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#TheRivalTakesSXSW: highly anticipated acts



College of Charleston


- sponsored

#TheRivalTakesSXSW: highly anticipated acts

Fifteen artists you won't want to miss

Allie Stubbs

Porter Conroy


Grab your cowboy boots, The Rival is headed to Texas! Check below to find out more about the artists we are most excited to see!

Allie's Picks

Kweku Collins

Friday, March 16 from 9 p.m. - 9:40 p.m. at Clive Bar

Labeled as a "hip hop misfit" by Pitchfork, this 21 year old rap artist is one of the youngest musicians at SXSW this year. Collins grew up in the Chicago suburbs in a musical family - his father was an African and Latin percussionist, teaching Collins how to play the drums by age four. He joined the poetry team in high school, putting him well on his way to a successful rap career. Collins joined Chicago label Closed Sessions at the age of 18 just before graduating from high school, and his career took off. That same year his debut EP "Here While It's Safe" (2015) gained Collins fame and success, further helped by his LP "Nat Love" (2016). In his full length album produced in 2017 titled "Grey", Collins continues to experiment with his unique style, which oscillates between spoken word and rap. The young artist has already been enjoying a world tour, and will be making his return to SXSW after performing in 2017.


Wednesday, March 14 from 12:05 a.m. - 12:45 a.m. at Barracuda Backyard

Formed in 2010, Porches is the brainchild of New York based artist Aaron Maine. The band formerly included Maine's girlfriend, Greta Cline, better known as her stage persona Frankie Cosmos. Maine would play as a part of her band as well and they produced Porches first album "Slow Dance in the Cosmos" in 2013, but they eventually broke up and parted ways. The synth-pop sounds of Porches is now mostly Maine, with features from several artists on each album. Maine produced "Pool" in 2016 and is now promoting his newest album, "The House", which was released earlier this year. I had the pleasure of seeing Porches back in 2016 at Savannah Stopover, and can guarantee this show will be the most Tumblr-aesthetic thing you see this week in Austin.

Pussy Riot

Tuesday, March 13 from 7:15 p.m. - 7:55 p.m. at The Main // Wednesday, March 14 from 12 a.m. - 12:40 a.m. at The Belmont

Boy are we excited for this one, y'all. Pussy Riot is a Russian collective/band/protest group making international headlines. Founded in 2011, the group's opinions range from anarchist to liberal left, tackling subjects such as feminism, LGBTQ+ rights, and anti Putin/Trump, to name a few. The group stages guerrilla performances in taboo spaces as a form of protest, wearing their signature brightly colored tights, dresses, and balaclavas (masks with only the mouth and eyes showing). One of the most notable performances occurred in 2012, when the group staged a performance in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, protesting the Orthodox leaders' support of Putin during his campaign. Three members of the group were convicted of hooliganism and sentenced to two years imprisonment, but none served the full term. Most recently, the punk group has made headlines when they anticipated the 2016 election, putting out an eerie music video imagining Trump's America titled "Make America Great Again". Seriously, it's freaky, go watch it right now. Their performances at SXSW are sure to be electric and extremely politically charged - and we could not be more excited to see what will happen.

Lucy Dacus

Wednesday, March 14 from 7:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. at Stubb's // Friday, March 16 from 10:15 p.m. - 10:40 p.m. at Cheer up Charlie's

Yet another young and successful artist, 23 year old Lucy Dacus has been compared to the likes of Julien Baker and Courtney Barnett. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Dacus began studying film at Virginia Commonwealth University but left to pursue music full time. She first began performing in 2015 at the age of 20, and became fast friends with Julien Baker. The two are friends to this day, and Dacus has opened for Baker several times. Her single "I Don't Wanna Be Funny Anymore" gained her critical acclaim, and she soon released her first album titled "No Burden" in 2016. Dacus' newest album "Historian", released earlier this year, has been described by her as the album she needed to write. If you caught Dacus in Charleston last week, you will know just how pumped we are to catch her in Austin. You have two chances to see this rising star at SXSW, and we will be very upset with you if you miss it.

Sylvan Esso

Friday, March 16 from 11 p.m. - 11:40 p.m. at Lustre Pearl

Carolina shoutout! Sylvan Esso is an electronic pop duo based in Durham, N.C. The group is comprised of singer Amelia Meath and producer Nick Sanborn, officially formed in 2013. Meath was performing with her trio Mountain Man when she discovered Sanborn, performing under the name Made of Oak. She asked him to create a rendering of a Mountain Man song and some years later Sylvan Esso was born. Their debut single "Hey Mami" (2014) is a perfect example of the duo's silky smooth electronic sound, and earned them fame as Paste Magazine's number one song of the year. They released their self titled album the same year, and a second album titled "What Now" in 2017. The duo has enjoyed a world tour and a Grammy nomination, and this will be their second year performing at SXSW.

Porter's Picks


Wednesday, March 14 from 10 p.m. - 10:40 p.m. at The Gatsby

A big headliner for the festival, Kelela has been a force in the alternative R&B scene since 2011, and is on tour for her debut album "Take Me Apart", released this past October. Hailing from Washington, D.C. and currently based in Los Angeles, Kelela has seen moderate success with her 2013 mixtape and 2015 EP "Hallucinogen", melding classic '80's and '90's R&B with spacey, futuristic instrumentals and sensual vocals to create an experimental style that is out of this world. Her lyrics tend to focus on rather tender subjects, including failed relationships ("Hallucinogen", track by track, follows the life of a relationship in reverse order), blatant desires, and power within sexuality. She has been a guest appearance for numerous artists throughout her career, with more recent credits including rapper Danny Brown and the one and only Solange. Kelela is an act you absolutely do not want to miss.


Thursday, March 15 from 9 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. at Trinity Warehouse // Friday, March 16 from 8 p.m. - 8:40 p.m. at Clive Bar

This Brooklyn rapper breaks the norms in hip-hop by celebrating gender diversity and NYC queer culture, but don't be misconstrued - Leikeli47 spits lyrics like fire and has the attitude that deserves respect and attention. Leikeli47, who is notable for wearing a variety of ski-masks, entered the scene with her self-titled LP in 2015, which includes the summer bop "F**k the Summer Up," and is now celebrating the success of her second album "Wash & Set". With nods from Jay-Z and , you'd best catch Leikeli47, or you'll be sorry you missed out.


Wednesday, March 14 from 11 p.m. - 11:30 p.m. at The Gatsby // Thursday, March 15 from 11:00 p.m. - 11:30 p.m. at Trinity Warehouse

Tinashe is the pop princess of the 2010's, and her performances may have the largest turnout at SXSW this year. With her hit singles like "All Hands on Deck", "Company", as well as recent hits "No Drama" ft. Offset and "Faded Love" ft. Future, Tinashe has mastered being a sex kitten, sensationalist, trap diva and pop-R&B vocalist. The singer, who's based in Los Angeles, has this alluring musicality that is deliciously addictive, and her lyrics carry a weight of bad-ass and catchy hooks. It is also worth noting that Tinashe is a killer dancer, and her choreography, in my opinion, is on par with Janet Jackson, Ciara, and Lady Gaga. Tinashe's newest album, "Joyride", is set to be released on April 13 this year, and I expect her performances to be an amazing experience.

Ace Tee

Monday, March 12 from 10 p.m. - 10:40 p.m. at Barracuda Backyard // Wednesday, March 14 from 10 p.m. - 10:40 p.m. at Waller Ballroom // Thursday, March 15 from 10 p.m. - 10:40 p.m. at Friends

Coming all the way from Berlin, Ace Tee is bringing the dream of the 90's (hip-hop and R&B) to Austin. Though she has not released an LP yet, Ace Tee has garnered international attention with her song-gone-viral "Bist Du Down?" ft. Kwam.E, and has even launched a design collaboration with global retailer H&M. Ace Tee is rooted in classic 90's hip-hop - her known influences include Queen Latifah, Aaliyah, and TLC - but carries a contemporary house-jam flow, similar to songs by SZA and Jorja Smith. Historically, European rappers have not garnered much attention in mainstream U.S. charts, but Ace Tee's singles "Jumpa" and "Bounce auf dem Beat" will surely help break that boundary. Ace Tee will be an act worth seeing if you want a party-hardy concert.

Tank and the Bangas

Wednesday, March 14 from 11:20 p.m. - 12:10 a.m. at Stubb's // Thursday, March 15 from 8:30 p.m. - 9:10 p.m. at The Gatsby

Winners of the 2017 NPR Tiny Desk Contest, Tank and the Bangas give a fresh take on hip-hop, funk, jazz, soul, and spoken word and make for an unforgettable performance. Creating narrative lyrics that draw out humor and pain, this New Orleans group is probably one of the most eclectic groups seen at SXSW. Tank and the Bangas have strong vocalists (Tarriona "Tank" Ball and Anjelika "Jelly" Joseph) that reminisce gospel, rock and Nicki Minaj's character voices, as well as a band that reminds me of a Frenchman Street version of The Roots, which make for a playful performance. Tank and the Bangas will definitely be a SXSW favorite for many audiences.

Tommy's Picks

Dashboard Confessional

Thursday, March 15 from 12:30 a.m.- 1:30 a.m. at The Gatsby

Dashboard Confessional's charm comes not from pure musical genius or quirky catches but instead from their pop punk sounds and three-chord nostalgia. The emo rock band from Boca Rotan, Fl. are nothing if not the essence of teen-age heartbreak and rebellion. They're known best from their hit songs "Hands Down", "Vindicated", and "Screaming Infidelities". In case you were living under a rock during the golden age of pop-punk in the early 2000's, think of Weezer's earliest music but a little whinier with just a splash of romance thrown in. If that doesn't sound appealing to you, than congratulations, you probably spent middle-school as a well adjusted and well liked teen. If not, who doesn't love a little angst-ridden whining over the tune of three to four chords played repeatedly?

Okkervil River

Wednesday, March 15 from 10:20 p.m. - 11 p.m. at Stubb's // Thursday, March 15 from 11:45 p.m. - 12:25 a.m. at Cedar Street Courtyard

This under-appreciated indie rock band out of Austin, Tx. is an overwhelming and dynamic group of rockers that can help you get lost in joyous melodies as well as bring you into a stark realization of emotions within five minutes of the other. Their music forms complex melodies layered over with enigmatic and moving lyrics that require multiple listens to fully grip their gravity. The group has produced seven full albums since they were founded 1998. The longevity of their career as indie musicians speaks to the timelessness of their music. The true power of the music comes through in their melancholic lyrics that speak of such a wide variety of things as war crimes, parenthood, and the mythos of the American midwest. Many of the songs the band produced play on the American mid-west as an escape from heartbreak and employ such a moving musical backdrop that this myth actually becomes believable. To check out what they're really about, I'd start with their songs "Okkervil River R.I.P.", "Pink Slips", and "Calling and Not Calling My Ex".

Shakey Graves

Friday, March 16 from 7:40 p.m. - 8:45 at SXSW Outdoor Stage

Shakey Graves is a singer-songwriter from Austin, Tx. who does better than most to revive the roots of south-western music. To call Shakey Graves "country music" today would be a travesty, yet put him next to Merle, Cash, or Kristofferson in a playlist and there'd be no mistaking his western sounds. He combines traditional blues with western folk to create a unique sound that moves the ears and hearts of folk music listeners everywhere. Shakey Graves has been performing under that name since 2007 when his friends jokingly gave him it as a traditional Native-American name. His music captures traditional country music themes of heartbreak and moving west, while capturing the imperfect audio quality of a 1950s recording making Shakey Graves a truly old fashioned country man.

Mal Blum

Friday, March 16 from 8:45 p.m. - 9:10 at Cheer up Charlie's

Mal Blum is a difficult artist to place into a single genre, as they have called folk, anti-folk, punk, and alternative by various critics. This is a large part of their musical appeal, they provide a sound that is unique and unheard in most other genres. This band out of New York breaks away from the self-hating thematics of folk-punk to create music that aspires to feel-good lyrics and tunes that build up into a climatic crescendo of self-worth and happiness. They have been producing music together as a three-piece band since 2007. If you're breaking into this band for the first time make sure to check out their songs "New Year's Eve", "San Cristobal", and "Baltimore".

Aaron Lee Tasjan

Friday, March 16 from 11 p.m. - 11:40 p.m. at Antone's

Aaron Lee Tasjan is an American Singer-songwriter coming straight out of the midwest to bring us ballads and stomps soaked in whiskey, tears, or often both. Tasjan draws on the roots of country music just like Shakey Graves but draws less self-awareness to it. He simply exists in a space of classic country and is ready to make that known is Austin. Tasjan has been producing music as part of his solo career since 2013 with his debut album: "Crooked River Burning". Since his debut he has produced two more full albums and a few covers of country classics such as "Dublin Blues" and "Angel From Montgomery". While his covers are incredibly resonant, his original songs will tear the soul from your chest while making you want to stomp and holler all at the same time. Such a thing is only done in the greatest of country maestros.