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A Summer Place

Free Press Summer Fest unveils its pricier 2014 lineup.

Only in Houston

Headliners include Jack White, Vampire Weekend and Ms. Lauryn Hill.

This past week, Free Press Summer Fest announced the dozens of acts who will descend on Eleanor Tinsley Park May 31 and June 1, topped by Jack White, Vampire Weekend, Wu-Tang Clan, Zedd, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Above & Beyond, Childish Gambino, Dwight Yoakam and Deftones. Popular local names including the Tontons, Wild Moccasins, DJ Bagheera, Los Skarnales, New York City Queens and Venomous Maximus also made the cut, as did first-timers BLSHS, Dead Roses, Grand Old Grizzly and Ill Liad.

But talent of that caliber — a broad sampling of rock, rap, EDM, indie, Americana and more — comes with a steep price. The cost of a two-day FSPF pass is almost twice what it was in 2013, leading to a fair amount of criticism. Rocks Off asked our folks to give us their thoughts on FPSF 2014; other than that, it's going to be suffocatingly hot, of course. Here are some of their comments:

Ms. Lauryn Hill...
Photo by Marco Torres
Ms. Lauryn Hill...
...and Wu-Tang Clan give Free Press Summer Fest 2014 a strong '90s flavor.
Photo by Marco Torres
...and Wu-Tang Clan give Free Press Summer Fest 2014 a strong '90s flavor.

My initial, visceral reaction to the lineup was twofold: a) Deftones? Yay!; b) that is a mighty impressive EDM lineup. I figured Zedd was a pretty solid lock for the festival, but Above & Beyond is an outside-the-box choice that I'm in love with. Having just seen them put on a wonderful set a few weeks ago at Lights All Night, I'm pretty stoked to get them again, outside under the Texas sky. Add in Adventure Club (who killed it at Something Wicked) and Flosstradamus, and you've got an EDM lineup with something for everyone. Cory Garcia

I'm just going to put my best foot forward on this one and start with the things that are awesome: Zedd, Lauryn Hill, Deftones. Jack White: not awesome. A lot of acts here I can really dig, but some of this is very confusing.

Somebody dropped the ball on the hip-hop artists, in my humble opinion. DMX and the Ying-Yang Twins? Surely we could find something more credible than that. And you will never, ever, ever, ever, ever convince me of Wu-Tang without Ol' Dirty Bastard. The end. Angelica Leicht

This isn't an ACL lineup. This isn't a Coachella lineup. This is FPSF doing what it does best: giving you a chance to watch artists you never thought you'd be able to at a time when you didn't even know you wanted to see them. Kudos, guys, you've done it again. Alyssa Dupree

I'm either getting old or my taste is growing more eclectic as time goes on. For the first time in the festival's admittedly short history, nothing here entices me. I'm sure it will be a great time for the target audience, but I'm not the target audience anymore. Such is life.

On the positive side, if all of Wu-Tang Clan shows up, that's going to be a hell of a show, and the Deftones are a perfectly reliable ­token metal band to have on the bill. Un­fortunately, the dearth of metal, punk, ex­perimental and alternative music in the lineup, even on the undercard, leaves me cold. Corey Deiterman

Well, shucks, I kinda had my heart set on OutKast after that tease of a FPSF Facebook post. This may mark the first time in history that a city has "settled" for the Wu-Tang Clan. Jack White and Vampire Weekend aren't personal favorites of mine, but the Wu, Lauryn Hill and Deftones are going to make for some good times on the bayou.

For the first time, as far as I can recall, there's no big-name local rapper on the bill. Shame, too, since I've always looked forward to seeing the likes of Devin the Dude, Bun B and the Geto Boys on the big stage. That said, it's FPSF. I ain't missin' it, and neither are you. Ought to be fun catching a new batch of artists (especially those EDM types!) that I've never heard of before. Nathan Smith

A pretty damn good lineup, to be sure, but I'm not sure if Jack White, Vampire Weekend, DMX and the Deftones are the draws that will pull in the trust-fund kids/retired baby boomers who can afford to pay $140 for a ticket. John Seaborn Gray

When the announcement was made and nope, no OutKast, very few of you were foolish enough to dismiss it all just for their absence. No one I know said, "Meh." But if you did, stop being an ass and get with the program. Year after year, the lineup improves, and if you can't see that, then just stay home and listen to your obscure, too-cool-for-us-all records on your phonograph. You'll be one fewer body in line at the porta-toilets. Jesse Sendejas Jr.
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Texas Me

Winter's Tale
A veteran Texas bluesman gets the royal 70th-birthday treatment.

Bob Ruggiero

A December 1968 edition of Rolling Stone featured Texas musicians who were at the time making inroads into the magazine's then-home city of San Francisco. Bearing a cover photo of cowboy-hatted Doug Sahm (balancing toddler son Shawn on his knee), it mentioned players and singers both known (Janis Joplin, Steve Miller, Boz Scaggs) and others familiar only to hardcore fans.

But it was mention of a shit-hot blues player, Johnny Winter, that seemed to generate the most buzz. Soon, the Beaumont native found himself in demand. The article described "A cross-eyed albino with long, fleecy hair, who plays some of the gutsiest, fluid blues you ever heard."

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