SXSW 2011 Preview – Top Showcases

March 11, 2011 - By Trigger  //  Random Notes  //  22 Comments

For those that have never been to SXSW, the whole thing is broken down into showcases. A showcase can be put on by a record label, a booking agency, a publicity agency, a radio station, a blog, it doesn’t matter. And where doesn’t matter either. Wherever there is space in or near downtown Austin, there’s a band playing. Bars and venues of course, but restaurants, street corners, even gas stations are all fair game. Find yourself a space and make it happen!

There are two major types of showcases, “official” SXSW showcases, and unofficial showcases. The official showcases can be hard to get into. You might need tickets, or wristbands or badges, or some combination thereof, and those things can cost exorbitant amounts of money. But many of the unofficial showcases are cheap or free, and some even offer free beer and free food. Last year I only paid to get into one of the dozen or so showcases I attended, and that was the very last one. This year will likely be the same.

A lot of the unofficial showcases might dub themselves as “anti-SXSW” “not-SXSW” or “XSXSW”. These are usually grassroots-based showcases that are against the industry takeover that has happened with SXSW over the years, and think the festival should focus more on the music.

Here’s the list of my Top 5 showcases I will be attending.

#1 Hillgrass Bluebilly’s 4th Annual XSXSW Showcase

This is the top showcase for me this year folks, from Hillgrass Bluebilly Records. It is a packed lineup at what is becoming the biggest anti-SXSW event in Austin. Check out this lineup, delivered on three stages over 5 hours:

8:35 – The Harmed Brothers // 9:20 – Shake It Like A Caveman // 9:40 – The Boomswagglers // 9:55 – Willy Tea Taylor // 10:05 – Rose’s Pawn Shop // 10:20 – Soda // 10:45 – Austin Lucas // 11:00 –  Tom Vandenavond // 11:40 – Drag The River // 12:20 – Chili Cold Blood // 1:05 – Possessed by Paul James

#2 Bloodshot Records Showcases

Last year I planned my whole SXSW around the Bloodshot Records events, and that’s not a bad way to go about it. Boasting a lineup of Scott H Biram, Whitey Morgan & The 78’s, Eddie Spaghetti (of the Supersuckers), Jon Langford, Ha Ha Tonka, it’s hard to miss. It is also one of the few chances to see The Waco Brothers, who are never given enough credit for being there at the beginning of the “Death of Country” scene that creates the foundation of Bloodshot.

Last year the Bloodshot Showcases created two of my favorite moments of SXSW, 1) Whitey Morgan telling the story of how Dale Watson gave him the song “Where Do You Want It?” about Billy Joe Shaver’s shooting (watch video), and Chris Scruggs (BR549, Hank III, Bob Wayne, too many others to list) playing with Rosie Flores (watch video).

Check out Complete Bloodshot SXSW Schedule

Download FREE Bloodshot SXSW Sampler

#3 Showcases

When published the lineup for not one, but two showcases, I was blown away. It made me think, why the hell doesn’t Saving Country Music have a showcase? Maybe next year folks, but for now I’m going to be enjoying the fruits of everyone else’s labors. More info on the ninebullets showcases.

#4 TeXchromosome – Women with Texas Spirit

Brigitte London & Ruby Jane at the same show!?  This showcase is power packed with beautiful and talented women folks, and once I get there, I ain’t leaving! It goes down Friday the 18th.

12-12:30-Kim Monroe // 12:40-1:10- Janine Wilson  // 1:20-1:50- Robin Wiley // 2-2:30-Bonny Holmes // 2:45-3:15 – Linda McRae// 3:30-4::00 Mandy Marie Luke  // 4:00-4:30 – Brigitte London // 4:45 -5:45-Temple Ray & The Mastersons  // 6-6:40 – Ruby Jane  // 6:55 -7:35 – Jess Klein  // 7:45-8:25 – Penny Jo Pullus //  8:30-9:10 -Lisa Morales // 9:20-10:30 -Lissa Hattersley & The Greezy Wheels Family Band

#5 Rusty Knuckles Showcase

This will be my first chance to see Hellbound Glory, and I wouldn’t miss it for anything. Click here for more info.

22 Comments to “SXSW 2011 Preview – Top Showcases”

  • Wish I could go. No money in the budget for a trip though. Have a blast Trig!


  • Well it’s a tough job Trigger, but somebody’s got to do it. Sigh. I’m really blown away by all the cool artwork of the above showcases. Kind of makes me wish I’d taken better notice of it last year and sourced hardcopies of those fliers and had some folks autograph them. Any of those would look awesome framed up in my lounge.


  • PS Just as I predicted the Bloodshot Sample is only available to US customers :(


    • That sucks. Yeah I wanted to include all the cool posters. What sucks (not to hoot on Facebook again) is that you can no longer get images off of people’s Facebook pages. So it makes my job twice as hard. But the SXSW poster artwork is always very cool and is one little part of the experience I wanted to share with everyone.


      • A workaround for that is to take a screen shot and then crop it in MS Paint.


      • Triggerman bottom left of pictures on Facebook is a download option. Took me a sec to find it but its there.


        • Thanks Nix!

          Now where’s the “make it not be stupid” button? :)


  • thanks brother Trig. our showcase last year broke the 35 year records of attendance and drink sales for Hole in the Wall. Lets see what we do this year!


  • Any idea what time Hellbound Glory is playing on that lineup? I fly out at 4:35 that day. I’d love to see them play if I could. Otherwise I look forward to meeting you at one or more of these shows!


  • Hellbound Glory will be going on around 4pm at our showcase. We are having $300 worth of free beer as hair of the dog to get the day going. See yall at high noon.


    • 4 or 4:40?


  • Looks fabulous! Have a great time Triggerman and bring back the goods!




  • Hellbound Glory at 4 or 4:40?


  • Nope, 4pm or by 4:15 for Hellbound, depending on how fast the stage is torn down between bands. Our Showcase is done at 5:09:59 at the latest as the club has to turn into an official SXSW Venue by 6pm. It will be packed as most of the other bands have big followings, so I would get there earlier if possible. I want them to have a full hour set.


    • Do you have any idea when and where they’re playing the day before? It is listed on their calendar, but no info.


      • Hellbound Glory plays:
        Thursday, March 18 @ Wild Rooster, 3204 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX: 10PM-1PM
        Friday, March 19 @ The Armadillo Hall (Armadillo Festival), 220 E. 4th St., Taylor, TX 76574: 10PM-11PM
        Saturday, March 20 @ Dirty dog saloon, 505 East Sixth St., Austin, TX: 4PM-5PM


  • Do yourself a favor and catch part of the Midcoast Takeover showcase. About two dozen groups from the Kansas City area performing together. Put together by the Mid West Music Foundation, a local non profit that raises money for musicians without health ins, it is a true grassroots show, highlighting the best and brightest of the Kansas City scene!


    • Any info on time or location you can share with everyone?

      Oh wait, here it is!


      • Thanks for the link Triggerman! I should have done that myself!


        • And btw. I’m new to this site and want to thank you for it and all the hard work that must go into maintaining it! I was raised on real country music, although as a child I rejected it in favor of heavier music (more to do with the relationship I had with my old man who introduced me to it then the music itself).

          But the last decade or so has found me returning to my roots with gusto, driven mostly by the groups of today who are carrying the flame of original country. Wayne, Hank 3, Dale, Lydia Loveless etc. This site has been very valuable to me in finding other new artist who are playing and championing the music I love! Thanks again!!!


          • Thanks for reading!


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