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Monday, June 07, 2010

Free Press Summerfest 2010 (Day Two)

We arrived in downtown Houston during one of the worst rainstorms I've seen in the last several months.  About half a mile down the road was the entrance to the festival; in between, several thousand gallons of water falling from the sky.  Thank god for that plastic tablecloth that we just so happened to find in the trunk of the car.  It was not only a makeshift group umbrella, but a cape, and later, a place to sit on the muddy, slick hill facing the stage in Eleanor Tinsley Park.  Today was going to be an awesome day whether the weather wanted it to be or not.  My only goal was to get a quality seat at the main stage and enjoy myself.  And I did.

Stars has been on my live band bucket list for years now, and the opportunity to see them live was just as awesome as I had always hoped!  I had read a few months back that this tour would be filled with mostly new songs, and a few old ones thrown in.  Fortunately, Stars reached deep into their catalogue of pop hits and played their best for the crowd!  "Reunion," "Elevator Love Song," "Your Ex-Lover is Dead," "Midnight Coward;" pretty much every song that any Stars fan has ever loved was played.  And guess what?  They all sound amazing!  Perfect, in fact!

Stars put on a show that was better than I could have anticipated, and from what I could tell, everyone seemed to enjoy them as well.  Their album is due out soon, so check it out when it drops.  The new songs don't sound half bad.

Slim  Thug & Bun B
Alright, so it sort of goes without saying that I'm not the biggest fan of rap music.  But having grown up in Houston, I do have a soft spot for the kind of rap that these guys put out.  And I'll be damned, Slim Thug actually has quite the stage presence, and is kind of fun to watch live!  Seeing a sea of people bounce their heads and do that one-arm, in-tempo thing (kind of like a nazi-salute bouncing up and down), is a cool sight to behold.  On the other hand though, if all you need to do to perform live as a rapper is play your entire song (WITH vocal tracks) and then rap over it, sign me up!

The Flaming Lips
No surprise here, but The Flaming Lips are straight AWESOME live!  I've said it numerous times on this blog before, but for those who may be reading for the first time, I'll reiterate: they put on the best live show you'll ever see!  Seeing the Lips live is like being at a really huge party hosted by the nicest guys on the planet!  This is the third time I've had the good fortune of seeing the band perform live, but it was the first time that I've seen them from a distance (read:  not at the front of the venue being blasted with noise).

It may have been my favorite performance that I've yet seen from them!  They sounded absolutely stunning, and even Wayne Coyne's typically grating voice wasn't all that bad!  It's been 10 years since the band last played Houston.  Welcome back guys!

Final Thoughts
Listen, Houston isn't exactly known for its music scene, so Free Press Houston has had its hands full the last two years trying to remedy that situation.  If this year's lineup is indicative of a coming trend, I welcome it with open arms.  Last year's lineup wasn't half bad, and this year's was better.  Hopefully the hardworking people that made this festival happen can make it even more solid next year!
So yeah, the music lineup wasn't all awesome, but the actual experience of Summerfest is great!  The people are absolutely wonderful (rain or shine or mud), the volunteer staff were helpful in all situations, and portapotties were widely available and, more often than not, clean.  My only concern is that the festival is quickly outgrowing the confines of Eleanor Tinsley Park and the rest of Houston may not be as receptive to such a wild, weekend party.  But this weekend was an absolute blast, and I'd like to personally thank the hundreds of people that made everything run so smoothly for all of us in attendance.

See ya' next year!

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