Day for Night is upon us, not that you needed a reminder. The third iteration of Houston's not-like-the-others arts and music festival got a nod in the New York Times, and, it seems, appears as every other sponsored advertisement on our Facebook and Instagram feeds.
But looking at the schedule, we realized the difficult part of a lineup stacked from top to bottom is the series of difficult choices it requires. If you're going to Friday's summit featuring prominent activists and speakers like Chelsea Manning and Pussy Riot's Nadya Tolokonnikova, the choice is simple: See them all, one after the other. And the arts installations are available to enjoy at your leisure. But prioritization becomes important on Saturday and Sunday, when more than five dozen musical acts are scattered across four stages.
Of course, there are some obvious must-sees. We shouldn't have to convince you of the merits of Thom Yorke, Laurie Anderson, Houston favorite Solange, or the "regular, degular, shmegular girl from the Bronx" (with a No. 1 hit), Cardi B. Nine Inch Nails, Tyler, the Creator, and St. Vincent are not exactly no-names, either. What follows are suggestions of other lesser-known, totally worthwhile DFN acts to consider this weekend. Don't agree with us? No sweat—just walk over to the next stage.
of Montreal, Saturday at 1:50 p.m.
The Georgia-born psych rock group headed by the gender-bending Kevin Barnes will perform the entirety of Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? in honor of the landmark album's 10th anniversary. While we're exciting for their bouncy, synth-driven sound, we're really hoping Solange moseys over to this stage for a performance of the very much slept-on Knowles-Barnes collaboration that is "Sex Karma."
Pearl Crush, Saturday at 2:50 p.m.
Mandy Kim Clinton's solo project materializes as a wonderfully saccharine example of synth pop, with layered, thrumming guitar chords backing her musings on love and relationships.
Princess Nokia, Saturday at 3 p.m.
One of the brashest, boldest, least apologetic female rappers on the scene, Princess Nokia's clever rhymes blend a combination of feminism and Afro-indigenous identity. We have half a mind to join her just to bask in the presence of a badass; on separate occasions, Princess Nokia hurled hot soup on a racist subway rider and punched an audience member who yelled sexist comments.
Lil B, Saturday at 4:10 p.m.
One of the earliest musicians to harness social media for exposure, Lil B (or The BasedGod) enjoys wide popularity for his feel-good optimism. Breadcrumbs of his influence are everywhere—from Frank Ocean to Odd Future—and his eclectic taste in beats and sounds will be on full display.
Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois, Saturday at 9 p.m.
Widely credited with popularizing breakcore—a genre of dance music blending kick drums, industrial sounds and uptempo beats—Venetian Snares teams up with acclaimed record producer Daniel Lanois.
Kimbra, Sunday at 2:10 p.m.
Best known for her 2011 Gotye collaboration, "Somebody That I Used to Know," the New Zealand singer's soulful, saucy voice complements an interesting approach to rhythm and vocal percussion.
Priests, Sunday at 2:10 p.m.
With an album titled Bodies and Control and Money and Power (2014), it's no surprise this venerable D.C. post-punk group is a little political. We won't be simplistic and label their latest album, Nothing Feels Natural (2017), "protest music," but it certainly is topical, angry and cathartic.
Phantogram, Sunday at 5 p.m.
Electro rock duo Phantogram has blended breathy vocals with hip-hop beats for a decade now, and their approachable melodies seem perfect for a music festival, even if you've never gotten into them.
Justice, Sunday at 8:30 p.m.
This French electronic duo puts out supremely danceable tracks that force you to move your body (you've almost certainly bopped along to D.A.N.C.E linked above), making them an ideal set to launch you into the final acts of the festival.
Nina Kraviz, Sunday at 11:20 p.m.
The authoritative DJ sets of this former dentist from Siberia provide an ideal Day for Night send-off for those who have no desire to join Thom Yorke's crowd of sadbois.
Day for Night Festival, Dec. 15–17. Tickets from $95. Post HTX, 401 Franklin St. More info and tickets at dayfornight.io.