It’s almost that time of year again, y’all. That time of year that Austinites both loathe and love at the same time: South by Southwest.
If you’re unfamiliar with SXSW (which I highly doubt unless you’ve been living under a rock), it is an annual conglomerate of festivals covering all things from music to film, gaming to comedy, interactive media to health and wellness. Running since 1987, SXSW is one of the largest festivals in the world, drawing crowds from near and far.
It should come to no one’s surprise that I’m most excited for the music portion of the festival, and I can’t wait to share with y’all the artist I’m looking forward to most. To kick things off, I’ve compiled together a list of 10 Austin artists that you won’t want to miss, and if you’ve been following our music adventures you’ll likely notice some familiar names!
I’ve even linked all their official SXSW pages so you can conveniently add them to your schedule as you see fit. 😊
Blues-rock artist Arkansas Dave will perform at Cooper’s BBQ on March 14. Infectious, edgy, relatable and frank, Arkansas Dave delivers an expressive narrative through his music, a feat that every artist hopes to achieve in their lifetime.
Read our review of his self-titled debut album here!
The Bright Light Social Hour will brighten up Cheer Up Charlie’s on March 12. Comprised of Edward Braillif (Keyboard and Guitar), Joseph Mirasole (Drums), Jackie O’Brien (Bass and Vocals) and Curtis Roush (Guitar and Vocals), The Bright Light Social Hour is a psychedelic rock band whose music is both emotive and evocative, liberating and heartfelt.
The Bright Light Social Hour received a major grant from Austin charity Black Fret in 2017. Not familiar with the organization? Click here for more information!
Nine-time Austin Music Award winner Gina Chavez will also be performing at Cooper’s BBQ on March 16. A beloved local artist, Gina lets her heart and mind speak through her songwriting and passionate, Latin fusion/Americana tunes.
We had the chance to interview Gina a few months ago! Check out our recent interview with her here.
Kalu & The Electric Joint’s set will take place on March 14 at the historic Continental Club on South Congress. Blending rock and roll with psychedelic soul and the ancient rhythms of Africa, Kalu & The Electric Joint delivers uplifting tunes that invoke positive vibes all around. Band members include Kalu James (Lead Singer), JT Holt (Lead Guitar), John Speice (Drums) and Eddie Torres (Bass).
Read about our first run-in with Kalu at Sydney Wright’s first Pajama Jam here!
Los Coast will host two performances during SXSW, one on March 13 at Palm Door and another on March 14 at Continental Club. The brainchild of Trey Privott (Lead Singer) and John Courtney (Lead Guitar), Los Coast is a funk band that introduces elements of psych rock and roll through their groovy, eclectic songwriting. The full band is completed by Megan Hartman (Bass), Damien Llanes (Drums) and Nat Wright (Keys).
Los Coast has been involved with Austin nonprofit Black Fret and also received a grant in 2017. Click here to learn more about Black Fret!
Scheduled to perform on March 16 at The Belmont, Shy Beast is an electro-pop ensemble consisting of members Mariclaire (MC) Glaeser (Lead Singer and Keyboardist), David Tenczar (Guitarist and Vocalist), Andrew Bennett (Guitarist, Keyboardist, and Vocalist), Jay Cesak (Bass Clef) and Drew Silverman (Drums). Dishing out dreamy, indie-pop tunes reminiscent of Alvvays, Tennis and Chairlift, Shy Beast is a must-see local Austin band, and I personally can’t wait to catch their show at SXSW!
Hear all about our experience at Shy Beast’s previous album release party here and interview here.
Pop artist Sun June will make an appearance at The Townsend on March 15. Self-professed creators of “regret pop,” Sun June is a quaint quintet featuring Laura Colwell (Lead Singer), Stephen Salisbury (Guitar), Justin Harris (Bass), Michael Bain (Guitar) and Sarah Schultz (Drums). This emotive band delivers harmonies that will leave you feeling comforted, warmed and longing for more.
I had the opportunity to see Sun June live for the first time last summer. Read our recap on their performance at Mohawk here!
Deemed the best female vocalist at the 2018 Austin Music Awards, Tameca Jones will grace our presence at Cooper’s BBQ on March 13. Tameca is well-known here as the “Queen of Austin Soul” and captivates fans far and wide with her powerful vocals and passionate melodies.
Fun fact: Tameca performed at the Austin Ice Cream festival last year! Read all about our experience here.
Tomar & the FCs is set to perform at the Saxon Pub on March 13 and Parker Jazz Club on March 14. Formed in 2015, this soul band has made strides over the years, performing in festivals all around Austin, from Old Settler’s to Austin City Limits. Featuring Tomar Williams (Vocals), Andy Tenberg (Guitar), David Earl (Organ), Mitch Fischels (Bass) and Paul Kresowik (Drums), this band is a must-see here in Austin and is another I personally can’t wait to catch.
Tomar & the FCs performed at last year’s River Revival Festival by Splice Records! Check out our recap here.
Last but not least, Wood & Wire will also have two performances during SXSW, one at the Victorian Room at The Driskill on March 14 and another at Continental Club on March 15. I must say I’ve grown incredibly fond of this bluegrass band over the past few months, especially after hearing they’d be performing at this year’s Old Settler’s Music Festival. If you follow my music happenings, you likely know I love a good bluegrass band, and Wood & Wire’s joyous, homey sounds make my heart jump.
Wood & Wire is yet another band that has been nominated for a Black Fret grant! Check out our recent article on the Black Fret Ball here.
For more information on artists performing at SXSW, visit the SXSW official website here, and be sure to follow our adventures and shenanigans on our Instagram and Twitter!
Leigh is a native Texan gone temporary New Yorker and now proud Austinite. Passions include but are not limited to music (both as a spectator and dabbler), traveling & cultural adventures, film & television, true crime, design (of the fashion, interior, and graphic sorts), and photographing & writing about all the aforementioned. Self-acclaimed coffee connoisseur & wino, cat aficionado, book worm, and nature junkie.