Tomorrow, we will know who will be playing the fifth annual Free Press Summer Fest June 1 and 2 in Eleanor Tinsley Park. We know this because Monday, our rivals over at the Houston Chronicle revealed that they will have an exclusive announcement of the FPSF lineup sometime Thursday, thanks to what we in the trade call a "media partnership." Grrrr. They didn't say when, but we assume it'll be early. Of course Rocks Off will have plenty to say about the lineup once it's revealed, trust us. (Already cool: Little Joe Washington on the Main Stage, according to whomever tweets on Joe's behalf.)
We only wish the Chron folks hadn't used their good fortune as an excuse to assemble an inane photo gallery of "possible" FPSF acts just to get a cheap laugh (from somebody, we guess). True, they did include a handful of virtual locks (Passion Pit, Bun B), but most of it is either an eye-rolling attempt at humor (PSY, Limp Bizkit, the Tupac hologram) or just not going to happen. Sorry, but even with that Hearst Corporation money, we doubt FPSF can afford Prince or Destiny's Child. At festival rates?
But it's easy to be facetious if you've got the inside scoop. Just for the pure pleasure of rattling the two media partners' cages a little bit, Rocks Off did some actual research, put our ear to the ground, and came up with a few possible FPSF artists that are a hell of a lot more plausible than freakin' PSY.
GRACE POTTER & THE NOCTURNALS From the Kenny Chesney/Tim McGraw tour to Summer Fest in less than a year? Believe it. A semi-pop-star after last year's "Stars," Potter would give a welcome dose of R&B roots to a festival sure to be heavy on indie, EDM, rap, metal and punk. Not to mention, she would go a long way toward deflecting the persistent knock that FPSF doesn't book enough female artists.
Estimated Odds: 80 percent. She'll be in Texas that Friday and Saturday anyway, with the Avett Brothers in Austin and the "Happy Funtime" radio festival in Dallas, respectively. Besides, anytime FPSF has an opportunity to book an artist of Potter's caliber, it ought to jump at the chance on sheer principle. CHRIS GRAY
THE POSTAL SERVICE The band is back together and touring for the first time since 2003, touting a reissue of their '03 album and making Gen-Y lovers' hearts all flutter again. The Postal Service plays Grand Prairie's Verizon Theater on Monday, June 3, as well, so the routing makes sense.
Estimated Odds: 80 percent. Playing so close to a major music festival in Houston and not stopping by for a spell seems mean, right? CRAIG HLAVATY
DAWES The Laurel Canyon 2.0 rockers are cute, hip, rootsy, pushing a new album (Stories Don't End, due in April), and joining Potter in both Austin and Dallas.
Estimated Odds: 75 percent. That's a lot of circumstantial evidence. CHRIS GRAY
WILCO The addition of Wilco would be a shot in the arm for the festival, and would also reel in a whole new crowd of people who had probably never been to the fest. Better set up another wine tent. See last year's Willie Nelson slot.
Estimated Odds: 75 percent. Or maybe Jeff Tweedy has already planned a family vacation that weekend. CRAIG HLAVATY
KENDRICK LAMAR Two sellouts in Houston this past December could equal at least a headlining slot at FPSF, or at least an early-evening appearance.
Estimated Odds: 75 percent. Houston loves Lamar. CRAIG HLAVATY
BARONESS The band's horrific van accident last fall was a big blow, but they have battled back ably. They are playing Bonnaroo just a week or so before FPSF, and this would be a cool make-up date for their canceled Warehouse Live show in November.
Estimated Odds: 50 percent. OK, maybe I just want this to happen. CRAIG HLAVATY
OF MONSTERS AND MEN Iceland's biggest pop exports since Bjork (herself a FPSF long-long shot) have been perched in iTunes' Alternative Top 10 for several months, and have a very tight window between Arkansas' Wakarusa festival and sold-out Austin and Dallas dates right after Summer Fest.
Estimated Odds: 50 percent. The band's site lists them at Wakarusa every day of the festival (May 30-June 2), but the routing is awful convenient, and surely they won't play all four days. Right? CHRIS GRAY
ANIMAL COLLECTIVE By my estimation AC's Houston stops have been nearly non-existent, and they have a local following who drives to Austin to see them every year or so. Come on, give the Bayou City kids a little something.
Estimated Odds: 40 percent. Can we also get a Panda Bear after party somewhere too? CRAIG HLAVATY
THE MOVING SIDEWALKS/ZZ TOP Thanks to last year's choice reissue The Complete Collection, Billy Gibbons has resurrected his pre-ZZ Top band for one New York City date next month and one at the Austin Psych Festival in late April, but hasn't announced any Houston plans. We mean, come on...
Estimated Odds: 33 percent. ZZ Top's schedule lists three open weeks between a casino gig in Biloxi, Miss., and several weeks of European dates starting mid-June. Now would be the time. As for ZZ itself, we all know it's inevitable, and the Chronicle even admitted as much, but whether or not it's this year is up in the air. CHRIS GRAY
NINE INCH NAILS Earlier this week, Trent Reznor announced he'll be bringing the Nails out on the road this year with a lineup including King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew(!), ex-Jane's Addiction bassist Eric Avery and Telefon Tel Aviv's Josh Eustis. His plans for NIN stretch well into 2014, so a surprise FPSF appearance would be a hell of a way to work out the kinks -- and a hell of a way for the festival to grab something more than regional headlines.
Estimated Odds: 10 percent. This is just a stone-cold hunch, but it would be quite a coup for FPSF. Either way, Houston is almost assured a spot on Reznor's announced but as-yet-unplotted fall U.S. tour. CHRIS GRAY
Other "Wild" Guesses: Bob Dylan (why not?), She & Him, Mobb Deep, Alabama Shakes, Flaming Lips, Geto Boys
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