The MFN 23: Discover 23 future festival headliners
Future festival headliners. 23 essential and exciting new artists to look out for in 2023 as we hold on to the fervent return of live music.
Last year’s fast rising list featured the likes of Wet Leg, Yard Act, TV Priest, Coach Party, Molly Payton, The Mysterines and Barry Can’t Swim.
This year’s red hot list includes 23 new names ready to break onto the festival circuit. Check out ‘The MFN 23’ playlist on Spotify here.
From Newcastle, Lizzie Esau is one of those rare, raw and honest artists. Never lacking substance, her early releases show her rockstar potential and wide appeal. Finding influence in Wolf Alice, it’s only the beginning for Lizzie, who has been in the studio working on new music for 2023, with renowned producer Catherine Marks (The Killers, Foals, Wolf Alice).
Emerging in late 2022 with her single, ‘Consistent Dedication’, Heartworms unleashed one of the most exciting debuts of recent years.
Racking up BBC Radio 1 plays with the help of Jack Saunders, Dead Pony are a young band at the forefront of a nu rock wave. This high-octane Scottish quartet are ready to take their punk attitude out on the road. Dead Pony are set to be a highlight at SXSW 2023.
From the West Midlands, Nieve Ella is an authentic indie-pop singer/over-sharer who writes songs with cut-to-the-core honesty. Her coming-of-age debut EP, ‘Young & Naive’, is out on January 20th, 2023.
Prima Queen is the result of two badass women finding one another and becoming best friends. Drawing influences from artists such as Julia Jacklin and Lucy Dacus, Prima Queen have carved out their own vulnerable yet gritty sound and ethereal aesthetic. The band have toured in 2022 with the likes of The Big Moon and Wet Leg, and 2023 sees Prima Queen continue to rise with headline shows and festival appearances.
Tummyache is the moniker of producer/musician Soren Bryce. The project is named after one of the side effects of severe physical anxiety. A highlight at Visions Festival 2022, Tummyache packed out Paper Dress Vintage in Hackney on one of the hottest days of the year.
Offering something new for 2023, Deki Alem are the Swedish brothers blending sub-genres such as drum & bass, dance and grunge with rap in a slick and seamless manner.
Last March I flew to Austin, Texas for SXSW, only to discover my new favourite band a week later at The New Cross Inn – a 350-cap venue in South London. Emerging from Dublin, Gurriers are the unstoppable alternative force blending noise rock and shoegaze.
Melodic, fuzzy guitar-rock, nostalgic of New York City’s ‘Meet Me In The Bathroom’ era while not lacking sincerity. Been Stellar are one of NYC’s glittering new guitar hopes. The five-piece toured the UK in 2022 and will return this summer as a tastemaker favourite at festivals such as The Great Escape.
Erin is a new raw talent from Chelmsford, Essex. Her debut single, ‘Killing Time’, feels timeless.
Emerging from Edinburgh, Redolent are the electronic live act using beats and lyrical visuals to enhance their observational commentary. Finding influence in Mount Kimbie, LCD Soundsystem and Talking Heads – this Scottish 5-piece are coaxing an unvarnished hybrid of electronic and indie.
Medicine Cabinet had already emerged as Glasgow’s newest mosh-pit culprits before releasing ‘The Signs’ and ‘Factor 50!’ in 2022. They sit at the sardonic intersection where pop meets the opposite of itself.
MYTBE is the moniker of singer and songwriter, Phoebe May Taylor. Naturally, as the daughter of a jazz musician, South London’s MYTBE values authenticity above all else. Her subtle sound has landed support slots alongside the likes of Billie Marten. Fusing downbeat jazz with intricate lyrics, her debut EP, ‘Good Enough’, explores the female experience through an unfiltered lens.
Kicking off 2023 with a US tour supporting Suki Waterhouse, Blondshell is the new name to know. The stage name belongs to LA-based singer/songwriter Sabrina Teitelbaum. Born in New York, Sabrina spent 2022 releasing music on Partisan Records (IDLES, Fontaines D.C.), and will make her live debut on the international festival circuit this year. Blondshell has a talent for writing slow-burn sad songs with an undercurrent of sweltering rage.
She’s In Parties
Taking their name from a song by British gothic band, Bauhaus, She’s In Parties are an effortlessly cool quartet with a polished shoegaze sound.
From The Isle of Wight, Plastic Mermaids are five surfing musicians who are at peace with belonging nowhere on the algorithm. With lots of live dates on the horizon, throwing out the rule-book is starting to work in their favour. Released late 2022, Plastic Mermaids’ second full-length album, ‘It’s Not Comfortable to Grow’, is a dreamy full-length take on heartbreak.
Lip Filler are five lads currently residing above a chicken shop in Shepherd’s Bush, London. Released late 2022, debut single ‘Cool’ is a punchy festival-ready banger.
Amyl & The Sniffers meets Wet Leg. From Ireland, M(h)aol – (pronounced ‘male’) – are one of the most exciting new alternative bands on the post-punk scene. Rolling their eyes at the patriarchy, standout single, ‘Bored Of Men’, is a vital track delivering straight-talking feminism. The group’s debut album, ‘Attachment Styles’, is out Feb 3rd and will be followed by a headline tour – tickets here.
Jessica Winter has emerged recently as a vital new talent elevating the alternative music scene in the UK. A tongue-in-cheek example of life imitating art, Winter’s theatrical live performance is eccentric and unapologetic. Jessica is confused by love, and uses synth pop as a way to deal with that. Away from the stage, she not only self-produces and writes all of her own music, but also lends her talents to a host of other artists too including The Big Moon.
From South Korea, making a global movement, Balming Tiger are unlike any act to exist before them. Not only do they blend k-pop with alternative hip-hop, they do it well, and it translates brilliantly to the stage. A group that is both talented and versatile, this diverse music collective take their name from the famous Asian tiger balm ointment.
Girl Scout are another new band swept up in the current tidal wave of female-lead indie pop. From Stockholm, they are the buzziest new band to come out of Sweden. With vocals reminiscent of Phoebe Bridgers carried by a bolder edge, lead-singer Emma Jansson is one to watch live. They head out on tour with Coach Party, February 2023, find remaining tickets here.
From Leeds, Northern noisemakers L’Objectif are a standout guitar band to look out for in 2023. After years of releasing music, they found their sound on recent single ‘The Dance You Sell’.
Music that works as an affordable alternative to seeing a therapist. Tommy Lefroy is a duo composed of Wynter Bethel and Tessa Mouzourakis, who are from Michigan and Vancouver, respectively. Together they create beautiful songs with story-telling lyrics. Touring across America this February, the girls will return to the UK this summer, with Barn On The Farm confirmed as their first festival date.
The Last Dinner Party
Last on this list is The Last Dinner Party, who, without having released any music, have gained a following after playing memorable live sets at showcasing festivals across the UK in 2022. This mysterious 5-piece are bringing something totally new to the table for 2023 and everyone is going to want a seat. Wait patiently to be fed new music online, and wine and dine on The Last Dinner Party at one of their upcoming tour dates with The Murder Captial here.