Fun fact: Pearl Jam haven’t been in Austin, TX since 2009. Back when they were supporting Backspacer, admittedly a far superior album to last year’s upsetting Lightning Bolt, the Seattle veterans performed two gigs. Now they’re back for two weekends and if you’ve never attended a Pearl Jam show, shame on you. But if you’ve never attended a Pearl Jam festival headlining set (there’s a difference, trust me), then you’re in for a rockin’ treat. Yes, I just used that adjective.
Photo by Ted Maider
It’s the tour that keeps on giving, and seeing as they’re not always on each and every lineup, it’s still a mild surprise to find Paul Westerberg popping up. Whereas those trendy Californians couldn’t care less for Minneapolis’ legendary brethren, I’m willing to bet that Austinites will show them some major love. Considering they’re down there for two weekends, and it’s not exactly Los Angeles in Texas, I’m praying to the gods-that-don’t-exist that ol’ Westie hits a few bars downtown with an acoustic guitar throughout the week. I’ll sell all my Disney blue chip stock (valued at .92 cents a month) to see that happen.
Photo by Heather Kaplan
If you couldn’t tell from our recent discussions over in the Festival Outlook column, we really love St. Vincent. Enough that we’re willing to name festivals that include her some of our favorites of the year. Reason being, there really isn’t anyone like her right now, and though her latest self-titled album isn’t exactly 2011’s Strange Mercy, it’s 10x better on stage, where she channels her inner David Byrne and starts making more sense than we’d like to believe. Admittedly, she was just there during South by Southwest, but a fairly small crowd can fit in Stubb’s. Zilker Park, on the other hand…
Belle & Sebastian
Call me crazy (c’mon, do it), but I almost peed my pants a little when I saw Belle & Sebastian on the lineup. Last year, they headlined Pitchfork Music Festival, and it was hands down the best set of that weekend. Why? Stuart Murdoch isn’t your average frontman, and his on-stage banter and rapport is enough to rival their best material — and it’s pretty, pretty good stuff. While Austin will likely get a smaller set than we did over at Chicago’s Union Park, here’s hoping it’ll be proof that less is more. Whatever. This is the festival’s best booking.