The 10 Best Local Acts at Free Press Summer Fest
Photos courtesy of Free Press Summer Fest
A Fistful of Soul A Fistful of Soul's members look like the indie-rockers FPSF tends to favor, such as New York City Queens, The Tontons or Wild Moccasins. It may alarm some unfamiliars when they don't start strumming esoterically at guitars or synth-popping their set. They spin classic soul sets, and I'm excited to see them do it for a crowd (hopefully) much larger than those that fill their monthly shows at the Big Top. The last time I caught their act, they had my Shazam app working overtime on wonderful, handpicked, lesser-known soul songs. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.
BLSHS I saw BLSHS pretty early on in their career as a band (only a few months ago), and really enjoyed everything I heard out of the electronic-based trio. Now with a bunch more shows behind them, they should come out swinging at this year's FPSF. While they seem like they'd be better suited towards a dark club late at night, it'll be interesting how it translates to the hot, sweaty Houston afternoon. I have no doubt, though, that they'll shine in front of what's likely to be their biggest audience to date. JIM BRICKER
Carnival Talk Every festival has that special set of acts who get the task of getting the whole show rolling. The most intriguing of these bands takes the stage at 11:20 a.m. and goes by the name Carnival Talk. Yeah, showing up to the festival before noon sounds like a recipe for sunburn and poor mid-afternoon decisions, but judging by their single "Fate," both of those may just be worth the risk to see Carnival Talk bright and early. What's not to love about a band that tags their music as "bonkers"? CORY GARCIA
Gracie Chavez One of my favorite things about FPSF is the super-diverse lineup, down to the assortment of local acts (though some Cynical Cindys and Asshole Andys might disagree). Gracie Chavez is a great example of local flavor that not everyone has tasted. As a Latin female DJ, she's definitely bringing something fresh to this year's fest, and personally, I can't wait to shake my bombon to her set. SELENA DIERINGER
De'Wayne Jackson De'Wayne Jackson performing on such a big stage this early in his career should be championed from end to end; a local guy who released his first mixtape of any real importance less than six months ago can soon say he left his soul on the same stages as DMX, Lauryn Hill and the Wu-Tang Clan. What makes Jackson, who was so determined to get somewhere he once walked miles to work when he didn't have a car, such a triumph is that you can easily see him trying to get better with every performance. He's like Childish Gambino in that regard, minus the Community background or all-out one-liner raps. BRANDO
Grand Old Grizzly Front-porch pickin' is in short supply at FPSF, but not entirely absent thanks to Grand Old Grizzly. The local quartet's songs (heard on their self-titled 2013 album) are clean and tuneful, similar to the more acoustic moments on Wilco's Being There. Houston doesn't have as many pure Americana acts as you might think, but Grand Old Grizzly may be the only one we really need. CHRIS GRAY
List continues on the next page.
Los Skarnales Houston's charming "vatos rudos" [rude boys] Los Skarnales win you over in an instant, dancing, playing and singing with every ounce of their hearts, giving their fans the show of a lifetime every time. Their hits "Una y Otra Vez," "Rajita de Canela," and "No Way Out" remind us of a simpler time, when going to a ska show at Fitzgerald's was the highlight of the month. With Felipe Galvan and Nestor "El Tiburon" providing the initial energy, the rest of the band follows suit, creating "un desmadre" -- literally 'chaos', although in this case it means a wild party -- on any stage they hit. Definitely one of the best acts of this year's festival, and a treasure of Houston's musical history. MARCO TORRES
Photo by Julie Worsham
The Tontons I might be the only Houstonian who hasn't seen The Tontons live, or at least it sometimes feels that way. The closest was seeing singer Asli Omar kick off last year's Dynamo season opener with the national anthem, which clearly isn't the same thing. I'm not sure why it has taken me so long to see this Houston favorite, but am ecstatic that FPSF will be the backdrop for this experience. SELENA DIERINGER
Photo by Mark C. Austin
Venomous Maximus What keeps me interested in seeing Venomous again and again is not the fact that the band is composed of a bunch of nice dudes and that my friends are always down to go, but that they consistently put on a super-kick-ass rock show regardless of the time or place. This will be my first time seeing them in the great outdoors, meaning I have more room to headbang than ever. SELENA DIERINGER
Photo by Mark C. Austin
Wrestlers Wrestlers is a new name for a not-so-new duo. When Aidan Kennedy and David Elkin get together to make music, feet shuffle, heads bob and arms wave joyfully. Formerly known as Bagheera, the group is always a safe bet for a wildly fun electronic set. Now a Red Bull Sound Select artist, they recently released the uplifting summer-anthem single "Say Anything" featuring Twin Shadow, who coincidentally is also playing FPSF. Hmmm... MARCO TORRES
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