September 16, 2011

Top 5 Shows at MusicfestNW

MusicfestNW was amazing. Fueled by beer, whiskey and almost no sleep, Tex and I saw 20 bands at 7 different venues (a feat of endurance I doubt I'll soon repeat) and we didn't come close to seeing everyone we wanted to see. Oddly, some of the bands we were most excited to see didn't end up being our favorites.

While there were plenty of great moments, these 5 standout above the rest:

Blind Pilot @ Doug Fir
It felt very intimate and special to see Blind Pilot at the Doug Fir recording their KEXP session with maybe a hundred other people. Too bad they'll never play a full set here. The new songs all sounded fantastic.

Talkdemonic @ Branx
We headed over to Branx on a whim between bands and were blown away. I had no idea that drums and a violin could produce such a captivating performance. Judging from their set, their next album is going to be fantastic, and perhaps louder and wilder than their previous albums.

Yacht @ Branx
DANCE PARTY! We were dripping with sweat minutes after entering the typically hot and humid Branx. Nothing was dry by the time they left the stage, easily living up to a stranger's assessment when she urged us to see them the night before: "Their shows are like a cross between gym class and pure joy."

AgesandAges @ Doug Fir
Like a backwoods revival, they quickly worked up a frenzy and never let up. The stage radiated with a joyous and communal feeling. Their harmonies are just amazing and need to be heard live.

Givers @ Doug Fir
The Givers came out swinging. Building upon and even surpassing the energy of the fantastic AgesandAges set. Singer Tiffany Lamson pounded her toms like a Taiko drummer. And just when it seemed as if they were winding down after a wild hour and a half, they introduced a rapper, Tiny, who brought the house down.

Although these are my top 5 shows, I think Tex will agree with 4 out of the 5 listed here.


awmercy said...

I didn't realize that the majority of my favorite shows would by Portland bands until after I put the list together. That's certainly not why they were selected.

awmercy said...

Our full list of shows was:

Unknown Mortal Orchestra @ Doug Fir
Blind Pilot @ Doug Fir
Monarques @ Aladdin Theater
Dennis Coffey @ Aladdin Theater
Talkdemonic @ Branx
Twin Sister @ Holocene
EMA @ Holocene

Weinland @ Crystal Ballroom
Sharon Van Etten @ Crystal Ballroom
AgesandAges @ Doug Fir
Givers @ Doug Fir

Point Juncture, WA @ Mississippi Studios
Typhoon @ Pioneer Courthouse Square
The Antlers @ Pioneer Courthouse Square
Jeffery Jerusalem @ Branx
Yacht @ Branx
Ty Segall @ Mississippi Studios

Pocketknife @ Rontoms
Light For Fire @ Rontoms
Greenhorse @ Rontoms

Tex said...

I basically agree with everything everything awmercy wrote about the experience. I would swap out Blind Pilot (great set, super talented folks no doubt) for EMA, just because she and her band were one of the sets I was most excited about, and I felt like they delivered. Unfortunately, they were the last band at the end of a long day, and we had to split before one of us passed out. It also should be said that Sharon Van Etten's set was SPOT on, but the venue was way too big, drunk, and energized to fully experience her, and her set was very short (30-35 minutes?). So many great sets. I'm still processing it...

awmercy said...

Totally agree with the Sharon Van Etten set. I think it could have been one of the best if it wasn't at the Crystal Ballroom. I wish we'd see her at Bunk Bar that Tuesday. I bet it was fantastic.