The long-awaited SXSW Conference and Festivals makes its highly anticipated return to stages across Austin on March 10-19, 2023. The SXSW Music Festival brings together artists, industry professionals and music aficionados from around the world to network, enhance their careers and celebrate the magic of live music – from legendary performers to emerging new talent.
Among the 300+ showcasing artists who are set to perform this March are over 140 musicians who call the Live Music Capital of the World® home. Here are 10 of those Austin-based artists we recommend putting on your must-watch list at this year's music festival. Be sure to buy your pass for the festival and explore the full schedule.
Annabelle Chairlegs is a collision of glitz and grit. Built on the sounds of bluesy guitar riffs trembling with spooky undertones, this four-piece ensemble simmers between retro-pop laced with traces of psychedelia. Since forming in 2014, the band has cemented its place in the local music scene with appearances at both Levitation Music Festival and The Austin City Limits Music Festival.
Though the members of The Band of Heathens now live scattered across the country, they recognize Austin as the homebase to where their music careers began back in the early 2000s. When it came time to record their ninth studio album the band returned to Austin to create Simple Things, a record focused around finding one's place in the world amid uncertain times and appreciating our limited time on this planet; sentiments that have earned them a loyal fanbase from Austin and beyond.
3. Big Bill
Big Bill is known around town for their cathartic live shows and darkly comic take on punk rock. The band fully embraces the “all are welcome” mantra of the city it resides in and tackles somewhat dreary subject matter in a way that leaves audience members hopeful for the future. Founded by two brothers in 2011, this now four-piece band has evolved from the rawest forms of punk to explore a bevy of different sounds, genres and melodies.
Blending together the psychedelic southern blues-rock aesthetic with danceable electronics, The Bright Light Social Hour uses their expansive sound and penchant for experimentation to command the crowd. With their thundering guitar licks, gritty harmonies and pulsating rhythms their shows have been described as, “continually exhilarating”, earning them a reputation across Austin music venues and national festivals.
5. Daniel Fears
Singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Daniel Fears has a wide range of musical experience in his arsenal to pull from. Growing up he would perform in church, school orchestra and, unknown to his strict religious household, listen to R&B and Hip-Hop. His debut EP, Canopy, brings these seemingly disparate influences into one space. His soulful melodies and entrancing soundscapes have earned Fears the title of KUTX’s Artist of the Month in 2021 and the Sonic Guild Grant in 2022.
6. Die Spitz
Childhood friends-turned-bandmates make up the rough and rowdy all-female quartet known as Die Spitz. While they only just came together as a band in 2022, the electric chemistry on stage is palpable. With their head-banging style of grunge-y hard rock and defiant lyrics, it’s easy to see why this band has already established themselves as one of Austin's most exciting new acts.
7. A Giant Dog
Described as “raucous ear candy” A Giant Dog is known for their riotous live shows and high-energy stage presence. The band's leading vocalist, Sabrina Ellis, is an elite performer, busting out a series of moves that often end in splits or engaging with the crowd, which often leads to mosh pits. With their provocative lyrics that entice all to sing-along, this punk quintet is one of Austin's most thrillingly irreverent bands.
8. Jane Leo
Local musicians Jane Ellen Bryant and Daniel Leopold have been writing together over the past couple of years, resulting in the effortless musical collaboration we know today as Jane Leo. With their own fusion of modern indie mixed with lush synth-pop melodies, this electric duo churns out edgy acoustic ballads with rock machismo.
9. Money Chicha
Known for their blend of American psychedelic rock with traditional Colombian cumbia, you can’t help but be entranced by the undeniable rhythm and infectious Latin beat by Money Chicha. Featuring members of the Grammy-award winning Latin orchestra Grupo Fantasma and its offshoot funk outfit Brownout, this unique Austin band takes Latin funk with a little bit of Texas swagger to create the ultimate dance party.
Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Shiela is a Latin-Pop and R&B singer-songwriter who draws on her Mexican and Nicaraguan roots to create the kind of music that gets people dancing. Making her Austin City Limits Music Festival debut back in 2021, Shiela shows no signs of slowing down after being nominated for an Austin Music Awards for Best Latin Artist in 2022. No stranger to the SXSW stage, Shiela made her first appearance last year and continues to make a splash in the local Austin music scene.
Other Local Artists
Interested in discovering more local talent at this year's showcase? Check out the growing list of artists below and at sxsw.com:
- Chief Cleopatra
- Caramelo Haze
- Kalu & The Electric Joint
- Nolan Potter's Nightmare Band
- Sir Woman
- Trouble in The Streets
- Trucha Soul
To hear more from these artists, listen to the Spotify playlist below. To discover even more local Austin musicians at SXSW 2023, check out our Music Austin Spotify channel and keep up with the latest happenings @MusicAustin!