This weekend’s extreme heat undoubtedly impacted turnout at Solstice Festival at Pan Am Park on Saturday. The festival was well-attended, but by no means crowded in the afternoon and early evening. Yet the event was still a triumph for organizers, who put on a diverse showcase of Austin’s top talent. Transitions between the two stages were smooth and timely with only very brief lulls between music, a decent selection of food and drink vendors were available and the overall vibe of the fest was laid-back.
An early highlight was a blistering 5:45 set by one-man funk wrecking machine Henry + the Invisibles. Excessive schtick is an inherent danger of both one man bands and funk outfits. On the one hand, Henry Roland, who uses loop pedals to spawn “the Invisibles” embraces the cliches. He drapes his equipment with disco-ball tapestries and did a weird bit with an alien head puppet at the end of his set.
But he comes with so much swagger, raw talent and undeniable groove science, any corniness immediately fades to the backdrop. On Saturday, he made a passionate call for love, displayed astounding prowess on at least five instruments and unleashed a barrage of body rocking grooves on an enthusiastic crowd. He also gave a virtual clinic on how to build a perfect breakbeat setting up his track “My Love is 4 U.” You can watch it in the video above.
Henry + the Invisibles has a new album due out on Sept. 17.
Other Solstice highlights included a hard-driving late afternoon set from Austin360’s June Artist of the Month Megafauna.
And the gorgeous orchestral swells of Mother Falcon, which ushered in a beautiful sunset over the parks hillside stage.