|Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings at Summerfest|
Also, attending ACL last fall might have completely done me in with festivals. Don't get me wrong - they have their place, and I think the concept of getting a ton of awesome bands together in one place for everyone to see is great. But do we really need to keep trying to re-create Woodstock? When I'm sitting a mile from the stage and The Mountain Goats look more like The Miniature Goats, I vote we should leave well enough alone. Add summer heat and I'm out.
But I digress. Because every year five more festivals pop up (or, y'know, Coachella expands to two weekends...), so I know I'm in the wrong.
That said, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed myself Saturday at Free Press Summerfest right here in Houston - and despite record temperatures.
I came prepared - garbed in the thinnest cotton dress I own, hat-on-head, 50 SPF slathered on my fair skin and empty water bottle for free filling stations ready. We filled up on breakfast tacos before heading out and spent as much time as possible sitting in the shade.
My motivation for dragging myself out into the brutal Texas sun in 100 degree temperatures?
To finally, FINALLY, after a long year-and-a-half, see Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings.
I was not disappointed.
If you've read me long enough, you know I grew up on the oldies station. So when I discovered SJ&DK on a 2010 SXSW playlist from NPR I fell head-over-heels in love with their Motown-esque funk & soul vibe. (The other reason I think they're amazing? Their most recent album was recorded entirely on eight-track tapes. Start to finish, A to Z, soup to nuts. In the age of Pro-Tools, who does that?! And how can you not instantly fall in LOVE with that kind of dedication to their music?) I didn't manage to catch them last year at SXSW, and I have been anxiously waiting a Houston tour date - to no avail.
Yeah, it's a festival, I told myself. But it's also SHARON freakin' JONES.
Clearly, you know which side of that argument one. And Ms. Jones was phenomenal. I only wish I would have gone closer to the stage to take part in the dancing. Sitting there listening to her and the Dap Kings was like taking a magical step back in time to a decade I wished I had lived through, if only for the music. It was everything I hoped for and left me wanting more. Fingers crossed the band returns to Texas soon.
I kind of feel like I copped out by only going to Summerfest Saturday, but again...heat. (And I was desperately trying to avoid sunburn so I wouldn't look like a lobster in my brother's wedding photos later this week.) There were several local bands I missed Sunday - and Weezer! I've never been a big Weezer fan, but as a music fan they're one of those bands you need to see at least once, right? I blew that this time, but hopefully I can make it up in the future.
While waiting for Sharon Jones, Mel and I sat in the shade and enjoyed several local bands we had wanted to check out - or just stumbled across.
Bands I loved:
Tax the Wolf - every song had a different vibe to it while keeping their core sound. Walked away making the mental note to check out their recorded stuff and see them again.
Young Girls - holy beach guitar, was I slightly in heaven. I can't remember if I'd seen them a few months back, but Saturday solidified my status as a fan of this band.
Roky Moon and Bolt - my stumble-upon band of the day. At one point I turned to Mel and said "I feel like I'm watching Rocky Horror Picture Show." "ME TOO!" she exclaimed. One part Meatloaf's "Hot Patootie," one part Frank-n-Furter's "I Can Make You a Man," I am anxiously awaiting ANY excuse to see this band again.
Buxton - a band I've been meaning to check out for awhile, they had a beautiful folk vibe that made my Mumford & Sons obsessed heart happy.
Bands I'm bummed I missed:
Tyagaraja - seriously, some phenomenal music. I was captivated the first time I saw this band, and still am. Didn't make it there early enough and couldn't find the "Tyaga Tent" despite PrettyRiot being kind enough to direct me via Twitter, but I look forward to his/their show at Warehouse Live later this month.
The Eastern Sea - one of my faves from SXSW, I wish I would have gone Sunday just for them. Love their song "Name" to DEATH. And their horns. Apparently I have a thing for Austin bands with horns. (See: Quiet Company.)
The Sour Notes - have heard good things about this band & am interested to see them live soon.
Guitar Wolf - solely based on the Twitter buzz. Holy bejeezus, people went CRAZY over them...
Harry & the Potters - *sigh* I have an English degree. Enough said.
Right now 2012 pre-sale tickets are only $20.
Take that, ACL/Coachella/Bonnaroo/everyotherwannabeWoodstockfestival!