Austin, Texas is the live music capital of the world. Known for its eccentric music scene and lively culture, Austin is home to live music enthusiasts, fosters inspiration for many up and coming musicians and holds the Austin City Limits Festival and South By South West (SXSW), a week-long convention that showcases technology, film, gaming, and music. Being such a huge event during March, Austin accommodates people from around the world while holding onto much of its roots. As chaotic and hectic as it sounds hosting events across the entire city, music is a driving factor for many to visit Austin during SXSW. With hundreds of artists performing showcases at bars, notorious venues, and pop-ups throughout the city, this is the perfect atmosphere for those a part of the music industry and music lovers alike. Having said that, many bands who sell-out their own headlining tours have more than likely been a part of SXSW in the past. Here are some of impeccable musicians, bands, and artists I was able to catch at SXSW.
Debuting in 2017 with her EP, “17 HERO”, Morgan Saint amazed the crowd with her pop sounds and ballads from songs such as “You” and “Just Friends”. Exemplifying heartbreak and past relationships, Saint brings a pop vibe to her instrumentals to accompany the heavy lyrics. Closing her set with the song “Just Friends”, Saints offers familiarity to those who have dealt with heartbreak, making a powerful impression.
Previewing their set by the Sleep Well Records and Rhyme and Reason Records showcases, pronoun’s performance was unforgettable. With a synth-pop vibe, soft vocals, and electronic influence, pronoun’s set brought about a dreamy indie-pop vibe leaving me in a dream-like trance. Songs like “just cuz you can’t” and “a million other things” introduces a new style to indie-pop.
Just finishing off their headlining tour across the country, Wallows make their debut at SXSW performing at showcases sponsored by BMI and Waterloo Records Store. Bringing an alternative rock vibe, Wallows pleased the crowds with songs such as “Sun Tan” with a trumpet solo, “Pictures of Girls”, and the song “Pictures of Girls” with an amazing guitar rift mid-song showcasing the different elements incorporated into their usual alternative rock sound.
A rare acoustic performance put on by Heather Baron-Gracie at KGSR’s Morning Sessions of songs like “There’s Honey” and “Television Romance”, she entrances the crowd with her powerful vocals and poetic lyrics about love and relationships. Previously opening for the 1975, Pale Waves drew in big audiences for many of their showcases throughout SXSW.
Catching his showcase by Urban Outfitters during SXSW, Dapperton played songs like “Gum, Toe and Sole” and “Prune, You Talk Funny”. This eccentric vibe shows his unique style and aesthetic. With smooth and mellow vocal matching the upbeat instrumentals, Gus Dapperton brought about a performance that reminded many of retro pop music.
From the local Texas music scene with roots in Denton, Texas, Sad Cops played a melancholy-infused, emotional performance through heavyhearted lyrics. They drew in a crowd for those familiar with local Texas music among the various unofficial showcases SXSW, giving powerful performances and showcasing the raw talent that makes you feel as if you were at a house show.
Straying away from the usual artists I tend to see during SXSW, Jade Bird gave an outstanding performance at KGSR’s Morning Session opening with the song “Lottery”. With her powerful and confident vocals during, her sound had country and folk music influences. Not knowing much about her previously, Jade Bird left me amazed with her soulful lyrics and is now one of my new favorite artists from SXSW.
Opening for bands in the past such as The Vaccines and Best Coast, Sunflower Bean indie rock vibe showcased an amazing performance with powerful lyrics that describes the social injustices many faces today. Performing at multiple showcases across the city during SXSW, Sunflower Bean pairs it’s dreamy rock vibe with the melodic vocals by Julia Cumming.
Also performing at unofficial showcases during SXSW, No Vacation dream-pop sound leaves you feeling nostalgic. Their songs exemplify upbeat pop rock, soothing vibes, and impeccable bass lines. The music pleases many with the diverse style of songs from their EPs.