Acts We'd Like to See at Free Press Summer Fest 2016
Grammy-nominated Aussie garage-rock singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett would rock the hell out of FPSF if given the chance.
Photo by Pooneh Ghana/Courtesy of Grandstand HQ
Hard to believe it’s already that time again, but the blind presale for Free Press Summer Fest 2016 goes live at 10 a.m. tomorrow; tickets start at $109.50 this year. After the initial weirdness and ultimate success of last year’s flooding-induced relocation to NRG Park’s Yellow Lot, the festival has indeed announced that it will be “coming home” to Eleanor Tinsley Park on June 4 and 5. The only thing left is to find out who will actually be playing this year, an announcement that should be along soon enough. In the meantime, a little idle speculation never hurt anyone. Right?
THE BIG GUYS
Drake should definitely combine Houston Appreciation Weekend with Free Press Summer Fest for the most amazingly flashy and emotional set ever. Or invite Kanye West to bring his ego and musical genius to a certainly enlightened Houston audience. Or even Justin Bieber, mostly because his last album was magically and unexpectedly great. Either way, any one of those three would kill the headlining set and practically ensure ticket sales. MARCO TORRES
THE WILD CARDS
There’s been a lot of loose talk about Aphex Twin, Dolly Parton, Cabaret Voltaire, the Geto Boys, Neneh Cherry and the Sleaford Mods, as well as crowd favorites and hot names like Chain & The Gang, Big Debbie, Jonathan Richman, Marie Davidson, Andre Williams, Troller, How I Quit Crack, Timeghost, Skullcaster, CCR Headcleaner and don’t forget to consider the reunion pool — your My Bloody Valentines, Butthole Surfers, Pain Teens, Redd Kross or Roky Erickson in whatever capacity. Heck, Little Richard is still alive. I’m with you guys. I have search engines and search phrases on the ready if you need me. Don’t be afraid to call. TEX KERSCHEN
ALLEN OLDIES BAND
It’ll be awfully warm up there in those suits, but the “King of the Oldies” and his merry men could make for a killer morning or early-afternoon set. First of all, one of Houston’s top party bands for many years has never played the fest before, which is wrong in and of itself, but hyperactive front man Allen Hill’s ‘50s and ‘60s-loving bunch is so far removed from FPSF’s target demo that the very idea is brilliant. Watching a typically young and tragically hip crowd get a face full of music they’ve always written off as the lame stuff their parents (or even grandparents) like suddenly start tapping their toes and twitching their hips would be worth the price of admission no matter how much the tickets cost. CHRIS GRAY
The German chanteuse and recluse, a promising talent in the Berlin avant-garde, has made cameos in Wim Wenders movies; wrote beautiful, spare songs; and raised up children. Between 1970 and 1973, she recorded Colour Green, a record that could be shelved near Nick Drake and Nico, and wasn’t released until 2006. Kim Gordon describes it as“stunningly beautiful.” Who doesn’t want to be stunned by beauty? Isn’t that why we live as we live and make the choices we make? TEX KERSCHEN
My hype allergy is like ragweed or mold for most people’s, but damned if Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit hasn’t lived up to everything I’ve read about the young Aussie. She may not win a Grammy tonight, but Barnett’s wickedly funny garage-pop goodness would be an awesome get for FPSF. CHRIS GRAY
Betty Who is better than almost all the other pop music you listen to, she's been to Houston only a handful of times and she's playing Governors Ball, so she's already got a festival set ready to go. Yeah, there are going to be some big-name DJs on the bill, but the fest needs a dance party that's a little less mindless. CORY GARCIA
Call us crazy, but our favorite beloved hometown music fest hosting the godfathers of metal would be a spectacle Houstonians would wholly appreciate. This kind of act would be the fodder of concert folktales for years to come. It’s certainly plausible they could play; after all, Sabbath is playing the summer metal fest circuit including England’s Download Fest alongside Motörhead (figure that one out) along with numerous other festivals. And, when considering FPHF was nearly devoid of good-quality metal acts last year save Mastodon, Goatwhore and Pentagram, the very idea of Black Sabbath blessing our city with its dark magic is necessary and long overdue. KRISTY LOYE
One of my favorite hardcore groups of all time — Brooklyn’s fabulous Candiria — signed a new deal with Metal Blade records last year to resume their recording career. That means there’s an album due out sometime this year. Most of their fans are praying that means a tour. I can’t remember the last time Candiria played Houston, but it’s got to have been a decade, at least — since before one of the nastiest van wrecks in rock history nearly wiped the band out. The fact that they’ve returned once more is inspiring, and they always had great shows in H-Town. Maybe FPSF could convince them to give us one more. NATHAN SMITH
Similar to the end of the disco and rave eras, dance music is entering an ebb in its relevance to the masses in lieu of other genres. This is a double-edged sword for EDM fans: on the positive, fewer douche-canoe, Magnum PI-clad frat babies will be over-populating every great show in a sad and fruitless attempt to gain cool points. But on the negative, a decline in popularity means a decline in demand, which means fewer touring shows. What's beautiful about Disclosure is that this reality does not apply to Disclosure: the UK duo so masterfully crafts their music that they cannot be lumped in with less talented and creative contemporaries who will soon be a forgotten fad no better than a Tamagachi. The British brothers would make a perfect FPSF headliner, bringing fans from every genre to see great musicians perform. Isn't that what festivals are all about? SELENA DIERINGER
Mark E Smith’s The Fall, named after the Camus book, not any of the shitty “Fall Of”s or “Fallout”s or other ign’ant knockoffs, just the The Fall, the one with the face that sank a thousand ships. When you take into account the weight of the sun, the heat, the throngs of people and the smells they bring with them, and the sheer impossibility of digesting anything in such circumstances, much less festival beer and food-truck offerings, accept this one on science and you’ll be begging for evisceration. TEX KERSCHEN
Houston’s Le Butcherettes fans were psyched when the garage punks announced a March date at Rudyard’s. Then, almost as suddenly as it was announced, it was scratched. The band still intends to play Texas dates at SXSW and a spillover show in Dallas, but, alas, no Houston. The schedule change could have something to do with Le B latching onto At The Drive In’s European tour, beginning in Ireland in late March (less than a week from the canceled Houston show). The only thing that could get us past the Five Stages of Getting Skipped grief is a killer outdoor show in June where Teri Gender Bender can snarl, bleed and sweat through old favorites like “Bang!” and the incredible new stuff, like “Shave the Pride” from A Raw Youth. Le Butcherettes – and At The Drive In – have Sunday, June 5 open, but playing Houston that day would require boomeranging from the West Coast between Saturday and Monday. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.
Since she didn't swing through Houston behind her latest album, I could think of few things finer than listening to Miss Musgraves outdoors at sunset. Besides, FPSF needs a token country act, and already played the Sturgill card last year. CORY GARCIA
To see and hear Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo reunited onstage would be a perfect fit for the festival circuit. Catching the classic party tracks from 2002's In Search Of... to all of Pharrell's endless solo hits and collaborations should make for an energetic and raucous Summer Fest set. Adding in special guest spots by Slim Thug for an Already Platinum flashback and maybe even one or two selections with The Clipse will ensure one of the best headlining sets in the festival's history. MARCO TORRES
Last time this supergroup graced our fair city was on a Wednesday night at Rudyard’s, barely a blip on our radar. Metal fans who didn’t attend (including this one) missed out on an incredible show, a type of regret that hits you in a deathbed-remorseful kind of way. First, these guys rarely play together since they live on opposite coastlines; second, they rarely tour. Plus, Mutoid Man is the sort of barely off-the-radar kind of act that FPSF seems to court. With no Rockstar Energy Mayhem Fest this year (which is probably a good thing), there are no traveling metal tours. That means we’re left with a dozen tiny fests scattered across the country, all of them hosting substandard bro-metal like Five Finger Death Punch. Is that how you want to spend summer 2016? KRISTY LOYE
Yes, we are fully aware of the on-again, off-again discord of this band. Yet there was no tour to support last year’s release of Secret History, Vol. 1, and while there should have been, FPSF could at least be a start to something happening during the summer for Pavement. And, if you’re unaware, there have been (albeit faint) hints at a co-headlining Granddaddy and Pavement tour this year. With ’90s nostalgia at an all-time high — just look around: The X-Files, Friends and a Pearl Jam tour — why not offset some of that flotsam with decent ’90s fare? What would you rather have? The Macarena and “Tubthumping"? We’ll take Pavement, thank you. KRISTY LOYE
One of the most visually interesting acts around, visits from Purity Ring are few and far between for Houston. Since we already know that Chvrches isn't going to be on the lineup, what with their White Oak show already scheduled, the door is open for some electro-pop, vocal-slice goodness. Bonus points if Danny Brown gets booked too: Hearing them both come together for "25 Bucks" would be dope. CORY GARCIA
My first introduction to live bounce music was Big Freedia at FPSF 2012. It was just about the most intense display of ass-shaking, onstage and off, that I’ve ever seen. I honestly didn’t realize that butt cheeks could do that. Every year since, I’ve hoped to get another little taste of that sissy-bounce spectacle, but there’s been no luck. That’s why, this year, I’d like to see Vockah Redu and the Cru take the stage at FPSF. Vockah and his dedicated twerk squad have got the hyperkinetic bounce chops to make people who don’t dance bust a move. It’s time more people experienced that magic here in his adopted hometown. NATHAN SMITH
2016 is shaping up to be the year of stellar psychedelic rock, and Tame Impala is the unofficial MVP. It's been about three years since the Australian (valid) Grammy winners have played Houston, so the time for a visit is ripe. The group is no stranger to the festival scene, and with festival culture moving away from the EDM-heavy mid-2010s, there's plenty of room for a rock headliner to fill the "mind-bender" void — a band where every live show means a unique and interesting experience. SELENA DIERINGER
Chew on this. They’ve actually been playing reunion shows already, so all that rock and roll history is just a phone call away. Even if you don’t have a phone, you can plug right into the Internet and there they are, grinning at you from every angle, all shoes and fingers and discography. TEX KERSCHEN
CARLOS SANTANA & JOURNEY
These two bands recently announced a handful of reunion shows beginning at Madison Square Garden in April. Once Santana's Las Vegas run ends, that opens him up to play shows west of the Mississippi River without restrictions. How awesome would it be to hear Neal Schon's guitar and Gregg Rolie's organ back together again with the one and only Carlos? Sure, this combo might be too mature for our hometown festival, but hearing "Don't Stop Believin'" and "Black Magic Woman" on the same stage is stuff that dreams are made of. MARCO TORRES
It’s been nearly five years since Sia played Houston, back before the “Lampshade Era” and the mega-hits spawned during that time, “Chandelier” and “Elastic Heart.” In 2011, she filled Warehouse Live’s Ballroom and thrilled with songs from We Are Born and Some People Have Real Problems. The people we rubbed elbows with that night were fans of the chanteuse going back to her Zero 7 days. Today, she’d draw well on a main stage surrounded by die-hard fans and the casually interested who know her most recent solo and collaborative work with David Guetta, Eminem and more. With your new album to push and festival dates already slated this spring at Coachella and in Boston, we’d love to soon see ya, Sia. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.
TRAE THA TRUTH
For one reason or the other, Trae has been left out of the “Welcome to Houston” lineup for the past few years. His countless H-Town classics and menacing stage presence deserve to be displayed to his fans. Plus, Trae counts on a wide roster of amigos in the rap game who would show up to perform at his side at the drop of a text message. From T.I. to B.o.B. and Lupe Fiasco, Waka Flocka, Mystikal, Jadakiss and many others, the combination of Trae's reach and FPSF's production budget should make for an illuminating rap showcase. MARCO TORRES
Houston has never struck me as particularly friendly to jam bands (when was the last time Phish came to town?), but Ween, who can jam with the best of them, are so weird and magical that they'd make a great fit for a late-day FPSF slot. Yeah, trying to fit what they do into an hour would be rough for fans, but for the uninitiated it would be a hell of a thing to have sprung upon you. CORY GARCIA
A.k.a. Richard Simms, the Washington, D.C.-based genius performing by any name. His collected singles and errant recording package “Chaos: 1976-1986” sound something like a boombox recording of a P-Funk/Throbbing Gristle supergroup. Still alive, likely easy to find given our total surveillance state, probably cheaper than EDM and definitely funkier. TEX KERSCHEN
Not sure how much harder we have to beat the drum on this one. Until FPSF books ZZ Top, the fest will always feel incomplete. CHRIS GRAY
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