By Cory Butcher
On the third night of MFNW, I rode through the rare musicfest rain to Dante’s to catch Bleached, who put out Ride Your Heart, one of my favorite records of the summer, and The Men, who I have been meaning to see for a while now. Despite some early technical difficulties, Bleached played a a fun set, and their upbeat SoCal garage-punk helped the crowd forget that the weather outside was Portland. Highlights from the set included “Dead in Your Head,” “Next Stop,” and a cover of The Ramones’ “Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World.” At midnight, Brooklyn’s The Men hit the stage. I was a big fan of last year’s Open Your Heart, but I was a little disappointed by the classic-rock sounds of this year’s New Moon. They began the set with a southern-rock sounding jam, then transitioned to an hour of non-stop noise, and I mean noise in the best way possible. The energy in the venue was amazing, and the band never stopped or slowed down (Someone in the crown even yelled out “No more slow songs!” during the set, and the band complied).
On Saturday night, I went to see Italians Do It Better labelmates Chromatics and Glass Candy. The line outside the Wonder stretch around the block, and I don’t think that most of those people made it into the venue. Chromatics played an amazing set, and I wish I could remember more details, but I was having a really good time. They played all the key songs from Night Drive and Kill for Love, closing the set with their covers of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” and Neil Young’s “Into the Black.” They even surprised the crowd with an encore, even though Glass Candy were headlining that night. Ruth Radelet serenaded the crowd with a version of “Blue Moon,” then they played a couple more songs before thaking their leave, and allowing Johnny Jewel to get some rest before hitting the stage again with Glass Candy. On this night, Ida No was dressed like she was in a J-Pop group, and about halfway through the high energy set, she brought out a couple backup dancers. Ida also shared the story of how she and Johnny met at the Burnside Fred Meyer, and then gave a shoutout to a group of their former co-workers who were in the audience. By the end of the night, people were dancing on the stage, Ida and her dancers were crowdsurfing (one of the dancers was dropped, but she was okay!), and the band was covering a Geto Boys song. When they closed the set with “Warm in the Winter,” the crowd had entered a state of euphoria that I haven’t seen at many Portland shows.