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Best of Free Press Summer Fest Day 1: Quintron, Big Freedia, Morris Day, Etc.

Big Freedia's gaggle of booty dancers
Big Freedia's gaggle of booty dancers
Photo by Jim Bricker

More FPSF 2012 Coverage:Summer Fest line-up reviews on the Rocks Off blog.
Free Press Summer Fest 2012: The Sexy, Sweaty Crowds
Popsicles and Pizza: The Food of Summer Fest
FPSF: The Bands from Saturday
FPSF: The Bands from Sunday

Cory Garcia: Stage 7 isn't the most glamorous. Most of your set will be spent playing to the handful of people who came out to see you, other bands waiting to set up and the line of people stuck waiting to get into the fest. The boys in Glasnost delivered a great set to all of those in the vicinity, mixing some solid electronics with some high-energy rock. It might not be the most high-profile gig, but you'd never know from watching their drummer, who was literally the happiest person I saw all day.

Starfucker, now also something besides the best song on the Stones' Goat's Head Soup.
Starfucker, now also something besides the best song on the Stones' Goat's Head Soup.
Photo by Groovehouse

Chris Gray: Boy, the sun was bright Saturday, and so was the industrial-strength disco/synth-pop of Starfucker (or STRFKR). The Oregonians combined beats that wouldn't quit with a hint of dreamy shoegaze vocals and keyboards (which constituted fully half the quartet's roster) as thick as a London Portland fog. I caught a strong whiff of '80s greats like OMD and early Ministry.

MGMT comparisons would be a little obvious and not 100 percent accurate, but you could make them all the same. Starfucker pushed a disco pulse all the way to the front of their cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and -- despite their truly unfortunate tank-top attire -- captured the song without a hint of hipster irony. But why would there be?

Diplo
Diplo
Photo by Marc Brubaker

Alexa Crenshaw: In all his ridiculousness, DJ Diplo was kind of the star of Saturday's shows. Of course, The Flaming Lips are now Summer Fest staples, having proven their endurance with two great shows. I (honestly) may hold a little grudge with The Flaming Lips since Erykah Badu's encore with never happened. Sounds silly, but I was kind of looking forward to that. Though I think Diplo might be back as well. Playing his own set and again with Major Lazer, he made the crowd go nuts. Considering the Summer Fest is more of a mixed audience this year, I think he also appealed to that wider range. I was dancing along, no shame.

 

Valient Thorr
Valient Thorr
Photo by Groovehouse

Craig Hlavaty: If Z-Ro's surly Houston hip-hop was a great match with the brain-melting and draining heat on Saturday afternoon, then Valient Thorr's set around 6 p.m. was the cure. The group, led by Valient Himself, barreled through an hour of swaggery, Bon Scott-era AC/DC, setting themselves apart from the precious indie-pop and electro everywhere else. Asses were shaking in front of Thorr just as they were at Big Freedia hours before, to songs like "Disappearer" and "Heatseeker" from their catalog.

There was also this great moment where Himself jumped into the crowd for a sort of slow-motion seated mosh pit. It made sense in person. The band is always a solid draw in Houston, and the next time they come through, they should have plenty of Saturday converts in attendance.

Morris Day: "What time is it?"
Morris Day: "What time is it?"
Photo by Marco Torres

Matthew Keever: Saturday afternoon, a few thousand people crowded around the main stage at Free Press Summer Fest 2012 to move their hips, sing along and add expletives to Morris Day and the Time's name, as has become commonplace. At one point during the performance, singer Day asked a stagehand to bring him a mirror, and he fixed his hair onstage, right in front of the crowd.

Don't worry, Mr. Day. From where we were standing, you looked and sounded great. We couldn't be happier to see the Time again. Now you'll have to excuse me, because I'm going to have a drink and watch Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back at least 20 times in a row.

 

Afrojack
Afrojack
Photo by Marc Brubaker

Taylor Moon: This was my first FPSF, and I had so many on my list to see today. I went back and forth so much. I love Two Door Cinema Club and they did awesome. I was not expecting Afrojack to impress me, but maybe I am an EDM dweeb after all? Afrojack was able to take the crowd, worn out from the entire day, and get them on their feet dancing away, throwing down his own mixes to hits by Rihanna, and Skylar Grey.

The lights were bright as ever, so I was wearing sunglasses past 9 p.m. (I'm epileptic, so good call by me.) My body was beat, but Afrojack's own tunes kept me and the crowd moving. The day was humid as hell, but luckily a few breezes hit the crowd during the set that had everyone screaming a tad louder than they had been just before. I couldn't be more impressed with the man throwing down an awesome show, considering I never found myself into his music. Until now, that is.

Corey Dieterman: As the day wore on at Eleanor Tinsley Park, the problems arose. Overcrowding, heat exhaustion, long lines, high prices. But early in the day when I was still energized and only half as sweaty, I managed to catch the stellar set of hip-hop crew Turquoise Jeep on Stage 3. You know, the one with the weird beehive cage around it. The crew came out one by one, each doing their signature songs, dancing around the stage and bouncing off the walls. It was a pure burst of energy and it came at just the right moment when everyone was still ready for crowd participation.

Lazer Cuntzz on the SHFL Stage.
Lazer Cuntzz on the SHFL Stage.
Photo by John Seaborn Gray

John Seaborn Gray: With Summer Fest's monstrous popularity still on the rise, sometimes you just kind of want a corner to get away from the corporate-sponsored mega-spectacles (as great as they can be) and spend some time with the basement scuzzball weirdos. The Super Happy Fun Land Stage provides exactly that. They've managed to get all of the weirdest local acts to populate their insane-asylum-parade-float-type setup, with various oddities and freaks lurking about.

Poopy Lungstuffing and GoRealAh Soul were two of the stranger examples from yesterday, the former a filthy ukulele-strumming strumpet, the latter what happens when a gaggle of wiseass party crashers listens to nothing but Public Enemy. It's not all weird -- there are more straightforward acts, like gutter-punk darlings Lazer Cuntzz -- but it's a welcome respite from immaculately produced 12-piece bands and 45-minute sound checks. Willie Nelson won't play an all-Snoop Dogg-covers set there...but he could.

 

Big Freedia
Big Freedia
Photo by Jim Bricker

Nathan Smith: The best thing I saw at Summer Fest on Saturday was the first thing I saw. I started my day of music under the geodesic tent on Stage 3 with Big Freedia, New Orleans bounce music's Queen Diva. The sun was dangerously hot, but that didn't stop Freedia and her dancers from bootin' it over and poppin' that shit for real. For the hyper-crunk tune "Azz Everywhere," the queen invited volunteers up onstage to waggle their behinds. Suddenly, the stage was packed with the quaking asses of fat dudes, skinny girls and everything in between. The crowd went off hard despite the intense heat, and Freedia's crew delivered the perfect over-the-top party-starter for a day crammed absurdly full of sound.

Brittanie Shey: Big Freedia for sure. I have wanted to see her for ages but kept missing her shows for some reason or another. At Summer Fest, she played on Stage 3, a kind of geodesic dome half covered with mesh panels, which works both to keep the sun out and to keep the crowd closely hemmed in on three sides of the stage. I can't decide what was better, watching Freedia's booty-clapping dancers with Azz Everywhere (and fucking awesome male break-dancer in a Superman shirt) or watching the faces of the bewildered and unsuspecting crowd members when Freedia did a call-and-response of "When I say 'dick', you say 'eater'!" I can't remember the last time I had that much fun at a concert.

William Michael Smith: Even with Snoop and Ms. Badu on the premises, the fun gig Saturday was Mr. Quintron and Miss Pussycat. The New Orleans party machine played in the hottest part of the day, and it only got hotter for the 300-400 who couldn't get enough of Quintron's crazy beats, crazy lyrics and over-the-top party-animal demeanor. Armed with a cordless mike, the keyboard whiz left the stage, crawled over the barrier and leaped into the audience for a wicked singalong: "Who's a bad motherfucker? I'm a bad motherfucker." With his unique mix of techno sounds (and low-techno equipment -- a beat-up Leslie and a Hammond that looked like it was in World War II), the shirtless Quintron delivered a rave-worthy wall of Southern sound as gooey as swamp mud.

Christina Lynn: Quintron and Miss Pussycat are kind of like the B-52's (quirkiness-wise) meet Gorillaz with a bit of a technological touch added just for flavor. One of the things that impressed me about them was not only their quirkiness but Quintron's use of technology -- more specifically, what they like to call the "drum buddy." He upped the ante a bit when he decided to use some sort of voice-box and, later, got into the audience, which was eating out of his hands. Also throughout their set, everyone was dancing, myself included. They were very entertaining and crazy-fun.


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