The Top ACL Undercard Acts

Unfortunately, a festival has to curate line-ups that cater to that audience, and as such, some bands unfortunately fall victim to the undercard slot…the slot before the day really gets going or on the smaller stages. Whether you see it as a slight, or just one of the many headaches with scheduling a mass festival…here are my highlights for bands on the Undercard slot (pre-2 PM).

Recent things that we loved that fit this description: Lucy Dacus, Slaves, Jose Gonzalez, Albert Hammond Jr., Rey Pila, The Rosebuds, Wild Nothing, FIDLAR, Widowspeak, Pinback, Willis Earl Beal, Gardens & Villa, and on and on…


Friday: Methyl Ethel and Sandy Alex G — It’s probably fair that Australia’s art rock tour de force ended up on the early slot Friday afternoon, seeing as they’re surely not a household name, but with this year’s Everything Is Forgotten for 4AD, they made a stamp that should definitely turn heads for those looking for something out of the norm. Sandy Alex G on the other hand…is pretty much a household name for all you indie fans. He’s been quite prolific, penning countless songs and albums, many just released quietly via bandcamp. Think of him as bedroom pop for a larger audience…like a festival per se.

Saturday: Ought — This one makes me really sad. Not that I don’t understand the decision making of placing a lesser-known Canadian act at 11:30 on a Saturday, but if you’re looking for the most talented/creative band at ACL this year, then you should probably get there as early as possible to see Tim Darcy and friends. Still fond of the art-punk stylings of More Than Any Other Day…not to mention its commentary on trivial life. Seriously, if there is any small band you must see, this is the one.

Sunday: Melat — Just in case Jay Z didn’t convince Beyonce to join him on stage Friday night, you can still get your Texas R&B fix with Melat. She’s got this striking voice that’s gently draped over perfect loops, and it’s a wonder she hasn’t been able to really break out…perhaps this spot at ACL will help bring more attention her way.


Friday: Annabelle Chairlegs (and Sandy Alex G) — You’ll be fortunate if you’re in attendance on Weekend Two to catch one of Austin’s strongest acts. For years they’ve won over audiences with great live performances…but the recorded material is equally as impressive, if not more so. As for Sandy Alex G…see above…he plays both weekends.

Saturday: Ought — Read Weekend One commentary. Then go see them. Seriously.

Sunday: Day Wave — Getting to see Day Wave is like a coup. I know, all the first impressions and stories will break on Weekend One…but you won’t get to see Day Wave. The project of Jackson Phillips seemingly blew up out of nowhere a little over a year ago…with music nerds clamoring for his propulsive pop jams as he teased us with a few tracks at a time. Finally, he released The Days We Had, and pop music hasn’t been the same since.

Stream some jams.

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