Opening the episode, fun. takes to the ACL stage for the first time to perform their epic hits, including “We Are Young”, “Some Nights” and “Carry On” from the landmark album Some Nights. The breakthrough band was awarded Best New Artist and Song of the Year (for “We Are Young”, their best-selling single and one of the year’s most memorable tracks) at the 2013 Grammy Awards. Despite fun.’s seemingly overnight success, it’s been a slow and steady build of over a decade for frontman Nate Ruess, who joined forces with bandmates Andrew Dost and Jack Antonoff to create the melodic anthems that connected with audiences everywhere and propelled the indie rockers to international success. “Something feels really special about tonight,” says Ruess from the ACL stage, engaging the Austin audience in a dynamic, energetic performance complete with sing-alongs. The acclaimed band delivers an uplifting, memorable debut, closing out the set with their modern classic “Some Nights”, with the Austin crowd providing the “whoa-oh-oh’s.”
“As expected, fun. lives up to its name, but their music has a depth that goes beyond their Broadway-like showmanship,” says executive producer Terry Lickona. “Nate is a 21st century rock star.”
The Los Angeles rock quartet known as Dawes share the bill, performing songs that span their three critically-acclaimed albums, including the latest, Stories Don’t End, which hit the Top 5 on Billboard‘s independent albums chart. The band made waves with its 2009 debut and gained a reputation for their impressive classic rock-infused songs that evoke the past while embracing the present. The LA Times raves of the new release, “Dawes strums and shuffles its way through a dozen handcrafted folk-rock tunes that sound as if they were nourished on classics such as Jackson Browne’s self-titled debut and the Band’s Music From Big Pink.” Having already toured with the likes of Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, Robbie Robertson and Mumford & Sons, and gracing the stages of music’s most prestigious festivals, Dawes’ appeal crosses all age barriers and has no boundaries. In their ACL debut, Dawes delivers a raw and glorious set, highlighted by rich harmonies, for a crowd-pleasing performance.
“Despite all the references to their California folk-rock sound, Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith writes songs that sometimes cut to the bone,” Lickona says. “You’ll be replaying these songs in your head for days.”