Saucy rockers Cake and Houston's own alt-country insurgents Buxton are the first two acts confirmed for the inaugural Houston Press Best of Houston® BestFest, or "BestFest," the two-day festival scheduled for September 24 and 25 at the Midtown "superblock" between McGowen, Main, Travis and Anita streets, near the McGowen light-rail stop.
Timed to coincide with the 23rd edition of the Houston Press' Best of Houston® issue, due on newsstands September 29, BestFest will also feature several past Best of Houston® food winners displaying their wares, as well as graffiti artists and face painting. And plenty of beer.
Dripping with sarcasm and locked into a laid-back groove, Cake uncorked a long string of modern-rock hits from the mid-'90s to the early '00s, including "Rock & Roll Lifestyle," "The Distance," "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" and a chart-busting cover of Gloria Gaynor's disco anthem "I Will Survive."
The Sacramento-based band's heavy use of trumpet and acoustic guitars made them unique in the post-grunge era, and perhaps accounts for their unusual longevity. The group last visited Houston at Verizon Wireless Theater in April 2009; its latest album, Showroom of Compassion, was released early this year.
Originally from La Porte, Buxton became one of the most talked-about bands in the Houston area shortly after their 2008 Mia Kat LP A Family Light. The group built up a local and regional following as their folk-tinged sound steadily gained a rougher roots-rock edge, and Buxton signed to New West records in early 2011.
Shortly after BestFest, Buxton hits the road on a tour that swings through Georgia's Athens Pop Fest and New York's CMJ Music Festival in October, before taking on the West Coast in December. The group's New West debut, Nothing Here Seems Strange, is scheduled for release on November 8.
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"Anything that highlights and celebrates the arts, food community and musicians in town is great for the city, and we're really excited that we get to be a part of that," says Buxton bassist Chris Wise.
BestFest's hours are noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25. More acts will be announced on Rocks Off later this week (probably tomorrow). Early-admission weekend passes go on sale for $25 apiece at 10 a.m. Friday, August 12, at houstonbestfest.com.