Special thanks and photo credits to Frank X. Bernal

On to day two of FPSF and I was set to relax more, catch up with friends and get some frozen drinks in my system. Fortunately media passes have their perks providing sprawled-out air-conditioned tents with VIP craft drinks from one of the best bars in town all a round the festival. I decided to skip all the unnecessary perks and trekked my way to and from stages hoping to gain photo pit access and lounge on the park's gorgeous hill scape to catch the Houston skyline.

My day started an hour late to help recover from the night before as I rushed to find parking and sprint to catch a current obsession of mine: Fitz and the Tantrums. Playing on the opposite end of the park, my media pass saved me from general admission lines and I made it just as they capped their first song. Pickin' Up the Pieces, their phenomenal debut from two years ago is still fresh and the perfect summer soundtrack. Their retro soul sound kept the crowd swaying, even getting low to the ground -- demanded by lead singer, Michael Fitzpatrick as they played their hit songs and a handful of new tracks set to be released on their impending sophomore release. Making sure they got an approval from the audience for their new songs, Fitzpatrick and leading-lady and supporting vocalist, Noelle Scaggs gave the audience more than what they were expecting. With body-hugging dances moves to obvious intimate chemistry between the two, even with a surprising rendition of "Sweet Dreams," their neo-soul sound was what I needed to kick off day two.


Just as I got the the day going, it was onto more high-energy at the main stage for rising stars, Young the Giant. Under sweltering heat cramped into the mass crowd centered in the midst of the melting crowd, true fans were loyal enough to stay throughout the whole set even though it was the hottest time of day -- I even spotted a pink power ranger, such dedication! Impressive fans mixed with an impressive band made you almost forget that your skin was burning. Probably the most anticipated act of the entire festival were these guys who not only were fans of hipster indie-rockers but also typical top 40 listeners to 50-year old housewives. It's pretty astonishing how well composed and enthusiastic Sameer Gadhia and the boys performed under such conditions. From another impressive debut album, their songs pack a punch midday with thousands of fans turning out to see the overnight successes -- before even having cult followers.


Portugal. The Man. There's nothing to say to describe this band but accomplishing being true reinventors. The Alaska natives put on one of the most surprising sets of the weekend that made spectators of previous acts stay at the same stage to check out what all the noise was about. Having been familiar with their earlier R&B sound, they've recently switched gears and stripped their performance down relying on John Gourley's vocals. Transitioning to electric and acoustic guitars through their set and covering Beatles classics, the band had the audience engaged from beginning to end. Covering 'Helter Skelter' and not butchering it, instantly won me over. They were a joy to watch and I think after their performance or even during, people were Google-ing them online and purchasing their recent album, In the Mountain in the Cloud.

You can't really describe the Texas music without name-dropping Willie Nelson. You can't really attend a music festival, skim through the lineup and not check out one song from the legend. It was a perfect time to grab a drink, conserve energy and have Willie playing in the background. The trailblazer went took us back and played a string of old-timey songs just as the festival goers all decided to wind down for the day. Unfortunately I was anticipating a special appearance from BFF Snoop Dogg to join him on stage but that didn't happen even though he was probably watching from the sidelines.

Time for a little daily dose of hip-hop and Shabazz Palaces were the perfect remedy. The emerging Seattle-based duo, the first hip-hop act to be signed to Sub Pop had already attracted some dedicated fans camping out until their set started on the outskirts of the stage. Their solid hour-long set was matched with passionate rhymes, raw attitude and a diverse, new sound of hip-hop that was provided by bongo drums and the rest of their DJ equipment draped in african print. Palaceer Lazaro and Baba, the two MC's frequently exchanged verses and fed off each others energies to complete every song off of Black Up.



As the night and festival was coming to a close I stumbled across Austin natives, Electric Touch's set. The pop/rock outfit have already gained a constantly growing fan base with catchy tunes from their major label sophomore release, Never Look Back. Led by British vocalist, Shane Lawlor and backed by twin brothers and Houston natives, Christopher Leigh and Louis Messina Jr., the band also drew a crowd by passersby wanting a peek at the Texan band.

I'll admit I'm a bit ignorant when it comes to EDM music, which may be a good thing. Having seen Pretty Lights last summer at a random electronic music festival, coincidentally he was also closing. I was actually excited because I remember him being surprisingly fun and atypical of most recent DJ's and their so-called "dub step" music. What was a major transition from the previous night at Afrojack's set, Pretty Lights aka Derek Vincent Smith, was a step-up providing a more hip-hop infused, and seamless set that had almost what seemed like the entire city dancing for three hours -- it did only last an hour and a half. Feeling high and completely lost in the music to cap off the weekend of fun, the annual fireworks shot through the sky, I already wished for next year or an all-night party. Here's to seeing over 100,000 in attendance in 2013.