Austin City Limits sums up the essence of Austin. For six days spread over two weekends, a plea for freedom, love and good music will have its echo in the center of the city. At Zilker Park, there will be a festival in which all kinds of people, sounds and hearts coexist with respect. Something that perfectly reflects an eclectic lineup that will unite lovers of Nathaniel Rateliff’s folk, Pink’s pop, Lil Nas X’s LGTBI rap, James Blake’s sophistication, the new hip hop embodied in SZA and Princess Nokia. They will share this festival with the multiculturalism of Arlo Parks, the indie of Paramore, The Marías or Death Cab for Cutie, the avant-garde electronic music of Flume or Zhu and the finishing touch that the legendary Red Hot Chili Peppers will put on at ACL.
Be free, be happy and open your ears to the dozens of rhythms that will fill this musical sanctuary that Austin will become for six days. We review some of the experiences that await us at Austin City Limits, from October 7th to the 9th and the 14th to the 16th, through our playlist on Spotify and an experience guide that summarizes the best of a festival without limits.
Folk Never Die
American folk has the virtue of reincarnating itself in voices as fascinating as that of Nathaniel Rateliff. His career has been scattered across different labels and bands. That explains why he has become a cult musician in the underground and an outsider in the mainstream. But labels or virality do not matter when this St. Louis artist sparks a wild party in a place like Zilker Park with outrageous riffs, loads of charm and a unique voice.
Caresses to the Soul
James Blake’s music is a caress to the soul, a dagger that goes through your heart with a unique delicacy. He knows how to play the right keys so that those piano bases or those electronic arrangements get into your head and become part of your life. It does not matter if his voice is the protagonist, or if it is Rosalía’s, SZA’s or Travis Scott’s, the elegance of this Briton places him as one of the most moving artists on the current scene.
Legends with New Album
The Red Hot Chili Peppers have been quite busy in 2022. They will perform in Austin with a new album under their belt, Return of the Dream Canteen, which will be released on October 14 in the middle of the festival. It’s their second album released this year, so we take it for granted that their live performance at Austin City Limits will become a cult moment for all their fans. To this incentive, they add the fact of reviewing 40 years of a band that has changed the history of rock.
This rapper from Atlanta has come like a whirlwind to change everything. He has done it being a faithful reflection of the current times. His career did not start in some seedy local or in a college band but on Twitter. Lil Nas ran a Nicky Manaj fan account that went viral. From this social network he jumped to SoundCloud, where he posted his smash hit Old Time Road, that soon went viral. Billy Ray Cyrus, country legend and Miley’s father, saw the gold mine and soon made a version with Lil Nas and hit the charts around the world. That was only the beginning. Then came Montero, a hit that has traded rough Atlanta rap for the color of an LGTBI statement, a cascade of awards, grandiloquent clips, and a future that is rewritten in pink.
The Art of Collaboration
This Puerto Rican from Massachusetts has become a regular face of this new eclectic, melodic rap capable of fitting in anywhere as if it were pop. From an early age, Bia has understood how the scene moves and has been incorporating Latin rhythms and various urban references into her repertoire. But where she has best moved has been in the field of collaboration. Safari with Balvin and Pharrell, Whole Lotta Money with Nicky Minaj lead her to the stardom. Other collaborations with Tyga, Kali Uchis, Missy Elliot, David Guetta, Doja Cat or J. Cole have made her indispensable within the new rap scene.
Reinvent Yourself to Continue Inventing
This Tennessee band has evolved as the world and music have changed. From their beginnings with power rock to the starkest pop, they have left songs that have marked different generations during their career of 20 years. They have done it through the very personal voice of Hayley Williams who has undressed the world through acid and stark lyrics accompanied by the elegant but powerful rhythms of Taylor York and Zac Farro. A cocktail that always goes well and even more so in an environment like the one that surrounds you at the Austin City Limits.
The Triumph of Multiculturalism
This descendant of French, Chadian and Nigerian is an ode to multiculturalism. Something that is denoted in his elegant sound proposals, where she immerses you in urban rhythms, soul, pop or funk with a subtlety and elegance unbecoming of someone who is only 22 years old. This Londoner’s lyrics come from the poems she writes and her sounds from Portishead, Nina Simone and even Radiohead. Arlo Parks, a gem at Zilker Park.
The New Pop
In Los Angeles, pop is changing, and the face of that transformation is María Zardoya. This Puerto Rican is capable of fusing Latin rhythms, avant-garde pop, soul, and rock in an intimate proposal that speaks a lot about her but also about others, about everyone. She does not mind covering Bad Bunny or Britney Spears, but she prefers to tell very intimate stories. Her voice is raising the temperature in the Los Angeles scene and beginning to make a lot of noise throughout the United States.
The Princess of Harlem
This New York rapper is the direct heir to the radiant musicality of Harlem. Her music mixes hip hop, funk, rock, and soul. A complete compilation of what has been one of the most musical neighborhoods in the world. Pure street that represents a renewal of rap and an incredibly talented female statement.
In the Name of Indie
French music has us accustomed to launching musicians who become referents of a genre. If we talk about Indie, the band from Versailles has been one of the most prolific and influential in the genre in recent decades. Their style, their lyrics, and their charisma, have made them more than just a group of friends who get together to make good music. An icon visits the Austin City Limits.
Stories that Move
Michelle Zauner knew how to transform the pain of losing her mother into a luminous album full of dazzling nuances that has marked the path of new American pop. Sensitivity and aggressiveness are hidden in personal lyrics capable of summarizing the essence of good pop. Psychopomp, in 2016, was the gateway to a meteoric career whose peak was a Grammy. Japanese Breakfast awaits us at Zilker Park.
It seems incredible that with just one studio album and a handful of singles, SZA is already omnipresent on the American scene. Her collaborations with Doja Cat and Ty Dollar Sign have made her sophomore album one of the most anticipated in 2023 and made her a headliner so prematurely. Not surprising. Talent knows no age and the St. Louis rapper is destined to transform rap forever.
Pink is a benchmark of the 2000s. Despite this, she has managed to transform herself over the years. Her maturity has surprised all those who branded her music frivolous. But prejudice cannot hide a more than interesting career and the well-deserved recognition of an artist who has always been characterized by her naturalness and for doing whatever she wants. Austin is looking forward to a 2000’s revival.
Fighting the Label
The New Zealand artist continues to fight against the one hit wonder label that brought her massive success Supalonely with Gus Dapperton. She is on the right track. Her version of Somebody I Used to Know is a good example. The pop of her anchoring her in the 2010s is a modern nostalgia for something that just happened. At 22 years old, she is in a moment of effervescence that makes her an interesting artist with good taste in choosing references.
Straight to the Top
The Isle of Wight girl duo’s rock is serene, nostalgic, evoking bygone eras that may not have existed but fervently wish to lose you in them. They debuted this year with their first album that has gone straight to number one on the British charts. Nobody was surprised. They have everything to be a benchmark for a scene that needed someone who would continue to claim the guitar as an instrument to tell simple but fascinating stories.
ACL Eats: Flavors of the Austin City Limits
The Austin City Limits is also eaten. The poster of the restaurants present at the festival does not pale in comparison with the names that we have detailed. At Zilker Park, the aromas of the city will be well represented by Four Brothers Venezuelan delicacies, Lambas Indian flavors, and Bao’d Up baos. There will also be sweet temptations like Amy’s Ice Creams, Tiff’s Treats, and Tiny Pies that will tempt us at ACL Eats.
A combined menu between the Korean barbecue from Chi’lantro, the empanadas from Mmmpanadas, the Lebanese delicacies from Shawarma Point and the tremendous pizzas from Austin’s Pizza will delight many lovers of music and tasty food who come to the festival. Although, you must leave a gap throughout these three days to savor the exquisite burgers at Wholly Cow Burgers and the delicious donuts at Voodoo Doughnut. Bon Appetit!
The Austin City Limits has no limits. Apart from endless activities and experiences that you can find on its website and in the festival app, we still have some of the most fascinating names on the ACL poster in the lineup.
- Boy George, Asleep at the Wheel, Noah Cyrus, Goth Babe, Flume, Zhu, Death Cab for Cutie, Marcus Mumford, Wallows, War on Drugs, Sofi Tukker, Manchester Orchestra.
Do not miss details of the Austin City Limits in our social media and on our website. See you at Zilker Park.