If we’re speaking on sheer energy, few things compare to a jam-packed room of attentive punks kumbaya-ing around a band they all agree on. As with any live show, audience participation is key — but with punk, hardcore, metal, etc — crowd engagement takes on a crucial role. One could dive off the stage, swinging at a group of strangers and be justified — if the mood is right. This weekend’s Summer Breeze, hosted at East End’s Satellite Bar, is an annual state of the union for the Texas punk scene, an occasion where said mood is bound to be dead right.
Expect a no frills exhibition on the nuances between the subgenres of heavy guitar music and the different sects that are devoted to each. Austin’s legendary Iron Age may be the most recognizable band on the bill, but Summer Breeze is known to bring out the rowdiest sets from the state’s most infamous, bands like Sexpill, Army, and Skourge. Granted, there is variance in the lineup, with post-punk outfit Temple of Angels (Austin), southern-tinged Vivienne Styg (Houston), and ’90s revivalists Bugg (Indiana) all on the roster. By definition, the weekend will be relentlessly loud, sometimes aggressive, and always high energy.
Summer Breeze is organized by Houston’s perennial hardcore liaison, Haunting Vision (JJ Foster), alongside Santos Rivera, and is on its third year. JJ took some time recently to answer some of my questions about the punk festival, punks, and the punk scene at large.
Byline Houston: Could you briefly talk about how the festival came to be and why it’s important?
JJ Foster: Summer Breeze is organized by myself and Santos Rivera. For years, we had been seeing a huge new wave of bands forming across Texas but didn’t really see them being showcased anywhere, even within their own scenes. About three years ago, after seeing the audience for it was there, we put our heads together and contacted a bunch of our favorite bands and close friends to make the first fest happen. It’s important because we focus on gathering the best bands from our region, rather than a bunch of big nationally established bands, and let the quality and talent in this scene speak for itself rather than hype. We are not a booking agency, and we have absolutely no sponsorship; it is strictly for the love of the music.
Byline Houston: What makes the Texas punk scene different/unique and how does it compare to other regional scenes in the states?
Foster: Texas and especially Houston, as most know, has the benefit of being extremely diverse. Hardcore shows here nowadays bring together people from many different walks of life, and the idea of one singular type of person being into punk or hardcore is thankfully starting to disappear. The scene here accepts anyone and provides them with an environment to be themselves, and it’s always been a goal to help that flourish.
Byline Houston: Punk/hardcore/metal fans are some of the most devoted, lifestyle-based fans out there. Why do you think that is?
Foster: People find freedom in this music because it gives them a space outside of the norm to think and ask questions. As they become more and more mainstream, these genres will lose their edge. But the message and outlet is still there for people who choose to see it.
Byline Houston: What do you expect out of this year’s festival?
Foster: A lot of friendship and a lot of sweat. I’m looking forward to every band, but there’s a couple of things I’m especially excited about. Malignant Altar features members of other legendary Houston bands like Insect Warfare, and they are playing their second show ever followed by Texas icons Iron Age. Army is an incredible band from Austin whose vocalist isn’t even out of high school, and their sets are notoriously high energy. Narrow Head is the next big thing out of the city, and they’re headlining the last day of the fest, which I recommend catching before they can only play massive stages. Overall, not a dull moment, and I can’t wait to see so many different faces there.
Summer Breeze is this weekend (Friday-Sunday) at the East End’s Satellite Bar. A limited amount of tickets will be available at the door each night, first come first serve. Tickets are available here.