Second-Guessing Free Press Summer Fest
Free Press Summer Fest
The late Rick Nelson once sang, "You can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself."
For sure, there are better credos to live by, but this would be the one I'd hang onto were I tasked with booking the talent for Free Press Summer Fest.
Just days away from the event, the caterwauling about who should or shouldn't be on the lineup is still loud enough to hear, and won't be drowned out until the first bands crank up the amps on May 31. A prime example came from one Jonathan Matt Adame as I was scrolling through Facebook one afternoon.
Adame posted a one-star review of the lineup on FPSF's page, his chief suggestion to organizers being "Please quit with the shitty EDM and indie bands, that shit is lame." His second suggestion was to hire him to help book bands for next year's event, and then one last bit of advice: "Don't let the egotism go to y'all's heads...fuckin' corporate pigs."
I disagree with the kid on the whole. I think this year's lineup is pretty solid, though it did skimp a bit on pure rock acts or punk bands. At least last year we got Iggy Pop.
But I like the idea that Adame voiced his opinion. Some part of me hopes FPSF's organizers want to hear the discord as much as the praise. Maybe they heard you loud and clear last year, Houston, and your voice helped shape this year's schedule.
All this got me wondering whom others would scratch from this year's lineup and who might replace them. A few Rocks Off faithful — readers and staff — offered the following:
Reader Daniel Torres, a perennial FPSF patron who has also been to Coachella, Voodoo Fest and ACL, suggested removing Edward Sharpe, Lauryn Hill and Cage the Elephant.
"Sure, these names have potential to bring Houston a great performance, but with the omission of these three, it frees up some money for one banner act to round out the headliners," he said.
"The undercard at this year's fest is impressive with the inclusion of The Naked and Famous, Washed Out and Tune-Yards, but it lacks that headliner punch to solidify our fest as a contender with the big boys in Austin and in the desert," Torres added. "My pick would be the Black Keys, the Killers or Queens of the Stone Age."
Steve Ruiz is a local promoter, so he's no stranger to booking acts, albeit on a much smaller scale. He's an idea man.
"I would replace the Ying Yang Twins with Insane Clown Posse," Ruiz said. "Both groups bring a scummy crowd, but for the sake of people-watching, ICP takes the cake. Plus, like it or not, ICP would move a lot more tickets."
"I'm imaging a cool West Side Story-style fight with Juggalos and hipsters at Free Press now," I told him.
"I think that fight would look a little like this," he replied, and sent me the link to Goblin Cock's batshit-crazy video for "We've Got a Bleeder."
Jacob Berg, a fellow RO reader, endorsed acts that have already played FPSF and were impressive.
"Primus, Gogol Bordello and Geto Boys," he said. "Replace who you will on the bill, but those three need to be there, in my opinion."
Houston Press Web Editor Cory Garcia went on the record, saying, "I'd swap Chvrches for Purity Ring. The former was here in the last year and the latter, far as I can tell, has yet to play Houston."
As for my own two cents, I'd rub the pennies together to see if Lily Allen, The Menzingers and Bo Burnham could magically appear. I'd be okay with losing DMX, Cage the Elephant and Above & Beyond to make that happen.
I'm pretty sure Rick Nelson was too square to have been booked at FPSF, but maybe the organizers can still find some comfort in those lyrics of his. At least no one I asked brought up OutKast.
FPSF returns to Eleanor Tinsley Park May 31 and June 1. See fpsf.com for ticket availability.
Step inside the weird world of Lydia Loveless.
Lydia Loveless is animalistic. She's fickle and she's wild. Sometimes, the Ohio-bred farm girl is charming, and almost vulnerable — but that purr is nearly always closely trailed by a razor-sharp hiss.
Her contradictions don't end there. Loveless's powerhouse voice and lyrical insight also defy her tender age.
"When people first see me," Loveless says during a recent phone call, "they often say, 'I was expecting an old, tall woman!' But I'm 5 feet tall and 23 years old," she corrects. "I guess we all have our visions of people."
Seeing Loveless in concert quickly debunks any "old" misconception; onstage, she has uninhibited energy. She aimed to capture that same live vibe while recording her third and latest album, Somewhere Else.
"We record everything as live as possible to preserve the idea that we're either just playing in the basement or that we're onstage," she says. "That's the sound I like."
Clearly not short on ideas, Loveless scrapped an entire album's worth of "subpar" material before writing Somewhere Else.
"I think letting go of those [unused] songs was a good exercise for me," she considers, more thoughtful on the phone than her combative reputation would indicate. "Many musicians say their songs are like their babies, but I never want to be like that, especially with my bad songs...so I had to kill them."
If we guessed artists' cities via their sound alone, Loveless's honky-punk hybrid sounds best suited for the trendier alt-country capitals of the South than for Columbus, where she resides with her husband and bassist, Ben Lamb. But she's a Midwest girl at heart.
"I've thought about living in Austin or Nashville, but I just like the Midwest," Loveless reveals. "My favorite band is The Replacements. We're both angry, stubborn Midwesterners freezing our asses off — but those are the kinds of people I identify with."
During her 2013 SXSW performance, Loveless unabashedly sprawled across the grimy stage floor in a hiked-up miniskirt, while still playing guitar. But it wasn't the fact that half the Continental Club learned that night what color underwear she wears; rather, it was her raw, reckless abandon that made her particularly memorable. Furthermore, for a woman who struggles with debilitating anxiety offstage, Loveless somehow sheds apprehension while performing.
"It's like being possessed," she says of her contrastingly fearless stage persona. "Talking to people after the show still terrifies me, but I play off my bandmates' spontaneity while onstage. A lot of bands keep everything the same every night, but I can't do that. The danger in wondering what's going to happen each night keeps things exciting."
Lydia Loveless opens for the Old 97's Tuesday, May 27, at Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Ask Willie D
A reader is trapped in an abusive relationship — by her partner and her mother.
Dear Willie D:
I'm 22 years old and my mother is forcing me to stay in a relationship with a man who is verbally and physically abusive to me. She always tells me to stay with my husband because he is the father of my children and he takes care of us. Her favorite saying is, "I don't want you making the same mistake I made." She is twice divorced, and has been abused. I have two children, a boy and a girl. Their father is kind to them, but treats me like crap.
I know you will probably say that I'm a grown woman so my mother cannot tell me what to do, but my mother is very controlling. She babysits the kids and is always visiting. Whenever I tell her that it's my life, not hers, she will make me feel guilty by not visiting the kids or babysitting. Other than my mother, I don't have any other family where I live, and she refuses to let me live with her.
My husband will not allow me to work, so I have no other way to support myself and my kids. I need a way out. Please help!
Treated Like Crap:
What a disheartening story. Your mother suffers from battered woman syndrome. She doesn't know any better. Would she rather have a divorced daughter or a murdered daughter? Do not listen to her. Get out while you can and take your kids with you. Get a restraining order. Reach out to a women's shelter in your area for abused and battered women of domestic violence.
You can call 411 for directory assistance, or do a quick Internet search. They have a myriad of resources to help you get on your feet, including a crisis hotline, food, shelter, clothing, legal services, job training, transportation and child care. When you go there, you don't have to give them your real name, even if they ask. Since you've never been on your own, the first step may be daunting. But as the French proverb goes: The first step binds one to the second.
Ask Willie D appears Thursday mornings on Rocks Off.
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