We've given you the South By Southwest survival guide and the 20 must-see up-and-coming artists at this year's SXSW, but that doesn't entirely help you figure out who to see every day. Navigating the slew of official SXSW sets and non-sanctioned showcases in Austin this week is exhausting, confusing and daunting. So we're easing that burden with our who/when/where/why guide to the best bets at SXSW 2014 each day.
Betty Who @ Austin Music Hall, 8:50pm
Australia’s Betty Who brings the singer-songwriter sensibility to dance-pop, and she’s bringing the dance party to Austin on Saturday. If you like Tegan & Sara’s latest album, you better check Betty out.
Pizza Underground @ Buffalo Billiards, 9pm
Although the official Lou Reed tribute at SXSW was Friday night, this is the most inventive musical homage to Reed you’ll likely ever encounter. This Brooklyn band, which includes Macaulay Culkin, covers Velvet Underground songs with the words changed up to pun on pizza. It’s surprising how much mileage they get out of this cheesy idea.
Childish Gambino @ Butler Park Stage/Lady Bird Lake, 8pm
Riding high on the artistic success of Because the Internet, one of the most thought-provoking releases of 2013, Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino will play the lovely Lady Bird Lake in Austin on Saturday. Enjoy his idiosyncratic hip hop and a gorgeous view of the downtown lake at the same time.
Rick Ross @ Fader Fort, 8:20pm
The Maybach Music honcho promises “special guests” at his only SXSW set, which is sure to be packed, sweaty and heavy on tracks from his new album Mastermind. For those who manage to slip in, the reliable Bawse always delivers.
The 1975 @ Stubb’s, 12:30am
Whether you think they’re indie, punk or synth-pop, the British act are undeniably one thing: A hell of a lot of fun. Catch their immediately arresting music at SXSW before they blow up even more.
Cerebral Ballzy @ Bar 96, 1am
Brooklyn’s thrash-inspired punk outfit Cerebral Ballzy absolutely slay whenever they’re on stage. So if you wanna bring SXSW to a messy, loud, cataclysmic end, check out their late night set on Saturday.
Lou Reed Tribute @ Paramount Theater, 7:30p-12:00am
SXSW began as the place for underground acts to win some mainstream attention, so it's only fitting that alt-rock's forefather is posthumously feted at SXSW 2014. The 22-act roster of artists covering his catalog on Friday night is incredibly diverse. Sean Lennon, Lucinda Williams and Alejandro Escovedo are set to perform, in addition to reunited '80s New Wave act Spandau Ballet and RuPaul's Drag Race star Sharon Needles.
Ludacris: Dickies Roadhouse Presented by Amazon @ Banger's, 10:20pm
His eighth studio album, Ludaversal, is on the horizon, so there might be some new Ludacris songs peppered into the parade of hits. Plus, it's not every day you get the chance to see an artist as big as Luda play a venue described as a “sausage house and beer garden."
Warpaint @ Mohawk Outdoor, 11:30pm Los Angeles' all-female quartet Warpaint stepped away from the angular music of their debut and into moody, atmospheric, beat-centered territory on their incredible second album. If you love The xx, you should check Warpaint out.
Temples @ Bar 96, 11:30pm
British rockers Temples are strongly inspired by late ‘60s psych-rock, but they exceed their revivalist peers with perfectly constructed and executed songs. This is the real faux deal.
Angel Olsen: Pitchfork Media Showcase @ Central Presbyterian Church, 8:10pm
Folk fans never fear, there’s a home for you here. Angel Olsen takes the singer-songwriter title and finds a new delicacy within it, crafting music that is simultaneously captivating and melancholic.
Real Estate: Pitchfork Showcase @ Central Presbyterian Church, 1am
New Jersey’s Real Estate perform at Pitchfork’s only official SXSW showcase following the release of their latest album, Atlas. The band refuses to fix what isn’t broken: their set will feature guitar tones both rich and content, the dreamy kind of humility of a band that has it figured out.
Future: Spin Magazine Showcase @ Stubb’s, 4pm
Future is only playing a handful of shows at SXSW, so if you want to catch him you have to act accordingly. Here’s hoping the rapper plays some tracks from his upcoming and highly anticipated sophomore album, Honest.
Lady Gaga: Doritos #Boldstage @ Stubb's, 11pm
In addition to giving the keynote address at SXSW on Friday morning, Gaga will rock Stubb's on Thursday for 2,000 lucky people. Even if you can't get there, you can stream Gaga's show live on Fuse.tv and watch its broadcast premiere on March 29 at 10/9c on Fuse.
F--ked Up: Pitchfork Day Party @ French Legation Museum, 6pm
Expect to hear raucous, blistering songs from their upcoming fourth album Glass Boys, and expect to get knocked around when moshing commences.
Speedy Ortiz @ Parish Underground, 12:10am
Sadie Dupois' love of Pavement and Sleater-Kinney is clear from Speedy Ortiz's excellent debut album, but if you haven’t seen them live, you have no idea how hard these guys can rock. Pavement disciples usually aren't this turnt up.
Tyler, the Creator: Converse/Thrasher Death Match @ The Scoot Inn, 5pm
If there are two things young rapper Tyler the Creator couldn’t care less about, it’s safety and honesty. If there are two things you can be sure about when seeing Tyler the Creator live, its surprise collaborations and a wild live show. View at your own risk.
Future Islands: 4AD @ Cheer Up Charlie’s, 1am
Future Islands have been getting a lot of attention following a mind-blowing Late Show performance (David Letterman has taken to showing clips of frontman Sam Herring’s inimitable dancing on recent episodes). Check out this Baltimore band’s crazy dancing live.
HAERTS: Presented by Dickies Roadhouse Presented By Amazon @ Banger’s, 9:20pm
If indie pop returns to vogue, its saviors will be Haerts. The Brooklyn band is known for their sweet sounds and sweeter demeanor.
ScHoolboy Q & Kendrick Lamar: 8:45 & 10pm @ Moody Theater
Seven years after its London premiere, the iTunes Festival makes its U.S. debut in Austin, TX, this year. Coldplay head up the first night, but TDE's favorite sons—and two of the most interesting rappers in the game—dominate on Wednesday night. Fresh off his impressive major label debut Oxymoron, ScHoolboy Q will take the stage, followed by the reliably brilliant Kendrick Lamar.
St. Vincent: NPR Showcase @ Stubb's, 11pm
The incomparably imaginative indie songstress is back with her artiest, catchiest collection of songs yet. Her blown-out, purple-tinged hair and eccentric stage choreography make St. Vincent a must-see wherever she goes.
Kelis: NPR Showcase @ Stubbs, 9:50pm
We’ve waited a while for R&B favorite Kelis to return to the U.S. NPR’s showcase marks the musician’s first time playing America since 2010! Attendees can expect to hear preview of her upcoming album, Food.
Diarrhea Planet: SESAC @ Lamberts, 11pm
Don’t let the name stop you from catching these Nashville garage punks. Diarrhea Planet will show you there’s no harm in their mantra "shred ‘til you’re dead."
Eagulls: NPR Showcase @ Stubbs, 8:40pm
Leeds post-punkers Eagulls are known for their drunken debauchery, loud guitars and frontman with a penchant for all things Ian Curtis. Things are bound to get rowdy.
Perfect Pussy: NPR Showcase @ Stubbs, 7:50pm
Following the release of their home recorded tape I Have Lost All Desire For Feeling, these Syracuse noise punks bring their brand of raucous melodrama to NPR’s stage in preparation for the release of their debut full-length, Say Yes to Love, out March 18.
Gunplay: Scoot Inn, 1am
The Def Jam/Maybach Music signee is slated to release his solo debut Living Legend this year, so expect highlights from his many mixtapes and don't be shocked if you hear new material.
K-Pop Night Out @ Elysium, 7:30p-2:00am
Whether you're a K-pop lover or just curious about this fanatically-adored genre, the SXSW K-pop showcase is one of Tuesday's best bets. Evening highlights: The heavy rock outfit Jambinai, rapper Jay Park and Psy's "Gangnam Style" co-star HyunA.
Coldplay: iTunes Festival @ Moody Theater, 10pm
One of the biggest ticket items at SXSW, feel blessed if you’re one of the lucky few to get in to see Coldplay. Here’s hoping the band play something from their upcoming album, Ghost Stories, out May 2014.
Chance the Rapper: Chicago Made @ Red 7 Patio, 1am
Young Chicago artist Chance the Rapper has had a busy year. From obscurity to his breakout mixtape Acid Rap, Chance is known for his surprising live show, a super interactive experience.
Def Jam 30th Anniversary: Mediatemple Interactive Closing Party @ Stubbs, 8:30pm
Not officially part of SXSW Music but with a lineup that can’t be beat, celebrate 30 years of Def Jam records with 2 Chainz, Pusha T, Method Man & Redman and Aloe Blacc.