Live Music Blog’s 2011 Favorites

Leading up to September, we will be showcasing your favorite bloggers featuring a wide range of 2011 ACL Festival performers that you may have never heard of. Take a voyage of musical discovery with local bloggers as your guide. This week’s feature comes from Justin Ward of Live Music Blog. Since the first time I attended the South by Southwest Music Festival down in Austin, I’ve been itching to get back and get my first experience with their other big music festival in the fall. After all, this is the 10th year for the Austin City Limits Music Festival and I only expect bigger and better things out of the event in the future. I need to get down there while the getting is good, and this year’s lineup has some serious festival heavy-hitters that I wouldn’t want to miss if the logistics in front of me made sense. And while a music festival can be a solid wonderment of new artist discovery and seeing those bands you may have never heard of before, I also find it’s one of the best ways to see heavy hitters in a compact “pop” setting. So I’d actually choose to see some bands I have seen before as a solid bet for a fun time in a festival setting where more distraction and casual listening can be a given. So if I can make it to ACL Fest this year there’s a pretty good chance I’d be lending my eyes and ears to the following five artists that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing in a club or a theater some other time in recent memory. Totally different experience from what I’d see in Austin, and that’s exactly why we all keep going back… Here are the five bands I would absolutely stake a claim to see while I was in attendance for this year’s ACL Fest: Arcade Fire – the band headlining the last day is no stranger to delivering a mind-blowing festival performance. Here’s video of one of their past appearances at ACL Fest: Pretty Lights – one of the biggest DJ’s you know by name by now (Derek Vincent Smith), his music continues to push forward live electronic production to a level that few have seen live ever. Hopefully the sun is down by the time the set starts; the light show is usually pretty killer. Big Boi – the Outkast torch continues to be carried by Big Boi’s efforts on the road this year, including a stop in San Francisco that I was fortunate enough to catch where he had a DJ with him rocking beats behind his flowing. When I heard he brought a full band to his set at Bonnaroo, I was convinced that his festival sets might take it up a notch as opposed to ever toning it down for the mainstream. He plays it large and plays the hits. Not a smart set to miss… My Morning Jacket – the band is coming off a successful release of their latest album, Circuital, and I just saw the band do a seriously powerful headlining set this past Friday at the High Sierra Music Festival here in Northern California. Yes, I would absolutely make every effort to go right back to seeing them again at ACL if they weren’t stacked against something else that was even better. And few band can match the power that MMJ knows how to bring to a festival stage. They’ve been to ACL a few times before also… Can’t miss. Won’t miss. Fleet Foxes – the band is having a good year with a set of lengthy tour dates following the release of their second album, Helplessness Blues. While this folk act is not necessarily one that I’d expect to blow anyone away in terms of decibels coming out of the PA, I’d fully expect everyone in the audience to be taken aback at how well their songs and vocal harmonies really come together in a live setting. They’re one of the only bands I’ve ever seen that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Absolutely riveting live and a Captain-Obvious-sized must-see! That really only scratches the surface of what I’d want to see; feel free to tweet our way @LiveMusicBlog if you want to share the 5 artists you won’t miss either. Can’t wait to see how this one goes down…