Smile Politely

PYGMALION 2023 music preview

An individual is standing in front of a black wall that’s covered with graffiti. The individual is wearing a blue denim jacket. The photo has a dark background and low lighting.
Bryce Vine on Instagram

PYGMALION, an annual celebration of music, art, and culture, is back for its 2023 edition. With a lineup that promises to be a feast for the ears, this year’s PYGMALION is set to be an unforgettable experience for all of your senses. Here’s a closer look at some of the artists who will be gracing the stages this year:

Lauren Mayberry on Facebook

Lauren Mayberry: The Ethereal Voice

Lauren Mayberry, known for her captivating stage presence and ethereal vocals, is one of the headlining acts. Performing on Saturday, September 23rd, at the Rose Bowl Tavern (Outdoor), she will be sharing the stage with artists like Claud, Madison McFerrin, and Theon Cross. Presented in partnership with Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, her set promises to be a blend of indie-pop with electronic nuances that will leave the audience spellbound.

SUSTO on Facebook

SUSTO: Psychedelic Alt-Country

SUSTO, led by frontman Justin Osborne, brings a unique blend of Americana and indie rock to the festival. Their latest album, “My Entire Life,” explores themes of love, loss, and personal growth. Scheduled to perform on Friday, September 22nd, at the Rose Bowl Tavern (Outdoor), their set is sure to be a soul-stirring experience. Learn more about them from my recent conversation with Justin Osbourne publishing later this week.

Bryce Vine: Hip-Hop with Pop Flavor

Bryce Vine adds a dash of pop and hip-hop to the PYGMALION lineup. Known for his catchy tunes and energetic performances, he will be taking the stage on Friday, September 22nd. His set promises to be a dance-inducing affair that will have the audience grooving to the beat.

The image is a duotone, black and pink photo of a group of people sitting in a room with large mirrors.
Divino Niño on Facebook

Divino Niño: A Latin Psychedelic Journey

Divino Niño brings their psychedelic pop to the festival, offering a musical trip that promises to be both dreamy and electrifying. Their set is sure to be a hit among fans of experimental psychedelic music, adding a unique flavor to the festival’s diverse lineup. Learn about them from my interview with them set to publish on Wednesday.

Claud on Instagram

Claud: Dreamy Indie-Pop

Claud, another artist to watch, brings their dreamy indie-pop to the festival. Known for their emotive lyrics and soft melodies, their set promises to be a soothing experience. They will be performing on Saturday, September 23rd, sharing the stage with Lauren Mayberry and other artists.

A black and white photo of a black man holding a tuba sideways.
Theon Cross on Instagram

Theon Cross: Jazz Fusion

Theon Cross adds a touch of jazz to the festival. Known for his tuba-driven jazz fusion, he will be sharing the stage with The Afro-Caribbean Jazz Collective. Jazz aficionados can look forward to a soul-stirring set that promises to be a musical journey like no other. Read Kerrith’s interview with Cross from earlier this week.

Members of the band Ratboys sitting and/or laying on the floor. The floor and the backdrop are off-white. The female member is laying down across the photo in the front and the three male members are sitting or laying on the floor behind her
Ratboys on Facebook

Ratboys: Folk Rock Sensations

Ratboys, known for their indie folk-rock vibes and compelling lyrics, are another act to watch. Their music is a blend of rock, folk, and a touch of country, offering a unique sound that resonates with a wide audience. Our writer Alejandra recently sat down with Julia Steiner of Ratboys to discuss their latest album.

This is a photo-realistic image of two people wearing baseball caps and collared shirts. The person on the left has an orange shirt and the person on the right has a green shirt. The background is a plain gray color.
A.F. Cortés

Man on Man: Alternative Rock Pioneers

Man on Man brings their alternative rock sound to the festival. Known for their gritty vocals and heavy guitar riffs, their set promises to be a high-energy affair that will leave the audience wanting more. You can learn more about their unique journey in my recent interview with them.

Madison McFerrin on Facebook

Madison McFerrin: A Capella Meets Soul

Madison McFerrin brings her unique a capella and soul blend to the festival. Known for her powerful vocals and emotive performances, her set promises to be a deeply moving experience.

As the festival approaches, the excitement is palpable, and the lineup promises a musical experience that caters to a wide range of tastes. From indie rock to jazz, from pop to hip hop to Americana, PYGMALION 2023 has something for everyone.

In addition to the headlining acts, the festival also features a plethora of emerging talents. Artists like Thelma and the Sleaze (read Kathleen’s article on them later this week), Arushi Jain, and Sen Morimoto bring their unique styles to the festival. The lineup also includes Vallis Alps‘ dreamy electronic pop, Free Range‘s psychedelic Southern rock, and Lutalo‘s soulful melodies and surfy rock from Ax and the Hatchetmen, among others.

Carrie Sue and the Woodburners on Facebook

PYGMALION also serves as a vibrant platform for local talent, adding a unique, community-driven dimension to the event. Among the local acts this year are Belles-Lettres, known for their driven instrumental melodies, and Carrie Sue and the Woodburners, who bring a rustic charm with their folk-inspired tunes. Emily the Band offers an indie rock vibe, while Fiona Kimble captivates with her soulful vocals. Garden Girl add a touch of dreamy indie-pop, Good Night and Good Morning making their first appearance in 11 years, and Haki N Dem bring their unique blend of funk and soul to the festival.

3 members of Kangaroo court on a stage lit with green light inside a tent. You can see 2 guitar players and a bass player.
Derrick Philips

Half House will be bringing the beats and Josh Spinner is set to deliver a compelling performance with his alternative rock sound. Kangaroo Court promises to bring the house down with their energetic brand of prog rock. Ms. Jones If You Nasty adds a dash of sass and empowerment to the festival. Murfee brings an old-school flow with his beats to engage the audience. Snack’d Out and Sweetmelk are local rock bands that will bringing raw energy to the festivities. The Afro-Caribbean Jazz Collective will provide a soul-stirring jazz experience, and Venus Overdrive will bring their punk influences to the stage. These local acts contribute to the festival’s sense of community and diversity, making it a well-rounded and enriching experience. Other acts include Lollygagger (speed metal), Friko (indie-pop), Chuck’s Papas (alternative rock), Loose (jazz/punk/psych) and Tim Atlas (neo-soul). 

The festival is not just about the music; it also offers art installations, food trucks, and a sense of community that makes it a holistic experience. With such a diverse and talented lineup, PYGMALION 2023 is set to be a landmark event in the Champaign-Urbana music calendar. Don’t miss the chance to be part of this musical and artistic odyssey.

Music Editor

More Articles