I hope you guys had as much fun as I had this Saturday. I sure had a blast listening to great music, running into just about everyone I know, and it’s nice to see Westheimer with some hustle and bustle on its sidewalks.
Some highlights? OK! The Wild Moccasins played a great show outside Mango’s on a rickety stage that seemed to be on the verge of collapse from all the hopping and general Moccasins shenanigans. The added amusement for me was watching as my very serious and artistically minded six-year-old tried in futility to find a spot on stage stable enough for him to draw the five popsters. Damn it, how can I express myself artistically if you guys keep hopping around up there! Hearing Paul Winstanley and Lucas Gorham perform outside La Strada was wonderful too. I hadn’t heard Paul take a bass guitar to the edge like that in ages and it was wonderful and challenging to hear it again. Also fun was the (this time official) Cop Warmth and B L A C K I E gorilla set. Cop Warmth, for the uninitiated, is the musical equivalent of children running around the playground in pure chaotic frenzied joy. My favorite moment of the set was when Craig, running into the audience, made a woman squeal in fright. B L A C K I E meanwhile doesn’t so much a rap as spout words like a steel-driver laying down iron with every ounce of energy at his disposal. Balaclavas, at the acoustically pleasing space behind the Austin Layne Hotel, performed one of the best sets of the day as they kicked-out amazing new material that reminded you just how unique their sound is and how furious their shows can be. How they are not one of Houston’s biggest draws, I’ll never understand. Over at Mango’s, as we were waiting for Tambersauro, we got some drama as some drunk Asian woman was challenging another woman to some fisticuffs. Unfortunately, the fisticuffs did eventually occur outside but while no one was getting hurt, it was pretty amusing theatre of the absurd. Tambersauro though wasn’t about to be upstaged by a lone drunk and proceeded to tear into a raging set that almost made me forget that I was trying to see five bands in that time slot. Luckily a friend who knew this, poked me and pointed to her watch. Thanks mon ami! The McKenzies were quite a sight surrounded by an enthusiastic crowd of fans who had joined them on stage. Ah, those Houston pop bands sure know how to work-up a crowd. Buxton closed out the outdoor shows with an amazing set that had the entire crowd at the Austin Layne Hotel enraptured. After the first set, the audience clearly wanted more and thankfully JD (Secret Saturday Shows, Guitars, Lenny Briscoe, etc) demanded they play a few more and Sergio Trevino somehow agreed to it in his typical sheepish manner then proceeded to treat us with a work in progress that was much better than I think they realized. I think Trevino and company work their music with such expert care that they seem a bit worried about showing some rough edges. That’s OK because there is a bit of excitement about seeing a band not exactly knowing where they are going with a song and that vulnerability – that putting yourself out there with no net – is charming when you are as good a band as Buxton. Now for me that was pretty much the proper end of the Block Party for me. I was pretty tired by then but, like the Terminator, the Block Party just wouldn’t quit. Don’t get me wrong, I saw some amazing sets afterwards like Something Fierce laying down some serious and furious pop-punk and Satin Hook’s Lucas Gorham using a Tuvan throat singing technique for backing vocals but by the time the Jon Benet plowed into their set, I was physically fatigued. I’ll admit it. Another Block Party has left me beaten and bloody on the canvas. So, what’s new? At least I had fun getting pummeled.
Now one last thing before I get to the photos: Kudos to our heroic and fearless FPH leader Omar. Omar is the general behind all these operations; he books all the bands and gets everyone involved to little acclaim. That’s largely because he’s not one to self-aggrandize but, instead, seriously believes in the community of artists and people that live in this city. I for one, seeing a small bit of what he does behind the scenes, am always impressed at how the guy pulls it off twice a year. Of course Omar can’t do it himself and it’s only because of the efforts of all the local businesses, bands, artists, and the community in general coming together that makes these things so special. That’s also because, unlike the latter years of the wholly unrelated Westheimer Street Festival, this event isn’t just about attracting sponsors but about building and celebrating a community. That’s the way these things should be. So thanks everyone who helped and came out. I don’t know about you but I’m ready for another round next Spring.
irked that the stage shook from all the jumping while he was trying to draw.
Ironically, he then went and jumped in a trampoline for the next hour.
a gorgeous improvisational set.
hey, look it’s John Sears peeking past Zahira as B L A C K I E rages.
The Wizard lays down magic sounds on Westheimer.
never rocked this hard…
amongst these rambunctious fans on stage.
very very proud of his bleeding for his art.
found your back bumber smashed at the end of the evening.
You may want to contact Ryder truck rentals
and find out who was renting truck 445161 that night.
Styrofoam peanuts behind them ready to pounce!
Styrofoam death, Kerry was not so lucky.