Aftermath: The First Lost In Space Festival at Khon's

Suffice to say, it's been a great year for live music festivals in Houston this year. Between the Spring and Fall editions of the Westheimer Block Party, the Free Press Summer Fest, the International Festival, our own Houston Press Music Awards and others that slip our memories at the moment, we have enjoyed what's happened in our city in 2009.

So, we were excited to learn that a couple of enterprising musicians caught a bit of festival fever themselves and decided to join the fray. Meghan Hendley of Solanae and Marcus Gausepohl of Golden Cities created Lost In Space Fest because they wanted showcase the psychedelic and experimental side of Houston's music scene.

Anchored by a few acts that have received heaps of accolades recently - namely, B L A C K I E, Motion Turns It On and Ghost Mountain - this was an opportunity for bands that don't quite fit into the traditional Mango's-to-Walter's-to-Mink circuit to perform before an audience that otherwise has never heard their music.

Khon's in Midtown played host to quite a diverse crowd, whether we're talking about age, demographic or preferred musical subgenre. Older jazz-heads showed up early for the free jazz stylings of Chairs, complete with a talented, spider-armed drummer and an overall sound reminiscent of John Coltrane's Interstellar Space. Despite the cold weather that chased the event inside (it had originally been planned as an all-rooftop event), Forests remained on the roof to play 30 minutes of majestic post-rock with the gorgeous downtown Houston skyline behind them.

The various circles of the Houston music scene continued to interlock as Defending The Kingdom shifted the night's tone with some brawny, burly, bluesy stoner rock. Austin paid a visit in the guise of Weird Weeds and My Education, the former of which delighted our ears with delightful stage banter and a style of excellent quirky indie-pop that borrowed liberally from second-wave emo. Golden Cities then brought its dense, intricate brand of atmospheric rock out to play, complete with big, dreamy soundscapes above rich, vibrant percussion.

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With all apologies to B L A C K I E and his brilliant American grime (which included a Lance Higdon cameo that featured a killer dubstep beat), Motion Turns It On turned in our favorite set of Lost In Space Fest. The irrepressible energy of this trio was amazing and impressive to experience live, as the band crafted breakneck paces and then topped it with a hyper-kinetic fusion of prog, jazz and punk.

With the band's first true LP, Kaleidoscopic Equinox, on the way in February, we are more than excited for this act to spread its wings and receive the acclaim it deserves outside of Houston.

All told, Aftermath hopes that the organizers of Lost In Space Fest don't wait quite an entire calendar year to try this again, but we do understand the need to build up our expectations for the future and make things even better. We were kinda bummed that Ray's Franks never showed up with food.

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