10 Prominent ACL Festival Veterans: Where Are They Now?

Well, it's time to gear up for another Austin City Limits Music Festival, which kicks off this Friday in Austin's Zilker Park and this year runs not only through Sunday the 6th, but next Friday through Sunday with the same lineup. As usual, the lineup is really decent: The Cure, Depeche Mode, Muse, Kings of Leon, Kendrick Lamar, and a slew of other names will hawk their musical wares over the three-day weekend.

But even as the anticipation builds for ACL 13, we had to wonder about the folks who took over the festival's stages before Purity Ring and The Weeks came along. I mean, whatever did happen to Spoon or Monsters of Folk? And has anyone heard from Thievery Corporation lately? So to quell that thirst for info on the ACL days of old, we did a little digging, and here's what we came up with. The more you know...

Florence + The Machine (2012) Florence + The Machine have been relatively low-key since their ACL appearance last year. Instead of hitting transatlantic stages from Glastonbury to San Miguel and opening for U2, the machine now taking time off to spend a little quality time focusing on other more solo projects.

Florence Welch, the group's wickedly haunting vocalist, hasn't missed a beat, though. Her collaboration with Scottish producer Calvin Harris, "Sweet Nothing," has inundated the airwaves since its release, and she appears on rapper ASAP Rocky's 2013 hit, "I Come Apart." Isabella "Machine" Summers is working on an album with her alt-rock band, The Life the Love and the Grateful.

Bright Eyes (2011) Bright Eyes hasn't toured or released any new music since 2011, also the year of their last ACL appearance. Loyal fans shouldn't spend too much time pouting, though: enigmatic front man Conor Oberst continues playing Bright Eyes music on his solo jaunts, which he's been doing since 2012.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes (2010) Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes are still going strong. Front man Alex Ebert is still strapping on his messianic alter-ego, and neither he nor his 11-member band of indie-folk rockers have stopped to take a breath. Since their ACL days, the Zeroes have inundated the world with two albums (including this year's self-titled LP), a host of tours, and an appearance in Emmett Malloy's Americana documentary Big Easy Express.

List continues on the next page.

Kings of Leon (2009) Kings of Leon have had their share of ups and downs since their 2009 appearance, with singer Caleb Followill publicly battling substance abuse, which ultimately forced the band into a brief hiatus in late 2011. Things are looking up, though. Brand-new album Mechanical Bull has earned the band major kudos, and the world seems to be ready to forgive the bird-shit incident. In fact, the Kings are headlining ACL 2013 in one of their first big-festival appearances since their return.

The Raconteurs (2008) The Raconteurs -- or The Saboteurs, as they were known in Australia due to a competing band with the same name -- have been relatively sedate since their appearance. Front man Jack White wasn't, though: he appeared everywhere and everywhere possible with his various side projects (The Dead Weather, Third Man Records president) and in as a solo act on last year's Blunderbuss album. However, this past February White announced that the Raconteurs were back in the studio and recording new music. Lucky us, I guess.

Queens of the Stone Age (2007) Queens of the Stone Age were awesome in 2007, and still are. Following their 2007 ACL appearance, Josh Homme and friends hung out, played some shows, and then took a break during 2009-2010 to focus on their side projects, one of which involved Jack White and another one that involved Dave Grohl and Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones. None of that matters, though, because they're back on track and touring in support of latest album Like Clockwork, which was released in July.

Matisyahu (2006) Matisyahu, the reigning Hasidic-reggae king when he appeared at ACL 2006, is as much of a musical innovator now as he was back then. He's still blending a hefty mix of Jamaican dancehall and hip-hop with traditional Jewish hazzan, a sound that helped skyrocket him to musical fame. The only difference is that he's now beardless and sporting a blonde dye-job, which is quite a change from the yarmulke days of old. His latest album, 2012's Spark Seeker, was released in 2012, and still deeply rooted in Chasidism and spirituality, even with his naked chin exposed for the world to see.

List continues on the next page.

Franz Ferdinand (2005) Franz Ferdinand, the purveyors of that everlasting earworm, "Take Me Out," are right where they were when they performed on the stage of ACL in 2005: still together, still making music, and they'll even perform at ACL again this year. In case you missed them, they released Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action back in August and are still as Ferdinand-y as ever.

The Dandy Warhols (2003) Remember that song "Bohemian Like You" from the Vodaphone commercial? That was the Dandy Warhols, who played ACL back in 2003, which seems like an eternity ago. Surprisingly, the Warhols are still around and releasing music, racking up five albums since 2003. They also covered the Beatles' "Blackbird" in tribute to Michael Jackson, but haven't quite reached the same heights as that damn bohemian Vodaphone song, though.

Ryan Adams (2002) Ryan Adams, still not to be confused with Bryan Adams, was one of the headliners during ACL's inaugural year of 2002, along with Wilco and Los Lobos and a whole bunch of other folks. He's had a healthy solo career that continued on 2011's Ashes & FIre, as well as producing the likes of Willie Nelson and Fall Out Boy. He's also now married to "Candy" singer Mandy Moore now, so really, he's the clear winner of the ACL veteran sweepstakes on that alone.


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