When Austin City Limits Music Festival single day tickets went on sale in late May, demand surged so high that all regular tickets were gone within days. This undoubtedly left more than a few Central Texans surprised and out of luck.
To help ease the pain, C3 Presents has expanded the number of official ACL late night events to allow those who either missed the on-sale or couldn't afford the festival as a whole to catch some of the larger acts in smaller venues.
With 27 shows announced, there is quite a bit to choose from. To simplify things in advance of this week's on-sale (which you can find here), we've come up with three batches of shows you can attend with a $50-$60 investment to maximize your ACL evening experience.
The C3 e-list presale for aftershows begins at 10 a.m. Wednesday, while the general on-sale happens at 10 a.m. Thursday.
Option One: Classics, Old and New ($60)
Alabama Shakes with Lee Fields and the Expressions at Stubbs
Thursday, October 11: $25
If you dig soul labels like Stax, this is your bill. A year ago, Alabama Shakes were playing The Continental Club. Now these rock revivalists have graduated to the bigger stages, despite just a single LP under their belt. 2012's Boys and Girls showcases Brittany Howard's voice and a love of all things Otis, Janis and Sam Cooke. It caught the attention of Jack White, who has taken Alabama Shakes with him on tour throughout the world this year.
Opener Lee Fields is the latest from Brooklyn's amazing Dap-Tone stable that brought us Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley, which should be all you need to know to hit "buy." Fields' soul touch points seem to lean strongly toward Bobby Womack and Al Green, and it's tough to argue with either sound.
The Afghan Whigs and Centro-Matic at Antone's
Saturday, October 13: $35
We recommend this one due to the rarity. Afghan Whigs released a string of hugely acclaimed albums in the '90s, but disbanded in 2001. This brief reunion tour has been described by Greg Dulli as a one-off without new music involved, so for fans of the band, it's perhaps now or never.
Denton's perennially underrated Centro-Matic open the show as a bonus. They're often described as alt-country, but veer more toward Wilco's blend of solid songwriting chops and sonic experimentation. This is a excellent double bill on a night rich with options.
Option Two: The Newcomers ($55)
Band Of Skulls and Black Pistol Fire at La Zona Rosa
Thursday, October 11: $20
Since ACL Fest prominently features both Jack White and The Black Keys this year, it is only fitting that Band Of Skulls are here as well. Their riffs are big and crunchy, and like White, they seem A-OK with referencing Jimmy Page. But they're also showcasing a male/female dual vocal sound that can skew toward either The Kills or The Civil Wars depending on the tune. One to watch.
Father John Misty and Dry The River at The Parish
Friday, October 12: $16.50
Father John Misty is a new solo project from Fleet Foxes' J. Tillman, with a blissed out, slightly stoned California rock sound that touches on the dark side of the West Coast. His songs touch on off-kilter subjects — from cemeteries to dogs — all with a mood recalling Neil Young and Gram Parsons in tonality, but not style. Pristine, this isn't: Tillman seems to be willing himself away from folk perfection.
Opening the show is Dry The River, a London-based band that is part of the global "new pop Americana" thing in full swing with The Head and The Heart and Of Monsters And Men. Their music is big, pretty and sounds just as influenced by Brit-pop as it does by traditional folk. They sound like they are shooting for the arenas, and if Mumford and Sons' ascent is any indication, they might get there.
Kimbra and The Features at The Belmont
Saturday, October 13: $18
Kimbra's great stage presence and photogenic Technicolor clothes were all the rage at SXSW this year, and our brief glimpse of her showed why: She's a star, full stop. Her vocals are rather jazz-influenced, but her songs use modern beats and lots of pop flourishes, with single "Warrior" getting a lot of exposure this year.
But why do you really, really know Kimbra? She's the female vocal on the so-ubiquitous-it's-inescapable "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye. So it's her that's stuck in your head. Openers The Features are decidedly louder than Kimbra, but just as fun. If you like R.E.M. or The Hold Steady, they'll hook you, but there's a run of influences in here, from Blue Oyster Cult to Weezer.
While the acts are different, it should be pure fun from start to finish.
Option three: Soul and Hip-Hop ($50)
Big K.R.I.T. and Slim Thug at Beauty Ballroom
Friday, October 12: $20
With The Roots and Childish Gambino sitting out the after shows, fans of modern hip-hop don't have tons of options. The chance to catch rising star Big K.R.I.T. may make amends for that. After a recent collaboration with Ludacris and the release of his Def Jam debut Live From The Underground, K.R.I.T. has moved from the sidelines to the mainstream. Houston artist Slim Thug opens the show.
The Weeknd at Austin Music Hall
Saturday, October 13: $30
This is a huge venue for the mysterious Canadian R&B project, which is closely associated with Drake (who has collaborated with The Weeknd repeatedly, but is not in the band). The brainchild of Abel Tesfaye, The Weeknd seems rooted in a drug-filled world of nightclubs, hotel rooms and money. It's a strange lens for R&B — sad, moody, cold and amoral — but the music is fascinating.
To be honest, while the records (which were released for free online if you don't have them) are fantastic, we haven't a clue how this sound will work in the Music Hall. This will be a wildcard, but one likely worth the risk.