10 alternative artists you need to watch at Glastonbury 2023

The Hu, Cassyette, Nova Twins and Big Joanie on stage
(Image credit: Getty)

This year's Glastonbury Festival looks set to be another absolute smorgasbord of music, with certified rock legends sharing the stage with indie mavericks, pop darlings, edm heavyweights, critically acclaimed rappers and much, much more. 

But what of the heavier, more alternative artists on offer? Truth be told, rock music in general is pretty well represented this year, with royalty like Guns N' Roses, Elton John and Blondie sharing the bill with modern favourites such as Royal Blood, Måneskin and ragga-metal party-starters Skindred. And then there's that persistent Foo Fighters rumour...

Excitingly, that's all just the start: without further ado, here are ten more alternative artists you need to go out of your way to catch at this year's Glasto.

Metal Hammer line break

Nova Twins (Other Stage, Sunday)

One of the most exciting and hyped young bands in rock music right now, London duo Nova Twins already have numerous festival appearances (including a main stage debut at this past weekend's Download), collaborations with the likes of Sam Smith and Bring Me The Horizon and BRIT and MOBO award nominations to their name. Blending punk, nu metal, edm and hip hop, their unique, propulsive take on alt rock has produced two albums, the most recent of which, Supernova, landed last year to critical acclaim. 

Cassyette (Left Field and Truth Stage, Friday)

Genre-splicing nu gen leader Cassyette has had a dizzying rise to attention. Starting out in the music industry as a club DJ, the Essex-based singer-songwriter found her voice by melding her myriad influences into her own unique, dynamic sound. In 2022, her track Sad Girl Summer was named the Hottest Track In The World by BBC Radio 1, and she was recently announced to be a part of Bring The Horizon's huge arena tour that'll be making its way through the UK next year. Not bad for someone yet to put a full-length album out.

The Hu (West Holts, Sunday)

One of the most singularly unique artists to have hit heavy metal in some time, The Hu mix big, driving riffs with stomping percussion and traditional Mongolian folk influences. The fact they sing predominantly in their own language hasn't stopped them becoming a hit around the world, having received patronage from the likes of Metallica (who approved of their riotous cover of Sad But True), System Of A Down's Serj Tankian, Papa Roach frontman Jacoby Shaddix and Halestorm's Lzzy Hale (all of whom have appeared on The Hu's songs). Plus, the whole throat singing thing is unquestionably badass. 

The Murder Capital (Truth Stage, Thursday)

Dublin is proving fertile ground for the current post-punk revival, and The Murder Capital are one of that scene’s key exports. Their most recent album – 2023’s Gigi’s Recovery – veers between tackling life’s existential questions with mournful introspection, while confronting its mundanity and the fact they often co-exist. Cheery stuff for your afternoon it may not be, but trust us, their blend of tense, fast-paced and expansive punk works a treat live.

Big Joanie (The Park, Friday)

It was 2013 when Big Joanie first got the idea of forming a band. When the music scenes they were operating within didn’t seem interested in making space for a Black, feminist punk band, they simply made space for themselves, and the London-based trio have been steadily amassing a cult following ever since. With two albums to their name – 2022’s Back Home filled with the types of songs that makes clear they have arenas in their sights – and championed by the likes of Iggy Pop and Thurston Moore, Big Joanie’s blend of "riot grrrl meets the Ronettes” should hold plenty appeal to fans of Sleater Kinney, The Raincoats or Bratmobile.

Viagra Boys (The Park, Sunday)

Viagra Boys’ Sebastian Murphy might not have been terribly impressed by the band’s first UK festival appearance of the summer, the singer claiming that Bearded Theory smelled of "dreads, fucking hemp and hippy bullshit", but he and his Boys smashed it at Wide Awake festival 24 hours later, and their Glasto set promises to be a riot. Self-identifying as a mix of 'punk, PTSD disco and synthetically enhanced kraut’, the Swedish sextet are loud, lairy and highly unlikely to be sober, and Punk Rock Loser, Troglodyte and Sports will get even the most chilled-out hippies dancing… or possibly fighting and/or fucking. Good times either way.

Ho99o9 (Truth Stage, Thursday)

Anyone who has caught one of Ho99o9's incendiary live shows has likely never forgotten it: their scabrous mash-up of snarling rap, filthy punk and unhinged industrial beats has terrified many an audience in the flesh, and they put on one of the weekend's most unforgettable spectacles when they played a tube carriage in the depths of Shangri La at Glastonbury 2017 (yes, you read that right). Like all the greatest live bands, the only thing to expect when Ho99o9 roll into town is the unexpected. 

Empire State Bastard (Truth Stage, Friday)

Perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised at the sheer ferocity of Biffy Clyro frontman Simon Neil's new project - it's not like Biffy themselves don't know how to get heavy when the mood suits them - but surely no one was quite expecting this. A collaboration with Oceansize man Mike Vennart and featuring drum work from none other than Slayer legend Dave Lombardo, Empire State Bastard's delirious noise drags in influence everywhere from grinding hardcore to dizzying mathcore to thrash metal and doom. It's an eardrum-bursting treat, and their live shows seem to match the hype around their tunes. 

Pale Waves (Woodsies, Friday)

Noughties-indebted pop punk and emo is back in vogue and then some right now, and few bands have managed to capture those scenes' earnestly emotional sensibilities as Manchester troupe Pale Waves. At least, recently they have - their early material leaned more into indie and synth-pop territories before they seemingly found their true calling. Their shimmering, sugar-sweet riffs are tinged with angst and heartbreak, anchored by magnetic frontwoman Heather Baron-Gracie. Who says the Myspace era is dead?

Kid Kapichi (Left Field, Saturday)

Hastings punks Kid Kapichi pull no punches in their damning indictments of the current state of Planet Earth. Last year's Here's What You Could Have Won took aim at everything from Partygate to social media addiction to global warming, filtered through their snarling, thrashing punk rock and delivered with all the subtly of a brick through a window. How fitting that they'll be making an appearance at Glasto's politics-powered Left Field stage this year. Back them to make their mark. 

Glastonbury 2023 takes place June 21-25. Tickets are now sold out.

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He is also probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site. 

With contributions from