Things could have gone smoother this past weekend on lower Westheimer. No one is denying that. Rocks Off has learned to live with the inevitable scheduling delays and interminable sound checks, as we're sure most Westheimer Block Party regulars have, but performers please take heed: Swapping stage times with each other willy-nilly, and especially not showing up at all, are no ways to win over new fans - or, really, to even keep the ones you've already got.
Yes, chaos is as much a part of the Block Party's DNA as the Super Happy Fun Land puppet shows and the Dead Roses/Future Blondes crew running around sipping MGD tallboys shrouded in brown paper bags. And we know it's hard as hell to keep your mind on selling T-shirts, serving beer, running sound, etc., after you learn a dear friend has just died. But there's something to be said for keeping the trains running on time (or at least reasonably on time), especially when you're trying to make a good impression on city officials in the hopes of resurrecting the Westheimer Street Festival.
Because even if the Block Party doesn't need any more bands trying to copy Vampire Weekend, Houston needs the Block Party or something very much like it. The event may not make much of an impact on the national or even regional musical radar, but really, who cares?
Block Party is a stark reminder of just how much musical talent we have around here. And as we could tell by the swarms of kids still well short of their 21st birthdays running around, its influence on budding local musicians is incalculable. Rocks Off is willing to bet the farm we'll see a lot of those kids again soon enough - only this time up on the stage.
So Rocks Off extends our deepest condolences to Omar Afra and his Free Press Houston
crew on the loss of Lee Powers, as well as our congratulations on pulling off what had to have been the most difficult Block Party yet and sincerest wishes this isn't the end of outdoor music festivals on lower Westheimer. We have a feeling it's not.
Rocks Off would like to thank everyone who helped us cover this weekend's festival from the bottom of our exhausted hearts. Below you'll find handy links to all of our Block Party coverage, in both words and pictures. If for some reason you haven't taken a few minutes to look it over, please do. Musicians are seldom at the top of the list whenever Houston starts toting up its cultural resources, but after this weekend, we can't for the life of us understand why.
Adam P. Newton: "We found ourselves amidst a broad cross-section of Houston life and culture out enjoying the fun and festivities..."
Craig Hlavaty, Part 1: "The crowds were still middling and skewing much younger than we had ever seen before, all pimply-faced and half-clothed like they were at the Warped Tour..."
Brittanie Shey: "Whoever played first at Numbers was good enough to rouse us out of our Saturday morning stupor..."
Craig Hlavaty, Part 2: "It's not indie rock, it's not country, but seems to be music from some other alternate dimension..."
R.I.P. Lee Powers
Videos by Craig Hlavaty and Marc Brubaker: Little Joe Washington, Benjamin Wesley, Female Demand, sIngs, rump shaking, etc.
Slideshow: The Crowds
Slideshow: Saturday's Performers
Slideshow: Sunday's Performers