Yes, Indeed! Fest vs. Vanilla Ice at Halftime: Everybody Wins
It should go without saying: there are music events, and then there are events which may be enhanced by the added element of music.
Photos by Nicholas Zalud The Yes, Indeed! festival: Just standin' on the street, playing guitar...
This weekend in Houston, a pair of offerings illustrated this point quite vividly. Saturday's Yes, Indeed! festival in the Warehouse District was the former -- a music event, and a damn fine one too. The Houston Texans' halftime performance by Vanilla Ice (ne Robert Van Winkle) was the latter. Also -- don't laugh now -- not too shabby.
Yes, Indeed! featured more than two dozen bands in a trio of venues playing to hundreds of music fans, with all the things that make up a music festival: stages that ran on schedule at Last Concert Café, Houston House of Creeps and the Doctor's Office, plus plenty of beer and food. People shuffled up and down Nance Street, trying to decide which acts to catch.
My one thought was how much something like this means to people here who truly love music. There were no hugely famous headliners to draw the sort of lukewarm fans who attend big music fests just to catch a glimpse of some famed musician or to say, "I was there." This one was by and for music lovers.
Recently minted Houston celebrity Yvette Gbalazeh was on hand with her familiar sign.
It's the brainchild of promoter Phil Peterson, a.k.a. Bassman Pep, and Jason Smith, Alkari's bassist and a fellow music writer. Both know tons of Houston musicians through their respective work. The musicians they booked for Yes Indeed almost seemed under contractual obligation to thank and praise them, they did it so often. That's how grateful they were to have the chance to come together en masse to perform and network.
I caught a few acts in the early-evening shadows at Doctor's Office, where a pop-up tent nestled in a corner of the venue's smallish courtyard served as a stage. Friendswood trio Sunrise and Ammunition was grinding it out for those of us gathered under an I-10 off-ramp.
"I love it. I love seeing any kind of DIY network coming together, especially in Houston because a lot of people complain about bands' unwillingness to work together, so it's great to see 'em in a giant pool like this, actually working together," said Tyler Saucier, the band's guitarist/vocalist, following the set.
People already know or are learning the Houston music community works well together. Some out-of-towners are seeing this, too. Take Naughty Professor, for instance. The New Orleans-based instrumental funk act could be Free Radicals' blood brothers from down I-10 East. They did a "show swap" with 2013 HPMA Award winners, Electric Attitude, to get on the bill.
After making everyone groove to their airtight set, they were gracious enough to let me rudely hover over them and ask questions while they crunched on chips and salsa in Last Concert's dining area. Their collective assessment of their first-ever show in Houston, as well as the fest itself, was "Well-run, great venue, great town, cool people. It was a blast."
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