South by Southwest is upon us, and you know what that means: Names of bands you can’t pronounce, with punctuation or random letters thrown in for no reason at all. I sifted through the ungodly long list of bands and musicians performing at the festival this year, and I’ve gathered for you my favorite band names from the bunch. Some of these are bad, but some are so bad, they’re great.
I think my favorite this year is the one-two punch of Let’s Eat Grandma, a pop band from the United Kingdom, and Grandpa Death Experience, a garage rock band from the Netherlands. Seriously guys, what did your grandparents do to you? Leave them alone. I’m sure they’re very nice people.
Then there are the buzzwords: Things like “blind” (The Blind Owls, The Blind Pets, The Blind Shake, The Blind Suns), “future” (Future Islands, Future Thieves, Future Generations, Future Elevators [???], Future Punx) and “dirty” (Dirty Lungs, Dirty Projectors, Everyone is Dirty).
There were other themes, too. Behold:
Numbers (strangely enough, I couldn’t find a single band with the number 6 in its name. Why?): Ho9909, UNIIQU3, grav3y, 5ive
Where we’re going, we don’t need vowels: RSK TKRS, PWR BTTM, RVRB
Nerdcore bands all have good names: Crayondroids, Crunk Witch, Doug Funnie, Noa James aka Young Orca, Schaffer the Darklord
DJs: DJ Jester the Filipino Fist, DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown, DJ Mustard, DJ Osh Kosh, DJ Xanax, DJ Yoda
Our largest category, unnecessary punctuation:
#HOODFAME GO YAYO
!!! (usually pronounced as “Chk Chk Chk,” but the band’s bio on Spotify says any “monosyllabic sound” repeated three times will do. Eye roll.)
…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
S U R V I V E
Ty Dolla $ign (Why do you need both the words “dolla sign” and the $ in your name? We get the point.)
ye. (no, not Kanye. Just ye.)
And then there are the ones that are just funny:
A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie
The Burning Peppermints
Mail The Horse (not to be confused with Minihorse)
The Nimbus (I hope this is a Harry Potter reference)
Die Heiterkeit (this means “cheerfulness” in German)
Peanut Butter Wolf
PIZZA TIME (this is my new favorite band and I don’t even need to listen to a second of their music)
The lineup for the main broadcast, hosted by Rick Ross, includes performances by Desiigner, D.R.A.M., Lil Yachty, Jidenna, Khalid and Starley. Before the broadcast, the “emerging artists festival” will feature some of the biggest names at SXSW this year: D.R.A.M. and Lil Yachty again, plus Young M.A., Bibi Bourelly, MUNA and PVRIS. The Chainsmokers and A$AP Ferg will also be in attendance to present awards.
The show takes place Thursday, March 16 in the parking lot of the Austin American-Statesman. You can also watch them live on MTV or online. You can enter for a chance to get free tickets to the event here.
Pandora is back at South by Southwest for the sixth year in a row with four days of live music March 13-16 at The Gatsby.
Notable acts on the lineup include country superstars Eli Young Band, groovy post-punk group !!!, indie pop duo Lewis Del Mar, rapper/body positive queen Lizzo, growling synthpoppers Future Islands, the ubiquitous Temples, Austinite Sunny Sweeney and ’90s heroes Jimmy Eat World.
Despite rain evacuations and muddy grounds, the inaugural Sound on Sound Fest in November was a rousing success, and now the fest’s organizers are bringing the party to Cheer Up Charlie’s for South by Southwest.
“Lost Weekend,” three day parties from March 16-18 presented by the fest and BrooklynVegan, is free and open to the public with RSVP.
Notable names on the lineup include Philly punk band Beach Slang, buzzy folk outfit Hurray for the Riff Raff, queer punk band PWR BTTM and Austin electronic band Survive made famous by Netflix’s “Stranger Things.”
Other performers on the bill include Le Butcherettes, Cherry Glazerr, Robyn Hitchcock, Girlpool, Priests and more.
The Black Angels, Poliça, Temples and an unannounced “special guest” are among those performing the badge-only showcase outdoors on Wednesday, March 15, with Meatbodies and Le Butcherettes among those performing at the indoor stage. Thursday night’s lineup includes French Montana and The Cool Kids.
Artists on the bill for the House of Vans free day parties include Rocket From the Crypt, Black Lips and Mykki Blanco on Wednesday and Betty Who, Hippo Campus, San Fermin and Bleached on Thursday.
South by Southwest is just days away, the free beer is being tapped and you can almost smell the free food from here — so whip out your calendar, because here are the best parties that you can get into without having to shell out hundreds of your hard-earned dollars for a festival badge or wristband. Many of these parties fill up fast, though, so make sure to get RSVPs in where needed and be prepared to arrive early and wait in line.
While there are plenty of free events before Sunday (you can search for them in our SXSW 2017 Unofficial Party Guide), this one will surely kick off the music portion of the festival with a bang. Hosted by microblogging platform Tumblr, the proceeds from the party at the Mohawk featuring Sleigh Bells, Girlpool, Pvris and Hoops will benefit Planned Parenthood.
Featuring big names such as red hot rapper Lizzo, electropoppers Sylvan Esso and folky group MOTHERS, you’re going to want to get to this one early. Even though it’s free and open to the public (no RSVP necessary!), SXSW badge holders get priority access.
The Pandora parties are always lit at SXSW, and this year is no different — the day-by-day schedule hasn’t dropped yet, but the lineup includes the ubiquitous Lizzo, indie-pop duo Lewis Del Mar and Texas country singer Sunny Sweeney.
She Shreds, the magazine devoted to women guitarists and bassists, is putting together some of the sickest female musicians for an epic girl-power showcase. All-female quartet Chastity Belt, pop-punk duo Diet Cig and bright indie rockers Ian Sweet are all playing at Las Cruxes, the part-art gallery, part-boutique tucked inside Farewell Books.
March 15-16: House of Vans
The House of Vans is coming back to the Mohawk for its fourth consecutive year for two days of music. The lineup includes chill electropop group San Fermin, punk-pop sisters Bleached and garage rockers The Black Lips.
Austin’s famous record shop, Waterloo, hosts epic day parties every year in the parking lot in front of their store. You’ll be seeing a lot of these bands — Minus The Bear, Chicano Batman, PWR BTTM, Cherry Glaserr — at a lot of the other free parties around town, but don’t you want to tell people you saw Austin legends Spoon play a set in the parking lot of Austin’s legendary record shop? Yeah, thought so. Also, for you millennial kids wanting some serious nostalgia: Jojo. Yeah, that Jojo.
Hotel San Jose and Jo’s Coffee are two of the most Instagram-worthy spots in Austin, and they’ve become among the most popular stops during SXSW thanks to day parties featuring live music and local vendors. No RSVP needed, just show up and enjoy the sweet sounds of trippy psych rockers Temples, Austin soul singer Black Joe Lewis and local country singer Emily Gimble, who previously played in Asleep At The Wheel and is the granddaughter of Johnny Gimble, legendary Texas fiddle player and original member of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys.
Culture COLLiDE takes over Rainey Street ever year and throws parties at some of the bars you may associate with Sunday Funday, but now you’ll associate with your favorite SXSW memories. The showcases at Container Bar feature bluesman Benjamin Booker and up-and-coming pop sensation MUNA, and you can find alt-pop singer-songwriter Banks alongside hometown heroes White Denim at Bar 96.
If you missed Sleigh Bells at the Mohawk or Banks at Bar 96, you can catch them at Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden for StubHub’s day parties. Other heavy-hitters on the lineup include D.R.A.M. (of “Broccoli” fame), glam blues-rockers The Shelters and witty pop duo Electric Guest.
If the free Shiner beer, Tito’s Bloody Marys and Tacodeli breakfast tacos ’til they run out aren’t enough to get you to this annual party in the GSD&M Courtyard, then the music should be: San Diego blues-rockers Little Hurricane, trance-y, dance-y quartet Sundara Karma and, of course, Lizzo will get the party going even though it’s an early morning.
There isn’t much information out in the world about this year’s MTVu Woodies just yet (other than the fact that Rick Ross is hosting the awards), but we don’t need a lineup to say this is one you don’t want to miss. If you need proof, ask me about the time Macklemore went crowd-surfing and I ended up with one of his rings as a souvenir.
If you’re looking to catch ’90s heroes Hanson for free at this year’s festival, it looks like this is one of the only places you can do it. Quantum Collective is bringing the party to the roof of Whole Foods downtown, but even if you’re not an MMMBopper, there are plenty of names on the lineup that may interest you: Kate Nash, In The Valley Bellow, The Relationship (Brian Bell of Weezer) and more.
Probably the biggest of the free events each year takes place at Auditorium Shores. Only two of the performances have been announced: An “All Latino Resist Concert” presented by Voto Latino on Thursday and a Prince tribute featuring Wyclef Jean and members of Prince’s band The Revolution on Friday. A third show is set for Saturday, March 18, but the lineup has not been announced. Admission requires the SXSW Guest Pass, available for free at guestpass.sxsw.com. The The pass also allows entry into a select number of music showcases, film screenings, exhibitions and other events.
Celebrity chef and Food Network star Rachael Ray has been throwing her party at SXSW for the last 10 years, and the long lines every year will tell you exactly how popular it is. But for good reason — the lineup is always great (this year it features Weezer, De La Soul and Action Bronson, among others) and the free food is pretty delicious.
With buzzy bands from Hurray For The Riff Raff and Real Estate to Maggie Rogers and Temples and Spoon, KUTX’s parties are some of the busiest at SXSW — and totally worth that early-morning alarm. For just $10 (I know, we said these parties were free, but the money benefits the Seton Shivers Cancer Center), you get access to the shows as well as a breakfast taco, a granola bar and coffee.
For a $5 donation to Make-A-Wish Central and South Texas, you get four hours of early-morning tunes from artists like Spoon, Jimmy Eat World, Third Eye Blind, Hanson, The New Pornographers, Bob Schneider, Karen Elson and more. You can see the full lineup here (the schedule hasn’t yet been announced).
If you’re wondering where the Fader Fort is on this list, we’ve omitted it because it’s not a public event this year — there will be no public RSVP and guests will receive invitations to the party through email. Other popular parties, like the Spotify House, Hype Hotel and the Friskies-sponsored Grumpy Cat event, do not appear to be returning this year.
Ingrid Michaelson is in town, and everybody knows there’s only one way to spend a rainy Thursday afternoon before playing a show at Stubb’s: Mosey on down the street and get tatted up at True Blue, of course.
The singer, in town on her “Hell No” tour, got a tattoo of a firefly in memory of her mother, Elizabeth Egbert. Egbert was a sculptor and the executive director of the Staten Island Museum before she died in August 2014 after a lengthy battle with cancer.
She tweeted the photo of her new ink, writing, “In memory of mama who I see in the fireflies.” It’s a reference to lyrics in her song “Light Me Up” — “And I want to see you with my eyes / But I see you in the fireflies / And how extraordinary is that.”
It’s not the first time Michaelson has gotten a pre-show tattoo for her mom. She got one in November 2014 before a show in Calofrnia, according to her Instagram.
I befriended their dad, Mordechai, at Stubb’s on Wednesday night when he sold me a “Go Haim or Go Home” T-shirt. Before going on stage with his wife and their daughters to cover “Mustang Sally,” he told me the whole Haim family is in town for 10 days through the entirety of the fest — and from the looks of it, they’re staying busy chillin’ at Homeaway HQ.
Don’t miss Haim’s set at ACL Fest at 7 p.m. on Sunday at the Homeaway stage. I personally promise a lot of epic Este bass face.
A video of Rhodes’ infectious joy at hearing the legendary country artist sing her song has since gone viral, and it even captured the attention of Willie himself.
Rhodes can’t stop smiling throughout the entirety of the video, giggling when she admits that “Mr. Willie Nelson” is the one singing the song. Cannon asks her to sing along, but she points at her throat and says, “I can’t.” But that doesn’t stop her. She sings along for a few lines of the song, and although time has affected her voice, it’s clear she’s still got music in her soul.
If her grin doesn’t get you, her toe-tapping will. The video pans over to her feet several times, where it’s revealed she’s been dancing along the whole time. We dare you to try to avoid tapping your toes along with her.