BuzzFest XXVII Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion October 22, 2011
By the end of BuzzFest 27, Aftermath had seen countless couples arguing, stepped in a few puddles of puke and had more alcohol spilled on us than we consumed. Somewhere in the midst of all that, there was a lot of music, but it sure was hard to pay attention to.
The day wasn't without its high points, however. When we first arrived on site, we weren't in the best of moods, but local sensations (and recent recipients of a lot of love from The Buzz) thelastplaceyoulook quickly got our feet tapping. In front of a somewhat sparse, but quite receptive, group of people, Houston's own opened the festival with a new song that they had never performed in front of a live audience, filling the rest of their 30-ish-minute set with "Band To Save Me," "Don't Make It So Easy" and our personal favorite, "Rip It Out."
Soon after, we saw the band swarmed by new fans, asking for pictures, autographs and offering handshakes. It was a good way to start the day.
As Filter took the stage, we found ourselves thinking, "We hope they play that track that was on The X-Files movie soundtrack." And sure enough, after a little trouble with the microphone as the show began, they did. The band may have fallen off of our radar in recent years, but if their performance Saturday was any inclination, they still have plenty of fans out there, and they're eager for more.
Evans Blue, meanwhile, would have done themselves and their fans a favor by tuning down a few of their songs. Vocalist Dan Chandler just couldn't quite hit the notes he was supposed to, but the crowd was happy to help him out, belting out lyrics to almost every song. Everlast's set was stripped-down too, and until the end of his set, when the singer-songwriter played "What It's Like," the crowd seemed inclined to entertain itself in other ways.
At this point, the sun was setting. We made our way to the side stage from time to time, but it was just too loud and crowded, so we spent most of our time near our seats, talking with attendees and trying to stay hydrated.
The best performance of the day came from Chevelle. It was energetic, yet it felt intimate and as far from gimmicky as it gets. The group's vocals were on point, as were the harmonies, which drew a stark contrast to the heavy guitar riffs, bass lines and percussion. The three-piece had more stage presence, swagger and just sounded bigger than most of the other bands combined.
Each member was at the helm of an instrument, and the bassist and guitarist both sing, but even with the drummer stuck behind his kit and the other two members behind the microphones, Chevelle's set was full of energy. And it felt earnest. The light show was conservative, and the focus was the sound of rock and roll.
Staind were the best-received group of the evening. Aaron Lewis' blanket of a voice kept the crowd warm while also pulling them into a sing-along for nearly the entire performance. Personally, we prefer Lewis' solo stuff, which has more of an emphasis on vocals and a country twang, but hearing a few thousand people chant in unison to "It's Been a While," "Right Here" and the ever-angsty "For You" was heartwarming nonetheless.
Headlining the festival were Bush, who also played the very first BuzzFest back in 1995. Fans were happy to have the band back, and both the old and the new songs were well-received as ladies swooned over (and men wished they were) Gavin Rossdale. When asked how they decided on a set list for BuzzFest, Bush told The Buzz's Rod Ryan, "We just play the songs that everyone loves the most."
A simple format that worked like a charm.
The day wasn't what we expected, though looking back we aren't sure what exactly we thought going in, but from the perspective of a music festival, it was a success that went off without a hitch, except for the fact that AWOLNation dropped out the day of the event due to an illness.
Judging from the state of mind of many of the attendees we saw on our way out the gate, however, the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department might have another opinion. We haven't checked, though.
Personal Bias: We saw Saturday as something of a challenge, and we felt up to it.
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Seen In the Restroom: A guy wearing a Slipknot mask standing next to us at the urinal. For a brief moment, we thought he was going to mug us. Then we remembered where we were.
Random Notebook Dump: Did you know that if you buy a frozen hurricane, you're only given one straw? And if you ask for another one, you will be denied. Sharing is caring, people!