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Modern rock rules ACL Season 44 this weekend with Arctic Monkeys and Wild Child

Austin City Limits showcases the best of music from near and far to cure your January blues: UK modern rock icons Arctic Monkeys and Austin favorites Wild Child.

One of today’s biggest live acts, Arctic Monkeys perform highlights from their 2019 Grammy-nominated album, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, which topped many critics’ 2018 year-end best lists. The acclaimed Sheffield, UK quartet received a coveted 2019 Brit Award nomination for Best Band and they deliver the goods in their ACL debut with a sultry, stylized, captivating six-song set. The Arctic Monkeys play as their movements are captured not only by the ACL cameras, but allegedly, as well, by the cameras of a faux documentary crew filming their every move. Frontman Alex Turner revels in the persona of a rock ‘ roll superstar, oozing charisma on dramatic set opener “Crying Lightning” from 2009’s Humbug before checking into Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino for a lush three-song opus. Turner then checks out with a stone-cold classic, “R U Mine?” from the band’s 2013 chart-topping, platinum smash AM, thrilling the Austin audience.

A band with Central Texas roots, the Austin-based ensemble Wild Child wow in an irresistible ACL debut filled with their wistful-yet-spiky love songs. The Austin-American Statesman raves, “Four albums in, the Austin indie-folk band-that-could has become increasingly confident without losing the sense of childlike wonder that’s so central to the spirit of their music.” The road-tested septet, anchored by perpetually smiling singer Kelsey Wilson and her soaring vocals, perform songs from their recent Expectations. Wilson and co-writer/vocalist/ukelele player Alexander Beggins intertwine vocals on the playful set-opener “Alex,” before the tempo slows for the lush ballad “Eggshells.” The band is joined by a guest set of horns to augment the pop swell of “1996,” and the lovelorn “Back & Forth.” They strip down to guitars and vocals for the harmony-laden fan favorite “Sinking Ship,” before closing out with a crowd-pleaser, the funky, melodic charmer “Expectations.”

photo by Scott Newton

“Every season we include at least a couple of bands that represent the best of Austin, and Wild Child captures the spirit of Austin indie music better than any other,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona, “and Arctic Monkeys is exactly what you would expect – their hardcore fans won’t be disappointed!”

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 return of American music legend and ACL pilot star Willie Nelson.