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Austin City Limits: Possibly the Best of the Fests

Music festivals are all the rage these days, but it's easy to get overwhelmed. South By Southwest has simply gotten ginormous, while Coachella has gone all Hollywood on us. Then, along comes the lower-profile Austin City Limits Festival with one of the best festival lineups I've seen in ages.

ACL just unveiled the roster of artists playing at its 2007 fest, which will be held Sept. 14-17 at Austin's Zilker Park. There's a lot of chatter about the big artists — including Björk, Arcade Fire, and headliner Bob Dylan — and the number of bands is astounding.

But it's not just the pedigree of performers that I'm impressed by. It's the fact that ACL has managed to round up some of the best live acts I've had the pleasure of seeing in my adult life. Because no matter how much you like a band, if they suck live, it's hard to get excited about seeing them in concert. To see who I'm most excited about, and for a full list of performers,

Here, in my opinion, are the artists that make ACL this year's festival to end all festivals:

  • Bob Dylan. It is rare that one gets to be in the presence of a legend, and for that reason, I almost never pass up a chance to see Dylan. The bonus is that he's still an incredible performer. Watch him and you'll understand that he can't possibly do anything but play music.
  • Wilco. Seeing an outdoor Wilco show at the Greek Theater in Berkeley a few years ago is a concert experience I've been longing to recreate, and the band's new album is pretty killer to boot.
  • Arcade Fire. Overhyped or not, this band is dreaming up some of the most interesting and unusual new music in recent history, and its live shows are just as weird.
  • My Morning Jacket. The way these guys rock out is a throwback to the jam-tastic 1970s. In fact, MMJ's live shows are so excellent, you'll start to find its albums dreadfully dull.
  • Bloc Party. I don't even really like Bloc Party all that much, but theirs is one of the funnest concerts I've ever attended. Not surprisingly, they know how to party.
  • LCD Soundsystem. Anyone who can get a bunch of drunk indie kids dancing like they're on E is really onto something, and Sound of Silver is one of my favorite records so far this year.
  • Andrew Bird. See above re: favorite records this year. Also, the man is a whistling virtuoso whose stage presence is orchestral.
  • M.I.A. Though I'm not sure what to expect from her next album, I think M.I.A. might just represent the future of hip-hop, and I bet she's a blast to watch.

Who are you most excited about on this lineup?

And here's the full lineup:

Bob Dylan
The White Stripes
The Killers
Arcade Fire
Queens of the Stone Age
Bloc Party
Arctic Monkeys
My Morning Jacket
Gotan Project
Joss Stone
Damien Rice
Robert Earl Keen
The National
Lucinda Williams
Blue October
Indigo Girls
The Decemberists
Paolo Nutini
Regina Spektor
Amy Winehouse
Crowded House
Steve Earle
Ziggy Marley
Stephen Marley
Kaiser Chiefs
LCD Soundsystem
Amos Lee
Ben Kweller
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Andrew Bird
Bela Fleck & The Flecktones
Ghostland Observatory
Ian Ball
Patterson Hood
Cross Canadian Ragweed
Reverend Horton Heat
Pete Yom
Butch Walker
Peter Bjorn and John
STS9 (Sound Tribe Sector 9)
Yo La Tengo
Joseph Arthur & The Lonely Astronauts
Rodrigo y Gabriela
Zap Mama
Blonde Redhead
Eli Young Band
Heartless Bastards
Raul Malo
James Hunter
Mighty Clouds of Joy
Del McCoury Band
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Andy Palacio & the Garifima Collective
Asleep at the Wheel
Ryan Shaw
Will Hoge
Beau Soleil
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Railroad Earth
Dax Riggs
Elvis Perkins In Dearland
Sound Team
The Legendary Soul Stirrers
Charlie Musselwhite
JJ Grey & Mofro
Young Love
The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker
The Little Ones
Manchester Orchestra
Billy Joe Shaver
Fionn Regan
Big Sam’s Funky Nation
John Ralston
The Broken West
Rose Hill Drive
Brandon Rhyder
Ocote Soul Sounds
Sara Hickman
Jon Dee Graham
Kevin Devine
Ike Reilly Assassination
Guy Forsyth
Adam Hood
Cary Ann Hearst & The Gun Street Girls
The Jones Family Singers
The Gospel Silvertones
The Shields of Faith
Sylvia St. James
Jeffrey Steele
Amy Cook
Trent Summar & the New Row Mob
Back Door Slam
Mario Matteoli
Kara Grainger
One Mississippi
Kevin McKinney
Jennifer Nicely
Sahara Smith
The Wonderful Harmonizers
Loretta Williams
Amy LaVere
The Paul Green School of Rock All-Stars
The Steps We Go To 11- Kidz
The Sippy Cups
Daddy A Go Go
Farmer Jason
Q Brothers-
Jambo- Kidz
The Bummkinn Band
The Jellydots

Join The Conversation
katiejam katiejam 10 years
I'm going!! I got Early Bird tickets! Wooot! And, based on your suggestion, I just bought two of Andrew Bird's albums on Can't wait to get them in.
JDLNeil JDLNeil 10 years
ACL is awesome. I just sold my 3 day pass, actually, since I'll be going to Knoxville for Vols Opening weekend instead. If you get a chance, you MUST MUST MUST see: LUCINDA WILLIAMS. I saw her in March in Dallas and she was spectacular. Buy her new album, West, before you go. Have fun and book your hotel NOW! There is no parking, so plan well. Park a car downtown the night before if you have to.
catstarr catstarr 10 years
a girl can dream, and this girl dreams of austin city limits.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 10 years
mrsgrillo-I went in 2001 and it will by far stand out as THE BEST CONCERT I have ever been to. Well, Peter Frampton is up there, but i just had this feeling leaving the one in 2001 and i have yet to feel that way again...I cam close with coldplay though
mrsgrillo mrsgrillo 10 years
What i wouldn't do to get to this! Craving--WHFest last year had a great line up, but I was not there. I had a wedding out of town. They really did good getting bands together though. I am not sure about this year....
cravinsugar cravinsugar 10 years
ACL always has the best fests. On the East Coast, the WHFS "WHFeStival" used to be good, although i haven't paid a attention in awhile to know what was going on.
Lorelei-Spirit Lorelei-Spirit 10 years
I am most excited to see: Bob Dylan Björk The White Stripes The Killers Wilco Arcade Fire Muse Queens of the Stone Age Bloc Party Arctic Monkeys Joss Stone Damien Rice The National Spoon The Decemberists Regina Spektor Amy Winehouse Crowded House Kaiser Chiefs Pete Yom Peter Bjorn and John Sound Team It is definitely going to be a full three days!
Lorelei-Spirit Lorelei-Spirit 10 years
I've gone to the ACL fest for the past two years - discovered my favorite band, The Walkmen there 2 years ago - but this year looks like it is going to be the best yet! I can't wait!
kristyrk kristyrk 10 years
OMG Ghostland Observatory!!!!! One of the best Live shows I have ever seen!! EVER.
tiffsniff tiffsniff 10 years
I'd kill to be able to get to this! I'd add Raul Malo and Will Hoge to your list of must-sees. Raul does Tejano-pop/rock, and Will does straight up American Rock n Roll. They're both pretty high-profile here in Nashville's local music scene, which says a lot about their talent.
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 10 years
I hardly ever go to shows anymore. I love, love, LOVE music, but I hate crowds and I especially hate the young, snotty hipsters that usually attend the same shows I do. That being said, I'd probably enjoy this show a lot. I agree with you, Buzz (uncannily, in fact) regarding all of the bands you're especially excited to see. My Morning Jacket is one of my favorite live bands, and I haven't seen Wilco since right after Summerteeth came out, but it was an outdoor festival and they were amazing.
nutrihuney nutrihuney 10 years
I am so glad I got my Early Bird Tickets! This year is going to be amazing - start praying for cool days and no thunderstorms. Woot
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