While hip-hop has a huge draw and indie rock will always bring out the ever-present hipster contingent, no music festival is complete without some ground-pounding, head-banging, hip-shaking hard rock. This year’s boot-stomping bands include pioneering Stoner/Doom metal band Pentagram, Nawlins voodoo rockers Goatwhore and Buzz favorites thelastplaceyoulook. If that doesn’t do it for you, how’s about some prehistoric metal brilliance from Mastodon or wild side walking from the Riverboat Gamblers?
These acts, beyond rocking fans’ balls off, will do the unheard of and draw metal fans into the daylight. Expect a sea of black clothes and pasty bar tans in front of the stages where these bands perform. One would think Banana Boat could make a killing if they sponsored the fest and set-up a booth. Sunscreen is going to be a commodity more valuable than gold over these two days.
Pentagram: Founded in Alexandria, Virginia in 1971, Pentagram were an underground smash for most of the 70s, grabbing the ears of the discerning followers of classic metal bands such as Black Sabbath, UFO and Uriah Heep. They maintained a rabid underground cult audience until 1985 when they released an eponymous lp, later re-issued under the title Relentless. The band has had a revolving door of personnel, but the mainstay has always been lead vocalist Bobby Liebling, a theatrical satyr that makes up for lack of technical prowess with the charisma of Dionysus.
Mastodon: Another metal treasure from the south, Atlanta, Georgia’s Mastodon are arguably the current reigning kings of modern metal. In existence since 1971, Mastodon appeal to a wide range of fans, from the lowest common denominator head-bangers to grad school literati – their second wildly successful (in terms of metal) album Leviathan is a concept album based on Melville’s Moby Dick. Lest you think Mastodon may be too high brow for many of the metal minded, just watch the video for “Curl of the Burl.” Apparently snorting sawdust is the quickest way to hallucinate begin a murderous rampage of revenge.
Goatwhore: New Orleans’ “blackened death metal” band Goatwhore formed with the demise of Acid Bath and Soilent Green just before the beginning of the new millenium. Sub-genre labeling aside, the band claims to be just a straight forward heavy metal act.
Riverboat Gamblers: Formed in the musical Mecca of Denton, Texas in the middle the cultural graveyard known as DFW, the Riverboat Gamblers have since relocated to Austin. Owing more to punk rock and southern boogie-woogie than straight metal, the Riverboat Gamblers put on one of the most high energy spectacles in modern rock. Vocalist Mike Wiebe. a.k.a Teko Buller and/or Wookie Sensation is just as likely to be belting out lyrics hanging from the light array as the center of the stage.
thelastplaceyoulook: Approaching its tenth anniversary of existence, thelastplaceyoulook is one of the most successful hard rock acts to come out of Houston, surpassing Sugar Shack in record sells if not memorability and fan loyalty. A perennial part of Buzzfests of the past, thelastplaceyoulook have enjoyed a healthy touring career. playing shows with Theory of a Deadman, 10 Years and The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.
So, for those rockers willing to adjust their sleep schedules and brave the heat and sun of a Texas June, this years Free Press Summer Fest promises a splendid time for all, even the crotchetiest doom rocker. Expect a second-hand high. WOOT!