That golden orb hovering over Houston this past weekend was the sun. Like an absent friend who returns just in time for the spring break fun, it was a welcomed guest at the ninth installment of For the Community.
The brighter the sun shone, the more we thought of spring break and the music associated with it. What was your spring-break music, we asked some of the festival's artists: that single song or artist that made a day on the beach or in the park with others a perfect reminder of how perfect life could be?
With more than 40 acts from a broad swath of genres performing at Last Concert Café and Eastdown Warehouse, we knew we'd get a variety of responses from the festival's participants. Here's what they offered:
JVS REEL Jay Victor Sauseda is the one-man band JVS Reel. He's been performing solo now for a few months, he said, and has recorded music in the works. He took to the stage at Last Concert Café to deliver gritty blues-drenched originals.
"I think I was just listening to a lot of Grand Funk and Robin Trower and Pat Travers," he said, recalling acts that preceded the spring-break phenomenon as we know it by decades. "I don't know. I mean, during spring break I just liked to hang out with my buddies and go to the studio and work on music."
COOP MARTIAN Eight years ago, while serving his country in the military, Coop Martian knew he had to follow his heart to find his future.
"Every story in life has this one moment where you either miss it or you don't, so I quit the Navy, took my GI bill [and] went to music school," he said. "And here I am."
Where the talented rapper was when we caught him was Eastdown Warehouse's indoor stage, rocking the microphone for a stand of admirers.
"When it comes to the whole spring-break thing, the first song that comes to mind is [Jay Z/UGK's] 'Big Pimpin', spending cheese,'" he sing-songed, inviting me and his friend Andy to join in on the chorus. "It was always some good ol' booty-poppin' on spring break, and that song was synonymous with that."
DDA Harrison Molder, front man for the "powerviolence" quartet DDA, offered "Poison Corporations" by crust faves Aus-Rotten.
"This song reminds me of spring because I was getting my dollar skull tattoo during spring break of 2012," he reminisced. "The lyrics and the music of this song are awesome, and the dollar-skull design came from one of the lyrics of the song.
"A song that reminds me of springtime is 'Riddim of the Breeze Blowing' by Houston reggae band Idiginis, because it's nice and soothing just like the warm springs we have here in Texas," added Dave Tama, DDA's guitarist turned drummer.
LISA BLAYLOCK Lisa Blaylock has been hosting Pat & Rosie's Night Sounds a little more than a year. According to her, the show has now been airing for 22 years at 90.1 FM KPFT, which is celebrating its 45th anniversary in 2015. She's assuming the helm now that the namesake hosts are retiring, but said she'll keep the show's original name in their honor.
"I would almost wanna stick with the local musician," she said of her spring-break song choice. She pondered the question and then said, "You know what I hear a lot, is [the Belle Stars'] 'Iko Iko.' It's because The Hightailers, here at the Last Concert, they play that song. It's like almost every Thursday they're playing that song. During spring break, a lot of people like to come out here. And that's a great song to hear."
THE WESTERN CIVILIZATION Rachel Hansbro and Reggie O'Farrell, the duo The Western Civilization, the remaining members of a five-piece band that formed in 2005 with co-founder Gretchen Schmaltz, had some success with a 2007 album, went on hiatus and saw O'Farrell relocate to Austin.
They moved Last Concert Café's audience with dueling acoustic guitars and introspective indie-pop, including newer songs that can be found on their Bandcamp page.
"California Girls," Rachel offered as a spring-break song -- but not the Katy Perry song, the classic Beach Boys hit.
"I'm kinda old-school," she said.
"For some reason, when I hear the words 'spring break,' I think of Sarah Jaffe," O'Farrell said. "I don''t know why. I love her stuff and none of it is upbeat or summer-like happy music at all. In between her first record and her second record, she had an EP that had some more upbeat songs on it, so that's what I'm thinking about."
ANNIE CANTU For The Community not only features excellent musicians, but showcases vendor art from dozens of talented Houston artists practicing in different mediums. Annie Cantu was on hand to present her sculpture art, which she calls Zenful Kreationz.
"The one song that reminds me so much of spring break is 'Back to the Hotel,' that na-na-na-na," she sang before breaking into a peal of laughter. "Why? Because we'd always leave a party and 'Where you going?' We're going back to the hotel. It's not in a naughty way...well, sometimes it was. But in a naughty, good way."
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LIL TREY and JOSIAH EKING Lil Trey is a man on a mission. Within a few minutes of learning we wanted to chat with him, he offered his Facebook, Soundcloud and Instagram info. The underground hip-hop artist said he's trying to make music that appeals to everyone and speaks to the hunger he has to make a name for himself in the rap game.
He's a young man of self-assurance, and was confident in his answer.
"Kanye West, 'Big Brother,' because of the melody and the content and the message within the song," Trey said.
He shared his FTC set with Josiah Eking, a spoken-word poet who hosts a multifaceted art event every Sunday at the Red Cat Jazz Lounge.
"We invite any type of artist to come out and showcase your art; just be there by 8 o'clock," said Eking, a communications student at TSU. "My objective is really just to meet people from different cultures and feed off of it as far as my creativity goes."
His spring break choice was a popular one.
"I'd probably have to say Bob Marley, skanking music, that's my spring break music," he said.
CeS Ces Wood is the hyper-energetic front woman for CeS, the band formerly known as Celestial Centerfold. Following their sundown set on Saturday, Wood mentioned System of a Down's "Aerials" as a song that recalls spring break, which was convenient since the band had just rocked an Eastdown Warehouse crowd with the face-melter.
"The guys wanted me to do it, and I wanted to kind of step out of my comfort zone from doing the rap stuff and grow as an artist," she said. "I really had to push myself to do the vocal. I love that song, the lyrics, what he's saying; it resonates a lot with me, what he's saying about freeing your mind to create your life. I thought that was a cool cover, so when the guys suggested it, I was like, 'All right, I'm down.'"
OTONANA TRIO We didn't get a chance to ask Japanese funk-bringers Otonana TRIO if spring break exists in the Land of the Rising Sun. We were too busy boogieing to their ebullient jams, including one about the wonders of ramen that featured a spirited, flag-waving, crowd-chanting salute to the Japanese noodle soup of dreams.
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