While the Houston International Festival 2014, or iFest as we call it, was a shameful Epic Fail, it was no fault of the performers and musicians who were the highlight of the two week event. The organizers of iFest totally failed in their promotion and ability to draw Houstonians out to the street fair and concert stages on some of the best weather days in Houston. It cost $10 to park, $18 per person to get in and then $10 for 9 tickets that bought overpriced foods and drinks. Vendors were horrible with the most obnoxious being business’ pushing their services, the same old worn out African wood carvings, Jamaican incense oils and hippie purses. Shameful. I felt sorry for the bands who played to 20 to 30 people where hundreds should have filled the audience. Anyhow, now that I got that embarrassing report out of the way, let me write a bit about the wonderful musicians that I got to hear.
First up is Annika Chambers. I saw her last week at The Big Easy and then again here at the iFest. I’m glad to report that Houston blues and funk is alive and doing well. Annika’s got a powerful voice that can growl out the smokey blues as well as smooth things out with some soul and funk. Great band and a great sound.
Austrailian Craig Morrison brought Country Rock to the big stage and put on a hell of a performance even though the grassy hillside only had a handful of spectators. Craig sports a look similar to Sammy Hagar and rocks out a bit more than Keith Urban. He had a handful of original tunes mixed with several Southern Rock favorites that will surely keep him in the limelight. Here’s his website: http://www.craigmorrisonmusic.com
Brazilian born Lois Albez played on one of the small Pub style stages. I had done some research on her before I went downtown on Sunday and I was very pleased to get to hear her songs. She covered Girl From Ipanema but mostly played her own songs, all of which had a catchy beat, Carnival samba sounds and lots of happy smiles. Check out her website and joyful music: http://loisalbez.com/
By far, my favorite band was SIRSY, which I wrote about right after I got home ( SIRSY ). Strong, confident and happy, they played original Alternative Rock songs of their own and surprised me with the Beatles tune Don’t Let Me Down too. Great band. I’m a new fan of SIRSY.
I love hearing new bands, listening to music I would not normally know about and being at events like this with live music. The iFest also had dance performances, Mexican folklore and Mariachi bands, at Australian didgeridoo player, the Budweiser wagon and Clydesdale horses, blues bands and lots of wonderful sunshine. It was a fun day in the best weather Houston can offer.