Dev, Jay-Z and Santigold are all on our SXSW schedule.
Every March the music industry and fans descend on Austin, Texas, for the South By Southwest Music Festival. It’s the place to discover up-and-coming artists that should be on the musical radar for months and years to come, along with some major and surprise acts throughout the week. And to tweet about it. Also, hi, taco trucks everywhere!
If you’re headed to Austin this week, here’s our guide to the must-see Buzzworthy acts performing at SXSW. If you can’t make South By Southwest sucks for you!, fear not, we’ll do the heavy lifting — you can livestream the mtvU Woodie Awards Festival on Thursday, March 15 to catch Dev, MGK, of Verona, Imagine Dragons, fun., A$AP Rocky, Chiddy Bang, Childish Gambino and more live music. Meanwhile, we’ll be doing our best to eat our weight in BBQ on your behalf. It’ll be just like you were there, only less calories. And now, to our ultimate music picks for SXSW week:
MONDAY, March 12
8 p.m. — Jay-Z at Moody Theater: Hova is performing during the Interactive portion of SXSW. It’s presented by Austin City Limits and American Express, and if you get to Austin before the official music festival, this is pretty much the only place to be. If not, you can livestream the set.
1 a.m. — RJD2 at The Jones Center: If you’re still pumped after Jay-Z, check out the soul sampling master DJ/genre-hopping mixologist.
Check our entire lineup of SXSW music picks after the jump!
TUESDAY, March 13
5:00 p.m. — Delta Spirit at Waterloo Records: Celebrate with the Southern rawkers, who drop their eponymous seventh studio album on this day.
9:20 p.m. — Theophilus London at La Zona Rosa: “Why Even Try” to be anywhere else but see if he delivers one of our fave songs?
10:10 p.m. — Santigold at La Zona Rosa: Between Santi White’s Lady Gaga-dissing “Big Mouth” and her skittery “Disparate Youth,” we are holding our breath for the May 1 release of Master Of My Make Believe. Expect her to premiere some more new material. (Catch her at the Woodies on Thursday, too.)
1:00 a.m. –- fiN at Latitude 30: Rihanna-approved London mates fiN made a paint-splattered stir backing RiRi during the Brit Awards. We look forward to seeing them bring their Brit-guitar pop goodness to SXSW.
WEDNESDAY, March 14
1 p.m. -– Foxy Shazam at Waterloo Records: The glam rockers’ music sounds like it’s often teetering on the edge of out-of-control in a balls out way, and their raucous live shows follow suit.
4:00 p.m. — Alabama Shakes at Austin Convention Center: Their Boys & Girls album won’t be out until April. Judging from early reviews and songs such as singer Brittany Howard’s Janis Joplin-conjuring “You Ain’t Alone,” they are not to be missed.
5:30 p.m. — Chairlift at Empire Automotive: They recently wowed us pairing with Das Racist for a cover of Beyoncé‘s “Party.” Chairlift released sophomore album Something in January, from which they’ll likely cull their set.
7:45 p.m. — Fiona Apple at Stubb’s: It has been seven, I repeat SEVEN, years since we’ve been treated to a new Fiona Apple album, and her record with a 23-word title is supposed to drop in June. SXSWers may get a good preview of it.
7:45 p.m. — The Front Bottoms at Lamberts: This rambunctious New Jersey duo rules with their Thermals-meets-They-Might-Be-Giants quirky fun vibe.
7:50 p.m. — Andrew W.K. at 1100 Warehouse: Calling all those who want to “Party Hard.”
9:00 p.m. — Big K.R.I.T. at Antones: The rapper just released his “4Eva N A Day” mixtape, and the sax-infused “Boobie Miles.” Last year at SXSW he was backed by a solid band, which buoyed his smooth-slick flow.
9:00 p.m. — Sharon Van Etten at Stubb’s: Her third album,Tramp, has been on repeat since it dropped. So excited to finally catch her live.
10:00 p.m. — Tennis at Red 7 Patio: This husband-wife duo and their band released their sophomore Young and Old album last month and the girl-group styled vocals volley like a good match.
10:15 p.m. — Say Anything at Red 7: Max Bemis and band will be celebrating the indie punk of Anarchy, My Dear, which is out this week.
11:00 p.m. — Band of Skulls at Haven: Totes excited to catch this trio’s awesome male-female vocal interplay and bluesy indie rock live.
11:00 p.m. — Youth Lagoon at IFC Crossroads House: Trevor Powers has a penchant for haunting, reverbed tunes like “July” and “Montana.”
11:00 p.m. — Zola Jesus at Elysium: Nika Roza Danilova’s takes a step into electro goth territory, and it’s pretty heady stuff. Her music and voice coupled with her futuristic clothing style make for a riveting show.
12:00 a.m. — The Pierces at The Studio By HGTV: The pretty, former ballerinas sisters spin pretty folk pop.
12:00 a.m. – Miike Snow at The Hype Machine’s Hype Hotel: The Swedish producers/electro pop mavens’ Happy To You isn’t out until March 27, but being a lucky gal with an advance copy (#notsohumblebrag), I can say it’s pretty sweet.
12:30 a.m. — Andrew Bird at Stubb’s: Swoony violin, whistling, all wrapped in genre-spanning, indie-leaning pop. Need I say more?
1:00 a.m. — Cults at Red 7 Patio: Last year their male-female vocal interplay and sweet, woozy sound were accompanied by a homemade black-and-white film. What artsy backdrop will they bring along this time?
THURSDAY, March 15
1:00 p.m. – Ed Sheeran: The sensitive singer-songwriter is a big deal in the U.K., like debut-album-went-No.-1 kinda big. Time for us to catch up on this side of the pond.
1:35 p.m. — Kimbra: This New Zealand native, Australian dwelling diva deals in pop-dance beats.
2:00 p.m. — A$AP Rocky: The Harlem rapper Rakim Mayer has been buzzing for a bit. His “LiveLoveA$AP” mixtape put him on the permanent map.
2:35 p.m. – Gary Clark Jr.: Concocting a potent cocktail of soulful, blues-rooted rock, his hometown return should be nothing short of amazing.
3:00 p.m. — Machine Gun Kelly: The sometimes law-tangoing, but passionate artist was voted MTV News’ Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2011.
3:35 p.m. – of Verona: Named one of MTV’s Bands To Know in 2011, the Williamsburg/Toronto natives met in Los Angeles. Powerful, haunting vocals from Mandi Perkins fuel this electro-pop rock quartet.
4:00 p.m. – Dev: She’s an electro-pop star on the rise, having been named one of MTV Artist To Watch in 2012.
4:35 p.m. — Wallpaper.: Ricky Reed has big beats to match his bigger swagger.
5:00 p.m. — Chiddy Bang: It’ll be way past Breakfast at this time slot, but the Philadelphia duo should serve up some tasty rapped treats during their set.
5:45 p.m. — Imagine Dragons: The Las Vegas transplants mine everything from acoustic hand-clapped and harmony-tipped songs like “It’s Time,” to more synthy dance pop.
6:15 p.m. – fun.: Living up to their name, fun.’s anthemic “We Are Young” seems as good a theme song as any for this festival, where they’ll likely set the world, or at least their Austin performances, on fire.
7:00 p.m. – Walk The Moon: This Ohio-based band is the sound of optimism, drenched in synth and kissed by sunshine, even when they’re singing dire lyrics like “This house is falling apart” in their song “Anna Sun.”
9:00/8:00 p.m. – Childish Gambino, Santigold, Steve Aoki and more at the Woodies Awards Festival: What do you get when you combine a rapper-cum-awesome-”Community” star, a bold not-afraid-to-call-it-like-she-sees-it diva and a stellar DJ-Dim-Mak-label-forming EDM progenitor? Be here to witness the awesome.
FRIDAY, March 16
12:00 – 6:00 p.m. Best Coast, Santigold, The Big Pink, Big K.R.I.T., Chairlift and more at Spin Party at Stubb’s — We’ve already mentioned all these bands elsewhere on this list, except for Best Coast, who you should see because they’re awesome.
3:00 p.m. — Ben Kweller at Austin Convention Center: True story, I once interviewed Ben Kweller at a street fest, and he was like the Pied Piper — girls followed us, giggling (natch), until we eventually hid in a random stairwell to finish the interview. The music is as infectiously likable as the guy himself.
7 p.m. — 50 Cent at Austin Music Hall: There’s no official word on 50 Cent’s start time yet, but he’s confirmed to headline Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ at Shady 2.0 Showcase with Slaughterhouse, Yelawolf, Big K.R.I.T. and more. Also, there’s no official word on if The Real Slim Shady will appear, but rumors have been circulating. Doors are at 7, and we’re gonna guess the lines and show will be off the hook.
9:00 p.m. — Fort Lean at Karma Lounge: The charming Brooklynites have been getting rave reviews and with their anthemic “Sunsick,” and it’s easy to see why.
9:00 p.m. — Free Energy at ND: Seriously, “Bang Pop” to this group’s channeling of Cheap Trick melodic anthems.
9:50 p.m. — Shanell at Haven: Young Money’s taking a bet on singer-songwriter Shanell, and the odds are good for this former Beyoncé, Ne–Yo and Jennifer Hudson songwriter.
10:00 p.m. — The Big Pink at Lustre Pearl: The UK Brit popsters gave us the ridic memorable “Domino,” and new album Future This gives us more danceable rock.
10:00 p.m. — The Cool Kids at 1100 Warehouse: When Fish Ride Bicycles was the indie hip-hop soundtrack of last summer, and they’ll be keeping the groove going at SXSW.
10:10 p.m. — Asher Roth at The Belmont: Check out this rapper’s laidback flow, an ideal match for chilling in the Austin heat.
11:45 p.m. — Jack White at The Stage on Sixth: On the cusp of his solo effort Blunderbuss April release, he’s sure to bring his fiery delivery and surprises to his newly penned tunes, like “Love Interruption” and “Sixteen Saltines.” Maybe a new band for each song in his set? A girl can dream.
1:00 a.m. — Skrillex at 1100 Warehouse: He’s sure to draw a crowd what with his dubstep, he’s a three-time Grammy winner and do we need to mention the hair?
1:00 a.m. — The Ting Tings at Stubb’s: This is the week of their new album release, Nowheresville, which expounds on their strutty dance stylings, with some reggae and a bit of rap.
SATURDAY, March 17
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. — special guests at Fader Fort: Fader Fort has great artists all week, including Santigold, Big K.R.I.T., Gary Clark, Jr., Kimbra, Zola Jesus and more, but this special guest biz might be worth checking out. Will the rumored Eminem make an appearance here? Bruce Springsteen, the keynote speaker? Will Jay-Z stick around for the week? A couple years ago Kanye West graced this surprise guest slot. Just sayin’.
10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. — Train, Jimmy Cliff, Spank Rock, Blitzen Trapper, and more at Rachael Ray’s Feedback at Stubb’s: Aside from the eclectic lineup, we’re talking some serious eats from Rachael Ray, and expect the chef to introduce some of the bands as well.
10 p.m. –- Penguin Prison at ND: Electro-popster Chris Glover starts your eve into high gear with a dance party.
12:00 a.m. — Rachael Yamagata at St. David’s Historic Sanctuary: If you haven’t yet seen a show at one of Austin’s intimate church venues, then you’re not doing SXSW right. BONUS: It’s with the gorgeous refrains of Rachael Yamagata.
12:00 a.m. — Wavves at Lustre Pearl: No-fi purveyor Nathan Williams moved out of the bedroom into a more polished sound. Will he out his girlfriend, meltdown, or deliver? Worth it to go and find out.
12:00 a.m. — We Were Promised Jetpacks at Red 7 Patio: This Glasgow group was named one of MTV’s Band You Should Know last year and with good reason — their songs build like each one is its last in a breathtakingly awesome, apocalyptic way.
1:00 a.m. — Lights at Elysium: Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer — what else can we add to the list of her credits? Oh yes, she’s also from Toronto, and crafts synth pop-rock. We’re there.
1:10 a.m. — GZA of Wu-Tang Clan at Haven: Gotta get your rap royalty on with a little GZA.
Photo credit: Getty Images