Written by Michael Pittman
Apr 21, 2012 at 02:00 PM
ImageSince 1995 local radio station 94.5 The Buzz and LiveNation have teamed up to create a seminal music event in Houston called Buzzfest, not to be confused with the Buzzfest event which takes place in Nashville, TN. It’s a bi-annual event staged at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion during Houston’s cooler spring and fall months on two stages with about 12 hours of non-stop music. With the exception of fall 2008 when hurricane Ike forced a drastic reschedule, it’s been one of Houston’s heavy metal/alt community’s most anticipated events for 17 years featuring bands of varying notoriety anywhere from local Houston to international acts like Korn and Evanescence.

One of the more interesting and unique up and coming bands was Foxy Shazam with microphone throwing skills and acrobatics by lead singer Eric Sean Nally and keyboard rocking skills by Sky White. This band is total high energy and seems to be on the rise with the release of The Church of Rock and Roll last January featuring the single I Like It.

This year Buzzfest featured a local band you may have heard of called Blue October who are still riding the wave last year’s Any Man in America project. Justin Furstenfeld opened their set with a “Hello home townnnn” and a wave of his baseball bat, to which the sea of fans responded with an overwhelming roar and it was on. The band connected with the wildly enthusiastic audience almost immediately and kept it for the rest of the set.

Evanescence followed with what turned out to be an electrifying show with Amy Lee fronting the latest incarnation of her band with experienced style and energy. As a photographer I just got to shoot the first 3 songs and I was worn out just trying to keep up! Ok ok, I have few years on most of them, but still! Having dominated the hard rock categories at the MTV Europe and Grammys in 2003-2005, they look to be staging a kick-ass comeback on the energy of late 2011’s Evanescence project release.

ImageThe Side Stage wasn’t devoid of its energy, but it seemed to be a different kind. Crowd surfing was expected and even welcomed. LiveNation did a great job of providing enough security to catch the surfers and point them to the side exits…I suppose to catch the next wave. I could say “surf’s up dude”, but this wasn’t your father’s California.

All I could get was photo passes this time around so I won’t be able to say a lot more about many of the shows, but I will say this. I’m glad to see the concept of a music festival stay alive because they always have their own energy. Each festival develops its own personality and has done so ever since the days of Woodstock…or my personal favorite..The Texas International Pop Festival. This one was crowded and loud, but was well run and maintained. Most of the people there were a lot younger than I am and I’ll admit that I felt a little senior sometimes, but for the most part everyone was there to enjoy the great lineup of bands and just have a great time in some of the best Houston spring weather we’ve seen in a long time.

Hats off to 94.5 The Buzz and LiveNation for putting together another memorable show..we’ll see you again in the fall!

Main Stage

The Features, Foxy Shazam, Mutemath, Cage The Elephant, Blue October, Evanescence, Korn.

Side Stage

Aranda, Hurt, Dead Sara, Band of Skulls, Neon Trees, The Dirty Heads, Evans Blue