Crucial Concerts SXSW Week Edition

Our favorite showcases and unofficial parties for the rest of the week


Cymande (Courtesy of Cymande)

Cymande & W.I.T.C.H.

Lucille, Friday 18

Gold Diggers x Aquarium Drunkard Showcase

This, my friends, is what it's all about. A rare opportunity to see two legendary international cult favorites on the same bill. Cymande – subject of the excellent documentary Getting It Back: The Story of Cymande that premiered earlier in the Festival – brings their sublime Rasta-tinged spiritual funk back to the States, where they first opened for Al Green nearly 50 years ago. The nine original members were all Caribbean-born and emigrated to England as part of the Windrush generation, where they released three masterpiece LPs from 1972 to 1974. While Cymande has existed in relative obscurity, their music was covered by bands from Panama to Jamaica in the Seventies and sampled by hip-hop royalty like the Fugees and De La Soul decades later. Stars of the short-lived but brightly burning Seventies Zambian rock scene, the expanded acronym for W.I.T.C.H. says it all: We Intend to Cause Havoc. Led by Zambia's first rock star, Emmanuel "Jagari" Chanda, W.I.T.C.H. casts a mesmerizing spell of fuzzed-out lo-fi psychedelic rock. Jagari is the sole surviving original member of the band – and one of the few living musicians from the entire Zamrock scene – but the 71-year-old frontman has charisma to spare while leading the band's new iteration. Gold Diggers x Aquarium Drunkard have rounded out the bill with a hip curatorial eye, but the can't-miss bands are those you'll likely never have the chance to see again. – Thomas Fawcett

Lost Weekend

Cheer Up Charlies, Thursday 17 – Friday 18

Austin bookers Resound Presents link with Brooklyn Vegan to present the annual indie-select Lost Weekend over two days. Mononymously, Claud's bedroom-pop earned the inaugural signing to Phoebe Bridgers' Saddest Factory label, and innovative multi-instrumentalist Sasami's rock continues to shapeshift with metal explorations on new record Squeeze. NYC-based Cassandra Jenkins creates worlds of quizzical ambient folk on deep spiritual whims, while Asheville act Wednesday utilizes jagged guitars and a wry disposition. Co-presenting M for Montreal packs a stronghold of Canadian talent with inviting singer-songwriter Ada Lea, lightly psychedelic soloist Jaywood, gentle polyrhythmists Living Hour, and many more. – Rachel Rascoe

British Music Embassy

Cedar Street, Thursday 17

Beginning as a solo artist in 2017, Fort Lee, N.J.-native Baba Ali was thereafter joined by British guitarist Nik Balchin and is currently based out of London. Their latest effort, 2021's Memory Device, weaves Eighties synth funk, strong dance beats, and existential angst to paint a dark story of what it feels like to walk out of a Berlin club as the sun comes up. No, you can't run away from your problems, but with the right drugs they can wait until tomorrow. Not to mention, Ali is related to Fela Kuti, so you know the kid's got soul. Fellow pond-hoppers Wet Leg, Sinead O'Brien, Self Esteem, and the Lathums open. – Clara Wang

Salon x Comfort Mag

Coconut Club, Friday 18

If you can't find a secret tunnel rave, the best option for dance music at SXSW is the Coconut Club complex. On Friday night, the main event starts at midnight, when Detroit legend Omar S brings to the laser pit an unpredictable mix of raw techno and soulful house that he's been fine-tuning for over two decades. Next at bat is Seven Davis Jr., a disciple of Gilles Peterson whose futuristic funk will wilt even the worst wallflowers, followed by an after-hours set of kinetic club music from Houston up-and-comer Oye Manny. – Dan Gentile

Hoodclips IRL

Mala Vida, Friday 18

Ahead-of-the-game hip-hop distribution company Empire throws an official SXSW showcase featuring artists from coast to coast. Detroit's Babyface Ray garnered mainstream attention last year within the Michigan hip-hop surge due to his wavy and, at times, luxurious rap. Austin's own Quin NFN quietly left Elliot Grainge's 10K Projects record label last year – this weekend will mark the official announcement of his deal with Empire. Other talents on the bill include Money Man ("24"), G Perico, OG Bobby Billions, and well-respected Houston veteran OG Ron C. – Derek Udensi

Island Wave Showcase

Flamingo Cantina, Friday 18

Before the world stopped turning for two years, the clock read "new millennium," so now "New Calypso" here strikes midnight at legacy ATX dance hall Flamingo Cantina. Trinidad and Tobago stages a quartet of acts accented by Kingston electro-rasta Jaz Elise and Londoner/Ghanaian/afterparty host DJ Ras Kwame. Dual-island nationals, meanwhile, stack a truly sizzla crew: Freetown Collective's powerhouse hip-hop, trap, and soca; L'shun Emmanuel's Ocean-y bounce as Jimmy October; scion glamour gal Nailah Blackman, granddaughter of soca pioneer Ras Shorty; and headliner (Christian) Kalpee, NC poster boi. – Raoul Hernandez

No Badge

Chili Dog Fest

Saddle Up / Side Bar / Empire, Friday 18 - Sunday 20

Friday / Saturday: $5, Sunday: $10

The annual Sunday SXSW comedown (and back up) returns and expands this year in both duration and geography, growing from its original Side Bar/Empire confines to kick off Friday and Saturday at Eastside restaurant Saddle Up. Chili Dog Fest organizer Doug Niemczura has programmed the three-day bash with a mix of reliable local faves (Crack Pipes, Loteria, TV's Daniel, Gospel Truth) and visitors such as punk hero Mike Watt's new project mssv, Cleveland sound sculptors Factual Brains, and southern rockers Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires (playing at Side Bar five consecutive days ... pray for their livers). As always, door admission for Chili Dog Fest benefits local charities: Austin Humane Society (Fri./Sat.) and Central Texas Food Bank (Sun.). It'd be simplistic (but accurate) to think of the Sunday lineup as the closest we'll ever get to a Beerland class reunion, lest we forget the beloved punk bunker around the corner closed in 2019 without a proper send-off. With two years of pandemic creating unexpected distance from that unfortunate turn, CDF's lineup exists as a much-needed callback to Beerland's loud/dirty/fuck-around-and-find-out guiding ethos. Daily faves: Fri., Crack Pipes, Moist Flesh; Sat., Croy and the Boys, the Tender Things, Liz Burrito; Sun., Wes Coleman Band, Lee Bains, A. Sinclair, the Mellows, Ugly Beats, and Bad Lovers.– Chad Swiatecki


Sam’s Town Point, Thursday 17 - Sunday 20

The most valuable 20 minutes you can spend in Austin traffic is pointing your car south and driving down to Sam's Town Point. If you're sniffing for Real Austin Shit™, you'll delight in the timeless decor and commingling of unpretentious working-class types, hipper-than-hell country dancers, and head-in-the-clouds (of weed smoke) country artists. The narrative folky-tonk of Cactus Lee and instrumentally impressive swamp-soul of JD3 highlight Thursday before Friday's proceedings unite funk showstoppers Shinyribs, country-punk dust-kickers Rattlesnake Milk, and honky-tonk aces Armadillo Road to mirror bizarre Oklahoma gathering Twister Fest. Saturday's blowout includes Athens, Ga., country-rockers Pink Stones, Hurray for the Riff Raff expatriate Sam Doores, and STP owner/mascot Ramsay Midwood. – Kevin Curtin

Austin Chronicle Hair of the Dog Day Party

Hotel Vegas, Friday 18

As you're already using the Chronicle for South By intel, may we politely direct you to our own annual party? On the Music team-picked lineup: Funny, verbose Leeds quartet Yard Act continues the UK's reliable exportation of post-punk poetry. Joining the out-of-town punk side, L.A.-via-Brooklyn fivepiece Surfbort rose to staple status at Hotel Vegas for singer Dani Miller's ferocious live performances, alongside drummer Sean Powell of Austin Nineties act Fuckemos. Continuing local connections: Our Austin-sourced stars include engaging soul-rock artist Chief Cleopatra, toting new EP Luna on Park the Van Records, and exuberant synthwave group TC Superstar, who consistently stuns with precisely choreographed contemporary dancers. – Rachel Rascoe

Dr. Martens Presents

Container Bar, Thursday 17

Pop, rap, rock, and punk shake the seven metal walls at the Rainey hot spot. Brooklyn quintet Geese kicks off with their post-punk sound, thriving on paralleled voltaic upbeats and hard downbeats. Fellow buzzy borough outfit Gustaf follows, then anti-mainstream avant-pop sibling duo Faux Real hits the halfway marker. Completing the holy pentagon: Bbymutha and Muna – the former produces hypnotizing rapid flows of self-reflection while the latter's emotional intelligence seesaws heart strain and boogie. – Morgan-Taylor Thomas

Tini, Dyed Soundorom

Salon Monarca, Friday 18

Clinching his first weekly party in late-Nineties Paris thanks to David Guetta, DJ/producer Dyed Soundorom shot to niche fame amongst tech-house aficionados with his bright, hiccuping tracks and grooving sets. Guetta later bemoaned large clubs forcing DJs into standard tricks, versus smaller venues allowing for experimentation. On Friday, Dyed joins Germany's Tini, whose daytime Ibiza parties made her a force of techno in the 2010s. Friday's show finds Dyed and Tini playing an outdoor space normally reserved for quinceañeras ... or the intimate room to try new sounds and get weird. Let's hope. – Christina Garcia

Alejandro Escovedo & Friends

Continental Club, Sunday 20

Witnessing Alejandro Escovedo hug niece Sheila E. at his Austin City Limits Hall of Fame induction last October reverberated across fault lines both dynastic and Austonian. Bedrock bleeding heart and cathartic recoil, the 71-year-old San Antonio native stood out amongst a cavalcade of PBS stars: Jason Isbell, Lucinda Williams, Japanese Breakfast, Wilco, Margo Price, Terry Allen. For literally decades, Escovedo windmilled SXSW's unofficial closing, so returning to form ... the alcalde presents a dozen acts from 2pm to 2am, including post-blues howlers the Ghost Wolves, new Lone Star rap molecule Deezie Brown and Jake Lloyd, vintage Drivin N Cryin driver Kevn Kinney, and a festival's worth more. Glamorous types all. – Raoul Hernandez

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SXSW, SXSW 2022, SXSW Music 2022, Cymande, W.I.T.C.H., Claud, Sasami, Baba Ali, Omar S, Seven Davis Jr., Empire, Babyface Ray, Kalpee, Chili Dog Fest, Sam's Town Point, Yard Act, Surfbort, TC Superstar, Geese Bbymutha, Muna, Faux Real, Tini

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