Free Press Summer Fest

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.

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.


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