Who Said Houstonians Don’t Love Live Music? Free Press Summer Fest 2012


For a festival that has only just now finished it’s fourth year Free Press Summer Fest (FPSF) has far exceeded anyone’s expectations in both attendance and line-up. Final attendance numbers for this two day festival have not been released yet but based on ticket sales it is estimated that 92,000 people were in attendance this year! And who said Houstonians don’t love live music?

The festival took place this last weekend, June 2nd & 3rd, at Elenor Tinsley Park  and a fair bit of Buffalo Speedway offering the downtown Houston Skyline as a backdrop. Although there are some that would try and claim that a festival shouldn’t be able to shut down such an important section of road such as Buffalo Speedway, I think they need to go talk to ATX about that one and THEN try and complain.When you get Willie Nelson, The Flaming Lips, The Avett Brothers, Snoop Dogg, and many more to come to your city, you shut down whatever you need to shut down. End of story.

With seven stages it is of course impossible to see every band but here are, in my opinion, the top shows of the weekend:

Young The Giant

Young The Giant – Sunday – Stage 1

This show blew my mind… it was totally worth spending an hour working my way up towards the front before the show started. The band as a whole seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves and were very excited to be playing the festival and even more excited that the crowd was singing every song. Even though they only have one album’s worth of material they did suplement with a few new songs and announced that they will be in the studio this fall recording their second LP. Judging from the few songs they played their upcoming album is going to be just as good as the first!

Two Door Cinema Club – Saturday – Stage 2

All the way from Ireland, this trio of fair skinned fellas looked like lobsters by the end of their set… apparently no one told them to use sunscreen. But in spite of the fact that they were almost literally cooking before our eyes they put on a spectacular show and never indicated that they were ready to get the show over with and out of the heat. Even though the band doesn’t officially have a drummer I was glad to see that they brought one with them, electronic drum tracks may work on an album but it’s not something that should be done at a live show, ever.

Phantogram – Saturday – Stage 1

I was too absorbed with this NY based band to even consider snapping a picture. In this day and age people usually demand a “picture or it didn’t happen”, but with or without a picture my heart of hearts knows it happened, and will never forget it. If you’re not familiar with their music I would suggest you remedy that situation ASAP.

Portugal. The Man

Their show was great and the crowd was really into it… but I think I enjoy their album more. Still, not a bad show at all! Also, as a fun side note, they originally got their start from an imprint label of Equal Vision Records… who my brother’s band is now signed to.

Honorable Mentions:

Even though Snoop Dogg and Willie Nelson were the advertized headliners neither of them played last on either night… I find this odd but I’m sure they had their reasons, perhaps it was based on the highest attendance times. But either way the crowds went crazy for both acts and that always makes for a fun show, but I wouldn’t list them as the best by any means. Willie Nelson has a few excuses of course because he is not only over 80 years old but the miles on him are most certainly city miles. His show may have been better if he didn’t have a band backing him up to highlight how erratic his tempo was, but as it was he almost seemed like is own version of a shreds video. (note: see what I mean by shreds HERE) I feel bad saying that but at least I can now say that I saw Willie live… even if he couldn’t remember the names of his band members!

I would also like to give a shout out to Sundress of Denton, TX and Wallpaper for being surprisingly awesome.

Rem & I acting like ‘tards at FPSF

Even though I knew many of my friends would be in attendance, it’s the simple truth that festivals are more fun with a live-music-loving-buddy who you can count on to want to watch all the same sets as you… and it wasn’t hard to convince my amazingly hilarious and all-round-good-guy-of-a-brother Remington to come with me. Since his current goal is to become the world’s best drummer and stellar guitar player I figure that a little inspiration was in order. Since all of my concert buddies are now of the “I don’t want to sit in the sweltering heat for a music festival” age or have moved to different cities I’m grateful to have someone who will join me for these types of events for years to come. Y’know what they say… if you can’t find ’em, raise ’em.

I can’t wait to see what the line up will be next year and hopefully I’ll be able to get some interviews as well! If anyone reading this wants to give me the hook-up then let me know!

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Categories: Music Review

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