How awesome was that cool front that blew through this past Saturday? Finally, your average Houston afternoon has gone from being a blast furnace to mildly toasty, while the mornings and evenings have become sublime. Hey, we'll take it. This must be what they call "fall," so it seemed like the perfect time to run down Rocks Off's ten favorite shows of this past summer -- now that it is finally past... we hope.
Beach Boys Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, June 8
"The second set was near-biblical, in rock terms at least, with previously-dormant godhead Brian Wilson attacking the band's monolithic Pet Sounds material with gusto. It was as if he sat around during that first set bored, waiting to show off his legend for that second half. From my vantage I could detect boredom and some understimulation in him when the show started, but that changed after intermission and he got to dig into his calling cards." CRAIG HLAVATY
Kenny Chesney & Tim McGraw Reliant Stadium, August 4
"Saturday night's show, long on alpha-male flexing and not entirely lacking either introspection or actual country music, traded spectacle for scale. With hooks and choruses this size, no explosions or fancy video-screen wizardry was necessary. Instead, Chesney rode one of those NFL-style overhead cameras from the satellite stage in the middle of the stadium to the main platform, and McGraw signed a few autographs (a hat, a cardboard fan) between verses. Ka-ching." CHRIS GRAY Read the full review
Coldplay Toyota Center, June 25
"At heart, we suspect Martin and company know it would be hard to hold a modern crowd's attention through portions of their catalog, so they charge out of the gate and grab you by the throat from the outset. Oh, does your favorite band drench the crowd in confetti during the closing number? Coldplay does it the second song, bitches (and then again two songs later). Does your favorite band sell glow sticks to wave at random intervals? Coldplay gives away free bracelets that light up by remote control! PETE VONDER HAAR
Kaskade Bayou Music Center, July 20
"Finally my group grabbed hands and ran out into the crowd. Kaskade opened with "Eyes," which I felt was fitting seeing that I couldn't believe my eyes. The lights were phenomenal. While "Eyes" was playing, the screen behind Kaskade had an eye blinking at the crowd. A little freaky, but remember what tour this is here. People were tossing glow sticks into the air. It was I guess our version of fireworks seeing that the venue was indoors. Smoke machines were spewing smoking onto the crowd. It seemed to caress everyone. The scene was just beautiful. I would have to call it an EDM masterpiece." TAYLOR MOON
Kashmere Reunion Stage Band Fitzgerald's, July 20
"The guitar dropped in, then the bass, and finally the horns. Layers of shimmering sounds whistled through the air of the cavernous venue, traveling from ear drums to the soul, causing the bobbing of heads, raising and dropping of shoulders, and swiveling of hips all around." MARCO TORRES Read the full review
Meek Mill House of Blues, August 10
"Kirko Bangz joined him for "Drank In My Cup," wearing a bucket hat and looking as if he just hopped off a plane from London after finishing fourth in polo, and the crowd lit up for a moment. Paul Wall leapt up for "Sittin' Sidewayz" and Slim Thug and his towering presence was credited as being a Meek influencer. It definitely didn't go to his delivery, let's just say that. Being well-versed in the ways of Meek and his now signature "shout raps," the energy cranked to an entirely new level when he let off "I'ma Boss," a vociferous and cagey effort that plain and simple is the musical equivalent of being the Juggernaut and running through everything in your path." BRANDO Read the full review
93Q's "A Day In the Country" Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, June 16
"Baytown native Chris Cagle's set was like listening to MTV: Unplugged from the early '90s. His semi-unplugged set fit his voice like a glove. Shortly before launching into "Breathe In, Breathe Out," he told the story of how one time, he saw an ex-girlfriend who had just broken up with him at a hockey game out with her new boyfriend. During the song, someone shouted "I love you Chris." Cagle stopped midway through the song and broke down crying in tears of joy as he thanked the audience for supporting his music." CHRISTINA LYNN
Puscifer Bayou Music Center, June 27
"Always making the most of minimalism, Maynard James Keenan, the mastermind behind Tool and A Perfect Circle, made the back of Bayou Music Center's stage his home Wednesday night, content to let the rest of his band stand and sit in the foreground as he stood in the shadows, his cowboy hat and aviator-style sunglasses shrouding his face for the entire evening. Eccentric much? Maybe. But the guy could just be really modest. Or shy." MATTHEW KEEVER Read the full review
Southern Lord showcase Walter's, June 29
"I knew Black Breath played hard and I knew they played fast, so I was a little surprised when I saw drummer Jamie Byrum. I'm not gonna call the dude fat or anything, but if he's got a nickname, it probably ain't "Slim." Was this guy going to really use both of those bass drums, or what? Turns out, Jamie Byrum is a fucking athlete. He was the fastest drummer of the night, and they were all fast. His quick-twitch supremacy cracked the whip unceasingly across Black Breath's neck-snapping riffs." NATHAN SMITH
Vans Warped Tour Reliant Park, July 1
"The crowd was the general mixture of types that you'd expect from these shows: some in all black, some mostly naked and covered in paint, people in costume (2 Spidermen, 1 Waldo, and what I believe was the same Pink Ranger from Summer Fest), people in neon, the bald, the Mohawked, the pierced, and the inked. All of them, no matter the outfit, navigated the often confusing labyrinth of stages, vendors, and merch booths trying to catch everything. At the start of the day making your way through the fest wasn't a big deal, but as more people arrived and more bands started to do signings moving in the merch area became increasing difficult." CORY GARCIA Read the full review
You may be thinking, "Hey... Isn't something important missing here? Something big?" You are correct. Judging by the overwhelming response to Rocks Off's coverage of Free Press Summer Fest 2012, we decided to disqualify it from this particular blog.
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We're guessing that most if not all of our writers would have chosen it anyway. Summer Fest was so big this year that we gave it a category all its own, and we welcome you to revisit those scorching, sweltering days in early June at Eleanor Tinsley Park right over here.
Enjoy the fall, Houston. You've absolutely earned it.