This Saturday (19th March) will be a historical moment for those that really love their music festivals, as one of the most established in history, Austin City Limits, is brought down to the Southern Hemisphere (finally!) and transposed to fit the city-surrounds of beautiful Auckland, New Zealand.
The increasingly popular city will be the focal point of this growing festival brand, presented by industry stalwarts C3 Presents and Live Nation Entertainment in collaboration with local promoter, CRS Presents. Auckland City Limits won’t be half-assed for its first year either and even though it’s only one day (give it time to grow first), the line up the organisers have managed is nothing short of incredible, with a very diverse contingent of contemporary music, topped by two of the biggest names in music right now, Kendrick Lamar and The National.
The AU will be on-ground for the festival and we highly doubt that we’re the only Aussies making the very short trek over to Auckland this week. Surely, you’ve given the timetable a quick twice-over already, but just in case you haven’t, let us remind you of some of the unmissable non-headline highlights across the six stages.
Gang of Youths
Spark One Stage || 12:30-1:15
Gang of Youths are but a handful of Aussies set to show Auckland what they’ve been cooking up down under. 2015 was the biggest year yet for the unstoppable Sydney band and with a new EP, some new material, and one very, very excellent debut album (The Positions) up their sleeves, you can bet that these rockers will be showing Auckland just why they may be headlining the whole damn thing next year. Despite all the international acclaim, it’s clear Gang of Youths are just getting started so expect a lot of raw energy and unfiltered, good ol’ fashioned rock and roll.
V Energy Two Stage || 3:30-4:15
Kamasi Washington was and is a big reason why you’ve got Kendrick’s To Pimp a Butterfly on heavy-rotation even a year after it’s release; the jazz artist was a major contributor to the album’s sound, an idiom most evident through his own debut album The Epic, an aptly named three-disc masterpiece that appeared near the top of just about every critic end-of-year-list in 2015.
Spark One Stage || 3:30-4:15
Ladyhawke has some new material coming up in June, her third album and first since 2012. Call it a comeback if you will, but there’s no doubt that the NZ native will be looking to stamp herself firmly on Auckland City Limits, holding her own against the internationals with a mix of nostalgia and forward movement.
Fat Freddy’s Drop
Spark One Stage || 7:00-8:15
There’s a reason most of our suggestions are NZ acts and it’s not just for diplomatic reasons. In addition to NZ acts like Broods, The Naked & Famous, Ladyhawke, and Shapeshifter, Fat Freddy’s Drop is a necessary addition to the first Auckland City Limits. This is NZ live music history right here so it’s only right that one of the best bands to ever come out of the country give it their all to show the internationals who run ACL. Plus, they are always fun, but if you love live music, then you already knew that.
V Energy One || 9:00-10:00
Much like Fat Freddy’s Drop, soul, drum, and bass act Shapeshifter are undeniable in discussions about contemporary music in New Zealand. Not only are they completely dominant in their field, Shapeshifter know exactly how to put on a balanced show that makes you dance but also stop and appreciate the highly textured music this superb band deliver so well. Stylish and perfect to pick up the energy before you head on over for 75 minutes of Kendrick Lamar.
As above, yes acts like Fat Freddy’s Drop and Shapeshifter are no-brainers when it comes to a NZ festival, but being as this is the debut of Auckland City Limits, we have a feeling that these legendary locals will be coming out on top, even with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, The National, and Modest Mouse headlining.
Auckland City Limits will take place on Saturday 19th March at Western Springs Stadium and surrounds. For more information or to score some last minute tickets, head to the official website here!