Free Press Summer Fest Houston, TX Day 1
by John Cheesman on June 4, 2013
Posted in: Concert, Electronic, Folk, Hip Hop, Music, Pop
This weekend in Houston, TX was the 5th annual Free Press Summer Fest, a growing music festival located just outside of Downtown Houston in Eleanor Tinsley Park. Since the festival’s conception in 2009 it has grown consistently, and the past 2 years have generated some significant buzz and have housed some equally significant artists. I have a lot of Free Press pride, and I could talk about the festival’s history forever. If you’re interested, check them out at http://fpsf.com. I’m going to focus on this year’s fun.
The festival started on Saturday, and let me just say it was HOT. I don’t mean hot like a lot of good looking people in prime Cochella festival gear, I mean like 104 degrees outside HOT. Rampant sweat, plenty of swooning and fainting, and a huge line at the medical tent for some free Powerade are all distinguishing features of Free Press Summer Fest, and are all natural consequences of a summer festival in Houston. Heat aside, I set out to have a good time. I have good things to say about most of the acts I saw, but I’ll stick to my highlights.
Japandroids- I was worried when these guys took the stage. When Brian King, the guitarist and lead singer, walked up to the mic, the first thing he did was mention the heat— apparently a stark contrast to the temperature in Vancouver where he’s from, who knew? I was just hoping they would make it through their set without passing out, but they did that and much more. The undiluted energy and fun that King and drummer David Prowse feel on stage is visible and contagious, and the constant smile on each of their faces made it a joy to sit through the heat and watch them rock out. Even when the sound malfunctioned in the middle of “The Nights of Wine and Roses” and King had to grab a new guitar, the audience stayed faithful. It was a great moment.
2 Chainz- This was definitely one of the most crowded sets on Saturday, and one of the biggest names on the ticket. Even though 2 Chainz was about 20 minutes late to take the stage, he brought it. From the second he appeared to the second he left, the crowd was in constant motion. 2 Chainz proved himself right when he yelled out “Ima start a riot,” because I, well, we, were definitely rioting. When “Beez in tha Trap” dropped there was a wave of cheers, and for “I’m Different,” well…. you can imagine. The rapper did a great job of giving the audience what they wanted. Each piece he performed was about 2 minutes long, just enough to get in, prove himself, and get out before everyone got bored.
Passion Pit- I had heard from a few friends, as well as the internet in general, that I should watch out at Passion Pit. Lead singer Michael Angelakos has had a pretty well documented battle with alcoholism and manic depression, and apparently his band’s sets tend to be sort of wild card performances. That being said, Passion Pit did an amazing job. They controlled the energy of the crowd better than any other act I saw on Saturday. Even in the killer heat Angelakos had a crowd of tens of thousands jumping up and down, and it seemed like every person knew the words to every song. My personal favorite moment from this set was during “Cry Like A Ghost”. Angelakos’ voice was clearly tired at this point, and he had to run back towards the drums during an instrumental break to take a tug on his inhaler. As soon as he was ready, he jumped back in, even more spirited than before. You could tell how much this set meant to him, that nothing was going to stop him, and that determination made it just that much more important to the audience.
At the end of the day when the sun had finally set and the crowds could catch their breath for like, 2.5 seconds, Calvin Harris came along and brought down the house. For the hope of maintaing some semblance of brevity, I’ll cut the post here, but Calvin Harris was great, y’all. Overall, it was a pretty amazing day of music, and I only almost passed out from heat exhaustion 3 times, which is like 50% less than last year. So that’s a plus!
P.S. All the photos are from the actual Free Press Sets! So that’s cool!