MORE

The Lost Weekend?

Attention Houston motorists: If you find yourself in the vicinity of lower Westheimer this weekend,please be careful.

What you are likely to find, besides a traffic snarl of rush-hour proportions, is a parade of hippies, hipsters, indie-rockers, acid casualties, crusty-punks, street artists, trustafarians, walking tattoos, homeless people, people who only look like they're homeless and probably at least one guy in a diaper.

That's right, it's Westheimer Block Party time again.

Buoyed by the success of SummerFest this past August, Free Press Houston editor/publisher and Block Party honcho Omar Afra has expanded the semiannual event to Saturday and Sunday, allowing more than 200 mostly local and a few Austin acts to perform. It's all free, save the Saturday-evening show at Numbers headlined by New York agit-rappers Dead Prez, Jersey garage-punks Japanther and Austin shoegaze folkies the Eastern Sea.

Frankly, to Noise, this weekend sounds like a recipe for chaos, of both the good and not-so-good varieties. As entertaining and colorful as the street scene always is at the Block Party, those sidewalks along Westheimer are awfully narrow, and Houston drivers aren't exactly known for their courtesy toward either pedestrians or biyclists — who, in turn, aren't exactly known for always watching where they're going.

Although closing down Westheimer would be the safest option, there's little chance of that ever happening because there's no feasible detour route to divert traffic anywhere close by. Afra has tried pleading his case to the city time and again on that count, to no avail.

However, Afra says he has convinced the city to make the Block Party at least a little more pedestrian-friendly by closing down Taft Street for a few blocks north and south of Westheimer. Beyond that, he asks, do everyone a favor and just ride your bicycle.

"You avoid running into the cops, if you get drunk you avoid hurting anybody else, and there's tons of places to tie your bike up," Afra says. "Bikes are ideal for the Block Party. If you drive, there's no telling how far you'll have to go to park."

Block Party's unpredictability is a considerable part of its charm. Every time it happens, you can pretty much count on running into people you never thought you'd see (but secretly did somewhere in the back of your mind), as well as seeing performances by people you've never heard of before that will both send you screaming from the venue/parking lot and running up to the stage when they're done to buy a CD or T-shirt.

Ever since Afra and the Free Press crew reinstituted the Block Party in October 2005, they've managed to pull it off come the hell of sound problems, scheduling backups and noise complaints or just high water. It is a rain-or-shine event, somewhat — Afra says all the indoor shows will take place regardless, and that performers who get rained off the outdoor stages will be moved inside "wherever we have space."

Noise hopes this coming weekend is no different. Houston needs the Block Party — there's still no better way for anyone to get a sampling of what an amazingly diverse, plentiful and idiosyncratic music scene we have here. Expanding it to two days means, of course, that partygoers will be able to sample twice as much talent.

It also means that there's twice as much time for something to go awry. Noise has his doubts about whether or not this weekend will go off without a hitch, but as far as that goes, there's really only one way to find out. See you on the street.
_____________________

STAGE GUIDE

Subject to change. Recommended artists in bold.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14

KTRU/FPH Main Stage

Numbers, 300 Westheimer (parking lot)

12 p.m.: Generation Landslide

12:50 p.m.: Caddywhompus

1:40 p.m.: Robert Ellis

2:30 p.m.: Marzi

3:20 p.m.: Hollywood FLOSS

4:10 p.m.: Defend the Ghetto

5 p.m.: Young Mammals

5:50 p.m.: Roky Moon & BOLT

6:40 p.m.: Buxton

7:25 p.m.: Golden Axe

Numbers Inside

300 Westheimer

12 p.m.: The Live Lights

12:50 p.m.: 10th Grade Cutie

1:40 p.m.: Fucking Thief

2:30 p.m.: Legendary K-Otix

3:20 p.m.: T.H.E.M.

4:10 p.m.: Guerilla Foco Clan

8:30 p.m. (cover required): Dead Prez, Japanther, Eastern Sea, Black Congress (upstairs), DJ Melodic

Funwunce Stage

Mango's, 403 Westheimer

12:30 p.m.: The Wrong Ones

1:15 p.m.: Skurge

2 p.m.: Battle Rifle

2:45 p.m.: Ghost Town Electric

3:30 p.m.: DISSENT

4:15 p.m.: Leg Sweeper

5 p.m.: Muhammid Ali

5:45 p.m.: The Energy

6:30 p.m.: Born Liars

7:15 p.m.: PLF

8 p.m.: Chocolate Crucifix

9 p.m.: In Beds

10 p.m.: Satannabis

11 p.m.: Corners

12 a.m.: DJ Meshak

SHFL Stage

Mango's, 403 Westheimer (parking lot)

12 p.m.: The Handshake

1 p.m.: Behind Buildings

2 p.m.: Searching for Signal

3 p.m.: Components of the Modern Age

4 p.m.: Gamma Ringo

5 p.m.: HRStrut

5:50 p.m.: Wighead

6: 20 p.m.: Delta Block

7 p.m.: Rusted Shut

8:30 p.m.: Organ Failure

9:15 p.m.: Dustin Wes

Music Heals Stage

Austin Layne Hotel, 408 Westheimer

12 p.m.: Chin Xao Ti Twon

12:50 p.m.: Tony Bananas

1:40 p.m.: Make Your Own Escape

2:30 p.m.: Dead Roses

3:20 p.m.: Pistoleras

4:10 p.m.: Alkari

5 p.m.: O'Doyle Rules

5:50 p.m.: National Electric

6:40 p.m.: listenlisten

7:25 p.m.: Perseph One

IndieHouston Stage

AvantGarden, 411 Westheimer (parking lot)

12 p.m.: Holy Hand Grenades

12:50 p.m.: Nosaprise

1:40 p.m.: David Lascoe

2:30 p.m.: Mermaids of Judaism

3:20 p.m.: Ghormeh Sabzi

4:10 p.m.: Literature

5 p.m.: Springfield Riots

5:50 p.m.: 100 Flowers

6:40 p.m.: Flowers to Hide

7:30 p.m.: Paris Falls

Helios Upstairs

AvantGarden, 411 Westheimer

12:50 p.m.: Together, We are Instruments

1:40 p.m.: Football, etc.

2:30 p.m.: Uzoy

3:20 p.m.: The Niyat

4:10 p.m.: The Manichean

5 p.m.: Winter Wallace

5:50 p.m.: MyNameIsJohnMichael

6:40 p.m.: Peekaboo Theory

7:25 p.m.: The Gold Sounds

8:15 p.m.: Chase Hamblin

9 p.m.: Co-Pilot

9:55 p.m.: Focusyn

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 15

KTRU/FPH Main Stage

12 p.m.: More Cowbell

12:50 p.m.: Springfield Riots

1:40 p.m.: Dirty N Nasty

2:30 p.m.: Tyagaraja

3:20 p.m.: I am Mesmer

5 p.m.: Grandfather Child

5:50 p.m.: Wild Moccasins

6:40 p.m.: D.R.U.M.

7:25 p.m.: Spain Colored Orange

8 p.m.: Sideshow Tramps

8:45 p.m.: Woozyhelmet

9:30 p.m.: Giant Princess

Numbers Inside

12 p.m.: The Cocker Spaniels

12:50 p.m.: The Swervys

1:40 p.m.: Margot

2:30 p.m.: Flow Factory

3:20 p.m.: A Dream Asleep

5 p.m.: Journey Agents

5:50 p.m.: Fired for Walking

6:40 p.m.: Lisa's Sons

7:25 p.m.: Satin Hooks

8:15 p.m.: Forests

Funwunce Stage

1:15 p.m.: Room 101

2 p.m.: Bowel

2:45 p.m.: Cavernous

3:30 p.m.: Future Blondes

4:15 p.m.: The State vs. Judd Nelson

5 p.m.: Female Demand

5:45 p.m.: Fight Pretty

6:30 p.m.: The Burden

7:15 p.m.: Hell City Kings

8 p.m.: Two Star Symphony

9 p.m.: The Bamaz

10 p.m.: Fat Tony

11 p.m.: V Zilla

SHFL Stage

12 p.m.: Jane Frequency

1 p.m.: The Watermarks

2 p.m.: The Cadences

3 p.m.: Clement

4 p.m.: Jody Seabody and the Whirls

5 p.m.: The Misfires

5:50 p.m.: Poopy Lungstuffing

6:20 p.m.: Free Radicals

7 p.m.: Thou Shalt Not Kill... Except

7:20 p.m.: Cop Warmth

8 p.m.: Exterminating Angels

8:30 p.m.: Love Field

9:15 p.m.: Hero

Music Heals Stage

12 p.m.: A.T.W.

12:50 p.m.: White Guilt

1:40 p.m.: Jennifer Grassman

2:30 p.m.: TSU Jazz Ensembles

3:20 p.m.: TSU Jazz Ensembles

4:10 p.m.: Framing Strangers

5 p.m.: Tax the Wolf

5:50 p.m.: Something Fierce

6:40 p.m.: Check Other

7:25 p.m.: The Julys

IndieHouston Stage

12 p.m.: Holy Fiction

12:50 p.m.: Horse

1:40 p.m.: Giant Battle Monster

2:30 p.m.: Eddie Terrell

3:20 p.m.: Wine and the Revolution

4:10 p.m.: Elaine Greer

5 p.m.: The Sour Notes

5:50 p.m.: Alpaca

6:40 p.m.: Sings

7:30 p.m.: Ghost Mountain

Helios Upstairs

12 p.m.: Fiskadoro

12:50 p.m.: The Goods

1:40 p.m.: Smoky Mountain

2:30 p.m.: News on the March

3:20 p.m.: Idigenous

4:10 p.m.: Left of the Dial

5 p.m.: Benjamin Wesley

5:50 p.m.: Bright Men of Learning

6:40 p.m.: Some Others

7:25 p.m.: Whorehound

8:15 p.m.: Mechanical Boy

9 p.m.: Come See My Dead Person

Saturday and Sunday

Helios Downstairs

AvantGarden, 411 Westheimer

Reprogramm Music Stage, hosted by Ceeplus Bad Knives

Helios Front Patio

AvantGarden, 411 Westheimer

Joe B. and the Rebel Crew

Get complete coverage of the Block Party — or as complete as we can manage, given the legion of performers — on the Press's Rocks Off music blog at blogs.houstonpress.com/rocks and on Twitter at @hprocksoff.

chris.gray@houstonpress.com


Sponsor Content