In a bathroom with pink satin lining the walls and uncomfortable floral couches, Amy and I aren’t planning our next move–we’re taking selfies in the mirror and rubbing our hands with free lotion. The El Korah Shrine bathroom is our green room, our hideaway from the bustling, chaotic festival happening right above us. In the media lounge across the hall we scarf down hours-old pizza and pull out our notebooks. We just scored an interview with Modern Kin tomorrow at The Crux and we’re reviewing the bands we’ve circled in the program:
Big Tits are an offshoot of Warm Soda, and we can’t wait to see them; La Luz is playing tonight and we won’t miss it. Between shows in parking lots warm with Boise sunshine, coffee shops, and bars, we rest in the basement of El Korah Shrine, watching old men pass into the bar next door, coveting their trucker hats.
This is TreeFort festival.
A festival that features more Portland bands than any in our own town (except maybe PDX Pop Now!), TreeFort is truly the Portland music scene’s home away from home for a week. It’s our spring break. It’s a welcome retreat. It’s fitting that TreeFort declared itself a “festival of discovery” because year after year I leave in awe and with a long list of new bands I can’t get enough of. Music scenes from Boise, Seattle, Portland, New Orleans, Austin, even abroad coalesce in Boise, Idaho to create a five-day, non-stop, high energy adventure.
And there’s no shortage of things to do at the festival. Aside from wandering between the many venues, there’s beer to drink, stories to hear, friends to make, yoga to do (if you want to get up early), secret shows, day parties, skating, art, etc. I’m so looking forward to spending these five days at TreeFort.
Amy and I are making the drive to Boise on Wednesday. Here are a handful of Portland shows I am most looking forward to (full lineup here):
Divers: Drinking a beer with your Dad in the back of the venue.
Roselit Bone: Country music soundtrack to your bar brawl.
The Domestics: My new favorite Portland band.
Catherine Feeny: Super impressive vocals that you Mom would like.
Summer Cannibals: Loud, fast, no-bullshit–Portland’s next big thing.
Talkative: Wild, upbeat, no apologies.
Bearcubbin: When you’re in the mood for sweaty, jittery dancing.
Wooden Indian Burial Ground: Proudest moment of TreeFort 2014 was the bloody nose I got in the pit at WIBG.
Genders: An underrated Portland force, perfectly garage-y yet put together.
In the final weekend of the summer, Portland attempts to hang on to summer just a little bit long with the last outdoor music festival of the season. Project Pabst, new to the city this year, bring big-ticket bands and local acts together in what has been dubbed a “love letter to Portland” by PBR at Zidell Yards.
I was excited to hear about Project Pabst in the midst of my frustration with MFNW. It seemed to me like Project Pabst offered a better alternative to MFNW’s changed format: it had the outdoor festival in addition to multi-venue shows that cost extra, which could be a downside–but considering I paid only $45 for my festival pass, shelling out some extra cash didn’t seem like a big deal.
WHO I’M SEEING
I’m going to start the day with K. Flay, the honest and unashamed rapper/producer, whose newest album Life As A Dog is seriously addicting. Next I’ll catch Red Fang, Portland’s resident stoner metal experts, whose music videos are the most fun ever and who are the loudest hairy dudes I can possibly tolerate. I’m really, really looking forward to seeing Phosphorescent for the first time. Take one listen to Here’s To Taking It Easy and have your heart simultaneously broken and set on fire. Last summer’s Muchacho was a more ethereal record, but stayed on par. I’m ending my night with Violent Femmes, to whom I owe several angsty high school drives screaming the lyrics to “Add It Up.”
Portland’s Grandparents have come a long way since performing the foyer of the art building at Lewis & Clark, where I first saw them. Their weirdo experimental folk has grown, bigger and badder than eve, albeit with more pop. I am a huge fan of Shabazz Palaces‘ Lese Majesty. The newest songs from the Seattle duo are wide in range, interesting, and all-around hypnotizing . I won’t even try to say something intelligent about the GZA, but I wouldn’t miss him. And finally, Modest Mouse, who I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t seen… ever (although my Mom thinks we saw them open for R.E.M. once together. She might be right).
Summer Cannibals, The Woolen Men, The Constantines: Two powerhouse Portland bands open for a buzzed-up classic indie rock band playing a much-anticipated set. Friday @ Dante’s.
Wooden Indian Burial Ground, Deep Sea Diver, Built to Spill: Catch these two PNW acts who are entirely different but entirely great in their own respects. WIBG is galactic, rough, and rowdy. Deep Sea Diver is poppy, full, and Jessica Dobson’s voice is a force to be reckoned with. Saturday @ The Crystal Ballroom.
WHAT I’M EXPECTING
I look forward to experiencing a Portland festival that I never had before, and seeing what everyone thinks. My hunch is that the acts themselves will make or break the festival, regardless of the experience or “feel.” But, I’m looking foward to drinking a shitload of PBR and getting wet and gross with a bunch of other music lovers.
See you there?