Sixteen Houston acts will play an all-day free show during SXSW from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, March 16, at the Gypsy Lounge, 1504 E. 6th St. The party is sponsored by The Convoy Group, the company run by Houston promoter and sometime Rocks Off photograher Mark C. Austin, who announced the party earlier Thursday in a press release including the language "If they choose not to invite us to the battle, we'll just bring the battle to them!"
The lineup includes Bang Bangz, Buxton, Finnegan, Folk Family Revival, Chase Hamblin, The Handshake, Holy Fiction, Krhuangbin, the Niceguys, Poor Pilate, the Tontons, Tyagaraja, Benjamin Wesley, Wild Moccasins, Young Girls and DJ Dave Wrangler.
Austin is careful to point out that why he thinks Houston artists don't always get a fair shake at SXSW, he's not trying to pick a fight with the festival.
"I just wanna make sure that Houston's scene is celebrated," he says. "It deserves to be."
Austin says he originally wanted to book a room that could fit twice as many performers, but could not find a venue of that size. A few of the acts playing his party, including Buxton, the Tontons and the Niceguys, are also booked in official SXSW showcases. Buxton and Grandfather Child will play at New West Records' showcase March 14.
As with other years, local artists accepted into SXSW this year are heavily weighted towards hip-hop: Doughbeezy, Marcus Manchild, UZOY, Fat Tony, Dat Boi T, Killa Kyleon, Nosaprise, Hoodstar Chantz, and Trae tha Truth. Christian rapper Tre9 will perform at the Carver Museum's Boyd Vance Theater March 17, and The Niceguys have landed a plum spot on SXSW's "Next Stage" at the Austin Convention Center on March 14.
Rounding out Houston's SXSW corps are punks Something Fierce, goth-rockers Balaclavas, the DJ duo known as Stickygreen Productions, and Navasota gospel group Unity. A handful of Austin-based SXSW artists have roots in the Houston area, including Ume, Amplified Heat, Owen Temple and Carolyn Wonderland.
In the past couple of days, SXSW has announced several perfomers who could be considered "headliners": Norah Jones, the Shins, Fiona Apple, Santigold, several rappers (T.I., Nas, GZA) and both Cults and The Cult, who will headline the free Auditorium Shores stage on St. Patrick's Day. Thousands more will join them. See sxsw.com/music for more information.