Giant Princess delivers
Can't wait till next year ... Summer Fest slip, slides away with plenty of messymoments & Flaming Lips
When you look back on Free Press Summer Fest you can't escape the heat (yes, it was as hot as hell). But the second edition of Houston's (hopefully soon-to-be-long-standing) music party was more than that.
Where else can you get a crash course in local bands, a chance to ride the slip 'n' slide, a large dousing of rain, and a random guy who loves food (like really loves it) all in one spot?
Here's how I attacked Summer Fest:
Slipping By Some Music
My friends and I manage to make it to the KTRU Stage where Giant Princess is performing. It's great to finally see this local band play. Their sound is like a rockier Arcade Fire vocal from lead singer Collin Hedrick. Their use of piano along with the regular three-piece made for an interesting sound that you were sometimes able to head bang to and other times stand back and appreciate.
I can't help but feel like Giant Princess' music should be in a movie of some sort — a Michael Cera movie anyone?
Afterwards, we hydrate (no heatstroke, we're Summer Fest veterans now) and continue to fuel ourselves with over-priced consumables. While making our way to the main stage I manage to catch Lymbyc Systym, — advertised as Lymbic System.
Because of a time slot switch, Uh Huh Her is next to play their poppy new wave. Their synthesized sound is composed of two voices — Camila Grey and Leisha Hailey, former cast member of The L Word. I definitely felt bits of Blondie, where the pop leans more towards rock influences. Luckily, their up-tempo songs start when the slip 'n' slide is being set up atop the hill at Eleanor Tinsley Park.
Of course as a thorough reporter, there was no way I wouldn't go on the slip 'n' slide. I ride the slip 'n slide just by throwing myself on it (without paint) and landing safely. I barely go fast enough, so I grab some paint from my fellow festival goers and draw some tribal signs on my face. After getting soaked with a hose, I speed down the hill, eventually colliding with a girl half my size (sorry by the way).
When I go for my third run, it starts to rain and the hell on earth that is Houston (temperature wise) begins to cool over.
After it Rains, We Don't Eat Alone
Even though we are cooled off by the slip 'n' slide, it still isn't enough to make a great difference. Thank whomever you worship that it rained (luckily without lightning or else Summer Fest would have been shut down). The rain doesn't make many people leave and more people actually began to slip and slide on the grass.
After a fourth and a head-first fifth run (which I wouldn't recommend) on the slide, the crowd starts to head for cover from the heavy rain. Like many people, we return to our car in order to put valuables in a safer place.
We make it back to see more acts and get some food.
The rain's died down and we all sit on a bench by the swings in the park to eat. We munch on Chinese food from the festival and converse about what has been going on. Apparently my friend has our fortune cookies and I ask for mine, which sucks. Someone else's states, "Someone's kindness will delight and surprise you."
As I read it, a guy pops a squat on the bench between my friend and myself. He pats my back and says, "What's going on?" I have never met this guy in my life. He then states that my fortune is cool and eats his burger David Hasselhoff style. He then tells us, "Can you believe it, I just got this from the trash," referencing the burger and Chinese food he is thoroughly dismantling with his mouth.
The Flaming Festival Ends
Slim Thug and Bun B's performance is pretty cool, but not many people know the lyrics and bobbing your head to music you don't know feels weird. I am in the pit and we are in the front row to see The Flaming Lips and their hamster ball.
As the band sets up, a couple of people pass, wanting out of the pit. One guy is so sick his lips are pale white and he can barely move. It looks like he is on the brink of something awful. Everyone understands the severity of the situation and collaborates to create an easy exit. As one friend puts it, "I have never been prouder of Houston than that moment."
Minutes later, The Flaming Lips are introduced by festival organizer/self-dubbed "mayor of Montrose" Omar Afra and their lead singer Wayne Coyne states that "the mayor" told him anyone can smoke weed without the fear of getting arrested in the festival. We also discover that Steven Drozd, the lead guitarist, is from Fort Bend. Who knew?
And like that we begin to finalize our celebrations as confetti rains down instead of water on the biggest group of people collectively gathered in Houston that I have ever seen.
Let's hope we can keep Summer Fest going without ruining it. Looking at you pale lips.