SXSW has always featured a mix of big name musical acts and smaller lesser known artists looking for a little exposure. This year was no exception. We were lucky enough to catch some acts we haven’t seen in years while also discovering some new talent. While skimming this list, perhaps you’ll also discover some new music as well!
Here are the best bands we saw at SXSW 2023
The Zombies | Mohawk | Hung Up On A Dream Afterparty
The Zombies played multiple shows during the festival but we had the chance to see them play the small room at Mohawk’s. It was packed but also incredibly intimate. The performance was a part of the post-premiere party for their documentary Hung Up On A Dream, which was directed by Robert Schwartzman. The rock legends played all their hits and it was an incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Raekwon | Museum of Graffiti | The Art of Hip Hop
Wu-Tang’s Raekwon joined the Museum of Graffiti in celebrating 50 years of hip-hop with their first-ever showcase. The showcase touched on all five pillars of hip hop: MC’ing, breakdancing, graffiti, knowledge, and DJing. This event was also open to the public with the purchase of a ticket. Overall it was a fun showcase with great music and atmosphere.
Macklemore | ACL Live
Macklemore made a last-minute appearance at SXSW with a performance at ACL Live on Friday. It was a great way to spend St. Patrick’s day, especially when Macklemore played his song “Irish Celebration” and brought out the Irish flag. He concluded by throwing it into the crowd where it made its way through the venue. He played many hit songs in addition to a few new ones off his most recent album BEN. Macklemore gave a great performance with high energy and the crowd gave it right back! Hear his new album here.
JVKE | Inn Cahoots | Bose x NME C23 Showcase
Odds are, you’ve probably heard this artist’s most popular song “Golden Hour” on Instagram and TikTok! JVKE (Jacob Dodge Lawson) put on an amazing live performance full of energy and great music. He closed his set with the aforementioned “Golden Hour” and the crowd energetically sang along! If you’re a fan of that song, we highly suggest checking out his others. The Bose and NME showcase had a great lineup of other artists as well. You can find their official mixtape (playlist) here.
C.M. Talkington | High Noon | Paste Magazine High Noon Showcase
Love and A .45 director C.M. Talkington now has a band and they just released an album called Texas Radio. The album is produced by the legendary Paul Leary. There’s also a surprise guest star on the album – and we do mean star. Renee Zellweger, yes THAT Renee Zellweger who is a close friend to Talkington, appears on the album. The band, along with Zellweger, played a not one but two showcases and we were there for both! Talkington has such a great vibe and it’s fun to see Zellweger rocking out with friends!
Balming Tiger | Clive | Dr. Martens Showcase
Dr. Martens was back for another year at SXSW as part of the Culture Collide Rainey Street takeover. Dr. Martens brought back everything we’ve come to expect from their showcase: free tattoos, good music, good drinks and the chance to win free shoes! This year their lineup included Balming Tiger, which is considered an alternative K-pop collective. We had no idea what that meant going in but we’re glad we didn’t! It was nice to discover them in real time and be there experiencing it with everyone at the showcase! Definitely check them out.
Havanna Winter | Jackalope | Balanced Breakfast Showcase
Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo had a baby and her name is Havanna Winter. The 16-year-old artist performed her first live show ever and we were there front and center. She played a set mixed with original songs and covers from artists like Eilish and even Britney Spears. The young artist had the crowd transfixed and we can’t wait to see where her career will take her! Find more about her here.