Saturday Night: Praia Urbana At Last Concert Cafe

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Praia Urbana Last Concert Cafe June 18, 2011

Saturday, the all-day electronic music festival Praia Urbana was held at Last Concert Café. From what Aftermath saw while we were there, it was pretty much a packed house.

Due to a previous commitment, we got there two hours before the party came to a close. Many people were winding down, but just as many were still going strong on the dance floors, while a few were recharging their batteries with cold beverages on the patio tables.

When we first walked in, Aftermath kind of thought it was a rave. Which, we suppose, it kind of was... minus some of raves' more unpleasant aspects and for a pretty steep $35 ticket.

Like the crowds at Free Press Summer Fest a few weeks ago, plenty of concertgoers found interesting ways to beat the heat, mostly by taking off as many articles of clothing as they could. The festival's promoters and organizers put together water stations and a few sprinkler tents where people could cool off.

It wasn't Summer Fest, of course, but it wasn't supposed to be. Praia Urbana says it has boasted crowds of more than 1,500 people in the past, and Saturday night's festival may have reached that number again.

At least, that's what the dance floor felt like, as we tried to make our way through it to the restroom.

While the festival pegged itself as an electronica expose, there were a few reasons to visit even if you weren't into the whole "dance" thing. The first thing Aftermath noticed as we walked in was the wall near the back of the venue, which had been designated an art wall, of sorts - a blank canvas for a few graffiti artists to cover with whatever they saw fit.

By far, this was our favorite part of the evening.

Three artists (that we saw) contributed to the mural, but we assume that it had been in the process of being completed since the event started at 2 p.m. We kind of wish we had gotten there earlier. But then again, it was 100-something degrees, so we'll content ourselves with congratulating those who were strong enough to withstand the Houston heat and sun.

While dancing, nonetheless.

Praia Urbana means "beach" in Portugese, and this was the festival's sixth concurrent year in Houston. The daytime electronic music festival featured all sorts of DJs, some of whom are internationally renowned. This year, Wally Lopez, Honey Dijon and Riddler headlined the festival, and plenty of local DJs were spinning too, alongside live percussionists.

Past headliners include Jimpster, Saeed Younan, Mr. V, Alix Alvarez, Cevin Fisher, Chuck Love, Collette, David Tort, Gonzalo Menoyo, Randall Jones, Jay-J and DJ Wady.

The festival happens four times a year and, according to its Web site, strives to be "the electronic music enthusiast's fix for their insatiable appetite to the indulgence that is called House."

Consider us satisfied. We may have only been there for two hours, but we had enough beer spilled on us, sweat transferred to us and speakers right next to our heads to last a few weeks.

The festival only ran until 11 p.m., but its attendees all seemed satisfied by the time it all ended. We're sure that they would have been more than happy to stick around for much, much longer, but we didn't hear anyone griping as they made their way back to their cars outside Last Concert Café.

All we saw were smiles. A lot of sweet, sweaty smiles. If there were another Praia Urbana this weekend, we just might go.

Personal Bias: Honestly, we had never heard of this thing, and it didn't sound like we'd know anyone there, but we like putting ourselves out of our element from time to time, so we hopped on board.

The Crowd: We're pretty sure that we were the only ones wearing a shirt.

Overheard Outside the Restroom: "You jacking off in there, dude? Come on!"

Random Notebook Dump: Cameras on dance floors are, apparently, something of a no-no.

Follow Rocks Off on Facebook and on Twitter at @HPRocksOff.

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