Best of Free Press Summer Fest Day 2: Willie Nelson, Avett Bros., Wallpaper, Etc.
More FPSF 2012 Coverage:
Photo by Marc Brubaker Willie Nelson
• Summer Fest line-up reviews on the Rocks Off blog.
• Free Press Summer Fest 2012: The Sexy, Sweaty Crowds
• Popsicles and Pizza: The Food of Summer Fest
• FPSF: The Bands from Saturday
• FPSF: The Bands from Sunday
Nathan Smith: The best part of Summer Fest Day 2 was the sight of tens of thousands of young Texans basking in their musical birthright as Willie Nelson plucked his sacramental strings. Willie needed no introduction on Sunday afternoon, and no one gave him one. There was no preamble and not much chit-chat from the Red Headed Stranger -- the man had a lot of songs he wanted to play, and at 79 years old, his time is rather precious.
The biggest cheer of his set came when he bade the crowd to "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die," but his voice sounded so fine and his guitar strumming so powerful that it was easy to imagine Nelson living, singing and smoking forever. I reckon that'd be just fine with all of us.
Matthew Keever: For a while now, the Avett Brothers have been on my ever-growing list of bands to further familiarize myself with, and their set Saturday afternoon moved them to the very top of that list. Even in 2012, when every genre seems to be merging with its converse, it's rare to hear a band that puts together such a well-rounded musical performance, one that can bring you to tears just a moment before extending a hand and helping you back onto your feet, causing you to jump and dance. But the Avett Brothers do just that, and their performance Saturday was the highlight of my day.
Photo by Jim Bricker The Avett Brothers
Brittanie Shey: My husband and I made our way towards the stage for Avett Brothers about 30 minutes before the band took the stage. We found a nice clear spot in the grass and spread out our beach towel to sit on. Once we sat down, husband started chatting with the women next to us. The two of them, both pushing probably 60 years old, had driven from Baton Rouge to see the Avett Brothers play, but having bought a ticket to both days of the festival, decided to check out some local acts.
Their favorite? Robert Ellis. I let them know about his recent AMA accolades and basked in the glory that people from other cities are making pilgrimages to Houston for a music festival. That is pretty rad.
Craig Hlavaty: Yeah, I have to go with Robert Ellis's afternoon set. Houston was pretty spoiled having him here once a week for his and the Boys' weekly residencies, and whenever he comes back it's something to see. The band has grown even tighter somehow, and as a colleague noted, they are starting to weave those guitars more fluidly than ever.
Photo by Jim Bricker Robert Ellis
Ellis debuted a new song, as yet untitled, about religion in a small town, more than likely his hometown of Lake Jackson. It was stirring, damning, bluegrassy stuff, and shows off a rockier side that we have been waiting to see. His set and that of Grandfather Child (for which he plays bass when in town) served as a great appetizer for Willie Nelson later on the same stage.