ACL weekend two recommendations

This past weekend, I attended weekend one of Austin City Limits at Zilker Park. Here are some bands/musical groups that I recommend seeing and some that I would avoid at weekend two of the festival.

7:15 to 8:15 p.m.

DO: Martin Garrix

Electronic musician Martin Garrix was actually the first show I went to at ACL this year. The concert was really fast-paced and fun the entire time, especially when he played “Animals.” The only thing I have against Martin Garrix’s show was that it was at the HomeAway stage, which is hard to access from the left side facing the stage and from the back if you don’t come from the area close to the Samsung stage. Because of this, it gets cramped on the right side and you may be stuck at a bad angle if you don’t get there early enough.

8:15 to 10:15 p.m.


While I was expecting more songs from Watch the Throne, JAY-Z’s collab album with Kanye West from 2013, JAY-Z didn’t disappoint. Hov performed at his best when he played “Empire State of Mind” and “No Church in the Wild.” His set was one of the best I saw all weekend, featuring a massive balloon animal in the shape of a dog that transitioned from silver to gold and back throughout the show. It seemed like JAY-Z was going to end super early, but he came out for not one, but two encores and played an extra three songs.


2:00 to 3:00 p.m.


A$AP Ferg was, without a doubt, the best combination of music and atmosphere that I experienced at ACL this year. While A$AP Ferg isn’t a global superstar like other rappers, he played some surprisingly good songs that made me convinced that he wasn’t just a one-hit-wonder with “Plain Jane.” If you love getting hyped and jumping around in mosh pits (and in my case, getting knocked down five times and getting a busted lip), this concert is definitely the reason to go a little early on Saturday.

5:00 to 6:00 p.m.

DO: Russ

To be honest, I don’t remember Russ’s set or any songs he played besides “Pull the Trigger” and “What They Want.”  What I do remember about this time slot is there really not being any better options for the type of music I like (rap/electronic/alternative). I suppose you could go to The Black Angels, but I would definitely stick with Russ here.

7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

DON’T: Tove Lo

I only went to Tove Lo because I was recommended to go to her concert by a friend. It was a game-time decision for me between her and Spoon. None of my friends that I went with wanted to go, so I trudged across Barton Springs road to see Tove Lo. Around the time that the 7 p.m. concerts started, three skydivers jumped out of a plane over Zilker Park to the sound of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” to pay respect to the recently deceased rock icon. It was all downhill from there. Tove Lo wasn’t as good as I thought, and I regretted not going to Spoon when we left around 35 minutes into the show.

8:00 to 9:30 p.m.

DON’T: Chance the Rapper

This is probably my most eye-popping take on this list, and it was a really tough decision. Chance started out weak, and peaked towards the middle of his set when everyone (including me) thought Kanye West was going to come out. Chance put up videos of himself and Yeezy while he consecutively played “Waves,” “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1” and “Ultralight Beam,” which transitioned the concert into the church vibe it continued to have outside of “All We Got” and “No Problem.” All in all, Chance the Rapper put on a good show. Maybe I’m just bitter about him toying with me about the possibility of my favorite musician of all time coming out on stage. I don’t know. Go to The Red Hot Chili Peppers if you don’t like being swindled.

4:15 to 5:15 p.m.

I cannot stress this one enough. DO NOT GO TO DRAM. He will ignore your chants of “Broccoli! Broccoli!” for 45 minutes and then he will have the audacity to leave the stage and have his DJ deal with the crowd for him. We booed DRAM. We yelled at DRAM. We left DRAM. He finally played “Broccoli” at the end, but the energy in the crowd was gone by then. Unless you want a dread headed dude in a robe to sing you love songs for an hour, go to Milky Chance and enjoy yourself.

6:15 to 7:15 p.m.

DO: Run the Jewels

The antithesis of my above paragraph about he who must not be named. Even though they were at the Honda stage, the very same as the disappointing Chance the Rapper and the devil incarnate, the deadly duo of Run the Jewels turned eyes and ears on Sunday evening. If you thought A$AP Ferg was hype, you don’t know what EI-P and Killer Mike can do to music fans. There were so many mosh pits, it’s Wednesday and I can still feel the bodies bumping me, like when you get back from a long day at the beach and you feel like the waves are still washing over you. RTJ even brought a superfan named Bruce onto the stage to start freestyle rapping. Bruce killed it. The openings to their songs were amazing, and it only got better from there. If you go to nothing else at ACL, go to Run the Jewels.

8:15 to 10:00 p.m.

DO: The Killers

The only traditional rock band I will directly tell you to go to on this list. The Killers are just too big of a name to avoid. But you have to get there early. I would actually recommend skipping the 7:15 to 8:15 p.m. window and get as close as you can. You’ll want to be right in the middle if they decide to play “Mr. Brightside” as the second song of their entire show. Don’t be stupid and leave early like I did. If you do, you’ll miss “All These Things That I’ve Done” and “When You Were Young.” Do as I say, not as I do. The Sunday nightcap is legendary at ACL for living up to expectations, and nothing changes this year.