Second-Guessing Free Press Summer Fest

The lineup is locked, but fans share their lineup slips.

Free Press Summer Fest

The late Rick Nelson once sang, "You can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself."

At least last year we got Iggy Pop.

For sure, there are better credos to live by, but this would be the one I'd hang onto were I tasked with booking the talent for Free Press Summer Fest.

Just days away from the event, the caterwauling about who should or shouldn't be on the lineup is still loud enough to hear, and won't be drowned out until the first bands crank up the amps on May 31. A prime example came from one Jonathan Matt Adame as I was scrolling through Facebook one afternoon.

Cage the Elephant
Courtesy of FPSF
Cage the Elephant
Is Insane Clown Posse for Cage the Elephant a fair trade?
Marc Brubaker
Is Insane Clown Posse for Cage the Elephant a fair trade?

Adame posted a one-star review of the lineup on FPSF's page, his chief suggestion to organizers being "Please quit with the shitty EDM and indie bands, that shit is lame." His second suggestion was to hire him to help book bands for next year's event, and then one last bit of advice: "Don't let the egotism go to y'all's heads...fuckin' corporate pigs."

I disagree with the kid on the whole. I think this year's lineup is pretty solid, though it did skimp a bit on pure rock acts or punk bands. At least last year we got Iggy Pop.

But I like the idea that Adame voiced his opinion. Some part of me hopes FPSF's organizers want to hear the discord as much as the praise. Maybe they heard you loud and clear last year, Houston, and your voice helped shape this year's schedule.

All this got me wondering whom others would scratch from this year's lineup and who might replace them. A few Rocks Off faithful — readers and staff — offered the following:

Reader Daniel Torres, a perennial FPSF patron who has also been to Coachella, Voodoo Fest and ACL, suggested removing Edward Sharpe, Lauryn Hill and Cage the Elephant.

"Sure, these names have potential to bring Houston a great performance, but with the omission of these three, it frees up some money for one banner act to round out the headliners," he said.

"The undercard at this year's fest is impressive with the inclusion of The Naked and Famous, Washed Out and Tune-Yards, but it lacks that headliner punch to solidify our fest as a contender with the big boys in Austin and in the desert," Torres added. "My pick would be the Black Keys, the Killers or Queens of the Stone Age."

Steve Ruiz is a local promoter, so he's no stranger to booking acts, albeit on a much smaller scale. He's an idea man.

"I would replace the Ying Yang Twins with Insane Clown Posse," Ruiz said. "Both groups bring a scummy crowd, but for the sake of people-watching, ICP takes the cake. Plus, like it or not, ICP would move a lot more tickets."

"I'm imaging a cool West Side Story-style fight with Juggalos and hipsters at Free Press now," I told him.

"I think that fight would look a little like this," he replied, and sent me the link to Goblin Cock's batshit-crazy video for "We've Got a Bleeder."

Jacob Berg, a fellow RO reader, endorsed acts that have already played FPSF and were impressive.

"Primus, Gogol Bordello and Geto Boys," he said. "Replace who you will on the bill, but those three need to be there, in my opinion."

Houston Press Web Editor Cory Garcia went on the record, saying, "I'd swap Chvrches for Purity Ring. The former was here in the last year and the latter, far as I can tell, has yet to play Houston."

As for my own two cents, I'd rub the pennies together to see if Lily Allen, The Menzingers and Bo Burnham could magically appear. I'd be okay with losing DMX, Cage the Elephant and Above & Beyond to make that happen.

I'm pretty sure Rick Nelson was too square to have been booked at FPSF, but maybe the organizers can still find some comfort in those lyrics of his. At least no one I asked brought up OutKast.

FPSF returns to Eleanor Tinsley Park May 31 and June 1. See for ticket availability.

Inquiring Minds

Somewhere Else
Step inside the weird world of Lydia Loveless.

Neph Basedow

Lydia Loveless is animalistic. She's fickle and she's wild. Sometimes, the Ohio-bred farm girl is charming, and almost vulnerable — but that purr is nearly always closely trailed by a razor-sharp hiss.

Her contradictions don't end there. Loveless's powerhouse voice and lyrical insight also defy her tender age.

"When people first see me," Loveless says during a recent phone call, "they often say, 'I was expecting an old, tall woman!' But I'm 5 feet tall and 23 years old," she corrects. "I guess we all have our visions of people."

Seeing Loveless in concert quickly debunks any "old" misconception; onstage, she has uninhibited energy. She aimed to capture that same live vibe while recording her third and latest album, Somewhere Else.

"We record everything as live as possible to preserve the idea that we're either just playing in the basement or that we're onstage," she says. "That's the sound I like."

Clearly not short on ideas, Loveless scrapped an entire album's worth of "subpar" material before writing Somewhere Else.

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