I spent the last weekend at the Houston Free Press Summer Fest. Even though I dont usually review concerts, I am going to go ahead a touch on a few of the highlights of the festival all in one post as opposed to splitting them up individually. For me they were just memorable.
This may have been one of the top 3 shows of the whole weekend. From Japan, they are a mix of the Ramones, Garage Rock, Rockabilly and a touch of blues. The band consists of Seiji (Guitar Wolf): U.G. (Bass Wolf); and Toru (Drum Wolf). Yes that’s right. Their stage names are the instrument they play followed by “Wolf.” A few listens to their music online will likely leave you disappointed. Its raw, unedited, and very unrefined. It almost too rough to enjoy. Their live show however is a completely different story. Simply put, they go 100mph and never let up. Clad in black leather and dark shades, they have quite a coolness factor about them even if it is somewhat dated style-wise. Part way through the set, Seiji takes a beer fromt he crowd chugs half of it and throws the rest down his back to cool off. As the show progressed, the music and antics got even more out of hand, in a good way. The highlight of the show though has to be Seiji standing on the shoulders of concert goers and continuing to play through it all. Quite impressive. They may not be polished or even have a good grasp of the english language. One thing is certain though, Guitar Wolf is pure unadulterated rock.
Harry and the Potters
I realize many people my call into question my tastes in music by even mentioning this band and that clearly they must be a joke. Allow me to show you why you’re wrong. First off, the band is primarily comprised of two brothers, Joe and Paul. On stage they go by Harry year 4 and Harry year 7. Thats really just the start of the clever tie ins. Obviously, their music is centered around the wildly popular book series. Any hack could right a few lines about the book and throw in a melody and call it a song. The brother manage to write well crafted songs that show off their great knowledge of the books and manage to keep it musically pleasing. They single-handedly spawned the sub-genre known as Wizard Rock . Many of the songs are short, maybe 45 seconds. Perfect for someone with A. D.D. And let me tell you, these guys know how to work a crowd. Even though they were on a small side stage, they had a couple hundred people drawn in. Dressed as Mr. Potter himself, the duo really had everyone into the show with audience participation (thanks to a long ass mic cable) and even showers of confetti. Aside from the theme, I really cant find a reason that anyone would dislike the band. Clever songs, good melodies, and entertaining shows. Oh and did I mention they play libraries? Yes libraries. In fact, I did manage to pick up their only LP which was actually recorded live in the New York Public Library. They aren’t going to be everyone’s scene. But if you ever get a chance, go see them live. I promise one way or another it will be an unforgettable show.
Weezer was the headliner of the entire weekend. I happen to be a big fan of Weezer and the were my primary reason for going. Let me level with you: I was disappointed. Thats not to say they didnt play a good show. By all accounts it was great, but it left me wanting more. The biggest problem was song choice. Now I know when you have been around almost 20 years, you are going to have a lot of music to pick from. And being that its a concert, its not going to be a deep cuts only situation(although that sounds delightful). However, the majority of their set was over 10 years old. * total songs were from their blue album in 94. Now I know they are in the middle of their Memories tour. But seeing how this was a one stop deal I figured they would at least play some stuff off their latest album “Hurley.” No dice. It was all the classic hits. I really think they put out a great album in Hurley and based on how its plastered all over their website, I can tell they think the same. It just a shame really that they didnt balance the set list more. It was still a good show but fell short of my expectations. The ending fireworks show however, was quite spectacular.