A SXSW Photographer’s Top 10 SXSW Music Must See Acts PLUS


SXSW Music has began and I am already dead. I have been going to sessions and parties since Thursday night and have walked hundreds of miles on hard concrete. This is my forth year doing photography for South By Southwest and I have had the pleasure of shooting bands like Macklemore, AWOLnation, PANIC! at the Disco, City and Colour, Trampled by Turtles, Atlas Genius, Glen Hansard, Ben Howard, Fitz and the Tantrums, and literally hundreds more.

My top ten list is not going to have Kanye West, Jay Z, Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Nas, 50 Cent, Biebs or anyone like that. SXSW is here for the world’s musicians to come together in our small city and hope to get noticed. Do yourself a favor and seek out the ‘up and comings’ instead of waiting in like for radio bands. Don’t get me wrong, Yeezy is the best hip-hop/rap live show I have ever been to but you can just buy tickets to those events. There are over 2,000 bands here in Austin and many of the shows are free. So lance up your chucks, tight roll your jeans, throw on your best free ray-ban knock-offs and join in on the madness.

Alright – here is the bands you should need to see during SXSW 2014:

—— Top 10 SXSW Music Bands ——

#10 – Vance Joy
#9 – Allen Stone
#8 – Twin Forks (lead singer of Dashboard Confessionals)
#7 – Hozier
#6 – Chance the Rapper
#5 – Johnnyswim
#4 – Jetta
#3 – Polica
#2 – Phantogram
#1 – London Grammar

These bands are my honorable mention:
Against Me! (was really tough not putting them into my top ten)
Royal Teeth
We Were Promised Jetpacks
Clear Plastic Masks
Wild Child (a very, very good local band)
Charli XCX
Chet Faker
Agnes Obel
Arc Iris
St. Vincent
Milo & Otis
Aloe Blacc (he is playing like 6 different shows)
Sage Francis (you have to hear ‘The Best of Times’)
Gary Clark Jr. (absolutely amazing but he is from Austin so the locals see him often)

There also seems to be a huge influx of Women lead vocal bands kinda like HAIM at SXSW this year… here are few good ones:


I made a Spofiy playlist – play it over and over to become a better person:

Here is my top 50 SXSW photos that I have taken from previous years… these are my favorite for multiple reasons. Some aren’t my ‘top’ photos but they bring back some great memories that make them my favorite:

By the end of SXSW, this is who I become:

Daran is the creator of ColoredLion.com & specializes in bringing out the amazing colors that are all around us & almost always has a camera in hand. You can find him at Google+ and Twitter.