Every year, hundreds of bands descend upon Austin, Texas to make the South by Southwest Festival one of the most anticipated of the year. Featuring musical acts from all over the world, the music section of this mammoth festival takes place from March 11th to 16th 2014. This year sees the festival get even bigger and better as a host of new acts showcase alongside some big name veterans to give an awesome lineup of over 2,000 acts. Anyone lucky enough to be making the trip to Austin next month is going to have a hard time deciding which bands to go see, so to help you make up your mind, here’s ten acts that we consider unmissable from this year’s lineup.

London GrammarLondon Grammar are heading to this year's SXSW Festival

London Grammar

If you haven't heard of this British trio you need to. Releasing their debut album ‘If You Wait’ in September, London Grammar have wowed critics with their unique sound and have truly gone from strength to strength. Singer Hannah Reid adds an amazing baritone voice to their trip hop sound, making them on of the standout acts of 2013. With world domination not far away, expect them to wow the Austin audience as play as part of the iTunes festival which is coming to SXSW for the first time this year. Check out our interview with the band.

Gary Numan

Electro pioneer Gary Numan has over three decades of music making behind him and he’s yet to slow down. Numan’s live shows are known for their ferocity and expect no less when the ‘Cars’ singer makes his way to SXSW. He’s worked with some of the biggest names in rock and metal, such as Fear Factory and Nine Inch Nails and influenced everyone from Lady Gaga to Marilyn Manson. Last year he released ‘Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind)’, his 20th studio album - expect no less than a set packed with some of the heaviest electronic music you’ll ever hear, proving why Numan is the living legend of electronic hard rock. Numan will be playing Elysium on Saturday.

Black Lips

Black Lips have been around for a while but the past few years have been very kind to one of the hardest working bands in America. Later this year the Atlanta rockers will be going ‘Underneath the Rainbow’ with their 7th studio album. Although 2011’s Arabia Mountain will be a hard act to follow, this new offering might see the garage punks broadening their sound, with their first ever synth usage included on the record. This will be the band's seventh SXSW appearance and they are known for their high energy live shows which they even brought to the Middle East in 2012. Now back on their home soil, expect to dance, laugh and sing along when they play textile on the Saturday.


English two piece Drenge have been wowing the UK with their post grunge flavour this year and its now time to conquer the other side of the Atlantic. They’ve just unleashed their debut U.S single ‘Bloodsports’ and have matched the acclaim they received in the UK with American audiences. Proving that less sometimes is more, Drenge is made up of just a drummer, guitarist and singer, brothers Eoin and Rory Loveless who blend together to create a seamless sound reminiscent of some of the great bands of the early 90s/ Drenge will play at Latitude 30 on Saturday.

Bring Me The Horizon

If you’re looking for something a bit more hardcore in your festival experience you could do worse than check out British metallers Bring Me The Horizon. They’ve been around since 2004 but they had their ‘coming of age’ moment last year with their fourth album ‘Sempiternal’ which was released in April. Expect these guys to really turn up the volume and watch out for their always headlining grabbing frontman Ollie Sykes.

KelisYou wont want to miss Kelis at South by Southwest


You shouldn't need any convincing to add Kelis to your festival must see list this year. The R&B songstress is always pushing the artistic boundaries and has become a chameleon of the genre. She hasn't taken to an American stage since 2010, so what better place to make a comeback than SXSW? Expect to hear tracks from her sixth studio album ‘Food’ which is due for release in April alongside plenty of her famous hits such as ‘Milkshake’ and ‘Caught Out There’. Kelis is playing Clive Bar on Thursday.

Wolf Alice

These guys haven't even released a full length album yet but if their debut EP ‘Blush’ is anything to go by it’s going to be worth waiting for. Think of all the alternative music you enjoyed in the 90s brought right up to date by this London four piece. They held the honour of being named the most blogged about artist of 2013 by BBC6 Music but their reputation is set to grow this year. Catch them before they get any bigger on Tuesday at Latitutde 30.


Warpaint’s Theresa Wayman and Emily Kokal met at choir when they were 11 but after Thereasa moved to Los Angeles in 2004 the girls formed Warpaint on Valentine’s day. With a sound reminiscent of the Coceatau twins, their debut album was released in 2009 to critical acclaim. However it was there eponymous second album that brought them wider attention. If you’re looking for something cool and dreamy in the Texan sun be sure to check them out at the Mohawk Outdoor on Sunday. Read our review of Warpaint's eponymous album.

Kurt Vile

Joining Kelis at the Clive Bar on Thursday will be Philadelphia’s Kurt Vile. He wasn’t just gifted with one of the coolest names in rock, he’s also one of the greatest guitar talents to emerge in the past decade. Taking influence from bands like Pavement and his fellow Philadelphian Bruce Springsteen, Vile proved his worth last year with ‘Walking on a Pretty Daze’, his fifth studio album. Be sure not to miss the long haired guitar hero when he plays what is sure to be an epic set on the Thursday.

Charli XcxGirl to watch out for: Charli XCX, at this year's SXSW Festival

Charli XCX

There’s been plenty of vastly talented young female singers making a name for themselves in the past 12 months, but finally 2014 is the turn of England’s Charli XCX to have her moment. The girl behind the moniker, Charlotte Aitchison has really made a name for herself in the past two years but things have really kicked off for the singer after she released ‘True Romance’ in April. Comparisons have been drawn with everyone from Kate Bush to Siouxsie Sioux and she’s even had her music dubbed neon goth. She wowed crowds last year but expect her return to be even better as she plays Textiles on Thursday.

Oh and by the way, as if all the amazing live bands weren't enough, music fans have even more to get excited about at this years SXSW with some amazing music films being shown, including ‘Sheffield: Sex City’, a documentary about Pulp's final show in 2012, and also All Is By My Side, the Jimi Hendrix biopic which stars Outkast’s Andre 3000.