10 Can't-Miss Acts at Houston Whatever Fest
Photo by Kelly Gairrocco/The Brixton Agency
CHEAP GIRLS I know some people who were converted by Cheap Girls. Not just a fun sentence to write, but a true occurrence from recent local show. This Lansing, Mich.-based trio must be starting to feel like Houston is a second home. By my count, this will be at least their second trip here (third?) since the new year.
Earlier in 2014, they swept through with their friends Laura Stevenson and Against Me!, some frequent tourmates and longtime supporters of Cheap Girls' fundamentally solid indie-rock. Check out "Her and Cigarettes," from 2009's Find Me a Drink Home, for just one lovely example of what these guys do. (4 p.m., EaDo Party Park Space City Vodka stage) JESSE SENDEJAS JR.
ANDREW W.K. Back in the early '00s, Andrew W.K. was part of a nearly nightly concert occurring in my two-car garage. My wife and son built a quarter pipe where our Toyota Camry should have been and he and his friends would shred the skate ramp to the sounds of CKY, Sum 41 and Mr. W.K.
Getting to see the full-time party rocker and part-time motivational guru perform "Party Hard" and "Ready to Die" live is gonna feel like a throwback, but also a look to the future, hopefully a bright one for Whatever Fest. If the party is all brand-new, Andrew W.K. seems like the right guy to get it started. (5:45 p.m. EaDo Party Park Bud Light Stage) JESSE SENDEJAS JR.
THE HOLD STEADY Hold Steady lead singer Craig Finn may not have the most beautiful singing voice or rock-star looks, but what he lacks he makes up in his storytelling lyrics and putting his heart and soul into all of his narrative tunes. Though their songs may not be uplifting and joyous, there's something magic in the way the band connects with their fans.
HWF is one of the Hold Steady's stops in support of latest album Teeth Dreams, but make sure you're there to here Finn sing about "Your Little Hoodrat Friend." (6:45 p.m., EaDo Party Park Space City Vodka stage) JACK GORMAN
REBIRTH BRASS BAND In a lineup bursting with left-field acts, the band that stands out from the bunch is New Orleans' Rebirth Brass Band, but in the best way possible. Long after The Hold Steady blows you away, Andrew WK forces you to party and MuteMath prove why they're at the top of the bill, Rebirth will be that breath of fresh air to the stragglers keeping the all-day party alive. If you happen to stick around, which a lot of you probably will, you'll soon discover that "ain't no party like a Rebirth party, 'cause a Rebirth party don't stop!" (11:45 p.m., Warehouse Live Rise Up/Youngblood Booking stage) JIM BRICKER
THE DWARVES One can't help but wonder if this newbie festival is ready for what kind of depravity Hewhocannotbenamed and his crew of reprobates will wreak. Will the San Fran-based punk perverts' perpetual quest for "Blood, guts and pussy" be thwarted just because HWF will be looking to make its best first impression? What do you think? (4:15 p.m., EaDo Party Park Space City Vodka stage) CHRIS GRAY
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Photo by Tom Hoppa/Maine Road Management
HELMET This is an opportunity for younger crowd to be exposed to Helmet. Page Hamilton has been in the game since the early and mid-'90s, when Helmet had a following similar to Tool -- underground success without radio airplay.
Helmet never fit the typical grunge stereotypes, sporting a more clean-cut image and grinding out a more hardcore metal sound. It will be interesting to see how Hamilton has developed on stage over the years. (5:30 p.m., EaDo Party Park Bud Light stage) JACK GORMAN
ILIZA SHLESINGER So happy Whatever Fest is following the welcome festival trend of adding comics to its lineup. There will be plenty of locals including fellow Texan Shlesinger, definitely someone from Dallas we can root for. Shlesinger's gotten traction thanks to the faster-than-you-can-keep-up comedy of last year's War Paint - the best kind, so you can enjoy repeat listens for stuff you miss.
She touches on everything from whether girls get drunk to have sex to why we all want to smash the television when that Sarah MacLachlan commercial "with the fucked-up animals" comes on. (6:15 p.m., Sailor Jerry's Comedy Stage @ Mojeaux's) JESSE SENDEJAS JR.
FILTER Filter will be that band that you don't expect much out of but you walk away with a serious hankering for more Filter in your life. While some might argue they were one-hit wonders thanks to their megahit "Hey Man, Nice Shot" -- which is still played on the Buzz daily -- Filter has actually had a decent career with several chart-making efforts and continual touring to respectable crowds. Reviews continue to come in saying Filter's still got it, so their Sunday night headline spot should be a good one. (8 p.m. Sunday, EaDo Party Park Bud Light stage) JIM BRICKER
KREAYSHAWN The Oakland-based Kreayshawn gained popularity through her YouTube hit, "Gucci Gucci." The former leader of the White Girl Mob has experienced some ups and downs over the past couple of years - she became a mother and recorded songs with Diplo and 2 Chainz, but then her debut album, Somethin' 'Bout Kreay, fell flat and she was dropped from her label. Kreayshawn's set has the potential to become a full-on rager or absolute train wreck, but I'm expecting her to get everyone bouncing. (10 p.m., Warehouse Live Ballroom stage) JACK GORMAN
THE LOCALS You can't argue that Houston doesn't care of its bands. Throughout both days of HWF, on each of the five stages, the schedule is heavily populated with local bands: Another Run, Wrestlers, Fat Tony, Featherface, Square and Compass, Nick Greer, We Were Wolves, Catch Fever, Otenki, LIMB and a solo set by thelastplaceyoulook's Justin Nava, among many others, will be entertaining you musically, while the comedy stage is packed with local funnymen and women all day long before the bigger headliners take over. Houston has something to be proud about in the current music scene, and you'll be remiss if you pass up on the day card on both Saturday and Sunday of the festival. (See houstonwhateverfest.com for individual stages and times) JIM BRICKER
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