Our critics picked their can't-miss artists for each night of SXSW. Here's the best of Friday.


8 p.m. Billy Strings: In his mid-20s, the hot Nashville picker plays bluegrass but colors well outside the lines with psychedelic overtones and punk-rock energy onstage. (Scoot Inn)

9 p.m. Robert Ellis: On “Texas Piano Man,” the Houston-area native brilliantly recasts his identity from guitar-strumming troubadour to Elton John-inspired pop savant. (Mohawk outdoor)

10 p.m. Rembrandts: They’ll be there for you, yes, but Danny Wilde and Phil Solem were an accomplished pop pair before doing the “Friends” theme, and they warrant another look with a new album due this summer. (Lamberts)

11 p.m. John Paul White: Half of the Grammy-winning duo Civil Wars and a partner in the influential indie label Single Lock, White is reaching toward an orchestral countrypolitan sound on his new album due in April. (Cooper’s BBQ)

Midnight. Drivin N Cryin: Since the 1980s, Kevn Kinney’s Georgia outfit has transcended Southern-rock stereotypes with songs of profound wisdom set to music that’s equal parts country-folk and hard rock. (Continental Club)

1 a.m. Yvette Landry with Marcia Ball and Friends: Austin pianist Ball gets back to her roots with Landry and other Louisiana musicians to cap a Lafayette-sponsored night at the home of the blues. (Antone’s)


5:30 p.m. Thutmose: The Brooklyn rapper’s prominent placement on the “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” soundtrack put him on the rise, but it’s his soulful flow and lyrical dexterity that will seal the deal. (Nuevo Leon)

6 p.m. Japanese Breakfast: A suppertime serenade from indie pop’s smartest chanteuse? Yes, please. (Container Bar)

8:30 p.m. Dungeon Family: The Dirty South titans host a hip-hop throwdown with Big Boi, Goodie Mob and Sleepy Brown, and the whole city is invited. (Auditorium Shores)

10 p.m. Pink Sweat$: The Philadelphia songwriter will smooth-croon his way into your heart with achingly vulnerable love songs and chilled-out party jams. (Lucille)

11 p.m. Cimafunk: The Afro-Cuban phenom plays a seductive blend of hard funk, Caribbean sounds and Afrobeat, with wicked rhythms that will leave no hips untwitched. (Flamingo Cantina)

12:40 a.m. Mr. Eazi: Already a star on his home continent and in Europe, the Nigerian Afrobeat artist is ready to storm the United States with his upbeat melodies and club-friendly dance beats. (Belmont)


2 p.m. Illuminati Hotties: This L.A. outfit opened for Lucy Dacus last month at Barracuda, which, yes. Trust: They’re a bolt of earnest SoCal lightning. Worth your while to catch one of their sets during the fest. (Container Bar)

5 p.m. Cherry Glazerr: One of the most buzzed-about rock bands of the past couple years, exploding with shreddy, jet-fueled firecrackers. (Container Bar)

6 p.m. Japanese Breakfast: Guess you’re spending the whole day at Container Bar, then. Michelle Zauner is the port in a storm of SXSW unknowns. Songs like “Body Is a Blade” will break your heart. Then she’ll put you back together with irrepressible verve on fizzy numbers like “Everybody Wants to Love You.” (Container Bar)

9 p.m. Sorry Girls: This pop band’s bio references shopping sprees, peanut M&Ms, Springsteen and “Twin Peaks.” After a few listens, honestly … yes. (Swan Dive patio)

12:20 a.m. Sir Babygirl: Kelsie Hogue’s album “Crush on Me,” released this year, is a sweet-and-sour bottle rocket that knocks you through time and space into a GeoCities-themed house party. If I could recommend her twice, I would. (Palm Door on Sabine)