My Definitive Ranking of Artists I Saw at SXSW 2023

todayMarch 29, 2023 70 5

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By Kylie Hogg

Local Music Journalist


Last week I attended South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas where I had the chance to see and photograph many live music showcases; some that I knew of previously and some I discovered while there. Most of the artists I saw were very entertaining, so I have compiled a ranking of the artists I saw at South by Southwest from my least to most favorite.

  1. Núriah Graham

I saw the Irish-Catullan singer at Audiofemme’s music showcase on Wednesday, March 15, where she played a 30-minute ambient set accompanied by nothing but a saxophone, a guitar, and an acoustic bass. Graham played a stripped-down set. She opened with a long piano ballad that transitioned into an acoustic set that hushed the crowd for the duration of her performance.

: Núriah Graham plays a guitar centerstage. She is accompanied by a saxophonist and a bassist who sit by her side. The stage is lit with purple lights and there is a banner that reads SXSW 2023 in the back.
Núriah Graham playing the Audiofemme music showcase at SXSW 2023. | Kylie Hogg

I saw EKKSTACY as a part of Flood Magazine’s Flood Fest. EKKSTACY is a post-punk band from Vancouver, Canada. The band played a heavy 30-minute set that did a great job of encapsulating their sound in the very limited time they had. If you enjoy bands like American Football or Pearly Dewdrops, you may enjoy EKKSTACY.

Lead singer of EKKSTACY grips the microphone he is singing.
EKKSTACY singing at Floodfest at SXSW 2023. | Kylie Hogg
  1. Satya

I was not aware of Satya before I saw her, but she quickly became one of my favorite artists that I came across while at South by Southwest. Satya is a New Orleans-based artist characterized by the swanky jazz and blues-inspired melodies that flow throughout her catalog. She played a calm set during the Audiofemme music showcase.

Satya plays a guitar centerstage. She is wearing a flowery dress. There is a stained glass window on the right wall
Satya playing the Audiofemme music showcase at SXSW 2023. | Kylie Hogg
  1. Indigo de Souza

Also performing at the Audiofemme showcase was Indigo de Souza, an ambient artist who’s emphasis lies in her remarkable vocal abilities.  The event was held in a Presbyterian church which was perfect for her.  The stained glass illuminated her face. She was front and center of the chapel with the audience watching from the pews. It was like a religious experience Her vocals accompanied by the setting added to the performance. It was as if the setting was made for her.

 Indigo de Souza is playing her guitar. She is shaking her head so her hair is spread in the air. She is backlit by red light.
Indigo de Souza playing the Audiofemme music showcase at SXSW 2023. | Kylie Hogg
  1. Genesis Owusu

I saw Genesis Owusu at the Bose x NME C23 event on Thursday, March 16. I had not heard of Genesis Owusu prior to this performance; however, I’ve had his music on repeat ever since. His performance was full of energy and personality from beginning to end. With a couple costume changes and backup dancers that each had their own distinct personalities, Owusu kept it fresh for his entire set.

Genesis Owusu is wearing a red cropped suit with a black besh top. His arms are spread and he is singing directly into the microphone. He is backlit by purple lights.
Genesis Owusu is playing the Bose x NME C23 showcase at SXSW 2023. | Kylie Hogg
  1. Coco and Clair Clair

I saw Coco and Clair Clair last summer at Lollapalooza and instantly fell in love; so when I saw that they were doing a set at Empire Control Room I knew I had to be there. At its essence, Coco and Clair Clair are two best friends making music and performing together. Watching their dynamic play out on stage was so fulfilling. Both artists sported ironic tees and were not afraid of talking to the audience despite tight time constraints. You could really tell they were having the time of their life on stage.

Photo is in black and white Clair Clair is singing into a microphone wearing a baggy leather jacket.
Clair Clair singing at Empire Control Room during SXSW 2023. | Kylie Hogg
  1. Sudan Archives

Brittney Parks (A.K.A. Sudan Archives) is a well-seasoned performer, so when I saw her name on the lineup for Floodfest I knew I had to catch her set. With nothing but her violin and keyboard, Parks took control of the crowd completely solo. Watching her create the songs that I have listened to for years in front of my eyes brought so much more life to an otherwise completely prerecorded set. It was like she was inviting the audience to be a part of her artistic process. She was also not afraid to connect with the crowd. By lowering down to the audience’s level and even dancing with fans during her song, “Home Maker,” Parks made a celebration out of her South by performance.

Sudan Archives looks directly into the camera. She is holding a microphone. She is wearing black pants and a black tank top.
Sudan Archives singing at Floodfest at SXSW 2023. | Kylie Hogg

Featured Image by Kylie Hogg.

Written by: Preethi Mangadu

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