photo credit: ashley hopper
having long cowered in the shadow of our neighbor’s ‘austin city limits’ and ‘fun fun fun fest’ music festivals, houston is finally able to claim such a festival as their own. gathering a very solid lineup, from a canadian super-collective to an occasionally on-hiatus austin post-rock group to perform under our terrible august weather, where 5 minute bouts of gloomy clouds and rain are preceded by 100+ degree heat. both spectators and spectacles braved the elements to enjoy a weekend of music set to houston’s lovely downtown backdrop.
photo credit: my seester
after what seemed like over an hour sweltering in the heat in the most unorganized will-call line (the only drawback of the fest – we were only able to catch a glimpse of fat tony tear up the stage from afar due to aforementioned line.) our party hastily made like hippies and set up some view-friendly real-estate on the hill of eleanor tinsley park. i sauntered off to find houston’s o pioneers!!! closing out their set on the side stage with their cover of piebald’s “american hearts”. being local, i’ve seen these guys more than a handful of times and they never fail to bring the intensity to their shows.
photo credit: mary crozas
back on the mainstage, austin’s octopus project were taking their well-decorated stage (what were those, ghosts?). while every member of the band seemed to be proficient at a multitude of instruments, regularly switching between their indie-electronic songs, it was keyboardist yvonne lambert’s mastery of the theremin proved to be the set’s biggest crowd-pleaser. or perhaps it was her flowery dress and audrey tautou ‘do.
photo credit: mark c. austin
austin’s presence was still in the air as heavy metal guitar heroes, the sword quickly followed suit. brandishing their twin-axe attack and locks that would make the filthiest headbanger green with envy, the sword blasted through their sludgy staple “freya” as well as the majority of their latest album gods of the earth. get your hobbit on!
the sword – how heavy this axe
photo credit: krista de la rosa
practically the entire festival populace descended upon the mainstage to catch toronto super-collective, broken social scene. sheer electricity ignited houston as the 10+ member group to took the stage kicking things off with “fire eye’d boy.” the musical virtuosos the scenesters are, they never once let their weighty wall of sound collapse on itself, every song a precise, well-orchestrated event: members coming and going on cue, switching instrumentation, and at one point, even breaking up a fight between two rowdy concert-goers (“separate: one dick go that way, and one dick go the other” was kevin drew’s command). when all was said and done, the bss anthem “kc accidental” closed out their powerful performance, dedicating it to the recently departed john hughes, as well as announcing that “this was our last show of the year.” we bid you farewell bss, for the rest of ’09 at least.
broken social scene – fire eye’d boy
photo credit: 29-95
a lone texas flag hung on an amp and all of summerfest was buzzing. the night’s final hurrah, in the form of explosions in the sky took to the stage with minimal stage talk and a slow burn into what would be the most impassioned set of the night. a twitter feed from that night read “explosions in the sky makes insignificant moments significant… if they played in an elevator you would feel you were traveling to the moon”. well played, sir. indeed, explosions in the sky are an experience: an awesome sight to see the 3 guitarists, manipulating their instruments to create not just sound that moves people, but one that incites such feeling, that you’re lost in it: the entirety of the festival captivated. the intensity was palapable, the members fervidly banging away on his instrument, guitarist munaf rayani swaying about wildly while still controlling the mood of the moment. such a profoundly passionate performance from one of texas’ most profound acts (whew! quapruple word score) and a hell of a way to close out the first night of houston’s first major festival.
explosions in the sky – welcome ghosts
octopus project performing a song they called “body heat” at the summerfest in houston, tx on 8-08-09
the sword performing a song they called “night city” at the summerfest in houston, tx on 8-08-09
bravo, free press. till next year.