There’s never a shortage of live music in Austin, but SXSW Music ups the ante tenfold. It’s sensory overload with a side of FOMO thrown into the mix — who to see and who to pass over with only so many hours in the day? With all this ear candy taking over most of downtown Austin, it begs the question: where to start? I’ve mapped out the shows I’m most excited about in the hopes that you too will glean some of your own concert-going inspiration.
Anamanaguchi DJ set
The self-proclaimed “boy band” out of New York has amassed an impressive cult following thanks to its addictive electronic meets J-pop beats. If you’re unfamiliar with their sound, press “play” on Pop It, a more recent favorite of mine that is bubblegum-dance perfection.
Playing Tuesday, March 15 and Thursday, March 17.
You know that song, Roses, that keeps popping up in your Spotify feed or the oft-repeated lyric, “But first let me take a #selfie?” Yeah, you have The Chainsmokers to thank for those gems. The DJ/producer duo possess an undeniable charisma and know how to, quite literally, get the party started. For the late-night crowd, this is a set not to be missed.
Playing Wednesday, March 16.
Rapper Vince Staples will close out the NPR showcase at Stubb’s, and if I had to guess, it will be in spectacular fashion. Hailing from Long Beach, CA, Staples has made a name for himself: touring with A$AP Rocky, laying down tracks with Ghostface Killah and Common, releasing Hands Up, a chilling indictment of police violence, and dropping one of my favorite albums — and with it, one of my favorite songs — of 2015, Summertime ‘o6 and Dopeman, respectively.
Playing Wednesday, March 16 (NPR showcase) and Friday, March 18.
Joe Jonas as frontman aside (and really, maybe that’s not even a bad thing?), there’s no denying the catchiness of DNCE’s Cake by the Ocean debut-hit single. And if I was writing this in the heat of the summer (which I’m not), I’d go so far as to say this pop-rock number would definitely make the “Songs of the Summer” short list. I’m curious to see what else they’ve got up their sleeve, so bring it, DNCE.
Playing Wednesday, March 16 and Friday, March 18.
Honestly, if you haven’t seen this Austin-based band before, now’s the time. Their infectious acoustic-folk-pop sound is big and broad. From hootin’, hollerin, and stampin’ to the beat to ukulele-and-banjo duets, Wild Child brings a smile to my face every.single.time. It also doesn’t hurt that lead vocalists Kelsey Wilson’ and Alexander Beggins’ have incredible chops and chemistry.
Playing Saturday, March 19.
Full disclosure: Ever since I heard Cody ChesnuTT’s unmistakably smooth, soulful vocals on The Roots’ The Seed, I was hooked. I could listen to him sing just about anything. To me, he’s the singing complement to Morgan Freeman’s deep, soothing narrative voice. So, he’s a shoe-in on the must-see lineup.
Playing Wednesday, March 16.
And the beat goes on…
Cover image courtesy of DNCE Facebook.