Best and Worst of FPSF
FPSF has grown by leaps and bounds since it began in 2009. This year over 100,000 sunburnt festival-goers spilled into Houston’s Eleanor Tinsley Park to hear a variety of music. The Horn’s Lee Ackerley gives a breakdown of what worked and what didn’t at the 2013 FPSF.
Best In Show:
Iggy and the Stooges
This godfather of punk was as energetic and erratic as ever in his performance Saturday night on FPSF’s Neptune stage. Reformed with a new lineup that now includes original guitarist James Williamson, the Stooges stormed through old hits like “Gimme Danger,” “Search & Destroy” and “Raw Power,” while incorporating tracks off of their new record, Ready To Die. Iggy had a crowd composed of old-timers and young punks thrashing to each song as he contorted his sinewy 66-year old body in a way that defies time and physics itself. Iggy is living proof that the punk rock spirit doesn’t diminish with the physical self, and the punk legend affirmed his rock deity status Saturday night in front of the Houston crowd.
Best Metal Act: Baroness
Barely a year after a bus crash in England that sidelined most of the band with serious injuries, Baroness was back in Houston melting the faces off festival-goers in a way that only a band that cheated death could.
Best Reggae Act: Soja
This independent reggae/dub quintet played a mid-afternoon set that was as refreshing as it was uplifting.
Best Punk Act: The Men
Blending blissful cacophony into full throttled punk songs, this band’s crowd grew from around 30 people to a few hundred in just a few songs.
Best Country/Americana Act: Of Monsters and Men
This Icelandic band might sound like they’re from Kentucky, but they had no trouble drawing one of the largest crowds ever at the FPSF with a hit-laden and folk-inspired set.
Best Rap Act: Devin the Dude
Always the entertainer, Devin returned to FPSF after an absence from last year to lead his hometown crowd through his timeless hits like “Doobie Ashtray,” “P.W.A.,” and “Lacville 79.”
Best Electonic Act: Bassnectar
It takes a real crowd-pleaser to close out a 100,000 person festival and Bassnectar was up to the task as he closed out a juggernaut of a set with a remix of The Beatle’s “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.”
Best Pop Act: Matt and Kim
Despite some ill-fated crowd banter that was awkward and painful to watch, Matt and Kim were still able to deliver an energetic powerhouse of a show that included Kim surfing the crowd while booty-shaking, a massive amount of confetti, and a set packed with hits.
Best Indie: TV On the Radio
TOTR invigorated a sunburnt Sunday crowd with their monster set that included a funky jam out to “Golden Age,” a jaw-dropping “Staring at the Sun,” and an adrenaline-injected “Wolf Like Me” to finish the satisfying set.
The much anticipated Houston legends left their crowd simmering in the sun for 45 minutes before they came onstage to perform a watered-down set without their original member Bushwick Bill. Not the comeback I imagined.
Performing under the noisy I-45 highway with a sound system that had a muddled and incoherent sound, “The People’s Champ” was anything but this Saturday, as his weak stage antics failed to galvanize his hometown crowd.
Cat Power, The Bronx
Best Houston Act:
Houston’s own Black Lips-inspired garage band, Infinite Apaches, opened the festival with a raucous psychedelic performance that set the noon-time Saturday crowd on fire.
Best Austin Act:
The pint-sized blonde hellion, Lauren Larson, shreds fierce riffs and evokes Courtney Love-esque vocals while fronting her tour de force, Austin-based band Ume.
Diversity of Music Acts
FPSF was rife with variety and featured a large portion of the acts from genres such as metal, punk, EDM, country, hip-hop, reggae, and folk.
Horror stories of last year’s three-hour line to get into the festival did not fall on deaf ears FPSF made entry into the fest much smoother, while also shortening the never-ending port-a-potty lines that have plagued past festivals.
New Fest App
A downloadable app was available this year for FPSF, letting festival attendees stay updated on last minute lineup changes and cutting down on waste.
The festival has gone from 30,000 attendees in 2009, to over 100,000 in 2013. Despite the growth, the festival grounds haven’t expanded, leaving the festival rife with pedestrian choke points, and overcrowding at even the largest of stages.
Ticket Prices Skyrocketed
Ticket prices for general admission escalated from the December pre-sale price of $60 to May’s exorbitant pricing of $335. It is understandable that prices will rise as the popularity of the fest grows, but the amount it has increased to is ridiculous, and the new pricing has left many of Houston’s local and loyal attendees priced out of the festival. Goodbye community, hello Coachella.
Fancy Pants Disappoints
Fancy Pants advertised paying a premium for access to air-conditioned tents with semi-good looking people. In reality the tents gained you access to a foul-smelling sauna tent that featured inept bartenders and little to no relief from the heat.
Hardest Evidence of heat-induced insanity in artists
Lead singer of the Bronx, Matt Caugthran ranted, “I believe the art of self-expression is dead. I’m just a puppet master who’s here to tell you how to think. We are best band on this bill, so this next song goes out to us.”
Matt and Kim Mix-up
Matt and Kim committed a festival fallacy in mixing up which city they were in. “C’mon Dallas, you can do better than that,” said Kim, instantly recoiling and offering an excuse. “It’s like calling out the wrong name when you’re sleeping with someone.” Matt attempted an element of damage control in saying, “it’s like how my grandma will call me her dog’s name, before she actually gets to my name, you know?” The boos were deafening and the awkwardness of the banter was painful to watch.
Best Food Vendor
Musubi Food Truck
These local favorites serve up an insanely good Vietnamese food for super cheap. Musubi has been a staple at Free Press for the last few years and once again I found myself scarfing one of their delectable pork Bahn Mi sandwiches while watching Devin the Dude.
New names for festival
Obscure Jersey Fest
Where can you find a Vernon Maxwell jersey, Matt Bullard Jersey, and a Sonic’s Kevin Durant jersey? At FPSF!! The festival has become a contest for Houstonians to sport their most obscure Houston jerseys.
An enormous amount of sun exposure leaves even the most SPF-laden festival-goers prone to skin damage.
Houston’s ethnically diverse population is not represented in the predominantly affluent Caucasian crowd.
HSAF (Heat Stroke Awareness Fest)
The perils of heat stroke are never more evident than at an outdoor music festival in Houston in 100 degree heat and an absurd amount of humidity.