Year after year, SXSW Music continues to be a sprawling clusterfuck of fans, bands, and brands. It’s the absolute best/worst musical event on the globe, a conference so towering and all-enveloping that the city of Austin willingly transforms into a near-week-long circus of clashing sounds, long lines, and short sets. And yet, it consistently plays host to some of the most unique, indelible shows you’ll likely see.
This year, we’ve decided to compile some of our favorite official and unofficial showcases, day parties, and underground shows. Sure, there’ll be a slew of DIY shows and house parties that we’ll hear about while there, but it’s not our aim to be comprehensive. In fact, you’ll notice we didn’t include some of the bigger showcases, despite their solid lineups (for example, by Pitchfork, The FADER, and Red Bull Sound Select) and even limited ourselves to choosing just six events per day.
Therefore, this “guide” — compiled by Grant “Gumshoe” Purdum, Mukqs, Mike McHugh, Liz Louche, and Mr P — is really just a starting point for the SXSW bound, aimed at those of you who aren’t just going to the conference to witness Lil B at the Converse/Thrasher Death Match showcase or all seven Coachwhips reunion shows. <3
TUESDAY, MARCH 11
Heard showcase @ Empire Control Room & Garage
Machinedrum, Dam-Funk, Keys N Krates, James Supercave, Walker Lukens & The Side Arms, Holland Greco
Chicago Made showcase @ Red 7
Chance The Rapper, The Hood Internet, Archie Powell & The Exports, The Autumn Defense, Bonzie, My Gold Mask, ShowYouSuck, ProbCause
SPF420 x Imaginary Friends @ a private residence
Ryan Hemsworth, Giraffage, Anamanaguchi (DJ), Wave Racer, SAINT PEPSI, Beat Culture, Bear // Face, Different Sleep, Deebs, Spazzkid, & Tony Hawk Pro DJ
* This event is invite-only, but it will be broadcast at SPF420.com.
K-Pop Night Out showcase @ Elysium
Jambinal, NELL, Kiha & the Faces, Crying Nut, IDIOTAPE, Jay Park, HyunA
Hometapes and Team Clermont showcase @ Trinity Hall @ Old School
Pontiak, Pattern is Movement, Leverage Models, Landlady, Spaceship Aloha (Chris Powell of Man Man) , Star Rover
@ The North Door
The Octopus Project, Sorne, Zorch, Holiday Mountain, Major Major Major, Hikes
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12
Warp Records x LuckyMe showcase @ Empire Control Room & Garage
Empire Control: Cashmere Cat, Future Brown, Kelela, Jeremiah Jae, Obey City, Sophie, etc. / Control Room: DJ Rashad & DJ Spinn, Gobby, P Morris, James K, Mr Uno, etc.
Bruise Cruise @ Capital Cruises
Coachwhips, Kelley Stoltz, Destruction Unit, Arp / Mark McGuire, La Luz, Calvin Love, DUNE RATS
Relapse Records showcase @ Dirty Dog Bar
Nothing, Obliteration, Pyrrhon, Obliteration, Windhand, Christian Mistress, PRIMITIVE MAN
KCRW showcase @ Haven
Future Islands, Bear Hands, Sam Smith, Jamestown Revival, Kins, Glass Animals
Sean Nicholas Savage, Wrekmeister Harmonies, B L A C K I E, Indian Jewelry, Shocked Minds, Cosmonauts, Dead Ghosts, Major Stars, Audacity, Tyvek
Burger Records SXSW Kickoff @ Trailer Space Records
Nalgadas, Party Plants, The Rebel Set, Lust Cats of the Gutters, HOTT MT, BOYTOY, The Rich Hands, Mr. Elevator & the Brain Hotel, The Lovely Bad Things, Pizza Time, White Mystery, Las Rosas, Froth, Vaadat Charigim, Boogarins, Cosmonauts, Habibi, Mozes and the Firstborn, Cherry Glazerr, Curtis Harding, The Garden, Gap Dream