Archive for Free Press Summer Fest

Live: Free Press Summer Fest, Houston (Day Two)

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , on June 3, 2012 by 30daysout

Hey, are you the guy who came out here to see only one act today?

I have a confession to make: on the second and final day of Houston’s big Free Press Summer Fest, probably the best they’ve had in its four-year history, I pulled up lame. Surveying the schedule of acts playing on eight stages throughout the day, I decided I would see only one act.

As you may have surmised from the photo above, I decided to see only Willie Nelson today. The great Texas singer/songwriter, who is 79 years old, is simply a god. You can’t call yourself a Texan, or a music fan in Texas, if you haven’t seen Willie at least once.

He did his usual set: beginning with “Whiskey River,” touching on “Good Hearted Woman,” the medley of “Funny How Time Slips Away/Crazy/Night Life,” his funny “Me And Paul,” the great “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain,” the bluesy “Shoeshine Man” and the cheesy “All The Girls I’ve Loved Before.”

Lauren Larson of Ume.

Willie paid tribute to Billy Joe Shaver with “Georgia On A Fast Train,” Steve Goodman with “City of New Orleans,” Hank Williams with “Jambalaya” and “Hey Good Lookin’ ” and Hoagy Carmichael with “Georgia On My Mind.” Right at the end, in between the gospel stompers like “I’ll Fly Away” and “I Saw The Light,” Willie announced “we’re doing a new gospel song” then kicked in to “Roll Me Up (And Smoke Me When I Die).” I was kinda hoping Snoop Dogg would materialize out of the smoke to sing his part from the record (it’s on Willie Nelson’s latest album Heroes), but sadly that didn’t happen.

And as Willie faded into the sunset, I did too. I caught a little bit of Austin’s Ume, led by fiery guitarist/singer Lauren Larson, on the way out and they were great. On Sunday I missed Girl In A Coma, Primus, the Avett Brothers, the Watermarks, What Made Milwaukee Famous and a few others I kinda wanted to see.

But my experience on Sunday was pure and unsurpassed. Willie Nelson’s a legend, and amazingly, he’s still going strong.

Willie Nelson’s a legend.

No place but Texas. Isn’t that a Willie Nelson song?

Live: Free Press Summer Fest, Houston (Day One)

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , on June 3, 2012 by 30daysout

Snoop Dogg, chillin’ at the muthaf***in’ Summer Fest in Houston.

At one point during the sunny Free Press Summer Fest in Houston, one concertgoer turned to his buddy and said, “You would never see anything like this in Austin.”

Well, yes and no. While the boys down the road certainly know how to throw a festival, they probably wouldn’t assemble a package of entertainment as diverse as the lineup featured here in H-Town this weekend. Running the gamut from hip hop to metal to indie rock to country, the Summer Fest has certainly hit its stride in its fourth year.

The only thing “safe” about the lineup – which included Snoop Dogg, Morris Day and the Time, the Flaming Lips and indie darlings Best Coast on Saturday – is the choice of weekends. This first weekend of June is typically a sure bet to deliver sunny, not-too-hot weather. Suntan lotion and lots of water are necessary, but the heat is not yet as oppressive as it’s gonna get later in the summer.

Morris Day, with the “fake” Jerome.

So. We walked right up to Morris Day and the Time, wondering what’s happened to our boys since the days of Minneapolis and Purple Rain. The answer? An awful lot. The band’s not the same one you remember from 1984: no Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the guitarist is Tori Ruffin, and there’s even a “fake” Jerome Benton! I ran into Tori’s mom and aunt down front, and they explained this is Morris’ touring band, not the band called The Original 7ven which apparently has all the original guys. Okaaaay. Well, they still did “What Time Is It?” and “Jungle Love” and “The Walk” and “The Bird.”

This festival is laid out along a park that fronts one of Houston’s bayous and the configuration is kind of like the back nine of a weird golf course. Except the hazards are a paved roadway, a big-ass Jeep obstacle course that serves no purpose except to bottleneck foot traffic (and sell Jeeps, I suppose) and a shitload of people. They said there were about 60,000 on the ground Saturday and I believe it.

Most of ’em were apparently on hand when rapper Snoop Dogg hit the stage (early!), and quickly the pungent aromas wafted everywhere. Wafted? It pretty much replaced the oxygen where I was standing but … no complaints! In fact, at one point Snoop said “A shoutout to all the weed smokers out there!” which was answered by a mighty roar.

Snoop brought along his bodyguards, his dancers, his band and a costumed mascot (a big dog with pigtails) and he drew the biggest crowd of the day with his smooth West Coast rap. Now, his buddy Willie Nelson plays on the fest’s second day and I am hoping we get a Snoop appearance onstage to sing his cameo on the new Willie song “Roll Me Up (And Smoke Me).”

There was a lot of other music too: Houston’s underground punkers the Fatal Flying Guilloteens reunited, Best Coast played some of their sunny pop rock, the Flaming Lips performed Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon along with some of their own tunes. And everyone drank a lot of water and other things.

Fatal Flying Guilloteens’ set was a head-scratcher for some.

Morris Day is pretty photogenic.

Easter Bunny on a pole (and a light saber) gettin’ ready for Snoop Dogg.

Bodyguard, mascot, Snoop Dogg.

You can’t beat this band’s name: Venomous Maximus.

I don’t even want to know what the hell this guy is doing.

Houston is indeed a Trill City.

That’s some bling.

Video Du Jour: Girl In A Coma

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , on May 31, 2012 by 30daysout

We caught Girl In A Coma a few years ago, playing a free show at the great Cactus Music in Houston. The San Antonio-based trio has since become indie/alt darlings of a sort, going on tour with the likes of the Go Gos and the Bangles and opening shows for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.

There’s no denying the charisma of singer/guitarist Nina Diaz, who combines beauty and punk like nobody else – while drummer Phanie Diaz (Nina’s sister) and bassist Jenn Alva lay down a wicked rhythm. Girl In A Coma’s latest album Exits & All The Rest recently picked up an Independent Music Award for Best Indie/Alt Rock Album, so there you go.

This is “Smart,” from that album.

Girl In A Coma is on the bill this weekend at the Free Press Summer Fest in Houston. Among the other acts appearing will be Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, the Avett Brothers, Primus, Best Coast, Morris Day and the Time, and many more. There are still tickets left although they have to be close to selling out by now; 75 bucks will get you in both days. Check out the full lineup and ticket info here.

Girl In A Coma official website

Video Du Jour: Primus

Posted in News with tags , , on May 29, 2012 by 30daysout

Don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the rock band Primus … they’re a band that’s really out there. Primus is a trio led by singer/bassist Les Claypool, and he’s backed by drummer Jay Lane and guitarist Larry “Ler” LaLonde.

Primus’ music reminds me of the cracked weirdness of Frank Zappa and the Mothers, and Captain Beefheart in their prime. You would be hard pressed to slap any kind of label on Primus, and get it to stick. They just recorded their first new album in 11 years: Green Naugahyde, and the first single is the great “Lee Van Cleef.”

Primus is one of the headliners this weekend at the Free Press Summer Fest in Houston. Among the other acts appearing will be Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, the Avett Brothers, Morris Day and the Time, and many more. Unbelievably, there are still tickets left (unlike that big, overbloated summer festival down the road in Austin) and 75 bucks will get you in both days. Check out the full lineup and ticket info here.

Primus official website


Video Du Jour: The Watermarks

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , on May 8, 2012 by 30daysout

Here’s a video from a new song, “Run Away” by Houston band The Watermarks. Call ’em indie, call ’em synth-pop if you want but the Watermarks have been mashing rock with electronic music for quite a while now.

They have opened for the likes of Weezer, The Flaming Lips, Echo and the Bunnymen, of Montreal and more and they are of course on the bill for the big Free Press Summer Fest, detonating June 2-3 in downtown H-Town. “Run Away” is the title song for The Watermarks’ new mini-EP which you can get for free (or you can pay for, if you wish) here or here.

The Watermarks official website