Recently I began work with Houston Texans linebacker Connor Barwin on an upcoming print feature. Anyone who follows him on Twitter knows that he is a huge fan of live music in Houston and can be seen at gigs all over town. I asked him if he wanted to write a few words about one of his Summer Fest experiences, and the man obliged. -- Craig Hlavaty
More FPSF 2012 Coverage: • Summer Fest line-up reviews on the Rocks Off blog.
• Free Press Summer Fest 2012: The Sexy, Sweaty Crowds
• Popsicles and Pizza: The Food of Summer Fest
• FPSF: The Bands from Saturday
• FPSF: The Bands from Sunday
From the start, lead singer Michael Fitzpatrick made it apparent that he was not only a musician but an entertainer. Fitz and his band of neo-soul indie-poppers were not going to let you stand around and watch. From stomping your feet to clapping your hands (I've never clapped more in one hour in my life), Fitz and his duet partner Noelle Scaggs had the crowd going the entire show.
This did not always go smoothly, though, as it almost all fell apart when Scaggs shouted, "it's great to be back in Boston."
And obviously, we're not in Boston.
There are few, if any, worse things that a performer can do than forget the name of the city in which they are playing. "Wanna Get Away?" It looked like the crowd was about to turn on them, but Fitz stepped up and did a three-minute, hair-whipping, feet-stomping, arm-flailing, game-changing danceathon to the song "Rich Girls."
The crowd was in the palm of his hand from there on out.
Other highlights included "Breakin' The Chains of Love" and the Eurythmics cover "Sweet Dreams." It all came to a head with their hit single, "Money Grabber," which had the crowd rolling from the start.
Right before the last chorus, Fitz directed the entire crowd to get as low to the ground as possible, even going as far as to individually call out any wallflowers who refused to participate.
Say what you will about the crowd theatrics, but when the last chorus hit, every single person in the crowd was jumping along to the beat.
Fitz genuinely appreciated the energy from the rowdy Houston crowd. He walked off the stage and gave a fist-pump worthy of someone who just hit a Michael Jordan-esque game-winning shot in the NBA playoffs. It was a Tiger-Woods-authentic-I -just-won-the-Masters-again-for-the-tenth-time putt.
Fitz killed it, and he knew it.
Personal Bias: I am a huge Hall & Oates fan, and I was predisposed to liking the smooth soul sounds of Fitz and the Tantrums.
The Crowd: Seemingly every music fan in Houston was on Allen Parkway this weekend. There was a lot of Houston pride on display.
Overheard in the Crowd: "Did you hear The Flaming Lips threw $20,000 in the crowd last night?"
Random Notebook Dump: I caught Vanaprasta on Stage 4 with about 50 other people. "Self Indulgent Feeling" might have been the catchiest song I heard all day. It's officially my song for the summer.
Extra Closing Thoughts: That was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I'm going to bed, hanging my head in shame for this terrible article I just wrote. I have to be at Reliant at 6:30 tomorrow morning for OTAs.