Rocks Off asked our staff members who will be covering the Houston International Festival for us this weekend to give us one or two choices for artists they don't want to miss.
Forro In the Dark Bud Light World Music Stage, 2:30 p.m. Saturday/Center Stage, 6:30 p.m. Saturday
As one of the first acts to hit the iFest stage, Forro In the Dark provides an early exposure to the delights and diversity of Brazilian music. The group should be an enjoyably educational introduction to the "forro" musical style, a dance-happy amalgamation of rhythms primarily powered by the interplay of guitar, flute and percussion.
In a decade of playing on its home turf, the New York-based but Brazilian-rooted group has built a fervent fanbase that includes David Byrne, who sang on two songs on the band's debut album. MICHAEL POINT
Luther & the Healers Texas Music Stage, 2:30 p.m. Saturday
The self-declared "hardest-working band in Texas," Luther & The Healers is one of Houston's longest-running blues groups. Its members have been playing and performing together since 1991 -- making the band itself older than the average festivalgoer -- and perform an estimated 300-plus shows a year.
Incorporating the native, bluesy tones of the Bayou City's musical history, The Healers' bluesy bass lines and classic guitar licks, often accompanied by some piano, compliment Luther's raspy vocals just right. MATTHEW KEEVER
Stooges Brass Band Bud Light World Music Stage, 4:30 p.m. Saturday
Any New Orleans brass band worthy of the title can get your feet moving, but the Stooges Brass Band gets in your face to do it, kicking it with primal party ferocity spiced with hip-hop sensibilities.
The Stooges aren't your old-school brass band, rather an aggressive aggregation that knows where their music came from but are intent on taking it to new places. It's Crescent City to the core, but a 21st-century sound that adds new flavors to the traditional sonic gumbo of blasting brass and ass-shaking rhythms. MICHAEL POINT
David Grissom Texas Music Stage, 6:30 p.m. Saturday
Every Texas music fan has his or her own favorite guitarist (probably several), but David Grissom's name doesn't come up in that conversation often enough. True, he has plenty of fans who remember when his technically flawless but passionate fretwork anchored Joe Ely's legendary Live at Liberty Lunch-era band or, later, Storyville. But even those people may not realize he was the musical director of the Dixie Chicks' 2003 "Top of the World" tour, or that between Ely and Storyville he did three records and the concordant tours with John Mellencamp.
More recently, Grissom guested on Buddy Guy's 2011 LP Living Proof and has been crafting solo albums such as last year's Way Down Deep, giving him an opportunity to bring his arena-level talents (and electric band) to downtown Houston. CHRIS GRAY
Bootsy Collins Bud Light World Stage, 6:30 p.m. Saturday Iconic funk pioneer Bootsy Collins will be headlining the Bud Light World Music Stage Saturday, bringing to the table his own recipe for over-the-top, blissfully insane funk.
With a legendary career that began alongside James Brown and then with George Clinton in P-Funk, this bass wizard has built a solo career that includes 23 albums and several alter egos. Onstage, Collins is an animated, flamboyant performer you can be sure will tear the roof off the sucker, as only he can do. ANGELICA LEICHT
Jeffery Broussard and the Creole Cowboys Bud Light World Music Stage, 1 p.m. Sunday/Texas Music Stage, 4:30 p.m. Sunday
Jeffery Broussard and the Creole Cowboys are a zydeco band of five, fronted by vocalist, accordionist and fiddler Broussard. He started his career in the land of Lafayette, La., playing in his father's band, Delton Broussard and the Lawtell Playboys.
When both his mother and father passed during his teenage years, Jeffrey started playing for his brother's band, Clinton Broussard & the Zydeco Machines. Jeffrey's own band, also carried under his family name, shows his unwavering commitment not only to his lineage but to zydeco, and makes us absolutely stoked to see him and his bandmates Sunday. ALTAMESE OSBORNE
The Tejano Knights/Alex Garibay & What Is Hip? Texas Music Stage, 2:30 p.m. Sunday Fronted by Alex Garibay, the Tejano Knights are also known as What Is Hip? The six-man bilingual billed as "Houston's Ultimate Party Band" was formed here in the 1980s and craft an interesting blend of Tejano and R&B on songs such as "Por Esa Calle Vive." This unlikely marriage of genres should be exciting to watch live. ALTAMESE OSBORNE
The Wailers Bud Light World Stage, 6:30 p.m. Sunday
Only one week after Bob Marley and The Wailers' international success Catch a Fire turns 40, the legendary reggae group will perform at Houston's 2013 iFest (minus Marley himself, of course).
Not to be confused with "The Original Wailers," The Wailers' lineup includes just one original member, bassist Ashton "Family Man" Barrett. But like the other band, despite whatever reason the bands may have for not combining their talents, their music is still focused on spreading the message of "One Love." MATTHEW KEEVER
James Hunter Six Texas Music Stage, 6:30 p.m. Sunday
As Sunday evening's final act on the Texas Music Stage, the James Hunter Six are set to deliver their modern brand of rhythm and blues, tightly incorporating Hunter's gritty, mournful vocals into a horn-fueled sea of slithering R&B, delivered by the musician collective that has backed him for nearly 20 years.
James and company have supported the likes of Aretha Franklin, Etta James, and Willie Nelson, while becoming legends in their own right for their neo-soul sound and, of course, Hunter's raw, resounding growl. ANGELICA LEICHT
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