What to expect at SXSW -- an EW Music Preview
So many good things happen in March. This month’s full of fun stuff like Spring Break, March Madness, Purim… and Music Mix’s favorite: South By Southwest.
The music portion of the annual Austin bonanza begins tomorrow, and there’s so much to look forward to: As has become the norm at SXSW, the week will showcase everything from arena-ready headliners to nostalgia acts and, of course, an endless, sweaty sea of up-and-comers.
And us! Music Mix be running around in Texas through the week, so check back early and often for all this year’s news, updates, highlights, and lowlights.
To kick things off, here’s a rundown on some of the acts we’re most excited for:
ESTABLISHED STARS/HAPPY REUNIONS
In addition to delivering the music conference’s keynote address, the Boss will play with his E Street Band at a still-unannounced intimate venue — or at least one intimate more than the Meadowlands.
1997’s favorite vegan songstress plots her comeback with several shows, including one in a historic Austin church.
Her upcoming Danger Mouse-produced album, …Little Broken Hearts, hints at an edgier Norah than we’re used to.
Reconfigured and recharged, the James Mercer-led indie champs return from a five-year recess to headline a free riverside show.
The “So Good” rapper (right) hits up the fest for the second straight year, ensuring the ATL flag flies high in ATX. (Fellow Atlanta MCs T.I. and 2 Chainz will also be in town.)
Nearly 30 years in, the noisy underground heroes (reunited as of ’05) are still giving loyal Freak Scenesters a reason to call the babysitter.
Big Star tribute
A coalition of musicians (including members of R.E.M. and the dB’s, also playing their own reunion show this week) will pay their respects to the hugely influential power-pop band, whose frontman Alex Chilton died days before a slated SXSW show two years ago.
England’s beloved pirate-shirted post-punkers will no doubt bring “She Sells Sanctuary” and other gems to their third reunion since their late-’90s breakup.
Claire Boucher’s recent electro-pop debut, Visions, is already a blog favorite; now fans will get plenty of chances to see her IRL.
Odd Future hit it big last year, but there’ll be a whole new L.A.-based rap collective—featuring Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock, and other up-and-comers — soaking up the hype this month.
The band’s name says it all: warm, globally informed dance pop built on textured synths and pulsing rhythms. Consider it a good use of all that SXSW sunshine.
This 23-year-old Harlem phenom has an elite East Coast rap pedigree—his mother named him Rakim, as in Eric B. & Rakim—but the kid’s woozy, Houston- influenced sound will please listeners all over the map.
More artists we’re pumped for, for wildly varying reasons, include Lionel Richie, fun., Sleigh Bells, 50 Cent (who’s playing the entirety of Get Rich or Die Tryin’ for the first time), Kimbra, T.I., Nas, Best Coast, Big K.R.I.T., Santigold, Girls, Alabama Shakes, Beach Fossils, the Magnetic Fields, and, you know, all the other 865,000 scheduled bands.
More on EW.com: