ACL Wrap-Up: The Top Ten Acts

Well, we’ve finally recovered, and we hope your sunburn is peeling and your liver is resting quietly in a tub of water.  After a long weekend, filled with good memories, tunes and pretty much anything else we needed, we got down to the nitty-gritty. That’s right folks, after careful collaboration, and tireless hours of discussion, we bring you our Top Ten Acts of Austin City Limits 2010.

10. The Strokes

Guys looked good, sounded good, but only played for 50 minutes. Not getting you into the top 5 fellas.

9. The Very Best

Despite backing tracks, this guy got us all going early Saturday morning. And, I’m pretty sure he just waved while listening to Michael Jackson with the rest of us.

8. Lucero

The band, well, they sounded tight as usual, as they always do, but they could have brought a touch more of the upbeat grooves our way.

7. David Bazan

We knew going into this that David drew bad luck, going against LCD Soundsystem. He didn’t care; he just rocked it like he always does–and throwing in old Pedro the Lion hits never hurts anyone.

6. The Mountain Goats

A barefooted John Darnielle really got us off to a great weekend. He sounded great, not to mention the fact that the barefooted poet has loads of energy for a man packing an acoustic guitar.

5. Yeasayer

They earned their right to play to a bigger audience on the big stage, and they didn’t fail to impress. All those magical pieces that occasionally sound like too much sonic bliss were perfected in the live setting.

4. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists

In all honesty, we expected Ted to be higher up on the list too, but an early time slot and Eagles squatters made for a slightly slow start. Otherwise, Ted killed it. He always kills it.

3. Monsters of Folk

What? These guys played for two hours? That’s probably because they have three of the greatest songwriters around, period. That, and we got to see a nice little MMJ flashback with “Golden.”

2. Beach House

We debated going here, wondering how they would pull of the magic in an open-air festival, but, to our surprise, they absolutely killed it, cementing the band as one of our favorite acts around in 2010.

1. The National

Can this band do anything wrong right now? They owned the night, and for us, the festival. Matt haunts the stage, emitting passion like few other performers. To top it off, they don’t need gadgets or giant gerbil balls, only simple lights and a phenomenal set of songs. So good, we’d watch that same set time and time again.

So, who did we miss? Who do you think deserves a spot on this list? Tell us your story.

Photos provided courtesy of ACL Festival & C3.


  • I totally agree on The National. They made ACL for me. Pheneomenal set.

    Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros put on a pretty good set. Wasn’t impressed with The Strokes. I thought it was a pretty lazy set, even beyond the short length.

  • My votes both go to big loud flashy main stagers:
    LCD Soundsystem
    Muse (about an hour later!)

    Other thoughts:
    I thought Fivepoon’s set was good. Energetic britt.

    Hadn’t heard lucero prior to their Saturday set. Good stuff. Same goes for Manchester Orchestra, which i preferred to their ATL brethren in Black Lips. Nice shout out by Man Orch lead singer tho.

    Did sonic youth’s set slip your mind? or were you off listening to vampire weekend?

    I love that you have “the very best” above the strokes on your list (even if just barely.) Would not have expected that from this site.

  • How was LCD and Local Natives left off this list? Two best shows of the weekend in my opinion.

  • @bstarr – Both didn’t make the list because we didn’t catch their sets at ACL. I’ve seen LCD many times and saw Local Natives play the same set at SXSW 3 times. We chose to see some things we hadn’t seen before. Hence Monsters of Folk being on the list.

    I’m sure those two bands were great at ACL as they usually are live.

  • Oh and @Brett. Didn’t feel like the Sonic Youth set was much to speak of really

  • Everybody knows Local Natives were so last January.

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