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?
Any music fan in Portland knows about PDX Pop Now! It is the vicarious dream of a music festival where everything is free, everything is all ages, and everything sounds amazing. A cluster of local bands that span genres come together, and it’s so exciting. This weekend’s PDX Pop Now! festival was the first time I’ve truly devoted my weekend to the whole shebang, and I figured I should document that in some way.
Full disclosure: I was tweeting and instagramming for Rip City Review, and I was a PPN! volunteer.
Hello all! After painstaking negotiation with Spotify, Bandcamp, etc, I am finally ready to present this playlist I’ve made entitled, “Summer @ Whiskey Kiss.” Is it the first of many? Maybe!
I tried to stack this list with new/current music that will put you and keep you in the mood for summer fun. I threw in one summer standby that I’ve had ringing around in my head. Enjoy the YouTube playlist I’ve created, and let me know in the comments if you’d like me to share the Spotify playlist with you! I’ll be posting that on Facebook and Twitter shortly.
1.) The Way It Is – Denver (Denver, 2012)
2.) Unbelievers – Vampire Weekend (Modern Vampires of the City, 2013)
3.) Steady Rollin’ – Two Gallants (What the Toll Tells, 2006)
4.) Sand Talk – Akron/Family (Sub Verses, 2013)
5.) City – Thao & The Get Down Stay Down (We the Common, 2013)
6.) plamreader – Sonny & The Sunsets (Antenna To The Afterworld, 2013) [Note: This is the live at Pickathon version from KEXP. The album JUST came out, so I couldn’t find a video. The version here is really good, but be warned that the album version sounds a bit different!]
7.) Am I Wrong – Mikal Cronin (MCII, 2013)
8.) Dream Captain – Deerhunter (Monomania, 2013)
9.) Helicopter – Wooden Indian Burial Ground (Wooden Indian Burial Ground, 2012)
10.) In The Darkness – Foxygen (We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, 2012)
11.) Toe Cutter – Thumb Buster – Thee Oh Sees (Floating Coffin, 2013)
12.) Demon to Lean On – Wavves (Afraid of Heights, 2013)
13.) Where I Stand – The Thermals (Desperate Ground, 2013)
14.) Mayonnaise – The Woolen Men (The Woolen Men, 2013)
15.) It All Feels Right – Washed Out (Paracosm, 2013)
16.) Plastic Cup – Low (The Invisibile Way, 2013)
Coming up on Whiskey Kiss: This week, I want to review some albums that’ve just come out. Get ready for that and maybe a show calendar… oh, and some tips and tricks for being a music fan in the summer in Portland. Until then–cheers!