By Caroline Janes
Assistant Music Director
Austin City Limits headliners like Tame Impala, Billie Elish and Childish Gambino (let’s hope his foot is a-okay this year) draw in thousands of music fans in each year. While big names get fans’ attention, some of the smaller acts can often go overlooked.
The artists on the very bottom row of the line-up are all a part of Austin Kiddie Limits. Featuring kid-friendly acts like preteen rapper Ray Emmanuel, percussion troupe Resonate and Bears & Lions, who rock out in animal costumes, this family-friendly component of the festival is a great way to relax and escape the crowd with your kids.
Several gospel and Christain centered acts follow the kiddie bands including The Gospel Stars, Wesley Bray & the Disciples of Joy and Shields of Faith. Sandwiched in between The Disciples of Christ and Shields of Faith is San Marcos-based “eight-man cult” PNTHN.
Each member of the rap collective contributes something unique from rapping, producing or DJing. PNTHN just released a new project called DEATH DIMENSION that features 13 tracks that fittingly was released on Friday the 13th. The young rappers have toured with bigger acts like Vince Staples and Freddy Gibbs and are definitely an up-and-coming group to watch out for.
Up next is Canadian hard rock duo cleopatrick. Fusing garage and driving hard rock, these guys unashamedly create fast-paced tracks that defy any kind of cookie-cutter standards of their genre. Creating music for “kids we see in the front row, singing every word because a rock show is the only place they feel they belong,” cleopatrick delivers relatable lyrics about navigating varying aspects of youth.
Miami-based and Cuban artist Kat Dahlia allows her latin roots to influence and permeate throughout her discography. Integrating aspects of reggae, R&B and pop, Dahlia’s diverse sound keeps listeners on their toes. Much of the top-40 pop music is often overproduced and formulaic, but Dahlia breaks through the clutter with interesting beats and melodies.
Savannah Conley and Ingrid Andress not only share spots on line up right next to each other, but coincidentally also have a similar sound. These laid-back country-inspired gals both have soft voices and honest lyrics that contribute to the listenability of their songs. Both Conley and Andress are right at the start of two promising careers in music.
Dayglow is the project of Austin-based musician, Sloan Struble. At only 20 years old, Struble has received a large amount of attention and deservingly so. With jangly hooks and smooth vocal deliveries, it’s clear that Dayglow is here to stay. His self-released 2018 album, Fuzzy Brain, was met with positive feedback from avid listeners of indie pop.
Just because these artists are towards the bottom of the line-up doesn’t mean they aren’t worth squeezing into your festival schedule. Maybe one day their names will be the biggest of them all.
Featured image via Austin City Limits.