Houstonians have long been plagued by a nagging musical inferiority complex, both vocally and surreptitiously wondering if their scene is good enough, with doubts ranging from concern over the caliber of local talent, to the often-difficult prospect of attracting big-name national acts. In one fell swoop, fellow Space City boosters Free Press Houston have — we hope — laid those fears to rest. Combining the best-of-Houston feel of the recently celebrated HPMA showcase with a bevy of nationally respected names, Summer Fest is a clear marker in the evolution of Houston into a top-tier city of sound. Capturing Houston's musical essence can be tricky; we've always been known for eclecticism run rampant. FPSF treats this as the gift that it is, proudly arranging its two days and double-stage footprint around a kaleidoscopic array of sounds.
The list of locals includes the hip-hop head games of B L A C K I E; Latin-flavored ska courtesy of vatos rudos Los Skarnales; gauzy psychedelic shoegaze from Hearts of Animals; subtle and somber country-rock from The Small Sounds; the funk-inflected straight rock of SkyBlue72; faith-healing, moonshine-swilling hillbilly jam band Sideshow Tramps; and a kaleidoscopic panoply of alternately jangly and jazzy indie sounds courtesy of local darlings Young Mammals and the Tontons.
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Sounds great, huh? That's only 25 percent of the local talent gracing Eleanor Tinsley Park. On top of that, FPH has achieved what some might dub a minor miracle in securing an equally astonishing array of nationally recognized talent — some of it regionally based — including orchestral post-rock collective Broken Social Scene, hipster-approved fantasy-metallers The Sword, hip-hop innovator Prince Paul (who, we've been told, needs a haircut) and whimsical, ethereally psychedelic Elephant 6-spawned indie-popsters Of Montreal. Houston, we have liftoff.