Tuesday, September 7, 2010

MusicFestNW Preview

On the eve of the most exciting musical occurrence in Portland, let's first discuss the logistics of the festival, which is common knowledge to many, but if you've never been, you don't know, so...

The most important point some don't realize until they stand in line for a couple hours is this; your wristband only guarantees no cover for a show. If that show is at capacity, it is one in, one out. This means you have to pray someone passes out, gets in a fight, or decides to leave early in order to get in the venue. If you have tons of time to kill, show up really early, and you should get in. Even the sold out shows will allow a couple hundred wrist band holders in.

The VIP pass guarantees entrance to every show, except the Wonder Ballroom Nike shows.

To enter the Wonder Ballroom Nike shows, you need either a regular wristband, or a free ticket from Jackpot Records the day of the show. This isn't really convenient if you have a job, neither is showing up two hours early to guarantee entrance. The Wonder Ballroom holds approximately 800 people, and since the show is free, you likely will not get in casually arriving 15 minutes before your favorite band plays.

With that said, these are the artists I would recommend.


Panda Bear: This is going to be the worst show you've seen all year. Personally, I love Animal Collective, and seeing Panda Bear live is already going to be the highlight of my MusicFestNW. The problem is, there are thousands who own a wristband, and will wait in line because it is the only show Wednesday night. This means many people who don't appreciate Panda Bear's music will infest the Crystal Ballroom. If you like Panda Bear, show up early, and try to get as close to the stage as possible, because if you are anywhere near the back, it will be a bar type atmosphere. Good luck hearing the music then. My advice to non fans, stay home.


Phantogram: One of the best albums of 2010, and one of the hottest females performing this year's festival. Live review here.
Ra Ra Riot: Playing after Phantogram, this band also has a couple extremely attractive females. The Wonder Ballroom is the place to be for the hotties Thursday afternoon.
Ted Leo & the Pharmacists
Mike Coykendall: A giant guitar player in stature, he plays with local hero M. Ward. He is also an extremely nice guy.
Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside: If you live in Portland, you owe it to yourself to check them out live. They are the next big thing. Take advantage of the low cost tickets and smaller crowds while you can.
The Thermals: Another extremely attractive female, and one of the most popular local acts.
Frank Turner
Major Lazor: For all of you EDM fans out there, Diplo is a big name in the electronic field, and he's friends with M.I.A. which means he is a terrible human being. It should still be fun though.
Baroness: One of the great things about this festival is the diversity in musical styles. If there's such thing as dream pop, I think Baroness classifies as dream metal.


Surfer Blood
Black Lips: Known for putting on some of the craziest live shows, including public urination, beer cans being thrown at the crowd and band, and much more debauchery.
Wampire: Whatever I say won't give these crazy fuckers justice.
Mimmicking Birds: Haunting mellow tunes. One of the best singer/songwriters coming out of Portland in the last couple years.
Wiz Khalifa: Another reason to love the diversity of MusicfestNW.
Okkervil River: Will Scheff is easily one of the top five songwriters creating music today. I dare you to listen to the song "Westfall" without falling in love, or wanting to kill someone.
Man Man
Tallest Man On Earth: One of the most recommended acts this weekend. Get there early, the venue only holds 400. Live review here.
The Gories: This is a huge deal in garage rock circles.
The Builders & the Butchers: Alaskan/Portland natives. I'm going to make up another term here, and call them Death/Folk. They are playing really late, so you can stumble into their show after everyone else is done playing. Live review here.


Decemberists: Hate them if you will, but Hazards of Love is one of the bests albums of 2009, and watching them perform the entire album live blew my mind.
Titus Andronicas: If you want some high energy moshing insanity, this is your show.
Menomena: They recently added a fourth member, which is making their shows infinitely better. Each of the three members plays multiple instruments, which is impossible to recreate live, so the fourth really helps. This would be my favorite local band, and one of my all-time favorites.
Portland Cello Project
Sleep (performing Holly Mountain)
Japandroid: Highly recommended. They fucking kill it live.
NoMeansNo: Who likes punk?
Shabazz Palaces: That dude from Digible Planets is making a new name for himself with lo-fi electronic beats, and repetitive lyrics. It's interesting and weird hip hop.


Helio Sequence:
The Walkmen: Not a popular opinion, but I'm looking forward to the Walkmen more than the National. If you are new to the band, check out the songs, "The Rat" and "In the New Year."
The National: Lead singer Matt Berninger has one of the best voices in music today.

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