Top Five Acts at ACL Festival, 10/4/2013

Categories: Festivals

Photo by Julian Bajsel
Editor: Our friends at Houston Press' Rocks Off music blog are tackling the first weekend of Austin City Limits, and they're bringing us these dispatches.

I spent a good part of the mid-'00s torturing every passenger in my car with the Arctic Monkeys' album Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not on repeat. I still enjoy busting out that album (and my faux accent) to screech along with them. So needless to say, I was stoked to catch their ACL set on Friday.

The sun was setting behind the massive stage and the weather was cooling down, which made for the perfect backdrop to dance around as Alex Turner belted out those rapid-fire lyrics, thick with his trademark Sheffield accent. The amount of energy it must take for them to put on a show packed with songs of such energy and noise must be insane. Although they don't jump and scream in the traditional rocker way, Turner's vocals alone are a test in agility. I'm not sure when he has time to breathe.

But even with Turner's vocal lashings, the Monkeys are so normal in appearance and mannerisms that it's a little mesmerizing. Despite their success, they still appear to be the Sheffield boys rockin' out they way they did in their high-school band, with no egos or meltdowns to distract from what they're there to do. There are no gimmicks or onstage antics; just the abilities of a band much longer in the tooth. ANGELICA LEICHT

Photo by Julian Bajsel
Growing up in the Rio Grande Valley, I spent a lot of time during high school at a little bar in Reynosa, Mexico, where I could drink for cheap and dance around to '80s New Wave to my little underage heart's content. Thanks to that bar, The Alaskan, and its watery, gut-rot tequila shots, Depeche is the ultimate for me. That band just reminds me of such silly, carefree times.

I know that reviews on their recent shows have been mixed, with some confused reviewers questioning some of the band's choices on this latest tour. Well, they can keep right on doing it, because Depeche genuinely blew me away as they closed out Friday night's lineup. Those old Alaskan memories have some new competition.

The entire hill in front of and behind me became one huge New Wave dance party, with dads dancing with their young daughters, couples throwing their arms up, and dorks like me reliving those days of old, when we first discovered that strangely gorgeous, androgynous sound. ANGELICA LEICHT

Photo by Marco Torres
fun. lead singer Nate Ruess was either happy to see us, or he took a few hits of laughing gas before he hit the AMD stage on Friday afternoon. Either way, he was all smiles and goofy expressions as he moved back and forth with his gold microphone glistening in the beautiful fall Texas light, jumping and bouncing around like The Joker from Batman.

One thing was for sure: fun.'s fans fed off his energy. "I'm standing in Brooklyn just waiting for something to happen" he sang as "One Foot" began the set. The rest of the band sounded crisp and brilliant, with horns and keys and strings fluctuating between rock and pop like a schizophrenic juke box. Even the biggest grinch would have grinned at this performance, and fans in the front row blew bubbles and smiled. Of course everyone sang along to hits "Carry On," "Some Nights", and "We Are Young," which were about as enjoyable as the band's name implies. MARCO TORRES

List continues on the next page.

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault