Tag Archives: MusicFest NorthWest

LIVE REVIEW: Guided By Voices, Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR

This review is part of a series on MusicFest Northwest Presents: Project Pabst. This includes Digable Planets and both Day One and Day Two of the main festival.

Guided By Voices // Photo Credit: Hollister Dixon

Guided By Voices // Photo Credit: Hollister Dixon

By Hollister Dixon

I started 2014 as a passive fan of Guided By Voices. I’d heard Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes just like the next guy, but they never connected with me in the way they did with some people. I was never into lo-fi recordings, finding them hard to really connect with when you have to wade through muddy production just to hear the good stuff. Then, in June, I discovered the secret: I actually saw Guided By Voices. This show was – and there’s no way around the word – transformative. I walked away from that performance ravenous for everything Robert Pollard had ever done. I obsessed over their music. I alienated people around me with this obsession. In August, just two weeks before getting to end my Summer Of Pollard with another Guided By Voices show, I branded myself with the GBV rune and the word “Incurable”, from the song “I Am A Scientist” (“I am a journalist, I write to you to show you: I am an incurable, and nothing else behaves like me.”)

One week after I got that tattoo, Guided By Voices announced that they were not only cancelling their entire tour, but breaking up entirely. “Guided By Voices has come to an end. With 4 years of great shows and six killer albums, it was a hell of a comeback run. The remaining shows in the next two months are unfortunately canceled.” Even as a new acolyte, it felt less like the band had broken up, and more like Bob Pollard had personally broken up with me. This was short-lived, though: in February, another reunion was announced – though it deviated entirely from the classic lineup entirely. Pollard recruited Bobby Bare Jr. (who opened for GBV at that first show, funnily enough), Kevin March, Nick Mitchell, and Mark Shue. In mid-July, the reunion added former guitarist Doug Gillard to flesh everything out. Sure, it was less a Guided By Voices reunion and more of a “Bob Pollard + Doug Gillard + a few hired guns” tour… but, any chance to hear GBV songs is worth it. Right?

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LIVE REVIEW: Digable Planets, Portland, OR

This review is part of a series on MusicFest Northwest Presents: Project Pabst. This includes Guided By Voices and both Day One and Day Two of the main festival.

By Hollister Dixon

While waiting for Digable Planets to start, my show companion (Colin McLaughlin) and I had a long discussion about truly underrated hip-hop albums. For me, the band’s Blowout Comb – their second and final record, released in 1994 – is a shoe-in for that Top 10. Blowout Comb sounded like it was from the future back in ’94, and listening to it now it’s striking how ahead of its time it still sounds. At times, it feels as though the trio – made up of Butterfly (Ismael Butler, later of Shabazz Palaces), Ladybug Mecca (Mary Ann Vieira), and Doodlebug (Craig Irving) – built a time machine with the sole purpose of seeing what soul and funk sounded like in the 3070’s and bringing those vibes back to the 90s. The band broke up shortly after, though they’ve reunited sporadically in the 20 years since.

There’s always a worry that any reunion is a lazy cash-grab, done “for the money”. Let’s set the record straight, before we go on: if Digable Planets are playing for us again “for the money”, it presents an entirely compelling case for capitalism.

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MFNW Presents Project Pabst (Night One): The Arya Imig Report

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Duran Duran // Photo Credit: Yousef Hatlani

This review is part of a series on MusicFest Northwest Presents: Project Pabst. This include Digable PlanetsGuided By Voices, and Day Two of the festival.

By Arya Imig

When one music festival merges with another, it’s easy to assume that some capitulation to acknowledging vulnerabilities has been made by one side or another. Regardless of the circumstances which led to the merger of MusicFest Northwest and Project Pabst, the results of the lineup and attendance prove that greatness recognizing greatness pays off. The elements that have made the festivals successful separately over the last few years, especially since MFNW moved to a single site day time model, were on display in stereo Saturday at Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

That said, the most valid criticism of the result of the merger is that it resulted in a deficit of all ages access to events of the festival. This is an issue worth acknowledging the importance of, and addressing with legitimate understanding of why it’s good for all parties involved. There are many valid legal reasons why the festival itself was unable to be all-ages due to the alcohol sponsorship involved being in conflict with the state’s convoluted and antiquated liquor control laws. There are many small ways to involve the next generation of music fans in enjoying the artistry of some of the icons who played this year. Future legend Vince Staples at the Doc Marten’s store is one thing, but let’s hope it’s a template that can be built on for next year. Other than this major caveat, with Sunday tickets and weekend passes sold out, it’s safe to say the festivals made a smart decision in joining forces.

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Episode 143: MusicFest Northwest 2015!

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Thanks to Matthew MacLean and Matt Manza for joining us this week! You can listen above, and download the episode right here.

Topic:

  • Matthew MacLean and Matt Manza discuss this year’s edition of MusicFest Northwest, including the booking process, the changes made this year, and what the fest’s future looks like.

Songs:

  • Dr. Dre – “Talking to My Diary”
  • Lady Lamb – “Billions of Eyes”
  • Talk in Tongues – “She Lives in My House”
  • Deerhunter – “Snakeskin”

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Episode 129: Unreleased!

Jose and Bob 246

A quick note: As you can hear from our disclaimer, this week’s episode was partially lost due to a malfunction with our recording device. We apologize for this! Please enjoy the discussion that was not lost!

Big thanks to Bob Ham for joining us this week! You can listen to the episode above, or download it right here.

Topic:

  • Unreleased albums
  • What defines an “unreleased” album? Does an album still fall under this category if it is eventually released?
  • What long-awaited albums are we still hopeful for?
  • What are some albums that were never created as planned, or were never released, that we want to hear the most?
  • Why is the idea of the unreleased album so appealing?

Songs:

  • HEALTH – “New Coke”
  • Beach Boys – “Vega-Tables”
  • Liturgy – “Quetzalcoatl”
  • Blur – “Lonesome Street”

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Episode 95: Always True

Thanks to Mo Troper for joining us this week! You can listen to the episode above, and download it right here!

Topic:

  • Elvis Costello!
  • Our introductions to his music
  • The importance of his work, and the impact he’s had on rock music
  • The versatility of Costello as an artist

Songs:

  • Saturday Night Live theme
  • Elvis Costello – “Radio, Radio”
  • Elvis Costello – “Uncomplicated”
  • Slint – “Breadcrumb Trail”
  • The Replacements – “Unsatisfied”

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MFNW ’14: The Jacob Gellman Report

By Jacob Gellman

It was a year of ends and beginnings for MusicFestNW. The festival was a capstone for Trevor Solomon, MFNW Executive Director since 2006, who moves to Boston in September to take over booking for the Boston Calling festival. Following a climactic double encore from headliner Spoon, VIP-section chants of “Trevor! … Trevor! … Trevor!” were audible over the noise of the exiting crowd.

It was also a trail blazing year, a transition from America’s third largest indoor music festival to a two-day, two-stage, outdoor waterfront festival. A far cry from 2010’s 200 band roster, this year’s lineup featured just 18 daytime performers, with nine nighttime shows scattered across Portland. The change in format disappointed some, but I went into the weekend with an open mind and an open heart. This is a new beast. So, how was the experience of the condensed festival?

Fucking awesome! Here’s why:

  • Easier transit. The old format truly required a car if you hoped to schlep around town with any sort of efficiency. This year, all the music was in one central location (save for the nighttime shows), so herds of festival goers had but a few hundred feet separating them from one performance and the next. Each intermission saw a mass exodus of the crowd from one end of the park to the other, a dusty stampede of sunglasses, paisley bro tanks, and high waisted jean shorts. “Just follow the mob.”
  • No more Sophie’s Choice. MFNWers have always romanticized the act of creating a personal schedule, but I honestly used to hate missing one band to see another, or leaving shows early to try to catch the next one.
  • Your friends are always in the same place as you. This is no exaggeration: about 80% of the times I texted Arya Imig to find out where he was, I looked up from my phone to see him straight ahead of me. In years past he might have been across town, or dead, or drunk and stranded in North Portland.
  • No more lines. Once you’re in you’re in, and all of your needs are met for the day (food, water, toilets, beer). Remember getting turned away from shows because you didn’t show up early enough to wait in line?
  • The mixing and sound quality was consistent. Levels were almost always right for every instrument, and noticeable adjustments were made by the soundboard operators during performances. One example: Wild Ones guitarist Nick Vicario’s vocals were inaudible at the start of their performance, but by the end his mic was on roughly equal levels with lead vocalist Danielle Sullivan. After years of enduring the inconsistency between venues (like the Wonder Ballroom’s sometimes-terrible mixing), it was a relief to hear all of the instruments in every band.
  • I consider the “corporate” aspect of festivals to be a necessary evil, but the food carts and sponsor tents did create a nice village-like atmosphere, with great perks to boot. The Kind Bar distributed free Kind bars and lemon-infused water, with a silent disco in the shade; the American Apparel bazar was hocking $2 bro tanks. Chevrolet offered free sunglasses to anyone that sold out their identity and personal information in a short survey. I gladly complied, entering my full name (“Andrew Wiggins”) and email (“qwcjf@f.com”) in exchange for some sweet eye-shielding shades. Two experiences I avoided: beer for $6 per 12 oz. cup, and the Camel tent, which sported a “Nicotine users welcome!” sign and appeared to be a desert cave made to entrap youngsters in a smoke-filled psychedelic haze of Camel brand products. But did I mention the food carts? Bunk Sandwiches, Grilled Cheese Grill, Bro Dogs, and Stumptown cold brews were my personal food and drink highlights.

But all of that aside, the music is why we go in the first place! This year’s lineup was heavily composed of returning bands: Spoon, Girl Talk, Phantogram, Future Islands, Man Man, Fucked Up, and The Antlers have all been here before. And the move makes sense – in a new format with unforeseeable variables, these were acts that MFNW organizers could trust. Many have also not been to Portland in years. Between songs Spoon singer Britt Daniel lamented that the band had not played in the Rose City since a Crystal Ballroom show at MFNW 2009, skipping Portland during their Transference tour despite the fact that he “was living here at the time.” More than anything, the lineup was timely: all of this year’s bands are touring new (and critically acclaimed) material from 2013 and 2014.

So without further ado, here is a review of some of the key performances from Saturday (as Faces On The Radio writer Jacob Heiteen has already reviewed Sunday’s acts):

Thundercat
Los Angeles-based Stephen Bruner is a veteran of the scene, most noted for his work with Suicidal Tendencies and
Flying Lotus. As Thundercat, he takes the stage at MFNW to promote his 2013 solo album Apocalypse, along with an organist and a drummer as supporting cast. While Bruner is more than capable as a vocalist, the focus is clearly his virtuosic technical ability on the bass.

Thundercat // Photo by Yousef Hatlani

Thundercat is truly a genre-defying act and should not be put into a box, but I will do so anyway. I would classify the sound thusly: the keys and drums follow pretty standard jazz structures, the singing R&B, and the bass percussive funk. As with any jazz fusion act, there is a heavy emphasis on instrumental interludes – Bruner solos high on the neck of his six-string electric bass, and attains tastefully diverse sounds using various pedals. The organ and drums feel unfortunately monochromatic.

The best moments of Thundercat, for me, are the singing, because of the melody. Bruner’s singing has a clean sound, and the lyrics are pure psychedelic brilliance: “Open your ears and your mind / You’d be surprised what you find / We’re only human.” But the melodic strengths are lost in minutes-long jazz breakdowns that don’t go anywhere. Jazz is supposed to display talent, but Thundercat felt lost between two worlds.

Gardens & Villa
I came to the festival knowing nothing about Gardens & Villa except that they were in good company on record label Secretly Canadian, home to Animal Collective, Major Lazer, The War On Drugs, Suuns, Yeasayer, et al. Even recognizing their gargantuan peers, I had zero expectations.

That said, I am thoroughly impressed by their tight and well-rehearsed performance. The music is packed with 80s-inspired synth dance hooks, led by a fantastic tenor vocalist and guitarist in Chris Lynch. Bass player Shane McKillop explores a wide range of roles, generally snaking around dancey embellishments and sometimes driving the melody. His slap bass on the final song is perfectly delivered. Live, Adam Rasmussen’s progressive synths fill out the bulk of the sonic space and distinguish one song from the next more than any other instrument.

The sign of great pop writers, each song truly stands on its own, with recognizable choruses and hooks, especially the flute lines by Lynch. When he first reveals the flute my kneejerk reaction is to roll my eyes and dismiss it as a gimmick, but his melodies fit perfectly into a genre that already uses flute-like noises in synth form. Whatever reverb or delay they apply to that flute, it blends perfectly with their cosmic sound.

And those outfits though. Lynch’s beret and Lennon-esque circular shades are certainly eccentric, but are outshone by Rasmussen’s bizarre trench coat, which he eventually disrobes to reveal a button-up shirt with the sleeves cut off. Lynch displays great crowd banter, frequently hailing “The Mighty Willamette!” and dedicating one song to “the declining salmon population.” Having recorded two albums with Richard Swift in Oregon, this Californian band clearly understands its audience and seems elated to be here. I, for one, was happy to have them.

Man Man
As MFNW costumes go, I would rate Man Man’s black shirts and blue and yellow tie dyed pants as second only to tUnE-yArDs’ neon make-up and wigs. Like Faces On The Radio writer Jacob Heiteen, I can appreciate a great costume! Man Man’s stage presence complements their theatrical and sometimes over-the-top music. Seeing their energetic performance, it is clear to me why singer Honus Honus paired so nicely with Nick Thorburn of Islands for their supergroup project Mister Heavenly.

The stage setup immediately jumped out at me, as drummer Pow Pow was displayed prominently in the front alongside Honus on keys. How I wish I could be a fly on the wall of Pow’s thoughts; his brain must be that of a chess player plotting twenty moves ahead, every DUGGA DUGGA of the drum crisp and perfectly timed. He was by far the most talented drummer at the festival, achieving unfathomably complex beats and fills.

Man Man // Photo by Yousef Hatlani

But while Man Man all have skill, talent, technique, and even stage presence, I just can’t get past the music’s lack of dynamics. Every song goes from loud, to louder, to loudest, to – well, you get the idea. It doesn’t matter if they add a trumpet or a shaker or a marimba here and there to be quirky, because every song felt unfortunately the same.

Future Islands
No Future Islands review is complete without a nod to the band’s viral performance on The Late Show with David Letterman in March, which was widely circulated in the blogosphere and has now garnered over 2 million views on YouTube. The appearance undoubtedly broadened their audience and showed the world what longtime Future Islands fans already knew: they are an absolutely sensational live performance. Given their newfound popularity, their presence at MFNW seemed like great timing, but few might realize that Executive Director Trevor Solomon actually booked the group before the Letterman appearance.

One of the things I love about Future Islands is the simple setup: one synth, one bass, one drum kit, and one singer filling the stage with his energy. Save for his long golden hair flowing in the breeze, bassist William Cashion barely moves from his place, and keyboard player Gerrit Welmers scarcely looks up at the crowd. Their presence is a constant, a true backing band for a true frontman in Samuel Herring – he is the unpredictable variable. His rubber legs bend and sway and shimmy across the stage, an unbelievable display of dancing not seen in any indie band of this generation. His vocals are also unpredictable; while the instrumentals sound flawlessly true to the studio albums, Herring is prone to deep screams, growls, and hums where they might not have been present in the recorded tracks.

One exception to the instrumentalists’ precise sound is in “Balance” from 2011’s On the Water, which actually sounds better in concert. Welmers has cranked the attack on his synth for this song, adding vigor to what was a melancholy track on the album. The live version feels like an all-out dance hit, whereas it never met its potential in the original recording.

For a band that prides itself on connecting to its audience, Future Islands stay true to their mission. Herring introduces the whole band several times, deferring to Cashion as “the funniest” of the band. There’s a humanizing quality when he speaks to the audience in his normal voice before slipping into that devastating growl, or that baritone swoon. He announces the title of every song before playing and describes the meaning, unlocking the secrets of the music for the audience. “We have to find darkness to find the light,” he explains as the band begins “Seasons (Waiting On You).” “If you know someone in a dark place, you can help them,” he pleads before “Light House.”

Perhaps the best moment of the performance is during “Walking Through That Door,” during which Herring withdraws an imaginary pen from his pocket to write in the air, thrashes around stage, and, tormented and expressive, kneels before the audience to clasp hands with the front row. It is an unbelievable and chilling performance from one of the hardest working bands at this year’s festival.

Setlist:

  1. “Back in the Tall Grass”
  2. “Sun in the Morning”
  3. “Walking Through That Door”
  4. “Balance”
  5. “Before the Bridge”
  6. “A Dream of You and Me”
  7. “The Fountain”
  8. “A Song for Our Grandfathers”
  9. “Light House”
  10. “Seasons (Waiting on You)”
  11. “Spirit”

Run the Jewels
I can never forget the timing of Run the Jewels’ eponymous 2013 debut, perfectly sandwiched between records by Kanye West and Jay-Z in a three week span. Killer Mike had a great shot at both of them in that album: “Your idols all are my rivals / I rival all of your idols.” He’s right.

El-P and Killer Mike perform their entire debut album in order, a short 32 minutes of material elongated by hilarious crowd interaction between songs. I love that they open with the first track from the album, also called Run the Jewels, because it’s their introductory song, an opener with style and swagger. Seeing the two spit lines on stage makes it clear just how talented these rappers are, on a level their studio album can’t convey on its own. Every line is perfect.

Run The Jewels // Photo by Yousef Hatlani

Disappointingly, their performance is sparsely attended compared to other acts. I wish more could bear witness to Killer Mike and El-P’s hysterical interaction with the crowd and with each other. “Mike’s mom put him on a diet,” El-P reveals. Their commentary usually relates to the upcoming songs – in advance of “36” Chain,” El-P advises the crowd to save money, go to the thrift store, and by an invisible 36” chain “so people can’t fuck with you.” Killer Mike introduces the DJ as their “Clyde Drexler DJ,” a nod to the Portland Trail Blazers’ 1990s Hall of Famer. “We are really, really, really really stoned,” admits El-P. Whatever they’re smoking, it either enhances their rap ability, or they’re so talented that nothing would hold them back anyway.

Setlist:

  1. “Run the Jewels”
  2. “Banana Clipper”
  3. “36” Chain”
  4. “DDFH”
  5. “Sea Legs”
  6. “Job Well Done”
  7. “No Come Down”
  8. “Get It”
  9. “Twin Hype Back”
  10. “A Christmas Fucking Miracle”

Phantogram
Phantogram receive an enthusiastic reception when they take the stage. “Hello Portland… we’re so content to be back, it’s always so nice,” begins vocalist Sarah Barthel. She’s dressed in tight leather pants, a gold chain, and a black shirt with the words “I’m a fucking nightmare” in tall, skinny white letters. “We like the new format [of MFNW]… you only get a few months of summer here so you always enjoy it,” she explains.

The band definitely has the most “festival-appropriate” sound of any of the day’s acts, but it might just be because the reverb on everything is cranked so high, and I don’t just mean the guitars – the vocals and drums both have that watery, washed out quality. It makes for a full and atmospheric sound, dreamlike. Unfortunately, the reverb is not enough to cover up guitarist Josh Carter’s average vocals.

“Mouthful of Diamonds” earns the biggest cheers from the audience, but it is actually an underwhelming rendition, as if the band is going through the motions. Maybe their greatest hit, Phantogram get it out of the way within the first four songs, which must be intentional. “When I’m Small,” the other single from their debut album Eyelid Movies, feels much more emotional.

But the band is here promoting its newest album, Voices, which peaked at #3 on Billboard’s Alternative chart. Unfortunately, I just can’t get into their newer material, and I’ve listened to it a lot. The live performance does nothing to rectify my indifference toward the new album. Phantogram may always be a band whose sound is promising, but whose songwriting rarely meets its potential.

Girl Talk
“WHAT’S UP POOOORTLAND!!!” Girl Talk is an incredibly popular act for some reason, and a great headliner. People love him. This is my third time witnessing his live performance, and I guess that I “get it.” He played twice at my university and invited students to come dance on stage; similarly, at MFNW, the stage is filled with people vibing to his mashups, though this time I don’t manage to catch where they come from – I’m leaving early to decompress before Com Truise.

But I do stay for a few songs, and I must admit to the awesomeness of his performances. The stage has two giant inflatable sneakers, just… just because. Toilet paper rolls attached to leaf blowers spray the crowd and are reloaded. Girl Talk’s mashups really are genius, though it saddens me to see him merely dance in front of a laptop. I can never help but wonder what he’s doing on there – is he just pressing play? He couldn’t be doing much live, because he spends most of his time dancing. Maybe I don’t “get it,” but he seems to have universal appeal to indie and Top 40 crowds. Whatever it is, people love it.

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MFNW ’14: The Jacob Heiteen Report

By Jacob Heiteen

SIDE NOTE: Unfortunately life and my job got in the way of me seeing as much of MusicFestNW as I’d like. I only was able to catch 70% of the Sunday lineup. I could mope about missing Future Islands or Girl Talk, but I would say that the bands I saw more than made up for their absence. Here is what I thought of the sets I saw:

WILD ONES:
The last time I got to see Portland-based synth-poppers was in a cramped basement of a house show, in the end of fall 2013. Since then they seem to be everywhere. This is obviously a band in the beginnings of a pivotal chapter of their career. Thankfully they made the house show to festival stage transition seem effortless. The crowed was eating out of their hands, dancing throughout the set, and cheering when the band pulled out their “From Portland” credentials.  The best part about seeing bands at this stage of their career is that they usually play with a tone of confidence, and Wild Ones was no exception. Can’t wait to see them play on an even bigger stage next time.

THE ANTLERS:
Look, I understand why The Antlers are so beloved. Sad bastard music will never stop being necessary, but for some reason I just can’t get on board the Antlers train. I had such a hard time standing in the heat, listening to drone-y song with horns and a crescendo, after drone-y song with horns and a crescendo. The set had its moments, like when they played some of their more forward moving songs, but it overall made me really bored. It just felt really out of place being sandwiched between the perky Wild Ones and the in-your-face-ness of Fucked Up (more on that later). Maybe I would have liked them more in a more intimate setting, but I feel like they just aren’t for me.

FUCKED UP:
Oh man did Fucked Up come in charging like a horde of rhinos! One drummer, one bass, three guitars, and one Leonidas-like frontman (Damian “Pink Eyes” Abraham) were all that was needed to amply pump things up. Pretty sure the only mosh pit of the fest was during Fucked Up and thank god I was right in their getting completely covered in dust. The band was super on point and somehow kept things together despite all the chaos Abraham was bringing out of people. I’m sure that this was the first hardcore show for some members of the audience and I’m glad it was this one, since it gave you a sense of what the genre is at its best. It felt like the band was there for us to let our anger out, which they returned with an attitude that made it seem like they wanted be there for us. Damian Abraham’s stage antics and banter (which ranged from the personal to the political) almost made me forget I was at a festival. I felt like I was in a small venue with the band ten feet away, which is what makes Fucked Up so special. There is no separation between us and Fucked Up, when they play we are all Fucked Up.

tUnE-yArDs:
I don’t get why all bands don’t come to show in costume? It adds so much, and even if they suck at least they are fun to look at. Thankfully tUnE-yArDs did not suck, not in the least. Their jittery brand of indie-pop went over so well with the MFNW and probably had more people dancing than any other band that day. They weren’t there to play a set, they were there to put on a show. Aside from colorful costumes, there were background singers and fucking choreography (a total weakness for me). And lets not forget the jams (of which there more than plenty), from new cuts like “Sink-O” to classics like “Bizness”. I’m pretty sure that Merrill Garbus, the band’s mastermind, is the only person who can take out a ukulele and not make me groan because it mean “Powa” is up next. After the set all I could think was how much tUnE-yArDs needed to have their own super ambitious, Sufjan Stevens-like stage show.

HAIM:
The way to describe Haim is “likeable”. Their music is likeable, their offstage personas are likeable, and their set was likeable, which was kind of the problem. They didn’t really bring out any side of themselves that I didn’t get from listening to their record, which I very much liked. While they totally had the right energy and jams the whole set just felt like standard festival fare. I guess what I’m getting at is that I had a much more fun time listening to Haim than I did seeing them live.

SPOON:
So, someone please tell me why Spoon is not as big as indie bands like Arcade Fire or The National? I’d be way more OK with Spoon having that status than either of the aforementioned. They have the better songs, they have better albums, and they have the better vibe. Spoon is the real deal and need to be recognized as such. I forgot how much I loved Spoon, a band that has been with me since freshman year of high school, and I’m very glad to be reminded of why I love them. Needless to say they put on an absolutely killer set, complete with two encores. They played everything, including my personal favorite “Black Like Me.” Spoon was a perfect choice for closing things out. I feel kind of lame saying that the finale headliner was my favorite set, but fuck it they were just so good. Total gold standard of their genre.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
I was very skeptical of the changes to MFNW. The smaller lineup and the new enclosed space made me nervous. However, I found myself really enjoying the fest this year. Yes, it has become more like all the other festivals in the country but it still stood out in a lot of ways. The fact that it was so small was refreshing and made the dreadful walk from stage to stage less of an ordeal, the non-overlapping set scheduling allowed for people to see every act on the roster if they so choose, and the nice view of the city skyline reminded everyone that, despite the changes, this is still a festival done Portland style.

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Episode 81: MusicFest Northwest 2014!

Many, many thanks to Trevor Solomon for joining us this week! You can listen above, or download the episode here.

Topic:

  • MusicFest Northwest 2014: What do we think of the lineup?
  • How did this year’s lineup come to be? Why did the format of the festival change?
  • What are some of the criticisms that have come out so far – and how much of the criticism is valid?
  • What bands were on the wish list for this year’s lineup?
  • What will the festival look like in person?

Songs:

  • March Fourth Marching Band – “Train Blazers Theme”
  • Spoon – “Plastic Mylar”
  • Future Islands – “Tin Man”
  • Stephen Stills – “4+20”

Bands:

  • Tokyo Police Club
  • Geographer
  • Franz Ferdinand
  • Richie Havens
  • Jay Reatard
  • Johnny Marr / The Smiths
  • Love & Caring
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • Grizzly Business
  • Levon’s Helmet
  • Keb’ Mo’
  • Johnny Clegg
  • Peter Gabriel
  • Paul Simon
  • Led Zepagain
  • Isaac Brock / Modest Mouse
  • Survival Knife
  • Thurston Moore / Sonic Youth
  • Your Rival
  • Peter Buck
  • Corin Tucker / Super-Earth
  • Scott McCaughey
  • Adam Brock 4
  • Britt Daniel / Spoon
  • Girl Talk
  • Pantogram
  • Run The Jewels
  • HAIM
  • Tune-Yards
  • Future Islands
  • Fucked Up
  • The Antlers
  • Man Man
  • Pink Mountaintops
  • Gardens & Villa
  • Thundercat
  • EMA
  • Shy Girls
  • Modern Kin
  • The Districts
  • Landlady
  • OutKast
  • Rocket From The Crypt
  • Reigning Sound
  • Sleep
  • Dillinger Four
  • Weed
  • Reviver
  • Deerhunter
  • Chvrches
  • The Head & The Heart
  • Neko Case
  • Mumford & Sons
  • Fugazi
  • The Replacements
  • Husker Du
  • Cat Power
  • The Hold Steady
  • White Denim
  • Lord Huron
  • The National
  • Animal Collective
  • Superchunk
  • Ty Segall
  • Bob Dylan
  • Sloths
  • U SCO
  • Desert of Hiatus
  • Michael Nesmith
  • Sarah Jarosz
  • Stephen Stills
  • Russian Circles
  • Witch Mountain
  • Gaytheist
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BEST OF 2013: Darren Hicks

Our good friend & collaborator Darren Hicks put together a list of his favorite (and least favorite) musical moments of 2013. Check ’em out below:Songs:
1. The Knife – A Tooth for An Eye
2. Vampire Weekend – Ya Hey
3. Little Green Cars – The Kitchen Floor
4. Disclosure – Latch
5. Arcade Fire – Here Comes the Night Time

Honorable mentions:
Chrome Sparks – Send the Pain On
Kanye West – Black Skinhead
Blood Orange – Chamakay
Chvrches – Lungs
James Blake – Life Round Here

Albums:
1. Typhoon – White Lighter
2. Little Green Cars – Absolute Zero
3. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
4. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
5. Chvrches – The Bones of What You Believe

Honorable mentions:
Kanye West – Yeezus
Disclosure – Settle
The Knife – Shaking the Habitual
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

Yo La Tengo – Fade

Shows:
1. Dan Deacon @ Pioneer Square
2. The Rest of MFNW
3. Phoenix @ Crystal Ballroom
4. Yo La Tengo @ Wonder Ballroom
5. Anamanaguchi @ Backspace

Disappointments:
Chris Owens – Lysandre
Lady Gaga – ARTPOP
Blurred Lines hype
Fall Out Boy – Save Rock & Roll
Justin Timberlake – 20/20 Experience Pt. 2

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