Another year of Houston”s biggest party, Free Press Summer Fest, has come and gone, leaving a trail of hangovers throughout the town. I”m finally starting to shape up from what was one of the best musical weekends of my life. Living much closer to the festival this year than ever before (three blocks away from the gate), we had the opportunity to catch pretty much the full weekend of music from the opening notes of the Sideshow Tramps on Saturday morning until Pretty Lights shut things down with a firework display that matched the intensity of his set on Sunday night.
I can remember SXSW this year because, for the first time, I didn’t take full advantage of the free day party booze. I also woke up on a couch every night (instead of an alley, as in years past) so I actually have something to report beyond missing possessions. Personal perspective: This was the best of the five SXSWs I’ve attended. It was EXTREMELY Houston oriented, with tons of friends either performing or partying throughout. I get to see Houston bands all the time but it was a special thing to witness several of them playing major showcases to a completely different audience, but with an equally positive response. Houston drives a Dodge Stratus. Houston is big-time stuff. Read on for my top sets of SXSW 2011:
Robert Ellis & Derek Dunivan – “While You’re Cheating On Me”
Note from the greasy desk o’ Bacon: I couldn’t be happier to welcome Beau “CroissanWich” Henry to the intermittent writing staff here at BoT. Beau is a fellow map nerd by day and a screenwriter by night. He also moonlights as a superhero to those of us lucky enough to know him, and often hosts the best goddamn movie night in Houston. After you read his work, I’m sure you’ll join me in hoping that his contributions last long past this magical Summer we call 2010.
Words and Video by Beau “CroissanWich” Henry
If I may re-purpose one of the great hyperbolic utterances of rock criticism: I have seen alt-country future and its name is Robert Ellis. Such hyperbole is necessary if only to stand among the local press that this guy has been getting. I’ve seen Robert Ellis four times, all in the last month. The first was his triumphant return to Whiskey Wednesdays at Mango’s. A friend said, you should come to this. I went in blind. It’s been noted elsewhere just what it is that will blow you away about these shows. The Houston Press likened it to the Armadillo World Headquarters in the early ‘70s when Willie Nelson managed to get rednecks, hippies, bikers, and heads to stand in one room without killing each other. At Mango’s there were parents, grandparents, and a swath of young people that could be labeled (and negated) as hipsters, but let me try to illustrate it quickly: the best two-steppers had the most tattoos and piercings. A scant two weeks later, Whiskey Wednesdays was put on hiatus; although the promise of its rebirth at Fitzgerald’s in late September portends an autumn of delightfully nauseating Thursday mornings. On Saturday, Robert Ellis played two shows; check out a review of both, along with a ton of videos after the jump.
Our primary goals are to spread the word about artists that we love and to encourage more people to experience the joys of live music events. We also want to promote musical exploration - don't just listen to what the blogosphere tells you to listen to, get out there and discover new artists yourself! There's a wealth of talent out there waiting for you to lend them an ear.