To the familiar tune of the “Star Wars” theme, the first mass of revelers poured into Zilker Park at 11:04 a.m. Friday for the first day of Austin City Limits Music Festival 2014. Four minutes of extra waiting never hurt anyone, after all.
There was a healthy crowd surrounding the gates, not packed tight but not sparse. About ten minutes before the 11 a.m. opening time, festival staff gave the customary “no open containers” spiel as the crowd stood up and began to line up at the gate entrance. One man in the crowd: “Let’s get this ball rolling!”
Among the festgoers, Austinite Amy Ramirez said she gets to Zilker before the gates open because “I just wanna be here and get it started.” Ramirez said she’s here for headliners like OutKast tonight and Eminem on Saturday, but that she’s discovered smaller acts in the past, like blues metal artist Reignwolf last year.
The weather for the fest’s opening salvo likely caused celebration for event organizers; sunshine, clear skies and a cool breeze greeted fans at the gate. The high today is 86 degrees, with a low of 57.
Signs of Austin’s new normal for the next two weekends were apparent within the radius of the fest: scalpers at the intersection of Barton Springs Road and South Lamar Boulevard, as well as many scalpers canvassing the former street; a loose caravan of festgoers clad in sunglasses and hats and toting Camelbaks and camping chairs; signs for $30 parking lots; restaurants and trailers selling tacos. The booming sound system from the park could be heard from Shady Grove.
Jazzy electronic indie act Arum Rae and the Barton Hills Choir kick things off with the first sets of the day at 11:15 a.m. The headline draws tonight are Atlanta rap gods OutKast and musical chameleon Beck.
The strategy: Ugh, Moooooooom. Get your own music festival. Well, to be fair, until the past few years, ACL Fest probably was your mom’s music festival. But now, it’s more of an equal opportunity jam. You want to make sure you and your friends are nowhere near the ‘rents or anyone with a pension fund — and it’s not as simple as just ditching Pearl Jam’s set.
Dollars – You are self-sufficient today. No withdrawals from the family bank.
Earplugs – The best way to avoid anyone over 30 is to get as close as possible to the stage. Stay in school, hugs not drugs, avoid premature hearing loss.
Your phone charger – It’s off-the-grid time.
Sphynx (noon, Miller Lite). Austin’s very own electrohedonists. Lots of neon, lots of losing your dang mind.
Moats (1:15 p.m., weekend one, RetailMeNot). Above all else, the best way to avoid your parents is to see dreamboat British indie bands they haven’t heard of.
Bleachers (3:15 p.m., Miller Lite). This isn’t a safe bet, but hope that not many casual listeners know that Jack Antonoff is also in Fun.
CHVRCHES (4:15 p.m., Honda). Shroud yourself in kaleidoscopic light shows and synthpop.
St. Vincent (5:15 p.m., RetailMeNot). Your mom is going to see Sam Smith. If your mom is going to St. Vincent, you should be hanging out with her anyway.
Childish Gambino (6:15 p.m., Honda). It’s in the name.
The Glitch Mob (7:15 p.m., Miller Lite). Screechy, scratchy, bleepy, bloopy.
Mac DeMarco (1:30 p.m., RetailMeNot). The “Salad Days” singer is the province of those actually in their salad days.
Tune-Yards (3:30 p.m., RetailMeNot). The sound of a marching band in a food processor, in the right ways. Sweet, sweet noise.
My Brightest Diamond (4:30 p.m., Sculpture/Zilker). This Sufjan Stevens collaborator will be safe ground between the tender folk of The Head and the Heart and the dad-friendly rock of Interpol.
Icona Pop (5:30 p.m., Miller Lite). Aunt Kathy just loves that one song she heard on the radio, you the know the one, about being “Fancy”? She’ll be all Iggy’s.
Lana del Rey (6:30 p.m., Samsung Galaxy). Kim Kardashian’s favorite singer herself.
Major Lazer (7:30 p.m., RetailMeNot). Even if your parents show up, they’ll leave in the first five minutes.
Skrillex (8:30, Honda). The patron saint of this gameplan.
HAERTS (11:30 a.m., Miller Lite). Darkly dance-ready, mystic-futuristic electronic pop.
MØ (12:15 p.m., Honda). Her ACL bio describes her music as a mix of “indie, pop, hip-hop, electro and soul” and shows her holding a jungle cat’s taxidermied head in front of her crotch. Her time slot mates, MODOC and The Districts, are described as “gritty, swaggering rock music” and “jangly indie Americana and blues-inspired rock,” respectively. You do the math.
Vic Mensa (1:00 p.m., RetailMeNot). Peer of Chance the Rapper, 19 years old, a sure bet.
AFI (2:00 p.m., Honda). We said avoid your parents, not avoid your older sister who was really into goth rock in the 2000s.
Jhené Aiko (weekend one, 3 p.m. RetailMeNot). Spacey R&B, and if you’re good, maybe Drake will show up.
Phantogram (5:00 p.m., Miller Lite). See “CHVRCHES.”
**You’re not safe from 6-7 p.m. Your parents have an equal chance of seeing Spoon or The Replacements. This is not a drill. Go get a snack.**
Zedd (7 p.m., Miller Lite). Or get to the front of the stage for the “Clarity” DJ. (You could see Chromeo on weekend one, too, but don’t go near Lorde on weekend two. It’s a trap.)
Calvin Harris (8 p.m., Honda). The age spread between Calvin and Pearl Jam will be so stark, it’ll look like a Venn diagram with no overlap. (So … two circles.)
At the fest: Sundays, Oct. 5 on the Sculpture stage and Oct. 12 on the Zilker stage, 4 p.m.
She’s a triple platinum artist and she knocked Bruce Springsteen off the No. 1 spot on the album charts — in Ireland.
Rockabilly hellraiser Imelda May is a star back home, but a quieter presence in the U.S. despite a few appearances on late night television and an impressive history of shared bills. She’s even performed with Jeff Beck all over the place, including ACL Live at the Moody Theater and the 2010 Grammys. Now, she heads to ACL Fest for a little more radar exposure.
With Billie Holiday and Elvis Presley named as chief influences, Imelda May wears her classic — classic —American music influences as proudly as she wears the blonde swoop in her hair. Stylistically, she’s definitely a throwback, but not so much as to be a retro novelty. The Dubliner’s rich-and-rough tone and rock sensibility make her a seamless match for the Austin music scene.
Could share a bill with: Wanda Jackson, Jack White, The Black Keys, Duffy
More news from ACL artists this week already: the electrofunk smooth operators of Chromeo released the video for “Old 45’s” Tuesday. The clip features cameos from indie rock sister act Haim and “Napoleon Dynamite” star Jon Heder.
Whereas Sam Smith’s new video released this week was just tour footage, this one has a bar fight. Bar: raised. Check it out below.
Chromeo (aka Dave 1 and P-Thugg) play the RetailMeNot stage at ACL on Sunday both weekends. Their weekend one set is at 7 p.m., and they move to 5 p.m. for weekend two.
ACL Fest is going to dominate our entertainment news this weekend, so we’ll make a few of the biggest acts share a headline just this once. Some big breaking business for three artists so far this week:
New Zealand pop phenom/wildly successful teenager Lorde released a new track Monday, hot off the heels of the anniversary of her breakout debut LP “Pure Heroine.” The song, “Yellow Flicker Beat,” is part of the soundtrack for the upcoming film “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.” Lorde, who covered Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” for the previous “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” soundtrack, has been tapped to curate the entire soundtrack for “Mockingjay Part 1.” Let’s hope corporate synergy gets this on the setlist for ACL weekend two. Listen to it below.
British soul-smith/pompadour trendsetter Sam Smith released a new video Monday for the song “Restart.” The song, which is from the deluxe edition of Smith’s own breakout debut LP “In the Lonely Hour,” features a compilation of tour footage. Yeah, it’s one of those, but it’s fun and it will get you pumped to check Smith out on Friday. Check it out below.
And now for something completely different: Rapper/your favorite actor from “Community” Childish Gambino has joined the cast of male-stripper-centric sequel “Magic Mike XXL.” (Or rather, he’s joined the cast under his real name, Donald Glover.) Warner Bros. has officially released the cast list and synopsis of the film, which once more stars Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello and everyone in Hollywood. We don’t think this news will come into play for Gambino’s Friday set, but oh, what if it did. Read more at Entertainment Weekly.
Sad news for fans of pretty music in pretty venues. The official Austin City Limits Music Festival late show featuring Rhye at the Paramount Theatre scheduled for Oct. 3 has been cancelled, according to representatives from C3 Presents.
Those who already purchased tickets to see the neo-R&B duo the evening of the fest’s first night have been notified, according to the concert promoter. There are “no plans to fill the Paramount slot at this time,” according to C3.
Rhye (aka Mike Milosh and Robin Hannibal) released their debut LP “Woman” last year. They were one of the few artists playing a late show that was not on the bill for the festival proper.