Today Rocks Off asks our writers covering Free Press Summer Fest this weekend, "Which artist playing the festival is your guilty pleasure or makes you geek out the most?" We're glad to see we have so many Morris Day fans in our midst.
Neph Basedow: My Summer Fest guilty pleasure will be the Flaming Lips. Really. Even though I have seen them a handful of times before, I'm always rubbed the wrong way by their need for over-the-top theatrics, Wayne Coyne's hands dramatically rallying the crowd nonstop, like a cheerleader and throwing confetti at me, instead of focusing 100 percent on the songs.
I never liked cheerleaders, but I usually like musicians. Nevertheless, I always enjoy myself at Lips shows, and I'm looking forward to seeing them once again...alas, this "guilty pleasure" question was kind of an easy answer for me, so whatever that means.
Cory Dieterman: My biggest guilty pleasure this year is Morris Day and the Time. I grew up watching Purple Rain on VH1 and listening to their songs on my mom's cassette mixtapes, so these guys are in my blood. A lot of people don't get down with that kind of '80s music, but I'll be up there doing the Bird without shame. 3 p.m. Saturday, Jeep Power Amp Stage (stage 1)
Cory Garcia: Few songs bring a smile to my face the way that "Jungle Love" by Morris Day and the Time does. I've tried to quantify it and tried to wax poetic about it, but ultimately it's something I can't explain -- it just makes me happy. Most of the acts this year that I'm excited about I've already seen, but this is my best chance to hear "Jungle Love" live, and I am stupid excited about that. 3 p.m. Saturday, Jeep Power Amp Stage (stage 1)
Chris Gray: Snoop Dogg, if that counts. I've never felt remotely guilty about loving the Doggfather, and can still recite Doggystyle almost word for word. 7:15 p.m. Saturday, Budweiser Stage (stage 2)
John Seaborn Gray: Not much making me geek out hardcore this year (last year it was Kylesa). I will say I'm looking forward to seeing the Descendents, since they were one of my favorite punk rock bands when I first got into the genre and I've never seen them live before. Not sure if I'll watch the whole set yet, though (they overlap with my darling Watermarks, of course).
Oh, I guess I am actually geeking out pretty hard over seeing Demonic Hen in a festival setting. A militant vegan sci-fi concept art-thrash band. Like GWAR with farmer's-market politics. Should be the tits. Descendents: 6 p.m. Sunday, Budweiser Stage (stage 2); Demonic Hen: 2:30 p.m. Sunday, SHFL Stage
Craig Hlavaty: Valient Thorr has to be one favorite that stands out, besides his holiness, Willie Nelson. As I wrote back in the prehistoric, pre-Rocks Off days about them: "With beards of fury and manic stage dances, it's very possible that Valient Thorr is the closest we will ever get to re-create the energy of those prime late-'60s MC5 shows. For offspring of the '90s weaned on flash and gloom, to see a band with a plain-brown-bag conviction to rock must be life-changing." The band's lead singer, Valient Himself, is a great man to follow on Twitter and we have a lot of the same tastes in movies.
Christina Lynn: What happens when you mix a bit of Americana, country with a bit of a party flavor and a dash of Blues Traveler just to make things insane? You get the Sideshow Tramps. The Sideshow Tramps can best be described as edge of country with a bluegrass touch. However, what makes them unique geek-chic is "Tramps and Freaks." On the song, lead vocalist Uncle Tick (Geoffery Muller) plays a tree-trim saw by bending it and using a violin bow. Other songs, such as "New Train," make you feel like dancing. 12:20 p.m. Saturday, Jeep Power Amp Stage (stage 1)
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Nathan Smith: There are at least a dozen international touring acts on this year's bill that I've never managed to catch before, including Snoop and Willie. You better believe I'm looking forward to seeing them. If we're talking about truly geeking out for somebody, though, they don't come much geekier than Primus. I may not have volunteered this information to my hipster pals, but I was thrilled to see the quirky funk-metal outfit on the lineup. I've always envisioned an outdoor festival as the best place to catch their live show since I saw them do "My Name Is Mud" at Woodstock '94 on MTV. I'm even kind of hoping for a little rain on Sunday to ensure that things get messy. 8 p.m. Sunday, Budweiser Stage (stage 2)
William Michael Smith: I'm not prone to geeking out, but if I were it would definitely be to Quintron and Miss Pussycat. Mr. Quintron does things with beats that should garner him immediate honorary citizenship in the Third Ward. Anyone who can combine the B-3 garage-rock coolness of ? and the Mysterians with rave-worthy psychedelic feedback, mash it up with rap beats and deliver the whole package with no more than a beat box, a keyboard and a couple of microphones qualifies as a mad musical scientist of the best type. Quintron and Miss Pussycat take it a step further with their visual style and let's-party attitude. When I play in the sandbox, this is the soundtrack. 4:20 p.m. Saturday, Stage 3