After battling through dehydration-like symptoms and a following phlegm-based sickness, I’ve finally completed my full recap of all 48 bands (51 total performances) I saw at SXSW 2019. It’s a new record for me in terms of “content consumed”, which is pretty stunning considering I missed an entire day. Still feeling regret and FOMO from that day – I was on deck to see Marked Men, Say Sue Me, Penelope Isles and more. What a rip-off. Personal highlights below include CHAI, KOKOKO!, Injury Reserve and more. Check it out, sorta-complete with pictures that really got messed up in the transition over to the site. Hell yeah.
- Andrew Bird @ Barracuda Outside – 3/15/19
Finally seeing one of my musical idols at a place like this was pretty surreal. Although he didn’t play any classics, his new material still sounds incredible live and his band was tight along with him. Excited to see him potentially two or three more times this year!
- Bea1991 @ Pour Choices – 3/13/19
The sound was a bit wonky, but this was really inventive, experimental pop. Need to listen to more of her recorded material. There are probably pics of me at this show, lookin like a true blue goofus.
- The Beths @ Mohawk Outside – 3/15/19
Very happy I got to see The Beths here, although I happened to catch them the day of the tragic NZ public shooting, so the band was visibly and audibly subdued. Love them to bits.
- Black Belt Eagle Scout (x2)
– @ Cheer Up Charlie’s Inside – 3/14/19
Just caught the tail end of the set, but they packed out the inside of Cheer Up’s!
– @ 3Ten ACL Live – 3/15/19
Played the co-sign showcase, so I saw the whole thing. Super tight and talented band that can shred to hell!
- Black Midi @ Cheer Up Charlie’s Outside – 3/13/19
My first full set experience at this year’s SXSW was a doozy. It was a bummer to have seen this set outside, since the immaculate togetherness of the band kind of oozed up into the air without fully socking the audience in the mouth. Insanely talented.
- Black Pumas @ Barracuda Outside – 3/14/19
I saw them outside of the venue in an alleyway – still counts if I knew who it was & wanted to get in. Suffice to say not my style of music, but they packed it out and were definitely rockin.
- Body Type @ 3Ten ACL Live 3/15/19
My second time seeing them in a week, they are so fun live! All of their label folks were dancing in front, very cute.
- Broncho @ Mohawk Outside – 3/15/19
Only caught a few songs (I got there for The Beths) and they were fine.
- CHAI (x2)
– @ Hotel Vegas Outside 3/13/19 (HIGHLIGHT!)
Just so fun. These girls know how to party, masquerading as a traditional Japanese girl group, but actually wielding the power of new wave rock gods. Such killer instrumentals and song structures. Such a fun show!
– @ Cheer Up Charlie’s Outside 3/15/19
Got to see more of them here and it was sick. Cheer Up Charlie’s was packed to the gills for them, for good reason. So fun, so killer. Gonna kick myself for being “too tired” to go to their NYC show for a while.
- Charly Bliss @ Cheer Up Charlie’s Outside – 3/13/19
Only caught a few songs and they were fine.
- The Comet Is Coming @ Empire Garage – 3/14/19 (HIGHLIGHT!)
Hoo-wee, very happy I saw them. Shabaka the sax player is a force of nature, so combined with the awesome natural keyboard player & drummer, there’s a lot of powerful currents in the air here. Go see this band live if you can!
- Das Body @ Las Perlas 3/14/19
Groovy pop tunes – still getting around to the lead singer’s voice.
- Dopey’s Robe @ Hotel Vegas Volstead Stage 3/14/19
Pretty gnarly psych rock. Still haven’t checked out their recorded material but it was sick, the little I saw.
- DRAMA @ Palm Door Outside – 3/14/19
Love these guys! Moody synth pop with great vocals.
- Easy Life @ Palm Door Outside – 3/14/19
Oh man, I wanna clown these guys. I went to see DRAMA and Easy Life was playing before, but they were going over their slot. The lead singer was like “if someone comes up here and tells me I gotta end my set I’m gonna fuck them up! I’m not playing! I’m gonna fuck them up! There’s no way I’m stopping now!” And then he proceeds to play some 311-derivative schlock for drunken finance bros to swipe left to girls to.
- Ella Vos @ Palm Door Inside – 3/14/19
Caught the last two songs of her set. Cool pop tunes, she took someone from the audience’s cowboy hat. Call it a look.
- Empath @ Barracuda Inside – 3/13/19
Don’t think I’ve ever seen a group with no bassist but two synths. Couldn’t tell if the sound was really bad or I just couldn’t understand what was going on, but I was feeling it either way.
- Fontaines D.C. @ Barracuda Inside – 3/15/19 (HIGHLIGHT!)
After being turned away from seeing them nearly three times, I finally got the chance and boy howdy, they’re dang good. I saw them the week previous in NYC (charming lads) but seeing a group of SXSW-goers (radio DJs, programmers, industry folk) react to their incendiary Irish rock was cool to see. Big things on the way for FDC!
- Frankie & The Witch Fingers @ Hotel Vegas Outside – 3/13/19 (HIGHLIGHT!)
Kind of stumbled upon them, but with the super psychedelic visuals and totally blasting guitar, you know I had to stay until the end of their set. Haven’t cracked into their new record yet, but seems to be very early-King Giz inspired.
- HÆLOS @ 3Ten ACL Live – 3/15/19
Very manicured sound, did not sound like a SXSW hashed together set. All very together, sounded great. There were a ton of people to see them, too!
- Hubert Lenoir @ Mohawk Outside – 3/15/19
I think this band is an industry plant. I mean, not seriously, but I think it would be funny if they were. The only people I saw in the crowd were older, rich mom and dad lookin people that were high-fiving eachother more than watching the band, which was some raucous garage rock. There were some kids into it, but all I could watch were the industry crony lookin dudes talking to their own asses.
- Injury Reserve @ Mohawk Outside – 3/15/19 (HIGHLIGHT!)
So happy I got to see these guys. They commanded the crowd of mostly youngin’s and again proved that they’re an up and coming group that people should be messing with right now. So many mosh pits. Also, really great guys! Had the chance to meet them after the show and they’re real cool.
- Jackie Mendoza @ Seven Grand – 3/14/19
Totally thought this was someone else during the set. Played ukulele with some twinkly electronics and other sonic weirdness.
- Jealous of the Birds @ Latitude 30 – 3/14/19
Went to this venue in hopes to seeing another band, but they put the wrong time on their Instagram post. Ended up seeing Jealous of the Birds, which turned out to be pretty solid solo project synth pop.
- Jerry Paper @ 3Ten ACL Live – 3/15/19 (HIGHLIGHT!)
My first time seeing Jerry & The Papers was a damn good one. Had no idea his band was SO GOOD. Not to discount the man himself, who carried himself with poise and grace, and a bit of Kyle Mooney awkwardness thrown in. It all translated perfectly onstage and everyone (who was down w/ the Paper) was having a groovy blast.
- Kate Teague @ Las Perlas – 3/14/19
Southern-touched dream pop. Loved it!
- KOKOKO! (x2)
– @ Cheer Up Charlie’s Outside – 3/14/19 (HIGHLIGHT!)
I didn’t really know anything about KOKOKO! before deciding on seeing them first thing on Thursday and boy howdy I gotta hand it to my intuition for this one. They’re a band from the DRC that has homemade their own instruments, making a brand of electro-rock that is electrifying to say the least. Each member takes lead vocal duties
– @ Hotel Vegas Outside (smaller stage) – 3/14/19
Didn’t mean to see them this time! Went to Hotel Vegas to see Fontaine’s D.C. but that ish was FULL, but I happened to be there while Chai and KOKOKO! played again. Still fiery, still a blast.
- Loving @ Barracuda Inside – 3/13/19
Chill, dude. Chillllllll.
- Mary Lattimore @ Waller Boathouse – 3/14/19 (HIGHLIGHT!)
Oh wow, seeing Mary Lattimore play next to the river at sunset with clouds of bats flying high overhead was something I won’t ever forget. Very worth the long walk across town.
- Molly Burch @ Barracuda Outside – 3/13/19
Very fun, very satisfying rock with a retro edge. Molly’s voice sounds great live!
- Morabeza Tobacco @ Seven Grand 3/14/19
Dream pop duo with very pretty, hazy and slightly groovy tunes.
- The Nude Party @ Barracuda Outside 3/15/19
Country-touched garage rock n roll baby! Rock n roll!! Hell yeah!!
- Otoboke Beaver @ Mohawk Inside 3/15/19 (HIGHLIGHT!)
Woah. Again, a band I knew nothing about, but got a tip that I had to see them. Even before they went on, the room they were playing was overflowing with people. My friend and I had to perch on the outside, watching the phone of someone filming the concert inside. Eventually I got in by filling in the gaps left by people trickling out, leaving myself totally squished between fellow fest-goers. What I witnessed was perhaps the best thing I saw all week. A hardcore band from Japan that flailed around onstage with reckless abandon (the guitarist stage dove at least four times). Lots of middle fingers, lots of “fuck-you’s” a lot of breakneck pace cuts that left the audience both stunned and invigorated. So happy I was able to edge my way in.
- Parrot Dream @ 3Ten ACL Live 3/15/19
Real cool shoegaze / dream pop. Great layers of guitar and synths.
- Pedro the Lion @ Mohawk Outside 3/13/19
I don’t have any huge emotional attachment to David Bazan, but I was surrounded by people that were head over heels that they’re actually seeing Pedro The Lion at that moment in time. I do like his voice!
- Pinky Pinky @ 3Ten ACL Live 3/15/19
Real late night show, cool garage pop from some L.A. youngins.
- Pottery @ Seven Grand – 3/14/19 (HIGHLIGHT!)
Woah. These guys rip. As described by a friend, “Devo, but normal kids”. Great camaraderie, worked well together, really new how to craft a banger.
- Red Steppes @ The Hideout Theater – 3/14/19
Tender, at times humorous tunes from a solo singer/songwriter. Very intimate.
- Rico Nasty @ Cheer Up Charlie’s Outside 3/13/19
Was pretty low energy, and the crowd was suspiciously small. Performing at a time when not a lot of other people are on. What gives? Either way, not a super huge fan, but respect to what she’s doing.
- Sam Fender @ Barracuda Inside – 3/15/19
Great, confident voice with meaningful lyrics and a charismatic band. Had some funny anecdotes as well – didn’t just seem like a lifeless performer. Respect him for that.
- SASAMI @ Cheer Up Charlie’s Outside – 3/13/19
Only saw a few songs, but she was my first band of SXSW! Happy to hear cuts off her new album.
- Soft Kill @ Empire Garage – 3/14/19
Brooding post punk, with huge inspiration coming from the usual haunts. Good guitar tones!
- Stef Chura @ Barracuda Inside – 3/13/19
Knife-sharp lo-fi rock tunes. Is that a fallacy? Either way, they sounded real good.
- Trudy & The Romance @ Hotel Vegas Inside – 3/13/19
Retro-touched garage bops. I say bop, a word I usually avoid, because they are very 50s-inspired tunes.
- Valley Maker @ Barracuda Outside – 3/13/19 (HIGHLIGHT!)
Hoo-wee, what a super-solid band. Pretty standard rock, but man this band is together and they sound GREAT. See them if you get a chance!
- Wand @ Barracuda Inside – 3/13/19
Took forever to sound check, but the few songs I saw were real sick. Loopy psych rock. Perhaps the first time I saw someone bow guitar in real life.
- Westerman @ Cheer Up Charlie’s Inside – 3/13/19
Saw him through a window, so it counts. The reason is because the room was full – woops!
- Why Bonnie @ Mohawk Outside – 3/13/19
Be on the lookout for this name! I have a feeling once they put out more music they’ll be showing up on a lot of blogs & playlists. Fun, breezy dream pop.