Rocks Off polled our writers to see which local or regional artist they most wanted to see at Free Press Summer Fest this weekend.
Alexa Crenshaw: Robert Ellis recently rebooted his mid-week honky-tonk events, fittingly dubbed Whiskey Wednesday with Robert Ellis. The problem now, though, is that these weekly treats are happening in Austin. Solution? Robert Ellis is coming to Summer Fest! His timeless classic country gets anyone toe-tappin' to his tunes, even if country music isn't their cup of tea (or whiskey) entranced by his solo acoustic work. American Songwriter Magazine named his Photographs as a top album of 2011. Jeep Power Amp Stage (stage 1), 1:40 p.m. Sunday
Cory Dieterman: By far, the biggest local act to play Summer Fest this year (for me) is going to be Fatal Flying Guilloteens. The guys haven't been around for ages, so this is a pretty special reunion show. For my personal bias on them, they wave the post-hardcore flag in a way that few bands in Houston or the world at large still do. 29-95 Stage (stage 4), 7 p.m. Saturday)
Cory Garcia: If you want to see the future of Texas rock, look no further than Schmillion. That's not me going in to hyperbolic Jon Landau/Springstreen territory, either. This group of 16- and 17-year-olds have shared bills with everyone from the Bangles to Explosions in the Sky to Arcade Fire, and their age isn't a novelty: This group is a real-deal, honest-to-god, have-the-chops-to-back-it-up rock band. If they're this good now, it'll be nuts to see where they are with a few more years of experience.
Chris Gray: There I was, getting ready to write another pick for one of my favorite local bands I've already written about a bunch of times like Sideshow Tramps, Small Sounds or Rusted Shut (whom I'm glad to see someone else picked), and wishing I had already seen some of the locals I'm now looking forward to seeing at Summer Fest at the first time (New York City Queens, Featherface), I got an email about some neighbors to the west, Suite 709. Once in Austin, 709 was a sacred number in Uranium Savages lore, now it's a poppy soul group reminiscent of Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson and prime '60s Motown. 709 plans to debut material from their as-yet-unreleased full-length Night & Day at Summer Fest; you'll wanna be starting something.
John Seaborn Gray: The Watermarks have been on my radar for quite some time, but their new pair of singles put them at the top of my "to-watch" list. It's so cool to see a band with serious potential finally rise to meet it. They're a big, wonderful, thick wall of shoegazy, dream-poppy noise. Can't wait to hear more new stuff from them. Stage 7, 6:30 p.m. Sunday
Craig Hlavaty: I am really excited to see the Fatal Flying Guilloteens this weekend at Summer Fest, since I have not seen them live in close to five years, at Emo's Jr. in Austin in August of 2007. This will be like a re-education seminar for us older dudes, and a reaffirmation for the younger set who probably only know the new with an "ex-" attached to the front of it from band bios. Seeing one of my favorite local bands once again for the very first time will be a thrill. I will be bringing Bactine and a towel just in case. 29-95 Stage (stage 4), 7 p.m. Saturday
Matthew Keever: At this point, I may sound like a broken record, but thelastplaceyoulook are some of the hardest-working and most talented guys in town. I was excited to see their name on this year's lineup, and I'm looking forward to hearing them again for the first time since their Christmas show back in December. There will be plenty of local acts worth checking out at this year's FPSF, but this is tlpyl's first appearance. Do yourself a favor and give them a listen. 29-95 Stage (stage 4), 1 p.m. Saturday
Christina Lynn: The Wild Moccasins harken back to a musical time period between the late '80s and early to mid-'90s, when alternative music was in a sordid but golden period. Co-lead vocalists Zahira Gutierrez and Cody Swann's vocals compliment each other well. One of the best things about the group is that they sound like they would be a great live band to see. On their recordings, the band is full of energy on such songs as "Calendar," "Fruit Tea" and "Skin Collision Past." Budweiser Stage (stage 2), 1 p.m. Sunday
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Nathan Smith: A lot of love should be flowing through the crowd on Day 1 of FPSF. Between Erykah Badu, Snoop, the Flaming Lips and Morris Day and the Time, the positive vibes blasting from all over the park could prove overwhelming for some. That's why I'm looking forward to seeing Rusted Shut detonate like a poorly made pipe bomb on the Super Happy Fun Land stage.
Guitarist/screamer Don Walsh and his long-running band of noise terrorists began extending an overdriven middle finger to existence back in 1986, and age has not improved their temperament. Expect an excruciating blast of pure hatred, the perfect palate cleanser before the Doggfather's smooth G-Funk extravaganza on the main stage. Super Happy Fun Land Stage, 5:30 p.m. Saturday