BestFest: Chamillionaire, Starmaker; The Tontons, New Stars

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Marc Brubaker
King Koopa: Talent scout in his spare time.
God Almighty, that cool front did not last anywhere near long enough. The crowd seems to be in pretty good spirits, but it's just past the hottest part of the day right now and fatigue is starting to show. It's better now - ed.

People are following the small bits of shade around the superblock like flowers with their tropisms all reversed. Somebody should have set up a time-lapse camera so that you could see the crowds move along with the shadows as the sun makes its way across the sky. That would have been something to see.

Chamillionaire just said "The Houston Press ain't gonna like this, but raise your hand if you wanna jump off a bridge tonight." He just called two people onstage, and he's giving them 16 bars apiece to flow. It's Twitter freestyle up in here.

Both guys did pretty well, and one of them gave a shout-out to Dickinson. That was actually pretty cool. Chamillionaire whipped the crowd into shape early on in his set, and everybody seems pretty content to do as instructed. Plus if anyone didn't do as he says - put their hands up, do some body rockin' and so forth - he threatened to make them "a YouTube moment." No takers as of now, but the show ain't over yet.

All day, you can hear the performers echoing off of the Houston skyscrapers. If you concentrate and stare where the sun is shining, you can see pollen and dust floating by like a tiny sleet storm. Late September is so goddamn weird, but it's a great time for a festival as diverse as this.

Chamillionaire just launched that one song of his that samples "Free Fallin'" and suddenly I need to get back into the action. JOHN SEABORN GRAY


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Marc Brubaker
The Tontons
If Chamillionaire taught a lesson in crowd control, the Tontons schooled the ever-increasing BestFest crowd in the art of sexy, Asli Omar's seductive rasp luring the first sizeable crowd to the Homebrew stage like a siren song. It's nice to be reminded why The Tontons remain one of the most popular local acts in town, and if the single "Golden" is any indication of the quality of their upcoming album, set to launch next month at Cactus Music, we're all in for a real treat. LAUREN MARMADUKE


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Groovehouse
Wow. It was 43 years ago when I took a detour on the way from West Texas returning to my second year at UH and found myself in Lewisville for the first festival of my life. Today, in what feels like my dotage among all the youngsters here at BestFest, I find myself hanging backstage with Slim Thug and his posse of cool cats and it dawns on me the amazing change in music I've witnessed in my life.

That festival was my first exposure to Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin's brand new Full Tilt Boogie Band, and Grand Funk Railroad. It was the dawn of metal.

So here we are zillion years later with DJs and beat boxes and wireless mics and speakers so powerful and efficient people in the Woodlands are probably feeling the bass as Slim incites a happy, lazy, weekend crowd with some of the deepest beats anyone may ever create.

Meandering through the crowd, everyone is chill, the Houston vibe in full force, a far cry from the bad-acid paranoia of that first festival outside Dallas. I love my town. "I'm a gangsta, I'm a gangsta." Yeah, whatever. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH



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