The official Austin City Limits lineup was released this past Tuesday. While it has some exciting acts lined up, some of it is lackluster qualities continued with ACL’s problem of bringing back the same male-fronted acts over and over again. Here are the sets we’re excited for and the ones that left us wanting more.
Story by Gabrielle Sanchez
Women are bringing it in the music industry in general, but also to ACL. Most of the acts that we’re looking forward to are women that have been rocking it and making their names known across the world.
Texas country crossover queen Kacey Musgraves is making her ACL debut. After winning Album of the Year at the 2019 Grammys, she is on a roll of success. You know we’re gonna sport cowboy hats and sing our hearts out to “High Horse” deep in the heart of Texas. It’s a yee-haw moment we never knew we needed. The only low with this is, if you ask me, she deserves to be a headliner over Billie Eilish, the 17-year-old who just released her debut album last month. While she’s relevant, she may not be headliner material.
Robyn has not hit the states yet on tour and will only go through five U.S. cities before coming to ACL. She has her classic bop “Dancing on My Own” but also released her album “Honey” last year, and electro-pop album with not a bad song on it. She’s been making music for 30 years and still knows how to remain relevant.
While they are a repeater (they were at ACL in 2015 and 2013), the group has been releasing singles (“Patience” and “Borderline”) leading up to a full-length album. You know they’re gonna play “The Less I Know The Better,” the ultimate indie rock bop.
Megan Thee Stallion
Megan Thee Stallion has been making waves in the rap industry with her freestyle abilities and had SXSW performances this year that brought her a lot of attention. This will be the time to shake it to “Big Ole Freak.” If you need help, check her tutorials from her Instagram live. Her performance is guaranteed to be bonafide “hot girl shit.”
Lizzo is having a MOMENT right now. She’s just released an album, touring like crazy and preaching all of the genuine self care rhetoric we need. The true highlights of the ACL lineup in the women performers like Lizzo, who are known to put on great live shows and work a crowd. She’ll probably pull out her flute and twerk, a must-see.
The DJ who has worked with artists such as Syd (The Internet), Anderson .Paak, BADBADNOTGOOD and Little Dragon. This is the show to light up and get lit to. He’s got some new tracks to give a listen as well.
ACL is also bringing up some great Latinx performers this year, such as Rosalia, a Spanish performer with a diverse discography who sounds like Ariana Grande (if she was actually a woman of color). Also repping is Columbian-American Kali Uchis and Mexican pop-rock singer Natalia Lafourcade, who has done some groundbreaking work when it comes to bringing Latinx music to American audiences.
Looking back on previous lineups, ACL has a clear issue with putting women performers and fronted acts as headliners. Looking back as far as 2000, only five women total have headlined the festival, and three of them are this year.
Guns N’ Roses
Yes, we all know at least one Guns N’ Roses song and they are “classic,” but they have yet to do anything relevant or new in a LONG time. They are rumored to release a new album this year, but I have little hope that it will be something new a groundbreaking. ACL tends to bring in older bands and performers to appeal to an older crowd and a nostalgic youth (Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters in previous years), but these are just male fronted bands that get to perform for massive crowds without having to prove their relevance. ACL is also bringing in The Cure, while they are an older band, they’ve been able to establish relevance with younger audience in a way that other bands like Guns N’ Roses have not.
Mumford and Sons
Mumford and Sons performed in 2016 after releasing their third studio album, Wilder Mind . They released an album last year (which was news to me, and probably to you), and plan on releasing an album later this year after the festival. I don’t know why ACL keeps bringing this band back, which has not made any waves in the music scene since their debut album that came out a decade ago.
Yes, this may seem harsh to the male-fronted bands. However, if ACL wants to charge $260 per ticket and hold seemingly hold women up to high-relevancy standards, then the male-fronted performers deserve the same critical lens. They dropped the ball when it comes to pulling in exciting male acts that would pull in a larger audience. I could name three men musicians easily (Anderson .Paak, Omar Apollo, Steve Lacy) that would deserve a spot over MOST of the men on this lineup. Heck, if they want to appeal to that indie crowd, bring in Vampire Weekend. James Blake is a great choice on their part for this year with his new work. I think the low in the ACL lineup is less in the individual acts, but the overall trend in their selection that is getting predictable.