Free Press Summer Fest 2012

7:39 am by

The moment we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived! The fine folks behind Houston’s annual music soirée, Free Press Summer Fest, have finally dropped the full line-up, and boy is it a doozy. Leading this year’s list of bands are bluegrass roots rockers The Avett Brothers, famed rapper and dope smoker Snoop Dogg, Texas country legend and equally famous dope smoker Willie Nelson, DJ extraordinaire Afrojack, bass heavy funksters Primus and a return from 2010 headliner The Flaming Lips who will be performing Dark Side Of The Moon in its entirety. I’m pretty sure no-one saw such a strong list of entertainers heading to Eleanor Tinsley Park come June, but Omar, Jagi and all the other fine folks that work for both Free Press Houston and Pegstar have truly outdone themselves for their fourth year of the festival. Also playing the multiple stages over the course of June 2nd and 3rd are The Descendents, Major Lazer, Young The Giant, Portugal. The Man, Morris Day & The (mutha fuckin’) Time, Best Coast, Two Door Cinema Club, Turquoise Jeep, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Robert Ellis and a whole heaping helping of more great bands.

Check out the full kick-ass line-up after the jump!

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Reptar @ Fitzgerald’s

1:22 am by

Reptar @ Fitzgerald's

Last week, I headed up to Fitzgerald’s just in time to catch a headlining set from Athens, GA based indie dance group Reptar. They first came on to my radar last summer when I heard the lead single from their debut EP Oblangle Fizz Y’all, “Stuck In My ID.” They had that same Foster The People sound, but something told me I wouldn’t grow old of them immediately like I did with FtP. They came through Houston a few times in the past year, but I never had the chance to see them until I headed up to Fitz that night. I walked in right in time for “ID,” and danced my way through the entire rest of their set. They played their entire EP, as well as a host of new songs from their upcoming first full length LP, Body Faucet, set for a May 2012 release. While I’m not in love with the new album’s title, I’m certainly enamored with the content that will be released come May. They finished the set with a super high energy new track called “Sweet Sipping Soda” that left the crowd screaming for more, while not moving an inch away from the stage. They came back out for another tune, but you could tell they saved “Soda” for the end as the encore song didn’t carry near the energy as it did. While it seems as if the encore is slowly dying away in this day and age, this night they definitely deserved the call back.

I took a video of “Sweet Sipping Soda,” and a bunch more photos which you can find after the jump.

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Bonnaroo 2012 Initial Artist Announcement

1:06 pm by

Bonnaroo went hard again this year with their initial artist announcement, and boy does it look like a good time! Leading the dance card at the 2012 Manchester, Tennessee festival are indie rock gods Radiohead, alt-rock monsters Red Hot Chili Peppers, jam titans Phish and legendary surf rockers The Beach Boys. If that isn’t enough to get you to Bonnaroo, they have a little bit of everything else on the line-up as well. For those fans of indie rock, Bon Iver, The Shins, Foster The People, Feist, tUnE-yArDs, Dawes, Delta Spirit and St. Vincent will be playing the festival. Hip-hop fans can rejoice as they’ll be enjoying sets from The Roots, BlackStar, Ludacris, Mac Miller, Childish Gambino and Yelawolf. The nighttime will be the right time with sets from Skrillex, Major Lazer, Flying Lotus and more. While the first years of the festival were predominantly focused on the jam scene, things have changed for the better (arguably, depending on who you talk to), but their is still a strong focus on jambands with two sets from the aforementioned Phish, and also performances from the likes of The Avett Brothers, Dispatch, The Word which features John Medeski, Robert Randolph and The North Mississippi Allstars, Umphrey’s McGee, Dumpstaphunk and ALO.

Check out the initial artist announcement after the jump.

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The Mountain Goats @ Fitzgerald’s

4:23 pm by

The Mountain Goats @ Fitzgerald's

It had been a long time since the last time John Darnielle had stepped foot in Houston, some 6 years ago when The Mountain Goats played at Mary Jane’s Fat Cat, a former Houston staple that has long since been closed. That was very apparent throughout their Friday night headlining show at Fitzgerald’s when Darnielle mentioned numerous times how sorry he was for denying Houston an appearance. He more than made up for it that night, though, as he brought an unbridled energy throughout the entire set.

Read all about the show and check out some photos after the jump.

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Langhorne Slim @ Fitzgerald’s

5:57 pm by

Langhorne Slim @ Fitzgerald's

It’s been a pretty great 2012 for live music in Houston, but last week had to have been the best week yet. One of the main reasons was because of Langhorne Slim‘s long awaited return to Houston last Wednesday. With my parents in tow, we headed towards Fitzgerald’s to catch a rousing set from the Pennsylvania native. The downstairs crowd was thick enough to warrant energy from the band, but wasn’t as packed as I’ve seen it which made for better sight lines and less of a muddy tone to the sound. Opening his set with “Cinderella” from his latest LP Be Set Free, he continued throughout the entire show with constant high energy, even during the slower songs. The crowd was really into it, especially with songs like “Rebel Side Of Heaven,” “Hello Sunshine,” “Spinning Compass,” “Back To The Wild,” and particularly during “Worries” which has found a great deal of popularity with its inclusion in a recent, highly played insurance commercial. Closing the show with a rambunctious version of “And If It’s True,” that was highlighted by a ripping banjo solo mid song, Langhorne Slim and co. left the crowd sweaty and in need of more. Unfortunately we didn’t get anymore, but with the good turnout, and what seemed like good sales at the merch table, I’m sure it wont be long before we see him again.

I took a bunch of pictures while dancing along, and also captured “And If It’s True” on video – check them out after the jump.

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Grouplove, The Belle Brigade, White Arrows @ Fitzgerald’s

4:25 pm by

Hype can be a big thorn in the side if you can’t live up to it when you stroll into town for a live gig. Hype can also be multiplied ten-fold when you stroll into said venue and kill it. It certainly was the latter rather than the former for all three LA-based groups that took the upstairs stage at Houston’s Fitzgerald’s – headliner Grouplove and opening acts The Belle Brigade and White Arrows.

Read about the show and check out some pictures after the jump

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Portugal. The Man @ Fitzgerald’s

2:30 pm by

Portugal. The Man @ Fitzgerald's

On a Saturday night, there are always plenty of options to choose from musically in our city of Houston. Hell, there were two solid shows at Fitzgerald’s that night alone. While I had the chance to check out the other one briefly (Wanda Jackson, who was awesome!), my choice performance of the evening was Portugal. The Man in the upstairs room at Fitz. This was my third showing from the Oregonians in a little over a year, including last year’s Warehouse Live performance and at Austin City Limits in the fall, so I was no stranger to what they were going to bring to the table live – a solid performance to a packed and sweaty room. The younger audience was much more apparent at this show, rather than the other two, mostly due to a growing radio presence, and the use of their songs in hit teen television programming. Usually it doesn’t bother me when the younger music aficionado’s of Houston join the ranks of us seasoned concert goer’s, but for this particular occasion it was a bit too much. Bringing their high-pitched vocals with them, the quieter songs of the evening, particularly during opener Telekinesis’ set, were all but ruined by the rumblings of the tweens. Thankfully, Portugal. The Man decided to play louder than usual that night, because they destroyed any chance of the kiddo’s conversing throughout the majority of their set. That, and eventually half of them got kicked out for drinking underage just in time for us to enjoy songs like “People Say,” “AKA M80 The Wolf” and a flawless cover of Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind.” All was perfect in the world when they closed their heavier than usual set with the rocker “Chicago,” one of my personal favorites of their growing cannon of songs. It was a great show overall, but would’ve been better if Fitz was 21 and over. Can’t win ’em all!

Check out the rest of my smoke and laser-filled shots and peep the full setlist after the jump.

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EOTO @ Fitzgerald’s

5:54 pm by

EOTO @ Fitzgerald's

The other night, after a fine showing by Todd Snider and the boys in Great American Taxi at Warehouse Live (that Bacon will be telling you all about soon!), we scooted our way through downtown and into the Heights to catch a set from electro-looping/live drum duo EOTO at our second home, Fitzgerald’s. Composed of Michael Travis and Jason Hann, the percussion section of jam titans The String Cheese Incident, the duo completely improvise every single set right down to the very last note. When I first started seeing EOTO back in 2007 I was intrigued by what was coming out of the duo, but soon enough I found myself really into what they were doing, and now they they have completely blown me away with every performance. Now, with about twenty shows under my belt (they are one of the bands I’ve seen most just by pure coincidence), it amazes me how much the group has grown in their 5 years on the road. I’ve never really been a fan of their studio work, mainly because the awe factor comes from seeing them make their magic on stage and getting your groove along too it. Their music is nothing like the bluegrass, rock and jam that String Cheese is known for, they actually lean towards more popular electronic genres such as House and Dubstep. Their fanbase remains the same, though, with Houston’s entire wookie population in full force smoking out the place. I love when jambands come to Houston (which seems to be becoming much more rare these days) mainly because it’s a return to my roots. I miss the people that surround the scene, and the scene itself. It’s so much different walking into a mess of indie scenesters than it is into a hoopla of hippies. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you look like, how you dress, what you smell like, who you’re with, what you do or why you are there; the hippies will always welcome you with open arms. This show once again proved that. Come back EOTO, you know you’re welcome at any time.

If you like a whole bunch of color in you photographs, check out more shots of the show after the jump.

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Das Racist, Fat Tony, Simple Success and Space Capone @ Fitzgerald’s

7:36 pm by


In the wake of SXSW, I told myself that I wasn’t going to go out or do anything for at least a week following my return home. Well, two days later, i found myself at Fitzgerald’s for a four band show featuring the likes of SXSW standouts Das Racist, Houston hip-hop mainstay Fat Tony, up-and-coming DJ/drum duo Simple Success and a one off show from Nashville funkateers Space Capone, all being hosted by Houston’s one-and-only BBC. I arrived just in time for the beginning of Space Capone, and immediately fell in love. Their funk-laden set was full of comedic gold both in appearance and subject matter, and I found myself chuckling along while also getting my groove on. Can’t wait to see them again! Next was Simple Success, who brought a giant video screen synchronized to their beats, which was a new aspect to their performance from the last time I saw them. They were pretty damn good, and seem to be getting better with each performance. They have a really cool thing going with a live drummer on top of chopped bits of hip-hop and rock, and they seemed to gaining several fans by the looks of the early turnout that night. Fat Tony was up next, and brought everything that he’d been rocking through SXSW and his opening gigs for Snoop Dogg, and showed why Houston was there to see him over anyone else performing that night. Kids got skills, and mad stage presence, and with the help of Smash Bro, Lisa E, a guest spot from another local hip-hop hero B L A C K I E and the effortless beat making of iPod Ammo, Fat Tony’s show was on point. Finally, Das Racist came to the stage with more comedic antidotes to close out the night, but it was their songs that were the true highlight. Never really listening to the group before, I was enthralled from the get-go with their fun-as-hell set. Fat Tony found his way to the stage on more than one occasion, eventually with a bottle of Jack Daniels in hand for a version of “Luv It Mayne,” the track off of Das Racist’s 2010 album Sit Down, Man that Tony was featured on. Overall, it was a great showing on everyone’s part, and a good way to get over my SXSW hangover. Hopefully I can catch sets from all of the night’s performers again soon.

I shot this show for the Houston Press, but they only put a few of my shots in the review, so I thought I’d do a quick post with a gallery of my pictures that didn’t make the cut. Check them all out after the jump.

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Thee Oh Sees Hurt My Ears In The Best Way Possible @ Fitzgerald’s

4:36 am by

Thee Oh Sees @ Fitzgerald's

My introduction to this band, that has apparently been playing shows in and around Houston for quite some time, was the night before they were set to perform a gig downstairs at Fitzgerald’s a few nights ago. When a friend was telling me about them, I immediately heard their name as The OC’s, which gave me an instant negative connotation purely based on the immensely popular mid-2000’s serial-drama The OC. Well, upon further investigation later in the night when I returned home, I found out that wasn’t their name at all, and they were actually called Thee Oh Sees. After a few listens, I immediately learned that their brand of music would’ve been the type to never have been featured on the previously mentioned show. With a renewed opinion about the band, and an arsenal of recommendations from friends who seem to have a pretty good grasp on what’s going on in the music world, I strolled into Fitz with my camera just in time to catch the beginning of Thee Oh Sees set.

Check out the review and pictures after the jump.

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