Once again, we’re back. The thing that makes my year complete, the sleep-deprivation study disguised as a music festival: MusicFest NorthWest. It never feels quite like summer is perfect until just before it’s over, and for five days, this city feels less like a city, and more like a playground. After adding up all of the bands that I’m going to try and see, I have 48 bands on my schedule. Let’s see how it goes.
Day One starts off the festival as smoothly as possible, and is never a real sign of what this week will hold. The band that kicks off the festivities is LP. It should be stated: I live Arcade Fire. I love them so much, I love the bands that have been influenced by them. Right out of the gate, they sound like the brainchild of a woman who spent way, way too much time listening to Funeral, but I swear, it’s a good thing. In 40 minutes, they become a shining example of why this festival is magical: as of this writing, I still know nothing about the band I saw. Here, you get the chance to wander in off the street and catch bands you have never heard, and what’s more: you get to feel genuine surprised. And, surprised I was: they blew the goddamn roof off the place. Not bad.
The night ended with Passion Pit, in a blaze of synthesizers and strobe lights. Before I heard Gossamer, Passion Pit was a cool band I got to see. But after hearing it, the band became the high point of my festival. Michael Angelakos, with his new record, has filled the James-Murphy-shaped therapy-pop void in my heart. They played a resplendent set of mostly old songs, with five new tracks thrown into the mix. The crowd was drenched in sweat, and it didn’t help that it was already a sauna, before a band had even hit the stage. But, the band played their hearts out, as Angelakos stalked the stage, screaming his heart out, and never failing to engage the audience in his (somehow) life-affirming singalongs. I have regretted a lot of things, but the decision to go shirtless in public at that show is not one of them.
Tomorrow starts at 2:30pm, and goes all the way to 2:30am. Rest can take a holiday.
BAND COUNT: 2