Best of ACL’15 Weekend 1 from an Austin Live Music Photographer

WEEKEND 1 – Oct 2nd-4th, 2015

I work my ass off to get photos of my hero’s playing in front of small to large crowds. Here is my ‘Must-See’ ‘Best-Of’ ‘Top 10’ or whatever list for ACL 2015 Weekend One. If you would like to see some of my live music photography CLICK HERE or HERE. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to listen the Spotify playlist and download my suggested schedule for each day.


Royal Blood

Friday 2-3pm on Samsung Stage
There isn’t much rock and roll left today in the billboard charts but Royal Blood may break through. They are a rock band that are sure to get you ready for the rest of ACL. “I got a gun in your mouth and a bullet with your name on it”


Friday 3-4pm on Miller Light Stage
‘Doses & Mimosas’ & XOXO… need I say more? Maybe leave a little early to get a great spot for Leon Bridges (or Billy Idol)


Leon Bridges

Friday 4-5pm on Honda Stage
Leon is playing opposite of Billy Idol which should make some elbow room to see the ‘Must-See’ artist of Friday ACL 2015! I photographed Leon Bridges and his band during SXSW and they take you back in time with both their sound and their look. Do your vintage outfit a favor and let them hear the sound of sixties. Above is a photo I took of Leon Bridges at a church during SXSW.

Brand New

Friday 5-6pm on HomeAway Stage
Brand New is an alternative rock band that I have jammed since high school (yes they have been together that long) – Their newest release ‘Mene’ has a garage recording sound to it and I’m not 100% sold but I do think they will put on a great live show.

Brandon Flowers vs Tame Impala

Friday 6-7pm Honda or Samsung Stage
So this is a tough one – both are great bands that have a fantastic sound. To make this decision simple I would simply stay put at whatever stage you saw Leon Bridges or Billy Idol at – you will not be disappointed either way. I will be seeing Brand Flowers.

Gary Clark Jr Live

Gary Clark Jr.

Friday 7-8pm on HomeAway Stage
Ok, I know you need to get posted up for the Foo Fighters but Gary Clark Jr. is an Austin staple and is a must-see. I have watched Gary tear up his guitar on multiple occasions and is great on both big and small stages. Listen to ‘Catfish Blues – Live’ on my playlist below if you need more convincing. Above is a photo I took of Gary Clark Jr. playing at the infamous Antones music venue.

Foo Fighters

Friday 8-10pm on Samsung Stage
It’s fucking Dave Grohl.



William Clark Green

Saturday 12:30-1:10 on Austin Ventures Stage
What a strong way to start the day! WCG is in the top 5 of Texas Country bands and has quite a few great songs including his most popular “She Likes the Beatles.” I know this is ACL’s very small way of including the Texas Country music scene (40 min set at noon) but they couldn’t have picked a better up and coming artist that has a very polished sound. Wake up a little early and watch your new favorite country band.


Saturday 12:45-1:30 on Samsung Stage
We have all heard the ‘Cool Kids’ song but I’m a huge fan of ‘Tell Her You Love Her’ – this will be a nice and slow begining to your Saturday.

Father John Misty

Saturday 2:20-3:20 on Honda Stage
Keep the Saturday morning chill vibe going by going to this lyrical priest. Plus you will be right next to the stage for my Saturday non-Austinite must see artist Shakey Graves.

Shakey Graves

Saturday 3:20-4:20 on Miller Light Stage
Austin singer, songwriter and guitar virtuoso Shakey Graves has a fantastic sound that he calls “Simple, jaunty 50’s to 70’s country music” – If you don’t live here in Austin, Shakey Graves is your must-see band for Saturday. If you live here, you should have already seen him and shame on you if you haven’t.

Twenty One Pilots

Saturday 4:30-5:30 on Samsung Stage
So these guys can go from a nice and pretty song like ‘House of Gold’ and then totally go off the deep end with ‘Car Radio.’ Their newest album “Blurryface” has a very polished semi-2000’s Blink182,Sum41 sound mixed with PANIC! or 30 Seconds to Mars. Just FYI – I would assume the cool kids (and I do mean kids) all know about this bad so it may get a little packed. “Driving here I sit, cursing my government, for not filling holes with more cement!” You will either get it and love these guys or you will hate them… not much in between.


Saturday 5:30-6:30 on Miller Lite or HomeAway Stage
This is the first and pretty much only hard decision on Saturday. WALK THE MOON has some great hits like ‘Shut Up & Dance’ and ‘Anna Sun’ but G-Easy has that great white-boy rap style that has made rappers like Hoodie Allen famous. You will most likely find me at the Miller Lite stage to see WALK THE MOON because of the stage is closer to where Alabama Shakes play.

Alabama Shakes

Saturday 6:20-7:20 on Honda Stage
This will be the second ACL that I have seen Alabama Shakes and lead singer/guitarist Brittany Howard’s voice is the reason why. They released a strong album titled ‘Sound & Color’ a few months ago but their song “Hold On” is still the top favorite.

TV on the Radio

Saturday 7:20-8:20 on Miller Lite Stage
I don’t even care if you like TV on the Radio’s music or not you still need to see this band in person. They are so much better live then in the studio and, to be honest, the band is better then their [very talented] lead singer, Babatunde Adebimpe. I say this because when I saw them at their ACL Live taping I found myself drifting off and watching the band more then the front man.. and he was putting on a great show as well – they are just all very talented.

End the day with either deadmau5 or Drake, don’t have much to say that you don’t already know about those ‘bands’




Sunday 1:30-2:30 on Miller Lite Stage
‘Youth’ (video above) such a powerful song that makes you stop whatever you are doing and pay attention to her sweet and soft voice. You can feel the pain as she sings “Cause most of our feelings, they are dead and they are gone – we’re setting fire to our insides for fun” Enjoy a nice Austin brunch and then head to the park to see Youth as I couldn’t come up with better way to start a Sunday.


Sunday 2:30-3:30 on Honda Stage
BØRNS is a newer band that has already reached quite a bit of fame with their first single ‘10,000 Emerald Pools’ in 2015 and their song ‘Electric Love’ this year. I haven’t seen this band live yet but if you like that electric 80’s pop/rock feel you will enjoy this band.


Ben Howard

Sunday 4:30-5:30 on Samsung Stage
I first saw and photographed Ben Howard in a small church during SXSW a few years ago. I barely had heard of him and blew me away. From his vocals to the lyrics to the cello to the weird way he plays the guitar… I love it all. Ben Howard is one of my favorite bands and, although I have seen him multiple times, I will be posted up early to watch his set.

Vance Joy

Sunday 5:30-6:30 on HomeAway Stage
Most people know who Vance Joy is from their song ‘Riptide’ that has over 270 million listens on Spotify. They also have a long list of very good songs and just released a single titled ‘Great Summer’ which gives us a hope of more great music to come from Vance Joy.

Δ (alt-J) vs Of Monsters and Men

Sunday 6:30-7:30 on Miller Lite or Samsung Stage
This is frustrating as so many people love both of these bands. Δ will draw a much bigger crowd and the Samsung Stage is close to the HomeAway stage (Hozier) so I will most likely be missing Δ.


Sunday 7:30-8:30 on HomeAway Stage
So this will be a shitshow… no Hozier the band is not what I’m talking about, they are amazing and sound just as good live as they do in studio – the shitshow will be the crazy amount of people packed to what them. Nero has that awesome ‘Promises’ song that will grab the electronic crowd but that just won’t be enough. Hopefully Dwight Yoakam can draw his share but it’s doubtful (and a brutal spot for him) – Just post up early and hold your ground.

The Weeknd

Sunday 8:30-9:30 on Miller Lite Stage
You would think this is hard decision with a rap/R&B group playing opposite of a legendary rock band but it just isn’t. I have seen The Strokes and they are one of the few band on my WORST LIVE BAND list. I love their music too but the lead singer couldn’t even talk he was so wasted and you could barely hear him sing. Maybe things will be different but am I willing to miss The Weeknd to find out? No way – I have been in love with Abel Tesfaye’s sound way back in 2011 with the song ‘The Morning.’ See y’all there!

Here is my ACL 2015 Spotify Playlist:

Here are the printable schedules that you can download by simply right clicking and Save-As:




Daran is the creator of & specializes in bringing out the amazing colors that are all around us & almost always has a camera in hand. You can find him at Google+ and Twitter.