Historic floods may have moved Free Press Summer Fest, now in its seventh year, from Eleanor Tinsley Park to the Yellow Lot at NRG Park, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a surfeit of great artists performing under the shadow of the Astrodome this weekend. Starting with a small lineup and just two stages in 2009, FPSF now stretches across six stages encompassing everything from pop, hip-hop and indie-rock to metal and electronic music. We picked five diverse, can’t-miss artists gracing this year’s stages. Click here to purchase passes.
THE SUFFERS, SATURDAY, JUNE 6, 2:10 PM, SATURN STAGE
Houston’s own The Suffers, featuring the furious Kam Franklin on vocal duties, plays twice this weekend. Fresh off a thrilling performance on The Late Show with David Letterman (one of the last before the late-night staple ended his 33-year run), The Suffers are currently touring behind January’s Make Some Room EP. Expect Franklin’s full-throated vocals to be matched by her nine-piece band, mixing old-fashioned soul with Texas-inspired rock ‘n’ roll.
CHANCE THE RAPPER, SATURDAY, JUNE 6, 7:50 PM, MARS STAGE
Chance and his backing band, Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment, surprise-released their latest album, Surf, for free on iTunes not two weeks ago. Less a Chance solo album and more a collection of a rotating cast of features, trumpet solos and sung performances from Jeremih to Erykah Badu, Surf is … Well, imagine if Broken Social Scene made an avant-garde hip-hop album. This will be the first time many of these songs will be played before an audience of this size.
ST. VINCENT, SATURDAY, JUNE 6, 8 PM, SATURN STAGE
Guitar guru St. Vincent graciously comes to Houston every time she releases a new album, and this festival appearance is something of a victory lap after 2014’s St. Vincent graced best-of lists in droves. Here’s hoping her loyal and large Houston fan base welcomes her with open arms after a scary fall off a stack of speakers in Knoxville, Tennessee.
THE DECEMBERISTS, SUNDAY, JUNE 7, 6:40 PM, SATURN STAGE
These indie-rock behemoths play FPSF for the first time, touring in support of their most recent album, What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World, released after a five-year hiatus. Stitching together banjos, acoustic guitars and loquacious, bookish, heart-on-sleeve songwriting long before the sound took over the radio, The Decemberists remain one of indie rock’s most consistent and relevant artists.
BENJAMIN BOOKER, SUNDAY, JUNE 7, 7:50 PM, VENUS STAGE
Benjamin Booker insists he’s not merely a blues musician, but the Jack White-endorsed, raspy-voiced, New Orleans-by-way-of-Tampa Bay artist fuses blues-style lyrics with a punk-rock sound that belies what is surely an encyclopedic knowledge of this country’s oldest native genre of music. He’s bringing his self-titled debut album from 2014 to electrifying life for the first time in Houston at FPSF.