DALE WATSON Dale Watson has a lot to offer FPSF. You know he's affordable, considering the kind of price tags the fest has to be looking at for some of the other acts; he's got biker/greaser cred to burn thanks to that suave leather duds and silver-fox pompadour; decades of honky-tonk experience means he knows how to handle a rowdy, boozed-up audience; and FPSF has a successful track record of booking left-of-center country acts from Austin a la Junior Brown and Willie Nelson. But the real ace in the hole is that he and his band the Lone Stars are experts at that Bakersfield-style roadhouse twang that can kick up more dust that a stiff Texas wind.
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE Since The Decemberists are already spoken for the weekend of FPSF (damn you, Governor's Ball), I shall put my indie-rock dreams in the hands of Death Cab for Cutie, because it's easy to imagine they'll still be on the road supporting their new album Kintsugi. DCFC are a safe pick for any festival, really, but a really good one for FPSF; they have the songs, they have the fans, they have the "haven't been to Houston in a minute" factor. They're the perfect type of band to throw out on a late afternoon and let everyone get in touch with their old, embarrassing emotions. What could be more fun?
FIRST AID KIT If memory serves correct (one can never be sure at this advanced an age), First Aid Kit was one of the bands whose set was washed out by the great deluge of FPSF 14. I have a vague memory of the Swedish folkies being highly disappointed to have their set scrubbed, so I'm staking odds they'll get a return invite.
The duo frequently teams with Samantha Crain, an Oklahoma girl and a fine singer songwriter in her own right. Maybe she can dissuade any hard feelings the Kit might hold with Texas. The ladies may, in fact, be expecting a courtesy invite, at least. They have to be in Norway by June 11, but currently there's nothing on their agenda FPSF weekend.
FLORENCE + THE MACHINE My best guess at a headliner is Florence + The Machine, though it would take some orchestral maneuvers in the dark to make it happen. The band has a new album in the works, and its 2015 dates are festival-heavy. According to the Interwebs, FloMa is playing international fests like Rock Werchter (late June), Super Bock Super Rock (July) and Way Out West (August). They'll be at Coachella in the spring. But to headline a night at FPSF, they'll have to juggle some balls - or at least one: NYC's Governors Ball Music Festival, a three-day event that runs the same weekend as our own beloved festival. It might take more resources than the band could muster (or FPSF could afford) to have the band close either night here. But two festivals on back-to-back nights thousands of miles apart is the sort of thing that draws publicity, and making it happen would earn both parties some extra national ink.
HOZIER Hozier is almost a sure bet, right? He could be to FPSF '15 what Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were to FPSF '13. He's riding high on a sensational hit, just as just as the "Thrift Shop" duo was two years ago. He's recently been a Saturday Night Live musical guest, just as the Seattleites were a couple of months before their Summer Fest turn.
Macklemore played Bonnaroo a week after Summer Fest '13; guess where Hozier will be a week after FPSF? Best of all, by the first week of June, Hozier would have been in Houston twice - in March and April at Warehouse Live and Bayou Music Center, respectively - which is enough to feel at home here.
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KACEY MUSGRAVES FPSF needs some sort of up and coming country wunderkind on the bill, and with Sturgill Simpson likely being tied up with Governor's Ball that weekend and Lydia Loveless not quite getting the respect she should, Kacey Musgraves would be an outstanding pick for that niche. She's already doing festival dates starting in April, FPSF would be a decent amount of time from her last visit to town and, most importantly, she's incredibly talented.
Not to jump on the "Macklemore is overrated" bandwagon, but "Follow Your Arrow" is a much, much, MUCH better song than "Same Love" without getting nearly as much respect. So yes, bring Kacey back to Houston.
LUPE FIASCO Something FPSF deserves much more credit for is booking exciting rap acts that aren't lazily flowing in the mainstream. Some of the artists booked for past fests include Flatbush Zombies, Danny Brown and Dead Prez. Not to mention Houston's own De'Wayne Jackson, Doughbeezy, Ill Liad and others. All terrific and all underappreciated by the masses. I'm not sure Lupe Fiasco qualifies as underappreciated, but he'd likely agree he's a lot less popular than some of his lesser-skilled peers.
He seems to draw scads of hate from those who would claim to know real rap, whatever that is; maybe because he's frequently categorized as "alternative," all because of that one skate song. Still, that makes him the sort of MC that Summer Fest attracts. Also, he has a new album due this month that features a Houston connection in Trae Tha Truth, so you know he has someone to "Kick, Push" it with when he gets here.
PURITY RING Purity Ring has not spent a ton of time in the Bayou City, which is a shame because they're just as good, if not better, than most of the bands doing the synth-pop thing right now, and have a much better stage show/presence to go along with their songs. They have a new album out in March titled Another Eternity, which means they'll be hitting the road soon.
You might not view them as a festival band, but I think Chvrches pretty well proved last year that you can take that style of music out of the dark and in to the light and have it be impressive. But I mean, I'll settle for a crowded show at Fitz too. Whatever works.
SKRILLEX It's been a long while since Skrillex landed in Houston. Since the last time he was in town, it feels like he's played every festival in existence, and he's not letting up this year with shows at the South American Lollapaloozas, Ultra and Hangout Music Fest. FPSF is going to have two big-name DJs either way, but you gotta think that one of them is going to have some serious crossover appeal so that it's not just an attempt at getting EDM diehards to shell out for tickets. Skrillex knows how to rock a festival, and really, someone has to bring him back to town already.
SKY FERREIRA Despite being booked as a 2014 act, Sky Ferreira and her wonderfully complex, smoky voice have never graced the FPSF stage. After mysteriously dropping off last year's lineup just weeks before the show, her fans were left asking "Whaaa???"
As long as there is no bad blood between artist and the fest, maybe both could give this another go. Ferreira's talents are quite different than many other female acts -- no breathy, obnoxious voice; lyrics that aren't dipped in syrup -- and she would definitely heighten FPSF's variety as well.
-- Written by Selena Dieringer, Cory Garcia, Chris Gray and Jesse Sendejas Jr.
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