Music Festivals Remain a Man's, Man's, Man's World

Photo by Jim Bricker
The Alabama Shakes' Brittany Howard
As we round out the end of the week, all of the festival hangovers from the full-blown fuckery at FPSF have subsided and we're all a bit less foggy, it's time to look back at the festival in a slightly different light. Let's put aside the rants about overpriced water and gripe about something way more important -- let's talk about chicks, man.

I suppose I should clarify. As a chick, I will not be griping about the chicks at the festival, or their choice of attire, or any of the other random catty topic I'd normally be touching upon. What I'm talking about in this here blog post is how blatantly obvious it is that most festivals snub female artists, even as they book them into their lineups on a more regular basis.

Good luck finding more than a scant few female musicians headlining this year's major music festivals. Bjork is at Bonnaroo, making her the only girl to headline the festival over its four days. ACL has not thrown a single female headliner into its mix this year, and Coachella didn't buy into the idea of girls being able to hang with the big boys either. In fact, the desert fest only had an abysmal ten percent of female-fronted acts across its entire lineup, because, well, cool.

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Houston's 10 Sweetest 420 Shows and Festivals

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Alan Turkus via Creative Commons
I'm not going to launch into some long diatribe as an opening to this blog; there's no need. All that needs to be said can be summed up in one word -- weed.

That's right. This is a blog about all the sweet 420 festivals and events around Houston to help you declare your love for the mean green holiday. So if you're lookin' for a way to celebrate all things cannabis, look no further.

The answers to all of your stoner inquiries are available below. Here's a list of how and where to celebrate the herbal awesomeness of 420 in Houston.

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BestFest Not, Repeat Not, Passing Bad Checks

Categories: BestFest

Due to a formatting error, some checks issued to vendors for this past weekend's Houston Press Best of Houston® BestFest were rejected by the bank. But they're not bad checks.

Although the date on the paper checks read 2011, they were accidentally marked in our computer system as 2007. That's what the bank's software read, and why the funds were not transferred. This only happened with the checks issued on Sunday, September 25.

Houston Press publisher Stuart Folb issued the following statement Friday morning:

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Last Night: Cake At Best Of Houston BestFest

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Photos by Marc Brubaker
Houston Press Best of Houston® BestFest
Midtown Superblock
September 25, 2011

We're not sure if Cake lead singer John McCrea is genuinely a cantankerous prick, or if he simply pretends to be one onstage because he finds it amusing to do so. The end result is largely the same: An occasionally vexed audience noticeably put off by his crotchety grumblings about everything from the stage crew to his fellow bandmates.

Yet what could better befit the man's personality? Fans of Cake will no doubt be familiar with McCrea's sarcastic, smart-assed lyrics, aided by his deadpan delivery. The guy can actually sing quite well, but usually he just prefers to speak his lyrics in immaculately enunciated meter. McCrea wants his lyrics to be understood.

His persona... maybe not.

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BestFest: Hayes Carll Strikes Up The Band, Cake Shut It Down

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Photos by Marc Brubaker
All the way from Beaumont: Hayes Carll
By now Hayes Carll has to be the musical poet laureate of Southeast Texas, or the "scruffy redneck rocker" division, anyway. (Bun B holds the rapper crown in perpetuity.) Carll's songs are as stuffed with detail as a roadmap, the Piney Woods gamblers of "Rivertown" and Crystal Beach ne'er-do-wells at Bob's Sports Bar that watched some of his first gigs along the route to Americana A-lister, as memorialized in the plucky banjoy tune "I Got a Gig."

Other songs exploded into hypertext both lyrically and musically, like "All Down the Line" and "KMAG YOYO." But Carll knows internal road maps just as well (and painfully), as on "It's a Shame We Ain't Lovers" and a gorgeous "The Long Way Home." He even offered a note of sympathy to Texans fans (sorry, Jason).

It's always a pleasure to watch Carll stomp and holler in his hometown, or reel around a Cajun accordion and bluegrass mandolin on "Bottle In My Hand." He closed with a bruising "Bad Liver and a Broken Heart," and Cake kept the outlaw-country spirit going by opening with Willie Nelson's "Sad Songs and Waltzes." CHRIS GRAY

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BestFest: Buxton Incite Swoons, Deer Tick Get A Little Goofy

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Photos by Marc Brubaker
Maybe I've just never seen Buxton at a venue as large as this one before, but I've seen them play some pretty big places, and so far this is the biggest they've ever sounded. It was just confirmed for me that those guys can thrive equally well in either a modest, intimate environment like Canned Acoustica or in a sprawling vista such as this one. Their sound has gotten huge, and it was truly a thing of beauty.

Layers upon layers of harmonies, with acoustic guitar and keyboard providing an aural backdrop for the two lead guitars, a Gibson 335 and a Fender Mustang, both sounding lean, salty, and gorgeous. And that rhythm section... damn. It was inside my head.

They were adored by the crowd, which continues to swell. Deer Tick has their work cut for them as far as following that act goes. JOHN SEABORN GRAY

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BestFest: Honky Tonk Brothers Draw Blood, Carolyn Wonderland Laps The Field

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Photos by Jason Wolter
The Honky Tonk Blood Brothers
The Home Brew stage served up a buffet of local talent with Johnny Falstaff, John Evans, Southern Backtones' Hank Schyma, and Craig Kinsey of the Sideshow Tramps, otherwise known as the Honky Tonk Blood Brothers. Each member of the quartet turned out three songs from the recently-released Honky Tonk Blood, described to me as "a dark satire with lots of dead rock stars." Bitchin'.

Falstaff and Evans showcased their rockabilly chops, leaving the dirtier, more twisted selections to Schyma and Kinsey. "Dirty as black spit in a Lone Star beer can," to borrow a line from "Bandera," featured in the film as well as on the upcoming Southern Backtones album.

The crowd was peppered with pompadours and shoulder tats, and plenty of lovely ladies toe-tapping along to the beat, and I heard overheard the word "sexy" uttered in the audience more than once. LAUREN MARMADUKE

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BestFest: Wild Moccasins Made In The Shade, Little Joe Rips

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Photos by Jason Wolter
Wild Moccasins
Well, Houston's gradual transformation into Death Valley seemed to work in the Wild Moccasins' favor; although somewhat sparse this early in the day, the crowd nonetheless crowded forward, pressed up against the barriers in front of the stage.

Sure, it probably had something to do with the Moccasins' infectious, bouncy indie rock, but the crowd's need to be in such drastically close proximity probably also had something to do with the shade provided by the stage. The sun is at a slight angle in the sky above the C&D Scrap Metal stage, casting a shadow over the first three or four rows in the audience, and damned if those rows weren't chock full of people.

Enjoying the show, yes. And also enjoying the shade.

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Umbrella Man, Texans On At BestFest

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Photos by Jason Wolter
Nick Gaitan & the Umbrella Man
Day 2 of the Houston Press Best of Houston® BestFest is underway. Nick Gaitain & the Umbrella Man opened with a set of countrified conjunto, steamy barrio ballads and one of our favorite Los Lobos songs, "I Got Loaded." The most prophetic line of the day may be from a previous Best of Houston® winner, "I Found My Weakness In You": "Looks like the sun is comng soon."

We hope you'll come soon, too. No need to wait until the end of the Texans-New Orleans Saints game, either. It's showing on the big screen next to the main stage, where Ryan Scroggins and some different Texans, the Trenchtown Texans, will pressure drop in a few minutes.

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BestFest: Bun B, Rap God; Toadies Close Out With A Shred

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Photos by Marc Brubaker
You know who this is.
It's hard to write about Bun B objectively anymore. Really, it is. He has ascended to where ever it is that people who are hard to write about objectively ascend to. It feels like, if he just did it with conviction, he could walk out on stage, take a dump right in the middle of it, then be like, "UGK for life!" and people would lose their shit.

"@BunBTrillOG That was a trill ass dump you took on stage, thanks for keeping it real," someone would inevitably tweet.

That said, for real, no fanboy, Bun was strong. There just aren't a lot of things better than listening to country rap music performed outside at night in September. Two things from the show that maybe were accidents but might not have been:

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