Houston’s newest music festival, In Bloom, is set to launch its inaugural year in the confines of Eleanor Tinsley Park on Saturday, March 24, and Sunday, March 25 — only a stone’s throw away from downtown Houston. The two-day event features an eclectic lineup of internationally known acts across the alternative, hip-hop, and EDM genres, with a large amount of local and regional acts for those looking to discover new music across the festival’s four stages.
For those gun-shy about buying tickets due to the weather incidents that have marred previous editions of the now defunct Free Press Summer Fest, there is only a 20 percent chance of rain in the forecast, with temps predicted to be in the comfortably manageable low ’80s.
Here are the Top 10 acts we suggest seeking out during the course of the weekend.
Saturday, March 24
Beck, 9:30-11 pm, Bud Light Stage
The Grammy-award-winning, alternative chameleon Beck is back on the road following the release of 2017 album Colors, bringing over 20 years of hits, dating back to the grunge-era game changer, “Loser.” It may have been awhile since he’s toured, but Beck’s live show has been acclaimed for its energy he brings to the stage and excellent backing musicians who make his sound and vision come to life.
Cigarettes After Sex, 8:40-9:30 pm, Fauna Stage
The Brooklyn, NY quartet Cigarettes After Sex is building a solid fan base after releasing their self-titled debut, one of the best albums of 2017. This will be an interesting to see if the band can convert over to a festival setting as they create dreamy, mid-tempo soundscapes with intimate lyrics. The night time set will lend some atmosphere to a film noir-like soundtrack, best listened to in the shadows.
Lil Uzi Vert, 8-8:50 pm, Bud Light Stage
The Philadelphia rapper, Lil Uzi Vert has been blowing up the last few years, releasing the U.S. chart-topping Luv Is Rage 2 last summer and appearing on the No. 1 single, “Bad and Boujee” with Migos in late 2016. Lil Uzi Vert seems a perfect fit for music gatherings as his music incorporates elements of trap and rock, feeding the musical appetites of a mass cross section of festival goers. If he shows up, this should be a highlight of the weekend in a city that loves hip-hop.
Broken Social Scene, 7:40-8:40 pm, Flora Stage
The legendary Toronto indie act, Broken Social Scene, is one of the most veteran acts to appear at In Bloom Music Festival this weekend and part of the fun is discovering which members of the massive collective of influential musicians will make an appearance. Will Leslie Feist be there to sing “Almost Crimes”? Will Metric’s Emily Haines be there to sing “Anthems of a Seventeen Year Old Girl”? How about Stars’ Amy Millan for “7/4 Shoreline”? Whatever combination shows up, these alt-rock lifers always put on an excellent performance.
Wolf Alice, 5:10-6 pm, Fauna Stage
Be ready for thousands of Houstonians to fall in love with U.K. quartet Wolf Alice. The band has put out two killer albums that are a perfect blend of hard-rock riffs, shoegaze psychedelia and angsty, romantic lyrics. Their debut, My Love Is Cool, garnered them a Mercury Music prize nomination, one the highest creative honors bestowed to bands in the United Kingdom, and songs from that album showed up on the Trainspotting 2 soundtrack. Last year’s release, Visions of a Life, might even be better. Trust us on this – go see this band.
Incubus, 9:30-11 pm, Flora Stage
Grizzly Bear, 6:30-7:30 pm, Bud Light Stage
Dhani Harrison, 3:30-4:20 pm, Fauna Stage
Ying Yang Twins, 2-2:50 pm, Bud Light Stage
Sunday, March 25
Queens of the Stone Age, 8:30-10 pm, Flora Stage
Don't call this a recommendation — not after Queens of the Stone Age after lead singer Josh Homme kicked a photographer in the face during a performance a few months ago, but if you’re one of those who can love the art — and not the artist — and look past that inexcusable move, you will see a band that is one of the best at what they do in a live setting. Drawing from nearly 20 years of excellent albums, including the 2017, Mark Ronson produced, Villians, QOTSA is hard-edged and fierce, recalling an era where guitar heroes and actually good rock music topped the charts.
Martin Garrix, 8:30-10 pm, Bud Light Stage
The baby-faced Dutch DJ and producer, Martin Garrix, is currently one of the world’s biggest EDM acts, despite being only 21 years-old. DJ Mag has named him as the No. 1 DJ the last two years running. Expect a mass dance party with driving house beats and synth melodies that will transport the crowd to sunrise sets at EDM Mecca, Ibiza, where Garrix is a resident DJ.
21 Savage, 6:30-7:30 pm, Bud Light
The Atlanta mix-tape artist 21 Savage played a headline set back in November and is set to bring his popular hip-hop style to In Bloom. His 2017 release Issa Album reached No. 2 on the Billboard charts and his hit “Bank Account” is sure to big one of the biggest singalongs of the weekend.
Twin Shadow, 5:40-6:30 pm, Fauna Stage
Los Angeles based Twin Shadow — aka George Lewis Jr. — is set to release his first album Caer, his first in three years this April, so this will be a good chance to hear new songs along with his beloved catalog of indie synth-rock that made him a much buzzed about music act. The first single off of Caer, “Saturdays” featured Haim, which gives you an indication that his new work is perfect for the festival setting.
Sylvan Esso, 4:40-5:40 pm, Bud Light Stage
Those who missed the amazing Sylvan Esso set this past week at White Oak Music Hall will get another chance to check out the amiably awesome North Carolina duo work their magic at In Bloom. The group is comprised of charismatic singer Amelia Meath and producer Nick Sanborn which mixes folk-influenced lyrics with cutting edge, dance, and synth beats that when combined, make a special brew of fun and grooves.
Houndmouth, 4-5 pm, Fauna Stage
T-Pain, 3-3:50 pm, Bud Light Stage
Mikky Ekko, 1:20-2:05 pm, Bud Light Stage