Depending on how long and how deeply you’ve been mired in music culture, SXSW can feel like the party of the year or a week of boot camp in hell. Ideally, it’s a little bit of both. Yeah, you have to walk around a hot city catching sets by every band you’ve ever heard of, but on the other hand, you get to walk around a hot city seeing every band you’ve ever heard of. It’s exhausting and ridiculous, and if you do it right, it’ll make you feel alive in ways you rarely get to feel.
Like every year in Austin around this time, there’ll be way, way too many bands vying for attention along Sixth Street and Red River. You’re probably already set with the headliners and legacy acts, so we’d like to brush you up on the up-and-comers — the bands about to break through to those headlining tours around the rest of the country. Hopefully, this will help you narrow down that impossible schedule you’re staring at on your phone, or at least give you a few names to watch out for while you’re trawling the streets of Austin for something good.
It’s chaos in there, but amid the noise and branding and promos, sometimes you catch a glimpse of why we all trek down to Texas in the first place. Here’s the acts we wouldn’t dare miss this SXSW.
Click here to see our full coverage from SXSW and listen to an exclusive playlist.