Music Notes

Our expert picks for the 8 must-see live shows of SXSW 2022

Our expert picks for the 8 must-see live shows of SXSW 2022

Luna Li
Luna Li is among the stellar visiting artists taking the stage at this year's SXSW. Luna Li/Instagram

SXSW 2022 may not have a lineup that’s quite as deep as previous years, but the festival is still sporting a quality set of official artists for its return. Want to know which ones are riding a buzzy wave heading into the fest? Then look no further than this list of local and visiting acts to set the stage for a successful South By experience.

Wet Leg
Not many artists at this year’s SXSW have been hyped as much as Wet Leg. The U.K.-based act had two big hits in “Chaise Longue” and “Wet Dream” in 2021, and now their impending self-titled debut is one of 2022’s most anticipated albums. Wherever you choose to see the cheeky indie rock act, get in line early.

Sun June
Sun June’s Somewhere was one of the best albums to come out of Austin in 2021, and the expanded edition of it was a rather nice way to kick off 2022. You’d do well to mix this indie pop band’s shimmery and welcoming sound into your fest schedule.

Buffalo Nichols
Austin-based singer-songwriter Buffalo Nichols’ self-titled debut was very well-received when it was released late last year, and he’ll carry that momentum into SXSW. Regardless of how much of a blues fan you are, make sure to check him out at the fest.

First things first: It’s a festival rule that you have to see any artist that says they’re the “best band since Oasis.” Secondly, you should make the effort because, regardless of their self-proclamations, the Tacoma, Washington-based Enumclaw is a fantastic indie rock act that will definitely make waves at the festival.

Fresh off the release of two stellar singles, “Heartbeat” and “3-2-Wake Up,” and just before the arrival of their anticipated EP, Ballad of a Junebug, local rockers Darkbird are poised to stand out at this year’s SXSW. Don’t be surprised if the spunky act performs one of your favorite sets at the fest.

Chicago’s own Horsegirl hasn’t been around long — the band just formed in 2019 — but it’s already made a big enough splash to get scooped up by famed indie label Matador. Now, the indie rockers are set to make their SXSW debut. We’re not sure it gets more “up and coming” than this trio of teens.

Luna Li
Toronto’s Luna Li made a name for herself via a series of viral videos during the first part of the pandemic, and now the multi-instrumentalist will be a highlight at SXSW, with her belting out songs from her psych-tinged and just-released debut album, Duality. You’re not going to find a more versatile artist at the fest than this one.

Chief Cleopatra
One part soul, one part rock, and entirely compelling, singer-songwriter Chief Cleopatra will enter SXSW as one of Austin’s most noteworthy up-and-coming artists. If you haven’t already, be sure to dive into her very recently released EP, Luna, and add her SXSW performance to your must-see list.