Summerfest Rundown, Pt. 2: Yokomono + Robert Ellis + Terry Slesser(?) + Growlers + Golden Cities + Grandfather Child + More

Back again with installment No. 2 of my little totally-random rundown of bands & musicians playing the Free Press Summerfest this coming Saturday & Sunday, June 5th & 6th. I’m going to miss half the damn thing, it looks like, unfortunately, but I’m still psyched to see/hear as much as I can, and like I said previously, anybody who likes music really needs to be here. Seriously.

Oh, and in yesterday’s post I stupidly forgot to note when/where each band would be playing, so I’ve made sure to put that in for each of the bands in tonight’s pile (word to the wise, though — scheduled times will surely change, and I’m sleep-deprived and mistyping shit to begin with, so don’t just take my word for when and where somebody’ll be, check for yourself). Here goes:

Not exactly what I was expecting, I’ll admit — for some reason, I thought these guys were heavier & a lot more metal — but still, what I’m hearing now of Yokomono ain’t bad at all… They’re definitely a rock band, for sure, but there’s a lot more of a jazzy, prog-y feel to the music, along with a sultry, Latin feel (hard not to have that, really, when you’re singing in Spanish). “Momentos” is pretty damn cool, in particular.
[Yokomono plays at 5:35PM on Sat., June 5th, at the Stage.]

Robert Ellis
While he’s definitely one of the hardest-working sidemen in all of Montrose, what’s absolutely the coolest about Robert Ellis is his impeccably murky/melancholy country-folk solo stuff. His voice is rough-edged and warm, like he’s singing & playing on a porch at night somewhere way off the beaten track. I’ve tried to find a copy of his full-length, The Great Re-Arranger, a few places around town already, but no dice yet. (And yes, he’s playing four separate times at Summerfest: with Chase Hamblin, with I am Mesmer, with Grandfather Child, and all by his lonesome. Dude’s got more stamina than me, that’s for damn sure.)
[Robert Ellis plays (as himself) at 12:25PM on Sun., June 6th, at the Main Stage.]

Terry Slesser
O-kay…not entirely sure what to make of this one. I’ve seen both “Terry Sleeser” and “Terry Sleeser’s BackStreet Crawler” listed on the Summerfest bill, but I think the guy they mean is Terry Slesser, the Geordie singer for the ’70s rock band Back Street Crawler who was supposedly once considered to fill Bon Scott’s shoes in AC/DC. Unfortunately, going by both his Website and Myspace site, it looks like Mr. Slesser (who was in Houston as recently as Feb.) is now back in England. Can’t tell for sure what year the shows on his site are from, but if it’s 2010, he’ll be playing the Rose & Crown in Newcastle this coming Saturday. Which is a damn shame, because going by the samples, the guy’s a damn fine Northern soul-style singer. Anybody know the deal?
[Terry Slesser plays (maybe?) at 1PM on Sun., June 6th, at the Dos Equis Stage.]

The Mahas
Aaaand another mystery band, although a wee bit less of a mystery now — hell, I hadn’t even realized these guys were from Houston. And yet, they apparently are, and not only that, but they share guitarist/singer Scott McNeil with fellow H-town band the Sideshow Tramps. The bad part? I’ve got zero idea what they sound like, nada, zilch, and can’t find anything online to even give me a hint. Damn. I have heard they’re good, however, from folks who’ve seen ’em, so I’m definitely curious.
[The Mahas play at 5:30PM on Sun., June 6th, at the Stage.]

Bun B
Do I really need to talk about Bun B? Seriously? Not trying to get out of it, I swear, but I figured everybody’d heard of UGK and Bun by now, especially after Pimp C passed away back in 2007… B’s a member of the Houston area’s handful of bona fide rap royalty, a guy who seems to be pretty universally respected, and when you hear his flow, it’s pretty obvious why that is. The guy’s phenomenal, swear to God, and beyond that, he’s pretty damn quick on the political side of things — I still smile remembering him calling in to talk to then-Presidential-candidate Dennis Kucinich when the guy went on KPFT to talk about his primary run.
[Bun B plays (with Slim Thug) at 6:40PM on Sun., June 6th, at the Main Stage.]

An interesting one, for sure; Long Beach natives Growlers crank up their overdriven, fuzzed-out guitars and head out into the sunbaked Western desert like all those stoner-rock bands, but rather than go all Kyuss, these guys sound like they stumbled across some kind of abandoned carnival out there in the dusty wastes and decided to make it their own little chunk of strange, hazy psychedelic paradise. The music they make comes across as distinctly Western, retro-garage-y but gentle and friendly like a stranger bumming a ride offering you a beatific smile as he hops in the car.
[Growlers play at 6:05PM on Sun., June 6th, at the KTRU Stage.]

Chase Hamblin
Seen Chase Hamblin a couple of times now if different settings & lineups, and I’ve been increasingly impressed as time goes on. Hamblin’s a paisley-vested ’60s Brit-pop devotee at heart, and his influences are right there on his sleeve, all the way down to the vocals and jangly-sweet guitars. Bright, shiny, Beatlesque retro-pop, all the way; set closer song “Goodbye” is pretty much my favorite track so far.
[Chase Hamblin plays at 2:40PM on Sat., June 5th, at the Stage.]

Golden Cities
This one makes me somewhat sad, primarily because with drummer Lance Higdon moving to Hotlanta next month for a new gig teaching Latin to schoolkids, I’m not sure what, if anything, the future will hold for the Golden Cities crew. Higdon’s drumming seems damn near inseparable from the band’s sound, to me, so I’m having a hard time imagining the band without the guy; happily, I’m told they’ll at least be releasing a second full-length later in this year. Which is a very good thing, because the unique brand of spacerock these guys make, lodged somewhere between Bedhead and Summerfest alumni Explosions in the Sky, is awesomely hypnotic and gorgeous, swooping and swooning and building to epic crescendos that make you just want to float on your back in a calm sea, alone under the stars.
[Golden Cities plays at 2:05PM on Sat., June 5th, at the KTRU Stage.]

Grandfather Child
Raved about these guys before, but hell, I’m gonna do it again… I caught Grandfather Child’s raucous, wild, mindblowing slide-guitar blues-rawk at last year’s Summerfest, and it was damn near to a religious experience. Despite the sheer level of takent on the stage, frontman Lucas Gorham was the obvious focus of attention, seemingly channeling Ray Charles if the man were heading up Robert Randolph’s Family Band, all frenzied and impassioned and soulful. And yes, it was fucking awesome.
[Grandfather Child plays at 1:35PM on Sun., June 6th, at the Main Stage.]

The Energy
One of the most-talked-about bands of the past year ’round these parts, The Energy plays nicely old-school-sounding punk rawk, the kind that’s loud and raw but still tight enough that it steamrolls on through. They make me think of Black Flag at their best and most intense, but with less of the SST messiness and more of those “chunky,” pummeling Ramones-style guitars; then there’s the flat, sung-spoken vocals, which come off like the dead-serious threat of a guy who’s perfectly willing to punch you in the head ’til you get out of their way and makes no apologies for it.
[The Energy plays at 3:10PM on Sun., June 6th, at the KTRU Stage.]

Gah. I’d hoped to do a bit of a longer list, this time out, but again, sleep beckons. ‘Night, all — more on the way…

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One Response to “Summerfest Rundown, Pt. 2: Yokomono + Robert Ellis + Terry Slesser(?) + Growlers + Golden Cities + Grandfather Child + More”

  1. Bru on June 3rd, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    The Mahas are garage/punk goodness. Caught their first show, which also happened to be Big Black Spider’s first show, last summer. There were so many good new bands that popped up last year.

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