Pat Green Or Monkeys Riding Dogs? A July 4 Dilemma Solved

Sunday, the City of Houston will celebrate our fine country's independence from the Redcoats in the same way it does every single other year, with the self-proclaimed "Largest Land-Based Fireworks Show in the Nation," Freedom Over Texas. This year, the festival's blander-than-white-bread headliner will be Pat "The Devil's Spawn" Green, one of Lonesome Onry and Mean's favorite musicians. (And by favorite "musician," we mean favorite whipping boy.)

You know those time-share schemes where salespeople call you at home and promise you, like, a trip to Orlando if you just come up to The Woodlands and listen to their sales pitch? Rocks Off thinks that's what Freedom Over Texas is kinda like. The festivities start at 4 p.m., but only after Green finishes playing around 9:30 will the real fun begin.

Of course we want to see exploding shit the fireworks display, but it feels like the City is telling us we can only have our dessert after we finish our gruel. Over the previous decade, headliners have ranged from The Judds, Leann Rimes and Clint Black (promising) to Los Lonely Boys (the sole rock group). Things really took a turn for the worse in 2007. Since then the headliners have left Rocks Off bored bored bored bored bored.

We understand, after all, that the event is supposed to be family-friendly, and we also understand that it costs money to put on these things. The festival is something of a fundraiser for the Houston Food Bank in that the admission price of $8 is reduced to free if you bring a canned good.

But what we don't understand is why the city can't offer a little more variety in the program, can't try to appeal to those of us who are interested in something other than a tame and tedious Nashville-manicured musician. Especially since we can watch the fireworks from pretty much anywhere else along the bayou.

It can't be money - Shell is underwriting this year's fireworks display (previous years were sponsored by Chevy). If the Art Car Parade can get George Clinton and Free Press Summerfest can get The Flaming Lips, surely the City of Houston can hire someone more interesting than Pat Green to entertain us. Hell, call Allen Hill Entertainment; even Via Colori had a stage featuring some of Houston's up-and-coming indie bands this year.

Since Rocks Off can watch the fireworks from the comfort of our friend's front porch on White Oak Bayou, we're looking for something different to do that night. Next, we've presented some alternatives for you as well.

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