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At the Hideout This Weekend, See All the Chicago Bands Playing SXSW

The Waco Brothers’ Jon Langford at last year’s send-off   Photo: Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune

South by Southwest kicks off this weekend, but if you’re not going, Saturday is the Hideout’s 20th annual South By Southwest Send-off Party, a concert and fundraiser featuring all eight bands representing Chicago at the festival. The party, launched by Hideout owners Tim and Katie Tuten in the late ’90s, raises between $5,000 and $10,000 annually for Chicago musicians at South By Southwest. The venue’s staff even hand-delivers the money to Texas.

Saturday’s lineup is bonkers. The eight-hour day fest kicks off at 2 p.m. and spans genres from bluegrass to psych-rock to country-soul (really). Below are three highlights to catch before they head south.

Whitney

Anchored by former members of Smith Westerns and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, this buzzy country-rock outfit hasn’t even released an album yet. Still, its mournful, falsetto-laden single “No Woman” has spread across the Internet like sonic wildfire, and given the band’s slot at Pitchfork Fest this summer, Saturday could be your last chance to see them at a manageable venue.

The Waco Brothers

If you like your country-punk more grizzled, check out the Waco Brothers’ 5 p.m. set. The longtime Chicago favorites are SXSW veterans (one member first played the festival in 1990), and with a new album of beer-soaked rollickers to pull from, they should mount a set spanning 20 years of Chicago alt-country.

KO

And now for something completely different: Indianapolis siren Kristin Newborn, a.k.a. KO, layers melodic vocals and biting lyrics over her stock electric guitar loops—to hypnotic effect.

And that’s not even half the lineup. Also performing Saturday are banjoist Al Scorch, Angel Olsen collaborators Lionlimb, and more. Throw in a craft beer and these recent springtime temps, and you’re practically in Austin.

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