Today, Buffy the Vampire Slayer celebrates its 20th anniversary. Over seven seasons, the show offered an indelible fusion of campy humor and dark horror, embodied by memorable characters and well-crafted plot lines. The show also featured some bands, too: Many musicians made their way to the Bronze, the club in Sunnydale where Buffy and her friends loved to hang, in order to give us a song to score those blazing teenage hormones. In honor of the show’s anniversary, let’s remember some of those bands.
Michelle Branch (Season 6, “Tabula Rasa”)
This still gets me. As Branch’s fame was taking off, she showed up at the Bronze to perform “Goodbye to You” right as the Buffy crew’s personal lives were falling apart, thanks to a magic spell gone awry. Couples breaking up, crying, refusing to talk to each other—it’s all here, set to a husky version of the Spirit Room cut.
Cibo Matto (Season 2, “When She Was Bad”)
Remember Cibo Matto? The New York band made their appearance at the start of Buffy‘s second season, where they performed “Sugar Water” and “Spoon.” They got a shout-out in the episode from pre-witch Willow, who was stoked to see them, as well as a big-ass sign posted in front of the Bronze. Their performance scores an incredibly awkward moment where Buffy—who used to be good, but now is bad—fucks with poor, horny Xander’s brain by dancing all up on him, just to get back at Angel. Great song, though.
The Breeders (Season 7, “Him”)
The Breeders showed up when Dawn was trying to flirt with some guy, and performed “Little Fury” and “Son of Three (Viva).” Sadly, there isn’t a clip of the performance online, so we can’t relive it. But damn, Kim Deal and Michelle Trachtenburg sharing a fictional space might have been the most ’90s moment of all-time, were it not for the fact that it happened in 2003. Instead, enjoy their cover of the Buffy theme song.
Aimee Mann (Season 7, “Sleeper”)
Mann played “This Is How It Goes” and “Pavlov’s Bell,” and actually got a speaking role—the only musician to say a line on the show—when she sees a vampire get killed during the show: “Man, I hate playing vampire towns.” Hence this great detail on the Buffy-Wiki page: “Unlike every other non-fictional musical guest in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aimee Mann had a speaking role in the episode, thus she can be considered a character within the fictional Buffyverse.” This one also isn’t online, but here’s a promo for the episode. Special musical guest Aimee Mann!
K’s Choice (Season 3, “Doppelgängland”)
Belgian band K’s Choice performed at the Bronze as Willow’s vampire doppelganger landed in Sunnydale, where she caused all sorts of vaguely sexual hijinks as Buffy’s friends confused her for sweet, normal Willow. Fun fact: This was the first time they teased Willow’s homosexuality.
Sprung Monkey (Season 1, “Welcome to the Hellmouth”)
Sprung Monkey is an incredible ’90s alt-rock band name. They were the first band to play at the Bronze, where they went through five songs. Here’s one of them.
Aberdeen (Season 7, “The Killer In Me”)
Bif Naked (Season 4, “The Harsh Light of Day”)
A rare non-Bronze performance.
Bellylove (Season 2, “Anne”)
Superfine (Season 1, “Teacher’s Pet”)
Velvet Chain (Season 1, “Never Kill a Boy on the First Date”)
Halo Friendlies (Season 6, “Smashed”)