All due to play along a bayou without threat of a rainstorm. Hopefully.
In an attempt to exorcise the stigma and the misfortune of having a rained out event in recent years, the folks at Free Press Summer Fest are taking their talents to the springtime.
Dead is the decade-old, June-set FPSF. Alive is the totally-not-cheesy-in-name, March spectacular called In Bloom Music Festival.
READ MORE: Free Press Summer Fest gets new name and date
Credit is due to the organizers for the move. After seeing their event waterlogged twice in the last three years, some kind of change had to happen, and for starters, scheduling out of the Atlantic hurricane season should work. Emphasis on should.
While we can lament on missing 2017 headliner Lorde's brand of theatrics - the type that dazzled Coachella this past year, we can look forward to the future. And the future, at least for this music fest, has familiar '90s and '00s names at the top of the bill.
As we can only still guess how the festival will look (prediction: lots of flowers everywhere), let's take a look critically at the lineup, which, just like its spiritual equivalent Day For Night, offers something for all ages.
While we can dissect and criticize the bookings of Beck and Queens of the Stone Age, you have to at least praise the recognition of these two acts and their top billing. After all, Beck is giving us some good mid '90s nostalgia, and QOTSA, despite frontman Josh Homme's lost-in-the-performance kicking of a photographer, is a band that can still deliver big hits.
With that being said, Beck's festival set, which should close the whole weekend, will be 90 minutes long. Unless we get a jam session out of "Where It's At" for 30 minutes, you can expect Beck to lean on his recent records. "Colors," Beck's album that was released in October, should hold some broad appeal for its pop leanings, but be wary of a "Sea Change" and "Morning Phase" 1-2 punch at the event.
Josh Homme's antics notwithstanding, Queens of the Stone Age should, for lack of a better expression, rock people's faces off. "Songs for the Deaf" still holds water with rock fans and should provide lots of jumping in the crowd.
The most inspiring booking among the top of the bill seems to be Incubus, who are still playing music more than a decade and a half removed from their breakthrough album "Make Yourself." Yes, 30-somethings, you can start wearing your Etnies again and widening the gauges in your ear lobes.
All joking aside, the nostalgia factor is deeply entrenched in this bill, especially with Explosions in the Sky and Broken Social Scene added to the mix. It's almost as if 94.5 The Buzz had some kind of a hand in the planning.
The lack of urban acts
There's only so many acts to fit into a two-day bill, and yet, there seems to be something off.
When FPSF was the event's name, we could count on brilliant, hip-hop bookings like Wu-Tang Clan, Devin the Dude, Geto Boys, and the supergroup Welcome to Houston.
There is some understanding with bookings of trending acts like 21 Savage and Grammy-nominated Lil Uzi Vert. But, it feels like the spirit of FPSF is lost with In Bloom.
The nostalgia factor in this genre seems lost considering the bookings of T-Pain and lineup retreads the Ying Yang Twins.
Not all is lost, though. R&B act H.E.R. might be the MVP act of the weekend if scheduled appropriately, like at dusk. DRAM could make the whole crowd line-dance with his viral hit "Cha Cha."
Even producer London on Da Track appears to be following beatmaker Metro Boomin out of the studio and on to a performance stage for a DJ set.
All of this still doesn't change the dropoff of talent in this subsection.
So, who should I see?
A couple of acts come to mind that should be on your watch list.
Lil Dicky is a rapper who is the closest any festival will get to booking Lonely Island. However, what Dicky, whose real name is David Andrew Burd, lacks in overt comedic setup like Andy Samburg's group, he makes up in tailoring mundane topics as "street anthems." Listen to "$ave Dat Money" for a prime example.
You should also take a listen to his album "Professional Rapper," which lampoons the current rap game without compromising his rhyming. Dicky will assuredly and appropriately attract a lot of people to his set.
And, if goofball rappers aren't your thing, you should plan on checking out Sylvan Esso, a duo that consists of singer Amelia Meath and producer Nick Sanborn.
The duo's self-titled debut album delivered on an unlikely combination of ethereal folk vocals and danceable electronic music. While a mashup like that screams novelty, you have to respect the attempt, and it's from this that you should give the pair a chance.
Sylvan Esso is also giving Houston a full show at White Oak Music Hall the Monday before the festival. Consider sampling them before dancing to "H.S.K.T." in the field at Eleanor Tinsley Park.
In addition, Dhani Harrison, the son of Beatles member George Harrison, is on the bill. Beyond the obvious (yes, he looks like his dad), Dhani Harrison has carried on his father's legacy of gentle moodiness into his sound, which should bridge the gap between older fans of the Fab Four and avid modern rock listeners.
In case you missed it, here is the full lineup for the first In Bloom Music Festival, set for March 24-25, 2018:
Beck, Queens of the Stone Age, Incubus, Martin Garrix, Lil Uzi Vert, 21 Savage, Explosions in the Sky, Broken Social Scene, Grizzly Bear, Lil Dicky, Sylvan Esso, Highly Suspect, DRAM, T-Pain, Gramatik, Moon Taxi, Slander, Houndmouth, H.E.R., Cigarettes After Sex, Broods, Twin Shadow, Ugly God, Ganja White Night, Wolf Alice, Shiba San, London on Da Track, Mija, Ying Yang Twins, Jax Jones, Craig Finn & The Uptown Controllers, Dhani Harrison, The Frights, Son Little, Loudpvck, Young Bombs, Mikky Ekko, Matt Maeson, Melvv, Neil Frances, Sugar Tongue Slim, Venomous Maximus, Say Girl Say, Get A Life, Vodi, El Lago, Astragal, Birthday Club, Tee Lerrone, Velveteen Echo, Pearl Crush, Anchor North, Jerk, Yoga in the Park.
Have fun and stay dry, music fans!
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