The 10 Best Acts to See at iFest's First Weekend
For such a sizable Caribbean community, Houston isn't exactly swimming in lady reggae singers (or reggae singers at all), but that's one market we're happy Kyra Noons aka The Neutral Sister has all but cornered. Her laid-back but no-nonsense rasta style caught some pretty important ears early on, when she and late sister Bianca grabbed legendary producers Sly and Robbie's attention, and recorded the 2003 album Live N Direct as the Neutral Sisters.
Now into her thirties, Noons doesn't play out all that often -- though she is well-traveled to festivals as close as Galveston and as far away as Jamaica and even Kenya - so iFest is an ideal opportunity to catch up with one of Houston's more undeservedly obscure musical talents. (2:30 p.m. Sunday, Bud Light World Stage) CHRIS GRAY
The New Mastersounds
Hailing from Leeds, England, the New Mastersounds showcase a vintage sound that continues to resonate despite its age. Their throwback vibe notwithstanding, the funk/jazz-fusion quartet is only 15 years young and retro-soul still holds a pretty special place in plenty of people's hearts, so these Brits should feel quite a warm welcome from the crowd. Let's boogie! (4:30 p.m. Saturday, Bud Light World Stage)MATTHEW KEEVER
Not sure what else we can possibly say about the Suffers, except this: the rest of the nation has now begun flipping out over Kam Franklin and the boys' signature brand of Gulf Coast rocksteady soul, after Paste magazine premiered the video for "Gwan" earlier this week. Also, we ran into singer Kam Franklin at Cactus on Record Store Day and she told us that the Suffers are still hard at work on their first full-length album, with an eye toward releasing it on their own instead of shopping it to labels. Gwan, then. (7 p.m. Saturday, BB&T Heart of Texas Stage presented by Houston Press) CHRIS GRAY
Young Girls' charming garage-pop is tidy, energetic and almost always note-perfect. Some have called them a baby Kinks, which certainly fits, but Young Girls stand just fine on their own; Nylon magazine opined, "indie-rock for people who kinda secretly love pop." The Girls are proud owners of a brand-new 7-inch through Austin's Town Hall Records. Listen to it here before you head out to iFest, and see them Thursday opening for the Dandy Warhols too. (4 p.m. Saturday, BB&T Heart of Texas Stage presented by Houston Press) CHRIS GRAY
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