving their day jobs behind, the National's third album and first collection for the famed Beggars Banquet label, 2005's Alligator, put them on most critical shortlists. 2007's Boxer and 2010's High Violet moved the Cincinnati-raised quintet near the top of rock music's shrinking and capriciously selected heap. The band won a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album for 2017's Sleep Well Beast. – Kahron Spearman


5:45pm, Honda stage
No word on a follow-up to 2017's American Teen, but Khalid Robinson has collaborated enough in 2018 to sate fans, who are clamoring for more from the onetime El Pasoan. His voice, which has hooked up with Halsey, Ty Dolla $ign, and Martin Garrix in the last year, remains as infectious as his breezy pop-writing sensibility. (See review of Khalid's Weekend One performance.)  – Abby Johnston


7:45pm, Honda stage
Odesza's chirpy, summertime vocal samples and sugar-rush electronic pop productions glide like fireflies from the consoles of Harrison Mills (Catacombkid) and Clayton Knight (BeachesBeaches). With the chill of Tycho and low BPM dance tempo of Bonobo, the Seattle duo performs from a stage of kaleidoscopic panoramas and live drums, all for visual effect. Three albums in, Odesza is peak festival. – Christina Garcia

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More ACL Fest 2018
Playback: ACL Fest Spoilers
ACL Fest Spoilers
As ACL’s second weekend dawns, here are the most unforgettable moments from week one

Kevin Curtin, Oct. 12, 2018

More ACL Music Fest 2018
Friday ACL Fest 2018 Picks
Friday ACL Fest 2018 Picks
Handicapping ACL's first Friday plus a handful of locals

Oct. 5, 2018

Pick a Headliner: Paul McCartney vs. Metallica
Pick a Headliner: Paul McCartney vs. Metallica
We break down each act's stats so you can make an informed decision

Tim Stegall, Oct. 5, 2018


ACL Fest 2018, ACL Music Fest 2018, Nicole Atkins, Sasha Sloan, Lily Allen

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle