Acts You Shouldn't Miss at iFest's First Weekend

Rocks Off asked our staff members who will be covering the Houston International Festival for us this weekend to give us one or two choices for artists they don't want to miss.

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Photos courtesy of Houston International Festival
Bootsy Collins
Forro In the Dark
Bud Light World Music Stage, 2:30 p.m. Saturday/Center Stage, 6:30 p.m. Saturday

As one of the first acts to hit the iFest stage, Forro In the Dark provides an early exposure to the delights and diversity of Brazilian music. The group should be an enjoyably educational introduction to the "forro" musical style, a dance-happy amalgamation of rhythms primarily powered by the interplay of guitar, flute and percussion.

In a decade of playing on its home turf, the New York-based but Brazilian-rooted group has built a fervent fanbase that includes David Byrne, who sang on two songs on the band's debut album. MICHAEL POINT

Luther & the Healers
Texas Music Stage, 2:30 p.m. Saturday

The self-declared "hardest-working band in Texas," Luther & The Healers is one of Houston's longest-running blues groups. Its members have been playing and performing together since 1991 -- making the band itself older than the average festivalgoer -- and perform an estimated 300-plus shows a year.

Incorporating the native, bluesy tones of the Bayou City's musical history, The Healers' bluesy bass lines and classic guitar licks, often accompanied by some piano, compliment Luther's raspy vocals just right. MATTHEW KEEVER

Stooges Brass Band
Bud Light World Music Stage, 4:30 p.m. Saturday

Any New Orleans brass band worthy of the title can get your feet moving, but the Stooges Brass Band gets in your face to do it, kicking it with primal party ferocity spiced with hip-hop sensibilities.

The Stooges aren't your old-school brass band, rather an aggressive aggregation that knows where their music came from but are intent on taking it to new places. It's Crescent City to the core, but a 21st-century sound that adds new flavors to the traditional sonic gumbo of blasting brass and ass-shaking rhythms. MICHAEL POINT

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Photo by Jason Wolter
David Grissom
David Grissom
Texas Music Stage, 6:30 p.m. Saturday

Every Texas music fan has his or her own favorite guitarist (probably several), but David Grissom's name doesn't come up in that conversation often enough. True, he has plenty of fans who remember when his technically flawless but passionate fretwork anchored Joe Ely's legendary Live at Liberty Lunch-era band or, later, Storyville. But even those people may not realize he was the musical director of the Dixie Chicks' 2003 "Top of the World" tour, or that between Ely and Storyville he did three records and the concordant tours with John Mellencamp.

More recently, Grissom guested on Buddy Guy's 2011 LP Living Proof and has been crafting solo albums such as last year's Way Down Deep, giving him an opportunity to bring his arena-level talents (and electric band) to downtown Houston. CHRIS GRAY

Bootsy Collins
Bud Light World Stage, 6:30 p.m. Saturday
Iconic funk pioneer Bootsy Collins will be headlining the Bud Light World Music Stage Saturday, bringing to the table his own recipe for over-the-top, blissfully insane funk.

With a legendary career that began alongside James Brown and then with George Clinton in P-Funk, this bass wizard has built a solo career that includes 23 albums and several alter egos. Onstage, Collins is an animated, flamboyant performer you can be sure will tear the roof off the sucker, as only he can do. ANGELICA LEICHT

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