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Top 10 Sets at Austin City Limits 2012

on October 17, 2012, 12:42am
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austin banner 22 Top 10 Sets at Austin City Limits 2012

Scene: the AMD Stage of Austin City Limits Festival on early Saturday afternoon. Moments before Rufus Wainwright walks out in a suit that can only be described as the result of a zebra fucking an American flag, several thousand fans – many of them wearing the burnt orange and white colors of Austin’s University of Texas Longhorns – have their eyes glued to the two large video screens at the side of the stage.

Instead of highlights from past ACL fests or schedules at other stages, the screens are showing that day’s 107th edition of the Red River Rivalry, the annual football game played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas between the University of Texas and hated rival the University of Oklahoma that’d have to be declared a state holiday if it were held on a weekday since close to no one would show up for work even if it weren’t.

No one much complains when the screens switch off the game in favor of Wainwright since the Longhorns were down more than four touchdowns by that point, and the ease with which the large crowd shifted gears from smashmouth pigskin action to welcome a flouncy pop crooner casts into sharp relief both the city of Austin and the festival named after the iconic live music television show.

crowd Top 10 Sets at Austin City Limits 2012

Photo by Allyce Andrew

Pretty much anything will work in Austin if you give it a decent try, which is why a festival that started off with String Cheese Incident and Ryan Adams as headliners could creatively evolve and mark its eleventh year by mixing big-time DJs (Avicii, Bassnectar, A-Trak), rap acts (Big K.R.I.T., Childish Gambino, The Roots) and indie rock (The Shins, Metric, Two Door Cinema Club) with the oversized rock of headliners Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack White and the Black Keys.

While the top of the bill and middle tier looked a lot like August’s Lollapalooza (also a production of ACL Fest promoters C3 Presents), 2012 could mark the end of a booking era for the festival as it expands next year to six days over two weekends in October. Two weekends in front of 75,000 people opens up a whole new world of headliner possibilities, putting Super Bowl halftime-caliber names like Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Jay-Z and U2 in play along with the always clamored for but still elusive (for this fest anyway) Radiohead.

But that’s next year. A few bursts of rain on Saturday afternoon made for soggy grounds the rest of the weekend, so as we scrape the last bits of mud from our shoes it’s only natural to look back on the goods that these three days of ACL Fest had to offer.

-Chad Swiatecki
Contributing Writer

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October 22, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Jack White was 15 minutes short, but still was the festival highlight for me. Also Trampled by Turtles. Also, Soul Rebels. Weezer is horrible.

Sharon T.
October 22, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Florence? Metric?

October 22, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Any top sets at ACL must include Antibalas, no matter what year they play. Gary Clark Jr was also very good.

The worst was Alabama Shakes and not because of the music. I’m sure it was good just not where I was. I could hear the show better from the market place than in the crowd.

October 22, 2012 at 1:10 pm

For 12 on a Sunday, Kimbra sure was a pleasant act. She can sing, and she’s a little spitfire.

October 20, 2012 at 5:00 pm

two words: Alabama Shakes.

October 19, 2012 at 6:24 pm

zilker tent stage was a dance party all weekend! lance herbstrong, soul rebels, umphrey’s, antibalas and barrington levy all killed it and the sound was wayyyyy better than the large main stages.

October 17, 2012 at 11:25 pm

far east movement sampled dev on “like a g6,” so it wasn’t a cover.

October 17, 2012 at 9:28 pm

The fact they put Dev on this list shows how worthless this list is. I saw Dev at Ezoo, beyond trash. Freaken moronic trash.

October 17, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Neil Young was amazing as usual.

October 17, 2012 at 2:04 pm

TDCC didn’t play Lolla this year. However, they did play last year.

October 17, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Umm what about Crystal Castles?

October 17, 2012 at 11:18 am

rufus was on the Bud Light stage.

Darrell earnheart
October 17, 2012 at 1:22 am

so i guess you didn’t see ben howard then

October 17, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Oh man, Ben Howard was amazing, especially considering his set was at three in the afternoon! TDCC and Iggy were great as well


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