Around 10pm Sunday night, after a dizzy, whirlwind of rock & roll, we returned from the ACL Margo Price taping. SXSW 2023 was officially over. We donned the official set of DidWeJam Jammies, and sat at the kitchen table to complete the list of bands we saw and count them up.
8 days of music, 88 shows, 82 bands, over 30 miles walked. It’s a little blurry but that’s what we counted in the end, so consider that to be a very close approximate. We saw some amazing stuff, musically and otherwise. We met some really fun and wonderful people! We even felt like rockstars when Joy Clark said ‘Oh, you’re DidWeJam!’ when she was handed our card.
When considering who should get the 2023 SXSW Jammie, it wasn’t hard to name our favorites. We saw a lot of great shows but some of them just really struck us. There is no formula for this award. Honesty and connection with the audience are important. Timing and the crowd around us also play an influence. You just never know what will stick with you.
Jammie nominees in order seen: Hallo, Darkbird, Molly Martin, and The War & Treaty.
Sidenote: you can visit our Instagram account at DidWeJam to find pics and video of most of the bands that we list below. Disclaimer: There is no physical prize. The Jammies are just Jenn and Andee sitting around in their PJs talking about music and choosing their favorite shows.
The SXSW 2023 Jammie Award goes to Molly Martin!
She checked all the boxes. Her authentic perfomance (both times) was what really pushed her to the top. She was confident and spoke her truth, but was still humble. It’s hard to say what it is, but she had that sparkle, of not giving a fuck but also ready to share a really good story. We can’t wait to see what she does next, hopefully it includes more music and maybe a tour to San Francisco.
We first saw Molly Martin perform at the Women That Rock event on Tuesday at Cheer Up Charlie’s. (Awesome linep Andie!) She took the stage in all black, wearing a football jersey they had been cut into a crop top. She had a commanding presence and launched into her song, ‘Take My Pills’ with lyrics about depression / anxiety; this seemed to be a theme of SXSW this year. Folks are working their issues out with music and that’s where some of the best stuff comes from.
SXSW 2023 Jammie Winner: Molly Martin (Nashville, TN)
Her entire set was on point and honest. If Rod had been there, he would have “believed her”, which was his highest compliment for musicians and may have influenced our opinion. Another swaying point may have been when she recognized some of her crowd (ahem, Jenn) as one of her ‘queers over 40’. Truly, her honesty and confidence are infectious and it was pure fun to see her.
Another reason we chose Molly Martin was her solid performances both times we saw her. We won’t lie that if we had only seen The War and Treaty’s ACL Radio morning performance, they may have carried the Jammie. Their SXSJ performance, while solid, seemed a little strained and they seemed a bit tired. (SXSW is a marathon! Part of what makes it amazing is watching how professionally performers break down and set up and also how they make it through the week). They still turned in a solid performance but it wasn’t as moving as the morning performance where our eyes were leaking and they were so freaking perfect.
Honorable mentions go to Hallo (pronounced like hollow), Darkbird, and The War and Treaty. We want to give a huge shoutout to Mariel Buckley and also to Sorry Mom. Jenn would like to give a shout out to Brooke Combe. Andee finally saw Barrie and Slaid Cleaves, which were both really great. Rob would have also nominated The Stacks into the mix if ‘support staff’ were allowed a vote.
SXSW 2023 Jammie Nominee: Hallo (Austin, TX)
Hallo was an early highlight. They were a part of the local line-up on Sunday at Hotel Vegas and we all would have liked to see them again. They were not on the schedule; they were a last minute substitution. They only have one song on Spotify, but you can find their other band, Befriend the Bears on there, which has a more jazz vibe and while good, the new Hallo stuff is much more my jam. (Sidenote: we have a SXSW DidWeJam playlist that should have all of the bands we saw in it. It doesn’t, but it should. Thanks to Rob for getting that started for us. We want to say that we’ll update it to include something from everyone, but we don’t feel confident making that promise.)
SXSW 2023 Jammie Nominee: Darkbird (Austin, TX)
Darkbird was also a strong contender. I wish I had been with Andee the first time she saw them or that Rob had suggested the Mes/Mies (singular Jammie awards for when we are not together for festivals) sooner. They would have won! They might have won this time too but there was a bit of rockstar arrogance that while not unexpected, seemed out of place with all the other performers we saw. Also, as the last band of our night, we were tired. We probably should have tried harder to catch their Monday performance but that’s just a little FOMO for you.
SXSW 2023 Jammie Nominee: The War & Treaty (Nashville, TN)
We’ve seen this band a handfull of times and they are always great! Michael and Tanya get most of the glory but Max Brown, their guitarist helps complete this amazing group and has been a DidWeJam Instagram friend for several years. (Thanks Max!) This early performance was particularly moving and we saw a lot of emotion from the audience. I’m not crying, you’re crying!
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