This weekend's Free Press Summer Fest at Eleanor Tinsley Park is officially (way) sold out, so our readers who don't have passes at this point are sadly now forced to test their skills at the "secondary market." For those of you who are already in, this week Rocks Off will be bringing you our staff recommendations for acts you might consider checking out while you're there. Today we asked our writers to choose their toughest decision during the festival. (Note: planets correspond to FPSF stage names.)
UPDATED (Friday, 5:15 p.m.): Corrects the date the Suffers and Omotai play from Saturday to Sunday.
Buxton/Jandek My biggest scheduling conflict strangely enough comes right at the very beginning on Saturday afternoon. Local Americana heroes Buxton make their FPSF return at 12:40 p.m., just ten minutes before underground legend Jandek makes his FPSF debut. I'm ultimately going to have to go with Jandek, as I've never actually seen the recluse in person before, but it's a tough one. COREY DEITERMAN
Paul Banks/Nick Greer & The G's These sets begin within ten minutes of each other Saturday, and I can't decide who I want to see more. On the one hand, I've been an avid Interpol fan for more than a decade and was thoroughly impressed by Banks' recent solo effort; on the other, Greer and crew are putting out some of the most fun and infectious music this city has to offer right now. The temperaments of the two artists couldn't be more dissimilar, so I guess I'll just see how I'm feeling Saturday. MATTHEW KEEVER
Paul Banks/Japandroids Hats off to Summerfest lineup schedulers, as there aren't many obvious schedule conflicts this year. I think they did a fine job spacing out like genre acts, allowing fest goers time to move from stage to stage to catch their desired sets. Paul Banks and Japandroids both play relatively close set times to one another; however, I'll be sure to see Banks, as I've only seen him with Interpol in the past. NEPH BASEDOW
Alabama Shakes/The Geto Boys My biggest scheduling conflict last year was missing Flaming Lips for a psychedelic encounter with a turkey leg (have you ever really looked at one?), this year it's Alabama Shakes vs. Geto Boys. Brittany Howard is my favorite contemporary frontperson, I first saw (hell, heard of) them on SNL and I've been in love ever since.
But on the other hand, IT'S THE GETO BOYS. Seeing them would be up there with the time I met MC Ren and Tomica Wright, aka Mrs. Eazy-E. APRIL BREM PATRICK
Calvin Harris/The Postal Service So, a time conflict between Calvin Harris and the Postal Service may seem like a strange thing to have, but it's pretty valid, despite the fact that they're on polar opposite ends of the musical spectrum. It's been a long time since the Postal Service has performed live, which makes it an obvious choice based on that fact alone, but it's at the end of the day and their music is so mellow that it could become overkill.
Calvin Harris, on the other hand, will be high-energy mayhem, and he's one of the better songwriter-producer-DJs around, so he's hard to pass up as well. It'll come down to whether I've hydrated enough to jump around like a fool for an hour, I'd guess. ANGELICA LEICHT
Get There Early/Sleep In The biggest scheduling conflict for me this year doesn't have anything to do with performers I want to see playing simultaneously. It has to do with dragging my sore, sun-scorched body out of bed on the second day of the festival. On
Saturday Sunday two great Houston bands -- The Suffers and Omotai -- play before noon. Now, I'm sure these two bands will have great sets and I encourage whoever's awake to go check them out.
That having been said: have you ever attended a rock and roll performance in the morning? It is uniquely unrewarding. The bands are likely to be just as hung over as you are (if not more so), and nobody's started drinking yet, so all of the audience's social inhibitions are in play. Basically, everybody's out of their element. I once saw The Faint play at SXSW not long after lunch time, and it was like seeing a filthy standup comic trying not to bomb at a church picnic.
The best rock shows need the air of mystery, danger, and glamour that night-time provides. It's hard to have any of those elements when half the audience is considering bolting to the nearest Denny's for breakfast. JOHN SEABORN GRAY
Los Amigos Invisibles/Cat Power It looks like I'll be camped out at the Mars stage for most of Sunday. I know Cat Power, notorious for no-shows and erratic onstage behavior, has been "better" lately, but as soon as the antics start, I'm leaving for the Neptune stage and LAI. Ain't nobody got time for that. BRITTANIE SHEY
Ume/Baroness I've been itching to see and hear more from Austin's Ume since I caught them opening for the Toadies at House of Blues last year. Sadly, I may have to cut and run from their 12:40 p.m. set at the Neptune Stage on Sunday in order to hustle over and hear the newly mended Baroness on the Saturn stage at 1:20 p.m.
The Georgia alt-metallers are finally back on the road after a year on the shelf following a horrific bus crash in England that had doctors seriously discussing the possibility of amputating singer/guitarist John Baizley's left arm. NATHAN SMITH
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SOJA/Of Monsters And Men I've been jamming SOJA for quite a few months after they popped up on my Spotify reggae radio station. Their laid back sound and songs of love and survival should be a treat in person. However, I'd hate to miss the enchanting sounds of Icelandic indie pop hipster band Of Monsters And Men. Decisions, decisions... MARCO TORRES