Fest Preview Friday: Tough Choices at ACL 2018 (Weekend One)

This year, we face one of the most stacked lineups for indie music that we’ve seen in a hot minute from the folks at ACL Festival. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining; I love a good challenge and will happily take a full day of sets then a lot of downtime at Zilker. However, with great lineup comes great responsibility. There are some key choices you’re going to have to make when you set foot at Zilker park come October. Don’t fret, I’m here for you; I’m breaking down some scheduling conflicts for you after the jump. These are only some of the problem areas for me–what are your tough choices for ACL?

FRIDAY (10/5): Many Spots of Conflict, But Keep Your Head

Big Thief vs Cuco

This one is the first source of debate in my schedule, but I’ve gotta go with Big Thief on this one. I’ve seen Adrianne Lenker and crew a few times before, and they put on an absolutely gorgeous set. Look out for hits like “Masterpiece” and “Shark Smile” to really shimmer in the sun and knock you off your feet. Easy, lovely, perfect; these are words that will come to mind during their folksy set.

Alvvays vs The Weather Station vs Sir Sly

Here we have a classic three way split in interest, but I know for sure where I’ll be for this one. Alvvays is the choice you should make at this tough spot in Friday’s lineup. Molly Rankin has an impeccable, downright unbelievable, voice that shines clearly atop lush and perfect indie pop. Not to mention hits like “Archie, Marry Me” and newer lush songs like “Not My Baby” and “In Undertow.” Trust. You can always catch the first part of The Weather Station’s set beforehand!

SATURDAY (10/6): Bigger Stakes

Sharon Van Etten vs Blood Orange

Now, I’m saying this is my choice right now, but I’m still wavering on this one. Blood Orange is all the buzz, but I’m super stoked to see Sharon Van Etten return to the stage and give us some new tracks. Having seen her play live before, I know when that soulful, raspy voice hits me with tracks like “Every Time The Sun Comes Up” or “Magic Chords,” I’ll be in full on swoon mode. This is definitely the chiller of the two sets in this conflict, but one that will most likely resonate louder on an emotional front for me. Buzz or tried and true?

SUNDAY (10/7): Hard To Go Wrong, But A Tough Last Choice

Childish Gambino vs Arctic Monkeys

To me, Sunday seems the most cut and dry day for scheduling conflicts, but one of the biggest and toughest choices I’m going to have to make. When the lineup was released, I audibly groaned at this overlap and recent news has not made the deliberation for this decision any easier. On one hand, you have the chance to catch one of the formative bands of indie rock as it is today with The Arctic Monkeys. On the other, you have a chance to catch Donald Glover, who is an icon in the rap world and is allegedly embarking on his last shows ever as Childish Gambino. Thankfully, this is not a solid overlap and so my recommendation is to post up early for Arctic Monkeys, pray they play the hits, and stick around for the full set. Then, it’ll be time to haul ass over to catch the last 30 minutes of Childish Gambino’s set. Trust me, this is the best option; Gambino probably won’t play the bigger numbers till the end, and despite the recent negative reviews of Arctic Monkeys’ latest album, they’ve still got a massive catalogue of solid numbers to delight and bring the rock.

Anyways, these are my picks. Anyway you fest you can’t go wrong, unless you manage to go to Zilker Park and not see any bands. Then you really suck.





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