LCD Soundsystem thrills ACL’s 43rd season

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits showcases one of today’s most thrilling live acts, LCD Soundsystem, for an electrifying hour. The dance-rock band make their first-ever appearance on the program with a victory lap of beloved hits alongside new classics.

LCD Soundsystem perform songs from American Dream, its first new release after a five-year hiatus and the first #1 album in their decade-long run. Called “a party album for the end of the world or an apocalypse album for the end of the party,” by Rolling Stone, the album earned wide acclaim and landed on many “best of 2017” lists. The New York City band, formed by leader James Murphy in 2002, launches a spectral Austin City Limits set with a pair of songs from their acclaimed comeback: the synth-popping beat of album-opener “Oh Baby” and charging bass and cathartic guitar of dance-floor magnet “Call the Police.” Murphy clutches his signature retro mic and promises the audience a mix of songs old and new as they kick into fan-favorite “I Can Change,” a perfect balance of romantic woe, disco rhythm and pop melody from 2010’s This Is Happening. Murphy’s lyrical wit and soaring vocal is the band’s trademarks and together they dive into the wry melancholy of “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” from 2007’s Sound Of Silver.  LCD’s penchant for mixing rock anthems with dance rhythms is in full force on the rock ‘n’ roll disco opus “Tonite,” the newly-minted 2018 Grammy-winner for Best Dance Recording, the band’s first career Grammy win. The fascinating hour allows viewers an immersive glimpse into LCD’s artistry, with seven band members onstage to recreate the electronic-based parts of their catalog, layering a potent mix of sounds with free-wheeling electro-pulse synth. A staccato piano riff signals “All My Friends,” an endorphin rush ode to slowing down time that closes out the hour as Murphy gets into the spirit, stepping into the crowd to shake hands with all his new best friends in the front row.

“When LCD played their ‘last show’ at Madison Square Garden in 2011, I thought we’d missed our chance,” explained ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “Then I was excited to hear James had decided to revive the band, make a new record and hit the road again. They were a must-get for ACL! LCD’s sound has a way of washing over you and carrying you away. They make music like nobody else can!”

photo by Scott Newton

Tune in this weekend for this episode, and, as always, check your local PBS listings for the broadcast time in your area. Go to the episode page for more info, and don’t forget to click over to our Facebook, Twitter and newsletter pages for more ACL info. Join us next week for another brand new episode, featuring the solo ACL debut of Black Keys singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach and the debut of former Gourds member Kevin Russell’s party favorite Shinyribs.

 

Run The Jewels rocks Austin City Limits’ Season 43

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents a groundbreaking hour of hip-hop as powerhouse rap duo Run the Jewels make their first appearance on the ACL stage. The pair perform a 14-track set in a rapid-fire, riveting showcase filled with greatest hits and choice cuts from their acclaimed release Run the Jewels 3.

Two veteran rappers, Killer Mike (from Atlanta) and El-P (from Brooklyn), formed Run the Jewels in 2013 to runaway success and much critical acclaim. XXL Magazine calls the unlikely collaborators “partners in rhyme and reason…perhaps the most consistently enthralling duo in all of hip-hop.” Blasting onto the ACL stage, Killer Mike announces, “We’re gonna light this s**t on fire like Willie Nelson would light a joint,” as they break into a titanic rendition of “Talk To Me” from their latest album Run the Jewels 3. The charismatic duo, joined by bandmate DJ Trackstar on turntables, power through the entire hour at a breakneck pace, unleashing furious rhymes without pausing to breathe, backed by a relentless pulse of menacing beats. Run the Jewels’ back and forth is dazzling, spitting out showstopping verses on racism, inner city reality and scathing sociopolitical commentary cut with gallows humor. “I don’t care about what they say about watching TV – I am definitely smarter because of PBS,” declares Mike as the two MCs drop thrilling lyrical smartbombs inspiring the hooked crowd to chant R-T-J! R-T-J!

“Austin City Limits opened the door to hip hop almost 10 years ago when Mos Def performed, and has continued to present groundbreaking rappers like Kendrick Lamar ever since,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “It arguably represents the most popular and relevant musical culture in the world today. Run the Jewels proves you can have fun, entertain, and deliver a compelling message at the same time.”

photo by Scott Newton

A hallmark of Run the Jewels is visceral, expletive-laden performances and El-P cheerfully apologizes to broadcast censors, with Killer Mike admitting “We curse like goddamn sailors, kids!” The performance is edited for broadcast, but an uncensored version will be available for fans on the ACLTV YouTube Channel January 28, following the program’s initial broadcast premiere.

Viewers will also have a chance to go behind the scenes with Run the Jewels in a new installment of ACL: Backstage premiering January 25 on ACLTV’s YouTube Channel. The new 10-part 360-degree VR documentary series offers fans immersive only-in-VR moments straight from the current season. The series, created by SubVRsive and ACL in partnership with Google and sponsored by Apple Music, gives an up-close look at some of Season 43’s most iconic performances and takes viewers backstage to hear from the artists before they step under the lights at Austin City Limits’ famed studio home, ACL Live at The Moody Theater in Austin, Texas and join them onstage with closer-than-front-row seats. ACL: Backstage previously released four episodes featuring Ed Sheeran, Zac Brown Band, Father John Misty, and the Austin City Limits crew in “Unsung Heroes,” and five additional episodes will be released through March. The videos offer a full 360º view that lets fans look up, down, and all around. Completely surrounded by sight and sound, all it takes is the turn of a head, tilt of a phone, or a drag of the mouse to explore the story from every angle. Viewers can watch exclusively on YouTube via web, mobile, or for the best experience, with a Google Daydream View headset via the YouTube VR app. (Note: some language may be NSFW.)

Tune in this weekend for this episode, and, as always, check your local PBS listings for the broadcast time in your area. Go to the episode page for more info, click over to YouTube for the related episode of ACL Backstage, and don’t forget to click over to our Facebook, Twitter and newsletter pages for more ACL info. Join us next week for another brand new episode, featuring reunited alt.rock champs LCD Soundsystem.

 

Herbie Hancock brings jazz mastery to ACL Season 43

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents a series highlight: a career-spanning hour with one of the world’s most celebrated artists, jazz legend Herbie Hancock, in his first-ever appearance on the program.  

Hancock opens the hour with an early gem, “Cantaloupe Island,” from his 1964 album Empyrean Isles.  Originally composed during his time in Miles Davis’ second great quintet of the Sixties, Hancock thrills with a new take on a modern standard, showcasing his remarkable touch on the piano, anchored by the number’s iconic riffs.  Playing with a palpable pure joy, the Grammy-lauded giant is exhilarating to watch, ageless six decades into an extraordinary career.  The bandleader shares the ACL stage with a seasoned jazz combo comprised of bassist James Genus, saxophonist/keyboardist Terrace Martin, and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta.  Hancock pivots to his Korg Kronos synthesizer for the futuristic, ambient opening of “Overture,” before spotlighting his band of aces as each player answers the call with elastic, playful chemistry. He takes the mic to say, “We like to go a little crazy up here sometimes,” to the crowd’s delight, before launching into “Secret Sauce,” a new composition that begins with him on vocoder and a thrusting synth and bass groove, breaks down to near-silence, then slowly simmers to a boil, with  Hancock masterfully commanding his synth and piano simultaneously. The band closes out the stunning set with the funk classic “Chameleon,” from 1973’s landmark album Head Hunters, as Hancock takes center stage with his white keytar, dazzling with jaw-dropping solos as the crowd responds in rapt appreciation.

photo by Scott Newton

“Jazz doesn’t often find its way onto the ACL stage, so when it does it’s always something special,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “In my humble opinion, this is one of the most historic shows we’ve ever done, so that – among many other reasons – makes it must-see TV!”

Tune in this weekend for this episode, and, as always, check your local PBS listings for the broadcast time in your area. Go to the episode page for more info, and don’t forget to click over to our Facebook, Twitter and newsletter pages for more ACL info. Join us next week for another brand new episode, featuring hip-hop superstars Run the Jewels.

Episode recap: Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit and Amanda Shires

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents an hour with two extraordinary singer-songwriters, Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires. The husband and wife duo unite for a special double-bill as Americana star Isbell returns to the ACL stage to share an episode with his partner and collaborator Shires as she makes her solo ACL debut.

One of the finest American songwriters today, Jason Isbell returns with songs from his sixth studio album The Nashville Sound, which topped critics’ year-end best lists and is nominated for two 2018 Grammy Awards, including Best Americana Album. The Alabama native, already a two-time Grammy honoree, is joined by his band The 400 Unit for a masterful 6-song set that captures the artist at the peak of his creative powers. Kicking things off with the anthemic “Hope the High Road,” a set highlight follows with an exquisite version of the Grammy-nominated track “If We Were Vampires,” a haunting love song inspired by partner Shires, who joins him in close harmony. The ace songsmith displays his storytelling gifts, inhabiting his characters’ interior lives in the social gut-punch “White Man’s World” and detailing the tale of a homesick southerner in “Last of My Kind.” 

A musical marvel from Nashville by way of Texas, Amanda Shires has been a fixture on the circuit since she began her career as a teenaged fiddler with renowned Western swing institution the Texas Playboys and has toured and recorded with outlaw country maverick Billy Joe Shaver, John Prine and most recently as a member of Isbell’s band The 400 Unit. She makes her ACL debut performing cuts from her acclaimed solo release My Piece of Land, showcasing intimate, confessional songs augmented by her powerful playing. Shires commands the spotlight on her own with rousing set-opener “My Love (The Storm)” wielding her fiddle to fiery effect. Isbell joins Shires for a duet on the crowd-pleasing rocker “Wasted and Rollin’,” a song she wrote about the early stages of their relationship, and the pair close out the set in beautiful harmony on the heartfelt duet “Pale Fire.”

photo by Scott Newton

“Jason Isbell is the finest American songwriter today, IMHO,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “He has the uncanny ability to write songs that are at the same time deeply personal and universal. Amanda Shires defies the traditional stereotype of male-dominated Texas songwriters with her own beautifully personal songs. Together they are a unique force in popular music of any genre.”

Tune in this weekend for this episode, and, as always, check your local PBS listings for the broadcast time in your area. Go to the episode page for more info, and don’t forget to click over to our Facebook, Twitter and newsletter pages for more ACL info. Join us next week for another brand new episode, featuring jazz legend Herbie Hancock.

Austin City Limits Hall of Fame 2017 debuts on New Year’s Eve

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits rings in the new year with a special broadcast, hosted by Chris Isaak, featuring one-of-a-kind performances and collaborations from the fourth annual Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Inductions & Celebration. The all-star celebration features music luminaries Elvis Costello, Neko Case, Ry Cooder, Brandi Carlile, Raul Malo, Dr. John, Trombone Shorty and more sharing the stage for one epic night to perform in honor of the newest class of inductees: Roy Orbison, Rosanne Cash and The Neville Brothers. This special hour, taped in Austin, Texas October 25, 2017 at ACL’s studio home ACL Live at The Moody Theater, honors the musicians who have played an instrumental role in helping the 43-year-old series become the longest-running music television program in history.

The special kicks off with a three-song musical salute to pioneering rocker Roy Orbison. Master of ceremonies Chris Isaak honors the Texas native, who made a memorable ACL appearance in 1983, calling him “an angel” and singling out his unique baritone-to-tenor range, while sharing personal stories of his own friendship with the late rock ‘n’ roll legend before launching into a show-stopping “Only the Lonely.” Guest performers Brandi Carlile and Raul Malo each pay vocal tribute to the music giant before joining Isaak in unison for a joyous rendition of Orbison’s signature “Oh, Pretty Woman”.

photo by Scott Newton

Elvis Costello inducts his longtime friend, singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash, who made the first of her seven ACL appearances in 1983, and performs a powerful “April 5th,” a song originally co-written and performed with Cash and Kris Kristofferson. Neko Case salutes Cash with a radiant “What We Really Want,” before the honoree herself takes the stage, joined by guitar great Ry Cooder and her husband and collaborator John Leventhal for a stirring version of her acclaimed two-time 2015 Grammy-winning song “A Feather’s Not a Bird.” Case and Costello return to join forces with Cash on stage, trading verses on her early chart-topping anthem “Seven Year Ache”.

photo by Scott Newton

New Orleans sensation Trombone Shorty signals the induction of The Neville Brothers, the “first family of funk” who made the first of three unforgettable ACL appearances starting in 1979. Piano legend Dr. John performs alongside Shorty and members of the Nevilles Band (featuring many of the mothership’s offspring), for a scorching NOLA-style tribute to the influential funk ‘n’ soul collective. Elvis Costello joins in for the soaring grand finale “Down By the Riverside” and the live music beacon’s celebration of music comes in for an epic landing complete with fireworks, as the all-star cast returns to ring in the new year with the inspirational “Amen”.

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits Hall of Fame New Year’s Eve Setlist:
Chris Isaak “Only the Lonely”
Brandi Carlile “It’s Over”
Chris Isaak, Brandi Carlile and Raul Malo “Oh, Pretty Woman”
Elvis Costello: “April 5th”
Neko Case: “What We Really Want Is Love”
Rosanne Cash, Ry Cooder and John Leventhal: “A Feather’s Not A Bird”
Rosanne Cash, Elvis Costello and Neko Case: “Seven Year Ache”
The Nevilles Band “Meet De Boys On the Battlefront”
All-Star Finale “Down By the Riverside”/”Amen”

In what has become an ACL holiday tradition, the program will encore Tom Waits legendary December 1978 performance, one of the most requested episodes in ACL’s 40+ year archive. Tune-in on December 23rd to see this classic Christmas episode.

ACL’s Season 43 returns in January with many recent Grammy-nominees, all new to the ACL stage, including indie-rock provocateur Father John Misty, powerhouse rap duo Run the Jewels, dance-rock band LCD Soundsystem and country phenom Chris Stapleton. Husband and wife team Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires unite for a special double-bill as Americana star Isbell returns to the ACL stage to share an episode with his partner and creative collaborator Amanda Shires. A season highlight is the first-ever appearance of jazz trailblazer Herbie Hancock in a thrilling hour of classics and new songs. Black Keys superstar and ACL veteran Dan Auerbach makes his solo debut showcasing new music from his first solo release in 8 years. The extended line-up features breakout red-dirt country band Turnpike Troubadours and Austin favorites Shinyribs in first-time ACL appearances, as well as the return of a standout, acclaimed Austin psych-rockers The Black Angels.

Season 43 | 2018 Broadcast Schedule

January 6 Father John Misty | The Black Angels
January 13 Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit | Amanda Shires
January 20 Herbie Hancock
January 27 Run the Jewels
February 3 LCD Soundsystem
February 10 Dan Auerbach | Shinyribs
February 17 Chris Stapleton | Turnpike Troubadours

ACL announces the second half of its Season 43 broadcast schedule

photo by Scott Newton

The iconic television music series Austin City Limits announces the second half of Season 43, with seven all-new shows to begin airing January 6 as part of the program’s fourteen-episode season. The stellar slate of broadcast episodes features highly-anticipated debuts from today’s most talked-about live acts, continuing Austin City Limits’ run as the longest-running music television show in history, providing viewers a front-row seat to the best in live performance for over 40 years.  

The season returns in January with many recent Grammy-nominees, all new to the ACL stage, including indie-rock provocateur Father John Misty, powerhouse rap duo Run the Jewels, dance-rock band LCD Soundsystem and country phenom Chris Stapleton.  Father John Misty delivers an epic performance backed by a 16-piece orchestra; Run the Jewels ignite the ACL stage in a rapid-fire, riveting showcase; LCD Soundsystem perform a career-spanning set for the ages; and country superstar Chris Stapleton, the reigning CMA Awards Male Vocalist of the Year, makes a stunning ACL debut, joined by his wife, singer Morgane Stapleton. Husband and wife team Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires unite for a special double-bill as Americana star Isbell returns to the ACL stage to share an episode with his partner and creative collaborator Amanda Shires, making her ACL debut.  A season highlight is the first-ever appearance of jazz trailblazer Herbie Hancock in a thrilling hour of classics and new songs.  Black Keys superstar and ACL veteran Dan Auerbach makes his solo debut showcasing new music from his first solo release in 8 years.  The extended line-up features breakout red-dirt country band Turnpike Troubadours and Austin favorites Shinyribs in first-time ACL appearances, as well as the return of a standout, acclaimed Austin psych-rockers The Black Angels.

“As always, expect the unexpected as we deliver something for everybody – from psych-rock to Americana, modern jazz to hip hop and electronica,” says longtime ACL executive producer Terry Lickona.  “This is one of the most exciting collection of shows we’ve ever presented.”

Go behind the scenes with ACL Backstage, a new 10-part virtual reality video series, offering viewers immersive only-in-VR moments straight from the current season.  The series premiered in November on the ACLTV YouTube Channel and continues to debut new installments to coincide with the Season 43 line-up, including Father John Misty, Run the Jewels, Dan Auerbach and Shinyribs.  ACL Backstage offers viewers a chance to hang backstage with favorite artists and join them onstage with closer-than-front-row seats.  The series was developed with Google’s Daydream team and in partnership with SubVRsive Media.

“In a season when we’re celebrating a significant milestone of longevity, I think it’s great that we’re staying on the cutting edge of technology and bringing ACL fans new and exciting  ways to experience live music,” says ACL GM Tom Gimbel.

Season 43 | 2018 Broadcast Schedule

January 6 Father John Misty | The Black Angels

January 13 Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit | Amanda Shires

January 20 Herbie Hancock

January 27 Run the Jewels

February 3 LCD Soundsystem

February 10 Dan Auerbach | Shinyribs

February 17 Chris Stapleton | Turnpike Troubadours

ACL’s Season 43 premiered in October with unforgettable performances from Ed Sheeran, Miranda Lambert, Angel Olsen, The Pretenders, Zac Brown Band, Norah Jones, Benjamin Booker, The Head and the Heart and more.  The award-winning series will continue to broadcast fan-favorite encore episodes through the end of 2017. In what has become an ACL holiday tradition, the program will encore Tom Waits legendary December 1978 performance, one of the most requested episodes in ACL’s 40+ year archive. Tune-in on December 23rd to see this classic Christmas episode.  

A special broadcast of Austin City Limits Hall of Fame New Year’s Eve airs Sunday, December 31 at 10pm CT/11pm ET.  Austin City Limits rings in the new year with the star-studded celebration, hosted by Chris Isaak, featuring one-of-a-kind performances and collaborations from the 2017 ACL Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.  Performers include ACL royalty Rosanne Cash, Elvis Costello, Neko Case, Ry Cooder, Chris Isaak, Brandi Carlile, Raul Malo, Trombone Shorty, Dr. John and more.

Taping recap: The Turnpike Troubadours

photo by Scott Newton

The final taping of a season is always the setting for a blowout, and that’s what we got with the Austin City Limits debut from Turnpike Troubadours. The Oklahoma country rockers hit our stage in support of their highly acclaimed fifth LP A Long Way From Your Heart – a title that proved ironic, as there’s obviously a short distance to that organ in their devoted fans’ chests.

The Americana stars took the stage to huge applause, launching into “The Housefire,” the opener of A Long Way. The band then started mining its extensive back catalog with the rocking “Every Girl,” a song co-written by guest keyboardist John Fullbright, the danceable “Kansas City Southern” and passionate “1968,” all from the 2010 album Diamonds and Gasoline. The Troubadours then reached all the way back to their 2007 debut album, with the Cajun-flavored dancefloor filler “Bossier City,” before returning to the new album for the electric folk of “The Winding Stair Mountain Blues,” inspired by a true story from singer/songwriter Evan Felker’s Southeast Oklahoma past. After six skillet-lickers in a row, the band slowed down a tad for “Pay No Rent,” an earnest ballad in tribute to a friend of Felker who passed away. “Good Lord Lorrie” worked a similar groove to even more anthemic effect.

The red-dirt anthems continued with the widescreen rocker “A Tornado Warning.” Felker then strapped on a banjo for the folk-rocker “Gin Smoke & Lies,” its melody a clever variant on the old folk song “Shady Grove.” That led into the blazing “Before the Devil Knows We’re Dead,” which had the buzzing audience clapping along from the start. Steel guitarist Hank Early switched to a Dobro for an acoustic duet with Felker on “Diamonds and Gasoline,” much to the crowd’s delight. The band returned for a romp through “Whole Damn Town,” before the penultimate, lighter waving waltz “The Bird Hunter. The Troubadours closed the show with “Something to Hold On To,” a track co-written by Kevin Russell, beloved leader of Austin’s own Shinyribs and the Gourds. The song ended in a three-way solo frenzy from Early, lead guitarist Ryan Engleman and fiddler Kyle Nix, which made the audience go wild.

The show wasn’t quite over yet, however. As is an artist’s prerogative, the Troubadours decided to redo a few numbers, starting with “The Housefire.” The band ripped through another take on “The Winding Stair Mountain Blues” before finishing with a new version of “A Tornado Warning.” Fortunately, the audience were perfectly happy to enjoy those songs again. It was a great show and a nice way to close out the season, and we can’t wait for you to see it when it airs early next year as part of our Season 43 on your local PBS station.  

Giveaway: Turnpike Troubadours 12/5

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UPDATE: Giveaway is now over.

Austin City Limits will be taping a performance by Turnpike Troubadours on Tuesday, December 5th at 8 pm at ACL Live at The Moody Theater (310 W. 2nd Street, Willie Nelson Blvd). We will be giving away a limited number of space available passes to this taping. Enter your name and email address on the below form by noon on Friday, Dec. 1st.

Winners will be chosen at random and a photo ID will be required to pickup tickets. Winners will be notified by email. Passes are not transferable and cannot be sold. Standing may be required. No photography, recording or cell phone use in the studio. No cameras computers or recording devices allowed in venue.