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Saturday: Buzzfest XXX at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

Shinedown
Shinedown
Photos by Matthew Keever

Buzzfest XXX feat. Shinedown, Bush, Stone Sour, Papa Roach, P.O.D., Hollywood Undead, The Dirty Heads, etc. Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion April 20, 2013

Zombies, alt- and jock-rock, new-age reggae, tank tops and tribal tattoos abounded at the Woodlands Pavilion Saturday for Buzzfest XXX, local radio station 94.5 FM's semi-annual concert festival.

As is the norm, the lineup was dated, consisting of more nostalgia acts than current heavy hitters, but everyone in attendance was fully aware of what to expect from the show and what it entailed when they bought tickets, and subsequently sold out Buzzfest in less than 30 minutes.

The festival's headliners were Shinedown, whose front man's strong vocal abilities, coupled with a few pyrotechnics and impressive musicianship, held fans' rapt attention until the wee hours of the evening. Their capability as musicians is unquestionable.

These gentlemen are tight, professional and clearly practiced. Their showmanship was impressive, too, as every member of the band (save for the drummer, of course) ran back and forth across the stage for the entirety of their set, clad in suits, keeping the crowd members out of their seats and on their feet.

Bush
Bush

Before Shinedown, Bush put on a similarly strong performance melodically, though the showmanship was lacking. Vocalist Gavin Rossdale seemed almost bored with his own music early on during the performance before gaining a second wind. Halfway through his set, he jumped into the crowd as the '90s-era rockers performed The Beatles' "Come Together." Rossdale made his way all the way back into the lawn and seemed to be crowd-surfing, losing the melody in the moment as his band chuckled from the stage and tried to keep tempo.

Stone Sour and Papa Roach took the stage early, while there was still plenty of daylight to be had. Vocalists Corey Taylor and Jacoby Shaddix, respectively, screamed, shouted and sang at the top of their lungs while their bands performed heavy but melodic music beneath their voices. Both bands have recently released new albums and, though their set lists were comprised of better-known, older hits, they threw in a few recent songs too.

 

Hollywood Undead
Hollywood Undead

On the side stage, meanwhile, the likes of P.O.D., Hollywood Undead and The Dirty Heads performed to a seemingly younger and more energetic crowd. Hollywood Undead's set in particular, while lacking in musicianship and even much energy, drew the crowd into a frenzy of mosh pits and crowd-surfing, much more in line with what you expect to see at Warped Tour than at Buzzfest. To say that their fan base was frenetic would be an understatement; those kids' energy is hard to put into words.

Dissimilar to previous Buzzfests, I didn't see many people being escorted out or being tended to with bloody faces. The only bruises and bodily fluids I saw Saturday afternoon were fake; drawn, patted and painted on, courtesy of Houston Zombie Walk, the proceeds of which benefit local charities such as the Humane Society.

A fan gets zombified in the Zombie Walk Houston booth.
A fan gets zombified in the Zombie Walk Houston booth.

This kind of festival may be the bane of music critics and anyone who doesn't approve of the radio, but it's both self-aware and keen to the market it's tapped into. And with that kind of unabashed honesty, though it may not be my cup or tea per se, who's to say that a few thousand Houstonians are wrong? Really, what's wrong with a taste of the late '90s and early 2000s every six months?

Are the artists dated? Absolutely. But are people still willing to pay good money to see them? Damn straight.


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Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

2005 Lake Robbins Drive
The Woodlands, TX 77380

281-363-3300

www.woodlandscenter.org


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