June 1st, 2012

Free Press Summer Fest: Your Schedule May Vary

The downside to a greatly improved line-up is that choices have to be made and no amount of work by the folks at Free Press can change the physical layout of the event, so have a map handy when making your schedule. Humping it back and forth to see three bands in the space of an hour won’t do you or them any favors.

The following is my second pass at a schedule. You’re not supposed to like all of my choices, but I am interested in hearing if your favorite did NOT make my list.


Best Coast – Think airy surf-80’s style – Pretend the Bayou is a lake and let the Summer wash over you.

Phantogram – If the Captain & Tenille met the Black Keys with a dash of White Stripes minus Seals & Croft… we get it, they’re a duo proving, again, there can be magic in stripped down – Think a cerebral electronica with enough of a bass line to stay interesting.

Espantapajaros – They’re purported to be the token, straight-ahead Rock and Roll band on the lineup, I know little other than this was a rec passed along – It’s a minor investment to check them out.

Morris Day and The Time – Because – I’m hoping to get my Ice Cream Castles vinyl signed.

Two Door Cinema – They’re Scottish and all the rest is crap – Could be some up tempo pop to rally for in the evening.

Diplo/Major Lazer – This one’s a wild card for me – I’ve heard enough about Diplo to be curious.

Flaming Lips – Wayne Coyne and crew were here two years ago. This time they’re playing Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. I’m giving credit to Wayne’s balls (clear and otherwise) for ambition, reviews of the album have been mixed. I imagine a live performance will only strengthen the praise and criticism. I may have to serve penance by playing the original 100 times next week, but I just can’t look away.

Snoop – I’ll stop by, but I was disappointed by Snoop’s appearance at Voodoo last year, and further disappointed that Snoop and Willie weren’t scheduled back-to-back. I can’t imagine a parallel universe in which Willie shows up early to any gig—even to sit in with a bud, however I’m hoping Houston gives Snoop a warm enough reception that he considers sticking around for another day.


Quiet Company – Austin, the live cover band capital of the world, produces some interesting bands despite itself. QC seems posed to join Explosions In The Sky as the next gen of Austin standard bearers.

Young the Giant – I was truly impressed by their sold out performance at Warehouse Live a few months back. They’ve hit all the late night shows (again, in some cases) since and are guaranteed to bring energy.

What Made Milwaukee Famous – They’re my Sunday wild card. Opinions I trust say give ‘em a listen—the upside to festivals: your only additional cost is schlepping to another stage.

Avett Brothers – It’s Bluegrass/Americana – Based on their great show last year at Verizon, there will be some ballads to allow adoring fans to profess their love, but the balance will be foot stomping, holler-alongs, and the meanest cello playing you’ll see all weekend.

Pretty Lights – I prefer my electronica sans dubstep, but I’m a sucker for a good light show. Low expectations personally, but I’m hoping to be convinced.

Willie – He’s a living legend. I’m hoping Snoop shows up for a live version of Superman or maybe a variation of a Snoop classic— Whiskey and Juice.

Local acts:

I’m a little mixed about the local acts only in that I generally have other (better) chances to see them. However, the Free Press folks deserve credit for keeping a substantial number of local acts on the schedule, so pick one or two to show your support. Not sure what the solution should be to ensure these folks get the exposure they deserve, but an event like this has to help when talking to booking agents elsewhere.

Some of my faves: Tontons, Tyagaraja, Robert Ellis, Sideshow Tramps, The Watermarks. There are obviously more that are deserving, so pick an act in order to meet up after the next beer or bathroom line.

If you have a favorite, leave a comment with a link to a representative track.

— Alexander


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