June 26, 2018
With blue skies and eager anticipation, Team dRiFFt made the trek to Houston to attend the long-awaited and much-anticipated Love Street Music Festival hosted by Karbach Brewery. Little did they know, the day would end in deluge, seeking shelter in a makeshift sub-VIP cavern, lamenting the lost opportunity to rock out with their favorite New York indie pop alt-rock superstars.
We kick off the day with Texan-bred indie rock band The Unlikely Candidates. Who are, by the way, on tour as I write this and I sincerely hope you'll take a couple of hours to catch their tour (see TUC's tour schedule here). The heat can't slow down these guys; "Energetic" would be an understatement. Performing a mix of old and new, we're treated to a show that's just as effervescent as the beer we're sipping. A frothy, crisp, refreshing performance, punctuated by stage antics that possibly would best be left in the hands of a stuntman. The energy of Kyle Morris and Co is overshadowed only by how tight and fun their performance is.
We have just enough time to line up for a taste of Karbach's legendary Lemon & Ginger Radler as the heat sets in. If you haven't tried it, think: crisp citrusy sunshine in a can. Seriously, grab a six pack or ten before I buy them all.
A cool breeze and shadowy clouds take over as Everclear hits the main stage for a rowdy bout of 90's alt-rock. I've seen these guys more times than I can count on both hands. Yet seeing their iconic 90's hits live does not get old. And like a fine wine, Art only gets better with age. But you didn't hear that from me; the ladies in the crowd agree. Everclear needs no explanation. As they wrap up, we notice towering dark clouds and check our phones' weather radar skeptically hoping it'll blow right by.
The Ton Tons are up next; I'm not familiar with these guys, but quickly learn that this Houston band has a sultry indie flavor. Led by the silken vocals of Asli Omar, I am utterly smitten in seconds. I remember reading on their facebook; "that vocal vixen who can make men and rock nerds alike quake in their boots." Yup. I get it.
Murmurs in the crowd; "...It will pass, right? There's no rain in the forecast."
"Oh yeah, we're good. We have to be good. Bleachers are playing"
"It's only red and purple on the radar miles north of us..."
It's getting pretty dark. I grab my waterproof camera bag just in case, and grab a Karbach classic Love Street Blonde to quell my concerns. We challenge a trio of stout (and definitely not sober) frat boys to a round of cornhole and lose miserably.
Cold War Kids are up next; as they open there's electric in the air. I smell ozone and still somehow believe it will just blow over. I'm here to see Bleachers, my beloved, and Mother Nature must not ruin it. The show continues. The entire stage sways in the wind. That cloud kind of looks like a tornado. Howling winds are upon us, and as Cold War Kids bravely power through a second and third song, stage hands are dismantling banners, descending light rigs and giant speakers on shuddering ropes as pieces of the stage begin to whip around above our heads. The skies open up. A sullen MC announces "guys, I'm sorry... we need to pause the set; we have lightening strikes nearby. We'll be back in a few." An audible groan; half of the crowd wisely heads for the undercover brewery picnic tables in the midway, the rest stand defiantly at the stage in the drizzle, clutching their Hopadillo hopefully, waiting for the set to continue. A canopy takes off in the wind, staff running after it, and the beer stands look like it is next. The VIP tents shudder and threaten to break apart. Lightning strikes nearby as we clamber under the VIP bleachers in a desperate attempt to keep expensive camera gear dry. It's an utter deluge, wind howling and thunder booming. As we crouch in puddles, five or six other revelers join us in our unlikely shelter, sharing an armload of beers they've "rescued" (Good Job, folks, priorities first!). Desperate times call for desperate measures.
It's then that we realize, with the threat of nearby lightning and a possible VIP stage collapse above us, that we're standing in ankle-deep puddles with live power cords winding through our feet. Perfect.
I'm too young to die, but at least we have beer. And good company. Cheers. Death by electrocution will at least be quick, no? In short turn, our little shelter family cracks the second and third rounds, mocking the "ambiance" of our digs; the water features and comfortable seating (i.e. water cascading through cracks in the bleachers above us as we crowd on top of parking dividers so as to not sit in puddles). Certainly a certain je ne sais quoi.
Several of us admit, in true fangirl fashion, that we're utterly shattered at the possibility of not seeing our beloved Bleachers perform. Most of those admitting are of the 'dude' variety, and so I chime in with my utter devastation at the narrowing Bleachers prospect ahead. We are interrupted by the arrival of a young man asking "where's the beer? I need to acquire beer. Lots of beer." Soon thereafter, we learn that he's on a beer run for the Bleachers themselves, and so we attempt, in vain, to convince him to allow us to personally deliver beer (in the pouring rain, no less) to our beloved band. At least, no doubt, we can invite Bleachers to join our party under the bleachers? Who wouldn't want to join us? Someone decides to DM an invite to all of the bands performing at LSMF. I can only imagine being on the recipient end of a stream of less-than-sober texts asking one to "Join us for a Bleachers party under the Bleachers?!" Yet one band does actually reply ...somehow.
We may be a little under the influence of frequent brews at this point, semi-hypothermic and desperate to deny that we're about to miss our favorite band entirely. Soon security arrives and asks us to remove our sullen selves from the possibility of electrocution-slash-drowning... the show is officially cancelled. Our sloshy, death-defying wait was in vain. This is not how I envisioned my long-awaited festival ending. In low spirits, we head to the hotel to nurse our dampened spirits (pun intended) with a warm shower.
Since the dreary ending of LSMF, we learned that Karbach has gone (exceedingly) out of their way to secure a conciliatory show; they've invited Bleachers back to the brewery and granted all festival attendees a complimentary ticket in August. If you didn't already love Karbach for their phenomenal festivals and truly excellent brews, here's one more reason to chant; "Karbach is the BEST!" On behalf of fangirls (and boys) everywhere, thank you for bringing Bleachers back. I'm a Karbach fan for life, and I'll be fangirling myself silly at the Bleachers show in August. See you there!
We arrived at midday to a bustling brewery with psychedelic 70's floral-wrapped stages set at opposite ends of a narrow midway brimming with beer tents, food trucks, colorful art and sunshine. We were granted a cheerful impromptu tour through VIP areas, sneaking a peek inside the magical world of Karbach and sipping some of the finest samples. Staff were energetic and friendly, the crowd was chipper and the brews divine. We strolled past market stalls, art, jewelry, creativity, color. Rowdy cornhole tournaments and those eagerly in line for a selection of top-notch food truck offerings. Sunshine, excitement, the promise of excellent music and a great beer to wash it all down. What a wonderful day to be alive.
Festival Texas Music
Here you'll find archived band, festival and concert stories... plus blog entries from Team dRiFFt as they travel, photograph, interview and adventure!