Photo: (Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)
Now in its lucky 13th year, the Austin City Limits Festival — an eight-stage, six-day musical extravaganza — kicked off with a scorching hot (literally and figuratively) weekend in the Texas capital city's majestic Zilker Park. Rock gods Pearl Jam and rap icons Eminem and Outkast were the event's big headliners, but country, Americana and folk acts were far from lone stars. Here's who we'd go back to see all over again next weekend, along with our tip of the ten gallon to some crafty concertgoers.
Most Captivating Country Outlaw: Nikki LaneIt's all good and well that wayward country darling Nikki Lane has earned comparisons to classic starlets like Wanda Jackson, Tammy Wynette and Nancy Sinatra. Admittedly, her lush arrangements and pop-rock hooks on tracks like "Gone Gone Gone" and her surf-rock take to "Walk of Shame" were throwbacks to those mid-century icons, but after witnessing her bewitching performance early Sunday afternoon, it's clear she's got a few more tricks up her sleeve than just sad songs lamenting man troubles. Set to a solid backbeat and a relentless semi-funk riff echoing Led Zeppelin's "Trampled Under Foot," the singer had everyone dancing to "Right Time" as she sang, "Any day or night time, it's always the right time to do the wrong thing." The manifestation of Lane's inner troublemaker was alive and realized when she offered the lyrical anecdote, "Old Willie's bus is puttin' out some smoke, I knock on his door and ask 'em for a toke, just because, hell, we're both outlaws. Well he'll tell ya the same, 'Honey, it's always the right time to do the wrong thing.'" The only wrong thing in this scenario was her disappointingly short set length — grounds for anyone who missed her performance to do their own walk of shame.