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Review: Untapped at Panther Island Pavilion

Posted 3:44pm on Sunday, Mar. 09, 2014

As festival weather goes, the second annual Untapped had what could only be described as the antihesis of enjoyable.

Frigid temperatures, starting in the low 40s before plunging into the mid-30s, coupled with sharp-edged gusts of wind and a steady, chilly rain falling from about 5:30 p.m. onward, Saturday’s Untapped, situated once more in the parking lot of Panther Island Pavilion, outside downtown Fort Worth, was an event more to be endured than enjoyed.

But, surprisingly, a crowd of a few thousand (attendance figures were not immediately available) turned to sample two ounce pours from a wide array of local and national craft breweries, and to enjoy an eclectic line-up split almost evenly between buzzy indie rock, hip-hop and soul acts.

After roughly two hours in the weather, I threw in the towel and left far earlier than I’d planned to, so this is not a full-blown review, so much as a few observations from my time near the Trinity River.

Seeing Sam Lao and -topic share a stage was a treat, if only because the pair’s differing styles contrasted well. Despite being bundled up, Lao was as forceful as ever, just as extra layers couldn’t stifle -topic’s cerebral, compelling rhymes.

The Quaker City Night Hawks weren’t about to let some nippy drizzle put a damper on their deep-fried set — the Fort Worth rockers, augmented by a few guests, including sax man Jeff Dazey, blazed through tracks like Fox in the Henhouse like the consummate pros they are.

People Under the Stairs — not, the Los Angeles-based duo was quick to point out, to be confused with the horror film of the same name — were an engaging presence, rapping about, of all things, craft beer (what a convenient booking!) and inspiring the huddled together audience to loosen up a bit.

My night ended with the Felice Brothers, a folk-rock ensemble from upstate New York, performing tunes best suited to a sunny afternoon, a gentle breeze and the feeling of spring right around the corner. But maybe that was just me — fighting to keep my hands and feet from going numb by thinking warm thoughts.

Despite the miserable conditions, the crowds were sampling the beers on hand, as well as patronizing the small flotilla of food trucks parked beneath the bridge. It was, much like last year’s Untapped, a convivial, laid-back event that felt more like a backyard gathering than a festival.

Perhaps for the next Untapped, Mother Nature will be a little more cooperative, so the weather matches the good feelings on the ground.

(Also, the dates for this year’s Fort Worth Music Festival were unveiled yesterday: May 16-17, presumably at the site of last year’s fest, Panther Island Pavilion. Spune also set dates for Denton’s Canned Fest — Sept. 6 — as well as Index Fest — Sept. 26-28 — and Dallas’ Untapped: Nov. 1.)

Preston Jones, 817-390-7713 Twitter: @prestonjones

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