The Random Nouns: SXSW Bands

By Laurel Sutton

March 16, 2011

The fabulous South by Southwest festival is currently rocking Austin with truckloads of entertainment. Over the years it has expanded to include film and comedy, but the main draw for most folks is the reason it started: indie music. Everyone wants to play SXSW, and everyone who loved the indies and the alties wants to go to SXSW.

There’s music every day, all day. And it’s not like Sundance, where you have to be invited to shows; you just get up and go. It’s a place where careers are made. It’s a place where you can see every kind of band that exists, and drink a lot of Lone Star while you do it. But it’s OK! You can walk (stagger) from show to show!

But anyway. The band names! We here at Catchword are band name mavens, so we thought we’d take a quick look at some of the names on the music schedule. However, we quickly realized that actual number of bands ran into the hundreds – indeed, well over 1000 – so we’ll have to stick to just one band name genre.

We’re talking about the The _____. The Beatles are perhaps the most famous example, but that form goes back much further, to Big Bands like The Squadronaires (1939) and The Top Hatters (1937). For a long time, the name had to be “the + plural noun”, like The Crickets and The Doors and The Yardbirds, but sometime in the mid-60s the form expanded to include “the + random word”. Thus we got The Who. In the mid-1980s there was a small mini-trend of “the + gerund + noun”, resulting in The Talking Heads, The Killing Joke, etc.

Now we’ve reached the point where anything goes after “the” – nouns, verbs, objects, adverbs. And it’s more fun that way. We present to you a very small selection of band names – just the As and Bs. They’re awesome!

What are your favorites?

  • The Airborne Toxic Event
  • The Albertans
  • The Almost
  • The American Secrets
  • The Amity Affliction
  • The Answering Machine
  • The Antlers
  • The Apache Relay
  • The Appleseed Cast
  • The Atlas Moth
  • The Band of Heathens
  • The Baseball Project
  • The Bears of Blue River
  • The Belle Brigade
  • The Bellrays
  • The Bewitched Hands
  • The Black Box Revelation
  • The Black Cloud Collective
  • The Black Lips
  • The Boat People
  • The Boom Bang
  • The Boom Boom Box
  • The Boxer Rebellion
  • The Bravery
  • The Bright Light Social Hour
  • The Brother Kite
  • The Bubble Puppy
  • The Burning Hotels
  • The Burning of Rome

See all of the band names here.

  • Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!