HomeMusicFeatures & ListsThe Best TV Guest Appearances by Your Favourite Indie Bands

The Best TV Guest Appearances by Your Favourite Indie Bands

It’s fun to look back on some of your favourite cameos by your favourite bands and think about where that performance sat in music history. For some bands, their career took off after they appeared on a popular teen drama, and for other more seasoned bands, it was just a cheesie but much appreciated guest appearance. Either way, the only thing better than hearing a great song on a TV show is seeing your favourite band make a guest appearance. Read on for our list of the best indie band cameos in recent history.

Sigur Ros, Game of Thrones

Sigur Ros’ cameo on Game of Thrones was subtle, but some of the band’s most avid fans would have definitely noticed. The band appeared as common performers before King Joffrey, who, being Joffrey, threw coins at them like he was shooing away pigeons.


Jimmy Eat World , One Tree Hill

Jimmy Eat World appeared at the Tric in the first part of Season 2’s two-episode finale. Nearing the end of Episode 22, the band plays their hit “Hear Me You” live at Tric as Peyton, Nathan, Lucas, Brooke, Haley and Mouth narrate their revelations to us, making for one goosebumps-inducing almost-end to a season.


Tokyo Police Club, Desperate Housewives

Among the most random of indie band cameos is Tokyo Police Club’s appearance on a battle of the bands episode of Desperate Housewives. The band appears onstage at the start of the episode posed as a group called “Cold Splash.”


The Black Keys, Workaholics

The Black Keys made a guest appearance on Workaholics, but unlike other indie band TV appearances, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney appeared as “two dudes with bodacious ponytails” who meet the Workaholics crew in a small-claims court.


City and Colour, One Tree Hill

City and Colour’s appearance on Season 8, Episode 15 was actually a huge deal at the time for music fans. This was the episode that “Girl (Acoustic)” was expected to make its live debut, as well as City and Colour’s new single (at the time) “Northern Wind” off his 2011 album
Little Hell. Both songs were played by Dallas Green live at the Tric, in a private concert that Clay had arranged for his beau Quinn on Valentine’s Day. Both versions of the song that appeared in the episode were recorded specifically for One Tree Hill.


Death Cab For Cutie, The OC

Seth Cohen never let us forget that his favourite band was Death Cab for Cutie. He referenced the band constantly throughout the show’s first season. Finally, in Season 2 Episode 20, Cohen’s favourite band made a guest appearance at The Bait Shop. The kicker? Seth missed the entire show due to an important meeting that could take his new comic Atomic County to the next level.


Born Ruffians, Skins

The Toronto indie band appeared in the British hit TV show Skins at a nightclub in Brooklyn. It’s a packed scene, full of action that becomes somewhat destracting from the band who’s performing live. The song they performed was “Hummingbird,” off of their 2008 album Red, Yellow & Blue.


Crystal Castles, Skins

During a particularly emotional scene of Skins, Crystal Castles appeared on stage at a club and saw Alice Glass rocking out to their 2008 single “Alice Practice.”


The National, The Mindy Project

In Season 2 of The Mindy Project, Mindy and her friends head to an EDM music festival after Casey decides he wants to become a DJ. During this episode, The National made a heartwarming cameo while doing an acoustic performance of “This Is the Last Time” and “I Need My Girl.”


Modest Mouse, The OC

Once again, we’ve got Orange County drama soundtracked by a live indie band. Modest Mouse performed live at The Bait Shop during the show’s second season in an episode titled “The Family Ties.”


The Killers, The OC

The kids in Orange County had darn good taste in music. The Killers were just starting out when they appeared at The Bait Shop in Season 2’s “The New Era,” the same year (2004) that the band released their hit album Hot Fuss. The band played “Smile Like You Mean It,” “Everything Will Be Alright,” and “Mr. Brightside.”


The Shins, Gilmore Girls

During Episode 17 of the show’s fourth season, Rory and Paris head to Florida for their first spring break. During the nightclub scene, The Shins perform “So Says I” live, while Rory and Paris navigate how to be true springbreakers. Contrary to popular belief, Paris doesn’t actually kiss Rory during The Shins’ performance, rather, during The New Pornagraphers’ song “The Laws Have Changed.”


Sonic Youth, Gilmore Girls

During a battle for the town troubadour, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore appeared on the show with their daughter Coco Hayley Moore. The three jammed together in the middle of Stars Hollow’s town square, followed by Taylor yelling at them to “go home!”


Sonic Youth, Gossip Girl,

For those of you who don’t remember, Kim Gordon actually marries Lily and Rufus in Season 3. Before the super casual ceremony, Sonic Youth plays an acoustic version of “Star Power” at the loft.


Florence and the Machine, Gossip Girl

During an emotionally driven scene in the TV show about the upper east side, Florence + The Machine performs a magical live version of “Cosmic Love.”


Jeff Tweedy, Portlandia

Portlandia has featured more than its share of musicians in cameos over the years, but Jeff Tweedy’s turn in an attempt to record a new folk song stands as one of our favourites. The label executives played by Fred and Carrie question the authenticity of Jeff’s lyrics, and it’s great.


Feature photo courtesy Thomas Hawk via Flickr.

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