Summerfest 2011 Rundown, Pt. 3: Chromeo + Something Fierce + Young Girls + Fucked Up + Perseph One + Little Lo + More

Dammit, dammit, dammit. I tried to post this batch of Free Press Summerfest writeups late last night, but my brain was feeling like Jell-O, and it just didn’t happen. Sorry, all. I’ve attempted to add to it a bit, though, to make up for it somewhat. If I’m lucky/not braindead, I’ll try to do some more of these before tomorrow AM.

I’ve got a little good/bad news, btw, about one of the band’s in yesterday‘s installment of this whole “rundown” thing: per Joe Mathlete, his much-beloved outfit The Mathletes (which may be Joe with Band or Joe Solo, I’m not sure which) will be playing at 1:35 on Sunday, June 5th, on the 29-95 Stage. Which is awesome, obviously…except that that’s where Giant Princess had been scheduled to play. sigh. Seems GP and back-from-the-dead post-punks By the End of Tonight were scheduled to play at the same time, but the two bands share a couple of members, so that’s not gonna work. Hopefully nobody’s been cancelled outright, but things have most likely been shuffled around somewhat. Keep an eye out for an updated schedule.

Oh, and check out some new Summerfest coverage over on the {} site, too — they’ve got a nicely chronological rundown of their own, starting right here…

Anyway, here goes:

I’ve heard quite a bit about Chromeo over the past couple of years, but seriously, I had no idea this is what they sounded like. I figured they were basically another DFA-type band, all post-ironic electro…turns out I only really got the “electro” part right. P-Thugg and Dave 1 sound like they fell through a wormhole from 1985, playing funky, low-tech-sounding frankly somewhat cheeseball synth-pop that makes me think of Baltimora’s “Tarzan Boy” more than anything else. Oh, and they play it totally straight, burning it up like they really, truly love it — and for that, I’ve gotta admire ’em. There’s no fakery here, no sideways hipster grin, but rather just a pair of guys who unashamedly worship the sounds they grew up with (which is a little weird, ’cause they’re younger than me, and this stuff was new when I was a kid, but eh…) and want to make music that, against all odds, is actually ridiculously addictive. High-five over here, y’all.
[Chromeo plays at 5:15PM on Sun., June 5th, at the Main Stage.]

Reverberation DJs
Alright, so I have yet to ever hear the Reverberation DJs do their thing, and I can’t find much to check out & get an idea what they sound like, but for these guys I do sorta-kinda already have an idea, anyway. The four DJs in the crew — Psychedelic Sex Panther, Mr. Stagger Lee, Baby Jesus, & King Shing-a-Ling — are complete and total old-school rock & roll heads, fanatics for all kinds of garage, soul, R&B, and funk stuff from back in the ’50s & ’60s, and that’s pretty much what they spin, from what I hear. And I’m totally, totally down with that, believe me.
[Reverberation DJs play at 12:40PM on Sun., June 5th, at the Gritsy/Reprogram Music Stage.]

Something Fierce
Yes, yes, yes. Something Fierce rules — I shouldn’t really need to say anything else, honestly. They’re one of the best bands in town, full stop, of any breed or musical genre. They’ve held firm in that elite little group for a while now, and this year’s Don’t Be So Cruel seals the deal even tighter, shifting their sound towards a more straight-up homage to The Clash, circa London Calling, and does it in such a badass way that it makes ’em all that much cooler. They’ve traded in some of that raw, fiery energy for a surprisingly thoughtful, warm, intelligent-as-hell sensibility, and they come up even better for it.
[Something Fierce plays at 1:30PM on Sat., June 4th, at the Warehouse Live Stage.]

Brains For Dinner
It makes me sad to say it, but it seems like people these days tend to forget that once upon a time, H-town was seriously known for its reggae & ska scene. When I first started listening to music in this city, the whole ska/reggae wave was probably at its height, and it was pretty incredible to see; unfortunately, that wave then washed back out again, taking 90% of the bands in town with it. A few stalwarts like {D.R.U.M.} and Los Skarnales have stuck it out, sure, but I’m glad to see some more recent reggae acts like Brains For Dinner coming onto the scene — these guys seem to shift back & forth between more trad-sounding reggae and reggae-rock-type stuff, and hey, I’m fine with that, especially since they’re pretty good at what they do.
[Brains For Dinner plays at 11AM on Sat., June 4th, at the Budweiser Stage.]

Young Girls
Talked about these guys really recently, actually, when I reviewed their brand-new(-ish) self-titled full-length, and I’m still mightily impressed, a few weeks on. There’s an awesomely appealing sunniness to the music — something I think will work quite a bit in their favor this weekend — and a neat, surfy feel to it, alongside a half-sneering, sleek, New Wave vibe. Think Surfer Blood, and you’ll be damn close, except that Young Girls worship simultaneously at the altars of The Pixies, The Beach Boys, and The Killers. And miraculously, it all really, truly works; no, seriously. Shimmery/fuzzy guitars, laidback/distant vocals, and propulsive rhythms — can’t beat that, in my book.
[Young Girls plays at 2:15PM on Sat., June 4th, at the Warehouse Live Stage.]

Fucked Up
I’ve been pretty ignorant about Torontoans Fucked Up ’til now, I must confess — they’re just one of those bands I’ve always meant to check out but never got around to it, sadly. But hey, better late than never, right? In spite of my lateness, I’m fast becoming a convert; the band’s heavy, raw, yet surprisingly melodic (at times, anyway) take on hardcore makes me think of Hot Water Music at their best, Southern-bred punks Avail (in their Over The James days, at least), or maybe of The Replacements if they’d played faster and hurt themselves more, and neither of those is a bad thing, by any means. In my book, it’s about damn time somebody took hardcore back from the Cookie Monstering metalcore dudes. Besides, I’m told their live shows are freaking legendary, with lots of flat-out destruction, carnage, and people going apeshit. I’m going to have to make a point to catch this band, I think.
[Fucked Up plays at 5:20PM on Sat., June 4th, at the Budweiser Stage.]

Well, holy crap. Sines is another DJ duo, and not can I easily find out who the hell they are, but I can find stuff to hear from them, too — quite a bit of it, in fact, on over at their SoundCloud page. To Sines (aka Leroy Bella & Joseph Isla, apparently): thank you, thank you, thank you. I wish everybody made it this easy. Of course, it wouldn’t matter a bit if the music sucked, but happily, I’m finding myself bobbing along with the duo’s compositions, which are these oddly-shaped chunks of electronic muckery with mostly-clean bass, twitching drumbeats, distorted vocals, and what sound like bits of old cartoons. Interesting stuff, for sure.
[Sines plays at 12PM on Sun., June 5th, at the Gritsy/Reprogram Music Stage.]

Perseph One
I missed out on seeing/hearing Perseph One at the first Summerfest back in 2009 — I’d meant to see her perform, but she was on early-early-early, and I think she finished her set while I was still hiking across several blocks of city concrete from my favorite parking spot. Dang. But hey, now I’ll get another chance, and I’m pretty psyched about it; everything I’ve ever heard her do has been pretty great, up there with the best MCs H-town’s seen. Sound-wise, she always reminds me of Jean Grae, but that may have more do with the whole “too-smart female rapper with amazing lyrical flow” thing than the actual sound. She’s snarling and full of vitriol, spitting lyrics that are so razor-sharp they’ll cut skin, and it’s great. (Oh, and if her Facebook page, she may have changed her name to “PersephOne Guns”. Wha?)
[Perseph One plays at 3:35PM on Sat., June 4th, at the Rudyard’s Stage.]

Suite 709
Alright, so this one totally caught me off-guard. For whatever reason, when I read Suite 709‘s name, my mind immediately jumps to “crap-ass alternarock, no doubt”; I very nearly broke my own rules and sneakily skipped even listening to ’em because of it. Right now, though, I’m glad my inner Rules-Monkey wouldn’t let me, because I’m seriously liking this. Going by the one-and-only song they’ve apparently released so far anywhere, the excellent “She Don’t Even Know” (apparently from their forthcoming, Kickstarter-funded full-length) this Austin five-piece is funky and soulful as all hell while keeping things restrained and down-to-earth. They come off like a more genuine, from-the-heart Maroon 5, maybe with The Roots playing backups or something, and that’s no bad thing in my book.
[Suite 709 plays at 5:15PM on Sat., June 4th, at the Warehouse Live Stage.]

Been listening to a lot of RIVERS lately, since I got a hold of their debut Mind Your Mind, which is seven chunks of sprawling, sludgy, kinda-sorta classic rock that burrow into your brain and refuse to leave, instead drinking all your beer and laughing at what’s in your DVD collection. It’s damn entertaining stuff, and it makes me think of early, early Mudhoney, back when they were just a bunch of dudes playing rock & roll and getting loaded; “Spirit Child,” in particular, sends creepy, weird-ass (but good) chills up my spine. And hey, you can hear snippets of the album yourself (or buy the whole thing, of course), right over here.
[RIVERS plays at 11:50AM on Sun., May 5th, at the Main Stage.]

Little Lo
If you don’t know who Little Lo are, well, you may be staring up at the stage & wondering why in the heck those guys look so dang familiar. They used to be called Fight With Flash, and back in those days they actually called H-town home (they’re up in Austin, now). Apparently Little Lo is the same band, just with a different name — and happily, they’ve been busy since their move northwestward, cranking out a handful of demos last year and prepping an EP for the end of this month. All of which is cool, because the tightly-wound indie-folk they’ve crafted is pretty epic, echoing both Bright Eyes and The Arcade Fire, with a wee bit of Wolf Parade in the vocals for added fun. Recommended.
[Little Lo plays at 2:15PM on Sat., June 4th, at the Night Owl Stage.]

The Watermarks
Time for me to cringe and bow my head, y’all. I have been sorely remiss in saying good things about The Watermarks for a really long time, even though I really, really like the band — they kind of left me cold at first, but in recent years they’ve been steadily working their way upwards in my little list of Cool Musical Things, with their quasi-futuristic, dystopian melding of Jesus & Mary Chain-esque shoegaze, stark, sharp New Wave, and ballsy, psychedelic rawk. More than anything else, tracks like “Thoughts Like Bombs” make me think of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, but there’s also some Primal Scream in there, too. The newer stuff on their site’s a little more electronicized, but it’s still damn cool.
[The Watermarks play at 4:30PM on Sun., June 5th, at the Rudyard’s Stage.]

Poopy Lungstuffing
And again, yes, here comes Poopy Lungstuffing, the alter ego of one of the folks behind Super Happy Fun Land; I’ve seen her perform before, and I have to say, while it was weird and bizarre and somewhat disturbing, it was also hard to look away from. Imagine a character from some even more nightmarish version of The Nutcracker up on a stage singing in a squeaky, too-high, wavery voice and playing ukelele (I think?), and you’ll be somewhat close.
[Poopy Lungstuffing plays at 1PM on Sun., June 5th, at the (duh) Super Happy Fun Land Stage.]

The Hates
And last but not least (for the moment, anyway), here come Houston’s longest-running punk band, The Hates, who’ve been pumping out raw, loud, don’t-give-a-shit, Brit-influenced punk rock since 1979 — yes, 1979, as in, “when this here writer was six freaking years old.” Wow. That always blows me away, not least of all because these guys are still out there playing regularly, recording, and putting out stuff, right down there with the rest of the bands lurking in our city’s overcrowded underground. The Hates aren’t some on-again, off-again resurrected punk band that plays every once in a while just to remember what it used to feel like back when they were really a band — they’ve never left the damn stage.
[The Hates play at 2:15PM on Sun., June 5th, at the Rudyard’s Stage.]

That’s all I’ve got for now, folks. Cross yr fingers, though, and maybe I’ll be able to scrape up a few more before tomorrow comes…

2 Responses to “Summerfest 2011 Rundown, Pt. 3: Chromeo + Something Fierce + Young Girls + Fucked Up + Perseph One + Little Lo + More”

  1. Jirod Greene on June 28th, 2011 at 2:30 am

    Hey Jeremy! Mane…I’m glad you gave us a shot! Thank you so much. We’re releasing the EP on Saturday July, 9th. (7.09) at Stubbs in Austin. Hope all is well man. Blessings.

    Suite 709

  2. SPACE CITY ROCK » A Sweet Hot Hell: Surviving Summerfest 2011, Day One on March 15th, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    […] ONE: Yep, another at the top of my list… As I mentioned back in the rundown things I was doing, I’ve been wanting to see Perseph One live since at least Summerfest ’09, and this year […]

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