SXSW 2015’s Greatest Hits

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In the first of a two-part series, our Jason Gross shares highlights from SXSW, including exclusive photos and videos — and the artists you need to know. (Photo by Jason Gross)
In the first of a two-part series, our Jason Gross shares highlights from SXSW, including exclusive photos and videos — and the artists you need to know. (Photo by Jason Gross)

A purposely scaled-back SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas, meant a less crowds to fight through but also fewer surprise big names (other than Miley Cyrus and J. Cole).

With thousands of acts on tap at South by Southwest, though, there were still plenty of great smaller-scale things to see in the rainy weather (which still beat the snow in the Northeast), not to mention piles of artery-clogging barbecue. We were already pumped in our SXSW 2015 preview and posted some pics from day one and day two of the festival.

Here are some more highlights that happened for the rest of the fest, including exclusive photos and videos, plus links to find out more about each act. We’ll have a dozen-plus more SXSW ’15 acts coming soon in a follow-up article.


Zombies Live at SXSW 2015

No, not the scary ones on TV or in movies but the lithe ’60s Brit Invasion band that gave us “Time of the Season” and “She’s Not There.” Singer Colin Blunstone still has that wonderfully ethereal voice, and keysman Rod Argent still bangs out a mean piano and organ. Confession: When they did “This Will Be Our Year,” I almost lost it.


Live at SXSW 2015

A packed house of crazed dance fans gathered for this Seattle duo and squealed with delight when they recognized each song. It was easy to see why — from its sustained climaxes to crazed double drums, Odesza rode the show like rock stars (which they were, in a way).


live at 2015

International acts usually aren’t hyped up in the States, but this Colombian band, which mixes native cumbia, salsa and Western dance music drew a lot of notices, especially thanks to electrifying singer/rapper Liliana “Li” Saumet. Admittedly, some of the songs rode the same beat, but it was a good song, y’know?


Live at SXSW 2015

There are only two or three of us that saw this late-night show in a back-room venue, but I’m glad I left TV On the Radio (who I like) early to catch this energetic, blazing guitarist and singer who mashed up boogie, metal and rock on stage … and on top of the bar for part of the show.


Live at SXSW

Even for us indie-rock fans, the music blurs into sameness sometimes, so I wondered if this Boston trio would sound as anthemic in concert as it does on record. It does, so you need to see it, if only to see a slam-bang drummer in a primate mask.


Even with several shows at SXSW, this Aussie indie rocker was a sought-after must-see act. You could see why, too: Her gruff vocals and guitar plus catchy songs buoyed by her trio were a winning combo. She’ll be big.


Live at SXSW 2015

Yep, she’s singer/songwriter John Hiatt’s daughter, but she’s got a much better voice than daddy, plus hooky country-tinged rock songs to match it. Give ’em a chance, and her songs really grow on you.



A banjo-slinging, full-of-‘tude country-rocker who puts more muscle into her music than the limp Nashville regulars? That’s her. She even finished with a juicy version of rapper Khia’s NC-17-rated “My Neck, My Back.”


Literally, a Japanese cartoon punk band, but it’s so hilariously over-the-top and joyous that you want in on the joke. Even if the music is too wild for you, the visuals (not just the costumes) are a must-see.


This Los Angeles duo calls its music “brat pop,” but with singer Liz Nistico in cheerleader mode and a proudly Pink agenda plus Latin rhythms to carry the songs, it literally created its own party on the stage.


This Brit rapper has attitude (as any good rapper should) plus brains (not always the case) and a sense of history (ditto) and rhymes that go over any safe speed limit. No wonder her tour’s a hot ticket now.


Live at SXSW 2015

I pegged this New York duo as “theatrical dance-pop,” which it is, but but it doesn’t just end with the Day-Glo outfits or songs — it brings the music into the audience, literally. One of those acts whose shows add something to the music for sure.


She’s Swedish, she’s Gambian, and she’s all her own person. Her powerful vocals sailed through her R&B-tinged songs, made stronger by her subtle, controlled-but-commanding stage presence. You get the feeling that you’ll be hearing more about her.

Jason Gross is social media manager for TheBlot Magazine

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