Austin City Limits music festival and the long running show on PBS (showcasing the best of music) have both contributed to putting Austin, Texas on the map as one of Americas most music savvy cities. Celebrating it’s ten year anniversary, ACL takes place from September 16th-18th 2011 in Austin’s Zilker Park and promises one of its best lineup’s ever. Everyone from Stevie Wonder and Kanye West to Arcade Fire, My Morning Jacket, Big Boi as well as many more in appearance. Don’t worry if you can’t be there, I will, and I have you covered. Here are three of my top picks:
Like Hipster clothing trends, everything in American pop culture seems to be coming full circle these days. In a post-modern nod to our American roots, amplified by the power of the internet in bringing little known artists to the forefront of music, soul and funk have returned. Leading the vanguard alongside Sharon Jones is Fitz and the Tantrums and Charles Bradley
Charles Bradley: How long are most people willing to pursue their life’s passion? Plumber by day, James Brown impersonator by night, Charles Bradley was discovered singing under the name “Black Velvet” at a tiny club in Brooklyn. Forty years ago, Bradley saw the “godfather of soul” James Brown and has deferred dreams of following in his footsteps ever since. At the age of 62, Bradley has put down the wrench and picked up the mic to put to music the challenges of a life lived without reward. Pouring his soul into every tune, you can’t help but listen and ponder this life and what dreams may be passing you by.
Fitz and The Tantrums: Fitz had worked the backrooms of LA’s music industry for years when a chance call from an ex girlfriend led to a break. The ex’s neighbor was moving and needed to sell an organ in a hurry. The purchase of that organ led to a bout of musical mojo right there in his living room from which was spawned “Breaking the Chains of Love”. Discovering his liberating and modern take on Motown Sound, Fitz formed his crew and has never looked back recording an entire EP right there in the lab otherwise known as his living room.
Switching gears from the Soul revival, Chiddy Bang is reviving hip hop with their own brand of rock rap rhyming.
Chiddy Bang: Indie rappers Chidera Anamege and Noah Beresin met their freshmen year at Philadelphia’s Drexel University and form the rock rap duo. Their unique take on hip-hop layers Chiddy's fresh rhymes over the infectious beats of Passion Pit, MGMT, Sufjan Stevens, and even Radiohead. In April 2011, Chiddy Bang set the Guiness world record for the longest freestyle going over nine hours with breaks limited to no more than three seconds each. Following in the footsteps of N.E.R.D. and N.O.R.E. , Chiddy Bang is fun, fresh, and party ready.
Maybe I will see you there. Look for me. I'll be wearing a hat.
Some things are bigger than Texas.