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Feature Thu Feb 16 2012

Chicago at SXSW: Our Complete Band List, Showcases & More

SXSW Music  - ChicagoWe at Gapers Block have made it a tradition to cover the SXSW Music Festival in Austin as if it were a local festival. That's because every year, Chicago sends tons of acts and hundreds of fans down to Texas in March, making sure that our city's music scene stays relevant and prominent.

SXSW has finalized its official showcase list, and Chicago acts are well represented. As we do every year, we've compiled a list of all the Chicago-based official showcasing acts, as well as groups from around the region, showcases and parties by local labels, and even "unofficial" shows by Chicago bands. If you're planning a trip down to Austin March 13-18, give these folks your support.

Chicago Acts at SXSW

Andrew Belle
Andrew Bird
Chrissy Murderbot
Gemini Club
Gold Motel
Las Guitarras de España
The Hood Internet
JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound
Kids These Days
Bruce Lamont
Love of Everything
Maps & Atlases
Na Palm
Joe Pug
Secret Colours
Scattered Trees
Sound Remedy
Unicycle Loves You
U.S. Girls

There are also a couple Chicago expats performing this year (besides Andrew Bird, of course.) Brenmar, a former Chicago DJ now living in Brooklyn, Lincolnwood-raised Haroula Rose, and Nightmare Air, a new project from Mikey Lovechilde of Airiel, will all showcase.

Regional Acts

As in previous years, I've compiled a list of acts from around the region (aka, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin) who are playing, too:
The American Secrets (Detroit)
BoDeans (Now listed as being in Milwaukee instead of Waukesha, as they were last year)
Rachel Brooke (Detroit)
Danny Brown (Detroit)
Cheap Girls (Lansing, MI)
Circuit des Yeux (Lafayette, IN)
The Company We Keep
Cory Chisel & The Wandering Sons (Appleton, WI)
Diplomats of Solid Sound (Iowa City, IA)
Every Avenue (Detroit)
The Hounds Below
Margot & the Nuclear So and So's (Indianapolis)
Peaking Lights
The Ragbirds • (Ann Arbor, MI)
The Skies Revolt (Grand Rapids, MI)
Stepdad (Grand Rapids, MI)
Tammar (Bloomington, IN)
Thi'sl (St. Louis)
Turquoise Jeep (Des Moines, IA)
Water Liars (St. Louis)
Wet Hair (Iowa City, IA)
William Elliot Whitmore (Montrose, IA)
Yearbook Committee (Terre Haute, IN)
Zola Jesus (Merrill, WI, but living in LA)


Chicago-based record labels do SXSW big, and this year is no exception. Here's a run-down of what's been announced so far:

If you're not heading to SXSW Music, you still have an opportunity to catch a bunch of the bands. The Hideout will once again throw a SXSW Send Off Party with the Reader on March 10. Starting at 1:30pm, the lineup includes Kids These Days, In Tall Buildings, Musikanto, Hollywood Holt, The Waco Brothers, Outer Minds, Cains & Abels, Redgrave, Unicycle Loves You, Football and Paper Thick Walls. $10 gets you in the door.

Permanent Records is co-hosting a pair of sendoff shows with Captcha Records, Moniker Records, Rotted Tooth Recordings, and Trouble In Mind Records March 10 and 11 at the Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave. Titled "Sausage Fest" (not to be confused with the SausageFest), Running, Bad Drugs, Stacian and Bitchin' Bahas perform on the 10th, Apache Dropout, Heavy Times, Zath and Supersonic Piss perform on the 11th. Two-day passes are just $15, or pay $8 for each day.

Heave Media and are co-hosting a show March 14 at B.D. Riley's from noon to 5pm. Chicago acts Paper Thick Walls, Netherfriends and Archie Powell & The Exports will play, along with The Tins, The Wandas and Son of the Sun.

AEMMP Records will host a hip hop showcase from noon to 6pm on March 16 at Bat Bar, featuring Lili K., F.A. The Squad, BrandUn DeShay and Minor Characters.

Bloodshot Records' official showcase is March 17 at Red Eyed Fly, featuring JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound, Lydia Loveless, The Waco Brothers w/ Paul Burch, Cory Branan, Maggie Bjorklund and Kurt--The Deadstring Brother. The label's annual Yard Dog Party on March 16 will feature all of the above as well as Southeast Engine, Rosie Flores and others.

HoZac Records has a showcase on March 17 at Liberty Bar from 9pm to 2am, featuring Puffy Areolas, Rayon Beach, Heavy Times, the band in Heaven, Far-Out Fangtooth, Bleeding Rainbow, Ketamines, Eric & The Happy Thoughts and more to come.

Trouble In Mind Records is showcasing on March 17 at Trailer Space from noon to 6:30pm, featuring Hex Dispensers, Wheels on Fire, The Mean Jeans, The Wrong Words, The Resonars, Mikal Cronin, Apache Dropout and Night Beats. More details on Facebook.

More to be added as we hear about them.

Unofficial Shows

There are, of course, always plenty of unofficial shows at SXSW Music, and this year's no exception. White Mystery has eight shows lined up all over Austin, In Tall Buildings and Cains & Abels will be heading down together, and Redgrave is playing a couple of shows. In addition to the AEMMP showcase, Jip Jop will be performing in a couple other showcases. Rockie Fresh lists two unspecified shows March 15 and 16 on his tour calendar.

If you know of a show by a local act (yes, even your own), please let us know in the comments.

GB store

Maggie / February 16, 2012 2:13 PM

Bottom Lounge/Catharsis flyer is from last year.

Andrew Huff / February 16, 2012 3:09 PM

Grap, thanks for the catch, Maggie. Yanked it.

Rockie Fan / February 16, 2012 3:24 PM

Need to include Rockie Fresh's unofficial dates. He's bigger than all of these artists!

Andrew Huff / February 16, 2012 3:43 PM

@Rockie Fan, you could have done exactly that in your comment. But he's added now.

kyle / February 16, 2012 10:45 PM

Thin Hymns ( is also doing a SXSW tour, playing 8 or so shows down there.

BLVD Records / February 17, 2012 1:13 PM

The infamous Mahogany (who are now a Chicago-based act... are also playing an official SXSW show...

WindyCityWeekly / February 17, 2012 2:04 PM

Excited to see Bloodshot Records is still going strong!

M@ / February 19, 2012 9:55 PM

M@ here from Jip Jop. We have a show @Double Door on the 8th right before we head for Austin, and many thanks Andrew for the look.

erica / February 20, 2012 12:44 AM

So excited for SXSW this year. Going to see Secret Colours, Joe Pug and Margot & the nuclear So and So's.

The Break / February 21, 2012 12:17 AM

Chicago based band The Break is playing the Music Gorilla Showcase at Fuel.

hemmingbirds / February 23, 2012 11:28 PM

hemmingbirds is playing friday 3/16 at the dizzy rooster - part of red gorilla music fest, a fest adjacent to sxsw

Andrew S. / February 29, 2012 2:46 PM

If you get a chance, check out a GREAT band from Chicago called Glendenning. This 6-piece folk/punk project will be playing numerous shows at 311 Club on 6th St. with a TON of Chicago (as well as national) talent!

Pearls / March 5, 2012 4:18 PM

Pearls Mahone & The OneEyed Jacks are playing send off shows this weekend in the burbs: Friday at Pickups in Lynwood and Saturday at Brauerhouse in Lombard, and finally Monday at The Tonic

The alt-SXSW showcase we’ll be playing in Austin - XSXSW 5 sponsored by Hillgrass Bluebilly Records, Saving Country, and Muddy Roots Festival is detailed here!

Pearls / March 5, 2012 5:26 PM

whoops wrong XSXSW 5 link

XSXSW 5 Show times!

GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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