The Best Music of Free Press Summer Fest 2014


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Photo by Cory Garcia
ROBERT DELONG
Sunday, Jupiter stage

Tired of waiting for Wu-Tang to appear and lacking the energy to fight my way through the crowd at Adventure Club, I was ready to call it a day when I happened past Robert DeLong and was floored with the best set I caught all weekend. DeLong is like a mad scientist on stage; there are drums and video-game controllers and who knows what else, and the end result is the danciest form of controlled chaos I've heard in ages.

Every artist needs a song like "Global Concepts." Yes, he plays his songs too loud, but he also makes the people fucking dance. Also, after the show I watched him take photos with a whole bunch of fans, and that was pretty cool too. CORY GARCIA


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Photo by Groovehouse
DIE ANTWOORD
Sunday, Saturn stage

Die Antwoord might look frightening at first, but then then they make you love them. It's some of the most fun you could ever have during a live show, and that's just the beats their DJ, Hi-Tek, provides throughout. Mixing their own brand of South African hip-hop with a huge helping of electronic beats you might have found in Zedd's set the night before, Ninja and Yo-Landi Visser brought everything they could and a whole bunch of air-humping and middle fingers to boot.

The duo are a sight to be seen. Oddly matching each other perfectly, the twee Visser was a force to be reckoned with and was the only thing the entire weekend that drew more attention than her counterpart Ninja. JIM BRICKER


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Photo by Jim Bricker
Second Opinion
Foolishly, I believed Die Antwoord might be gypped of a worthy audience. A half-hour before their show started, most of the grass/mud dancefloor out front of the Saturn stage was void of people. I posted up and anxiously hoped for the crowds to come. By the time the band opened with "Fok Julle Naaiers," the grounds were packed with the Die Antwoord faithful. There was even a Yolandi Visser doppelganger, adorned in full tribal paint, in the crowd.

The crowd is important at a show like this one. Ninja, Yolandi and DJ Hi-Tek are the grown-ass versions of Simon Says. When they tell you to put your hands in the air, you do it. Not because you have to, but yeah, because you have to. When they say, "Jump, motherfucker, jump," you don't even ponder whether you're a motherfucker. You just start jumping.

They played everything I wanted to hear -- "Fatty Boom Boom;" "Baby's On Fire," which bled into "I Fink U Freeky;" "Cookie Thumper;" show closer, "Enter the Ninja." By the time that song ended, that crowd I'd wondered about had shown its full appreciation for a band leaving it all on the stage for us. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.


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Photos by Groovehouse
DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS
Sunday, Saturn stage

At their first Houston show in four and a half years, Drive-By Truckers stepped off a 15-hour flight from Spain to a FPSF crowd wilting in the high afternoon heat. "Wake up, motherfuckers," prodded singer/guitarist Patterson Hood, and so we did. The triple-guitar Dixie rockers put on an Alabama ass-whuppin' from the get-go with growlers "Marry Me," "Lookout Mountain," "Hell No, I Ain't Happy," and a sampling of tracks from their new album, English Oceans.

Among them was the brooding "Pauline Hawkins," based on musician/author Willy Vlautin's fugue-like novel The Free. One thing that makes the Truckers so dangerous is their ingrained knowledge of Southern R&B and soul, on full display on slow-cooking closer "Grand Canyon." Another is that they actually read books. CHRIS GRAY


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Photos by Groovehouse
GRAND OLD GRIZZLY
Sunday, Saturn stage

It was damn good to see a band with cowboy boots at FPSF. Locals Grand Old Grizzly did, and they also sang lines like "say something nasty if you're trying to make me smile" and "she looked like something I could love out of spite" in tones of wistful roots-rock and hard swing. Sold. CHRIS GRAY


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Photo by Marco Torres
MS. LAURYN HILL
Sunday, Mars stage

Its may be true that she's a little weird, and sometimes crazy, but dammit can L-Boogie still rock the crowd with her lyrics, attitude and beauty. With a combination of tracks from her Fugees days, as well as from her Miseducation masterpiece, Ms. Hill rocked the crowd with a full backup band in support.

Most of the tracks were rearrangements of her classics, which to some is unbearable, but to me it added to her mystery. My favorite song of the day was "To Zion", an uplifting prayer for her son and love as a whole. It may not have been Woodstock, but for a 45-minute span, it certainly was Free Press Love Fest at the Mars Stage. MARCO TORRES


Second Opinion
I can't recall when the last time was that I heard some good news about the former Fugee, so I tried to prepare for a potentially disjointed, disinterested performance. I was relieved to receive a warm and gracious set instead, highlighted by a tight band and some terrific backup singers. Most importantly, she delivered the hits, sounding as fresh as they could. Seems as though the most memorable artist at FPSF is always the one that pleasantly surprises you. NATHAN SMITH


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Photo by Marco Torres
LOS SKARNALES
Sunday, Jupiter stage

If there was a tree or freeway or tent to stand under, that's where you could find me throughout most of this and any other music festival. But for Los Skarnales, I began my day by dancing, jumping, singing, and yes, sweating underneath the blazing sun in front of the Jupiter Stage. The band seemed extra-pumped, probably fueled by the view of the gorgeous Houston skyline looming above and the multitude of faithful fans who were skanking to the sonidos of the hometown homies. Next month Skarnales celebrate their 20-year anniversary, and continue to leave every show attendee smiling and fascinated, una y otra vez! MARCO TORRES


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Photo by Jim Bricker
THE ORWELLS
Saturday, Venus stage

For some reason going into the fest, with little to base my opinion on, I knew it would be one of the best. And they easily were. The front dude stalked his way around stage with a sly smile that made you both love him and question the motive behind said smile in one fell swoop. Past that, they were one of the most rock and roll rock and roll acts I've seen in a long damn time. So refreshing. Come back soon, Orwells. JIM BRICKER


List continues on the next page.


Location Info

Map

Eleanor Tinsley Park

500 Allen Parkway, Houston, TX

Category: General

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25 comments
Tish Squish
Tish Squish

Welcome to Houston set, Jack White, Wu-Tang Clan, and Above & Beyond.

Jeff Nunnally
Jeff Nunnally

I completely 2nd King Khan. Dude doesn't need a light show or fireworks. By far my favorite set of the weekend.

Renia Butler
Renia Butler

I don't care what anyone says.. but L-boogie killed it. Tacky ass pink and green dress and all..

CamByars
CamByars

I saw Robert Delong at a post Lolla show and he was awesome!! Was sad to miss seeing him again. He is so impressive!

groff.kelly
groff.kelly

what, no Oh Hellos?  great end to the set for sure!

kevin
kevin

KING KHAN AND THE SHRINES!

unclelijah
unclelijah

Tuneyards (i refuse to use that idiotic casing) are one of the most awful abominations I have seen in 43 years of attending concerts. Once again Selena Dieringer proves reliable. Just do the opposite of what she suggests and you will be just fine.

David Cook
David Cook

king khan! best set all weekend, gets snubbed

vnusnaries
vnusnaries

wow nothing about Bushwick Bill making an appearance for the Wu Tang set?

Nelo Maciel
Nelo Maciel

No mention of flatbush zombies? That set was insane!!! they tore that shit up

Nelo Maciel
Nelo Maciel

Never heard of classixx before this, now I'm a huge fan

booby
booby

The Orwells was the most fun show I went to. Chvrches sounded just like the radio, they need some better live presence, although it was still good shit after the rain delay. Die Antwoord was better the first time I saw them, not as good without the initial WTF value. Tune Yards was great. Don't know if I was imagining it or not, but Jack White seemed to be letting off some steam. Much more into it than at ACL last year...

CoryGarcia
CoryGarcia moderator

@booby For some reason, I actually enjoyed Chvrches more this go around than when they played at HOB last year. I thought being in the sun gave them more energy, although certainly they're still pretty reserved. 

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