|Asli Omar of The Tontons|
Well, FPSF, you chewed me up and spit me out. Third time was a charm for this year's festival, I was able to jump from stage to stage thanks to the last minute venue change. NRG Park was hell on concrete, but the musical treats that I discovered made up for it. After arriving fashionably late, I made it just in time for Portugal. The Man and Gary Clark Jr. - the best start for Day 1. These men proved to be a crowd pleaser with their uncontrollable sex appeal and their sheer talent. No one was disappointed. I was not able to capture any photos with my camera on the first day, which I am happy about. I was able to bask in the musical glory and focus on enjoying The Bright Light Social Hour, Band of Horses, St.Vincent, Charles Bradley (I did get a few pictures of him, but they all came out blurry because the man has some gyrating dance moves), and R.Kelly.
Day 2 had me listening to both familiar and new bands. Started off with Futurebirds (4th time seeing them), The Band of Heathens, and The Tontons. Both The Band of Heathens and The Tontons are TX native bands, so I am now on a mission to catch them again in the Houston area. I am a sucker for musicians and singers that have amazing hair and can put on a spectacular show. During the Future Islands set, I happened to stumble upon Brandi Carlile do a cover of Fleetwood Mac's The Chain. Those who know me well can pretty much guess my reaction- I dropped all of my possessions, except my camera, and jetted to the stage. I apologize for anyone that tried to get my attention during this time. I was being hypnotized by that bass line.
The highlight of FPSF for me was seeing Robert Ellis and Benjamin Booker. Ellis, a Houstonian, grabbed the audience by the hand and gave a true countryside journey through his lyrics. He was calm, cool, and collective- even when some asshole in the crowd yelled, "Are you Buxton?!". Snaps to you, Mr.Ellis.
Benjamin Booker is based from my home state, Louisiana! This little youngin' combines blues, punk, and soul into his music. His ragged voice leaves chills down to your toes, and his guitar playing fills your body with motions that make you want to dance all the way from Houston to New Orleans. Please, please, please do yourself a favor and catch either one of these fellas whenever and wherever you can. You will not be disappointed.
As for FPSF, I always say that this year will be my last year. I don't see myself in Houston this time next year, but then again I don't like to plan that far ahead. One thing I did learn from this festival is that I am better off alone. There is nothing more satisfying then flying by the seat of my pants and not having any pressure of seeing the headliners. It's all about just sitting back and drowning in the sweet tunes of summer. So thanks again, Free Press Summer Fest, it was a pleasure.