Norman Warwick selects from a Paste listing

Jack Jackson, co founder and editor in chief  of the splendid Paste on line magazine told Scott Russell and the Paste staff, before asking them name their favourite acts at the festival earlier this year, that SXSW has always been, and will probably always be, my favorite music festival. I’ve heard endless people complain that it’s gotten too big or too corporate or too crowded, but I’ll take discovering my new favorite band in a tiny rock club over watching the latest superstars on a screen behind a giant stage with 80,000 other people. SXSW is as big or small as you make it, and there’s always something happening worth seeing. We had four people with diverse tastes covering the music at this year’s SXSW—though I think at least three of us had Swedish indie-rock quartet Girl Scout in our favorites. But below are our personal picks. That many of these are from High Noon at High Noon—the Paste showcase presented by Ilegal Mezcal—is mostly due to our initial booking of the bands we most wanted to see going in, and the fact that we all spent a lot of time there. Here, in alphabetical order, are our favorite acts from SXSW 2023.

Few artists have garnered as much hype this spring as Blondshell, the project of singer/songwriter Sabrina Teitelbaum. Blondshell’s debut, self-titled record is on the very near horizon, and she played almost all of it on Thursday afternoon at the Mohawk. Decked out in an old Neil Young shirt and knee-length Shorts, Blondshell won everyone in the crowd over, just in case they weren’t already madly obsessed with songs like “Joiner” and “Veronica Mars.” There’s a reason she took home SXSW’s Grulke Prize for Developing U.S. Act: Blondshell is undoubtedly the moment, and everyone recognizes that. The Mohawk room she played in was tiny—and the muggy heat from outside was only getting hotter in there—but she, with ease, cracked the whole place wide open. —Matt Mitchell / photo by Matt Mitchel

When Austin filmmaker-turned singer/songwriter CM Talkington told me that his backing band for the Paste party would include both Oscar-winning actress Renée Zellweger and Butthole Surfers guitarist Paul Leary, I wondered briefly if I was living inside of a Mad Libs entry or getting catfished. But not only did Zellweger join Talkington on stage for two songs, she rocked the last one hard on both guitar and vocals. She also charmed the crowd, stuck around to support the other bands and just generally got our final day of our parties off to an amazing start. Talkington seemed to embody old, weird Austin with his music, lyrics and general spiritual positivity, having survived cancer and entered this new phase of creativity with both thankfulness and gusto. —Josh Jackson / photo by Josh Jackson

Time and time again, an event like SXSW evokes the purest parts of loving music. During a midnight set at Las Perlas, Best of What’s Next alumni Girl Scout took the stage and stole the show at only their second performance in the U.S. What or who came before and after them didn’t seem to matter, as the Swedish quartet gained dozens of new fans at this hole-in-the-wall in Downtown Austin. They played the old stuff, like “Weirdo” and “Run Me Over,” (if you can call songs off a 2023 EP “old”) but, as we’ve come to learn, Girl Scout have many more songs in their back pocket. Frontwoman Emma Jansson put down her guitar to deliver a rapturous, guttural howl on new track “Monster,” while she and guitarist Viktor Spasov got so loud on “Mothers and Fathers” that it rang the crowd’s ears—all while the melody never became washed out by the toppling noise. The band are natural charmers; still so fresh and shiny that they are discovering new parts about each other’s playing style in real time—which is a gift to watch up close. If you surveyed the front row, you could see each person in it slowly become entranced by the band. Someone even opened Spotify and added them to their library mid-set. When they wrapped up with “Do You Remember Sally Moore?,” there was this almost-indescribable moment where each person in the front row bought into Girl Scout so much that they found themselves singing along with Jansson by the end of it all. It was like watching 75 people fall in love slowly and all at once; the reason we all do this to begin with. —Matt Mitchell / photo by Matt Mitchell

Though Kate Davis’ upcoming record Fish Bowl is her biggest, most-ambitious project to date, the singer/songwriter stripped her instrumentals down for an incredibly intimate set at Paste’s High Noon showcase on Wednesday afternoon. It was just Davis, a guitar and some petals, as she delivered beautiful renditions of her new songs, like “Consequences” and “Call Home.” It felt like the proper precursor to Fish Bowl’s release this week; a good chance to fine-tune the tracks before diving fully into a European tour later this spring. As always, Davis was on her A-game, making High Noon’s indoor space the best spot to be in Austin on Wednesday’s rising afternoon. It’s hard to think of a better way we could have kicked off our showcase last week. —Matt Mitchell / photo by Matt Mitchell

The Lemon Twigs’ time at SXSW got cut short because they had to jet off and open some shows for the Killers. Before leaving Austin, though, they made a pit stop at Cheer Up Charlie’s on Tuesday night to introduce the crowd to their new record, Everything Harmony, while also reminding them about the old stuff. After a late start due to technical hold-ups, the D’Addario brothers—Brian and Michael—were fully in their groove, sharing a wavelength no one else in the space could penetrate. They debuted new singles “In My Head” and “Any Time of Day” with melodic precision, but not before pulling out some reliable favorites, like “The One” and “Foolin’ Around.” It was a mixed-bag setlist, as the band played cuts from all four records in their catalog. Brian and Michael, in their matching striped shirts and bell-bottom jeans, looked inseparable and unstoppable on stage, surfing into tangential guitar solos. —Matt Mitchell / photo by Matt Mitchell


The primary sources for  this piece were written for Paste on line magazine by various writers Wherever possible the original writers have been attributed,

Images employed have been taken from on line sites only where  categorised as  images free to use.

For a more comprehensive detail of our attribution policy see our for reference only post on 7th April entitled Aspirations And Attributions.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.