Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band’s performance will most likely be the big story of this year’s South by Southwest. But another part of the SXSW tradition is discovering and championing new talent. Breaking away from the pack at a festival that features nearly 2,000 bands isn’t easy, but Texas-based acts—there are close to four hundred on the schedule—have some advantages. Fans of the local scene talk enthusiastically about these bands to music industry insiders when they’re waiting for a cab together, but almost more importantly, these acts have cultivated hometown crowds and spent months motivating devotees to travel to Austin and support their homegrown talent. Here are picks from showcasing Texans, from the obvious to the relatively obscure.
Bright Light Social Hour
WHO At last year’s SXSW, this funky band of hirsute rock ‘n’ roll throwbacks cleaned up at the Austin Music Awards with six wins, including Band of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year. It has since become a dependable room-filler across town, including a free show in Austin’s Zilker Park that drew nearly nine thousand people.
START HERE “Back and Forth” is a herky-jerky funk workout flush with muscular hooks.
WHO Late in 2010, after a pair of well-received albums of smart, sometimes ambient, alternative rock, three members of the sextet of college friends left the band. Frontman Brandon Kinder powered on with the remaining