Friday, September 10, 2010


Music Fest North West- Day 1

This being my first ever music festival I wasn't quite sure what to expect but 10 bands, 6 venues, 5.5 hours, 2 beers and 1 food cart later I had a good preview of what the rest of the weekend holds in store.

Started the night with a trip to Wonder Ballroom to check out Ra Ra Riot. The place was packed but it might have been my least favorite of the night. Though, I didn't know that then so I was happy enough.

We left after 2 songs and shot over to Mississippi Studios just in time to catch the last couple of songs with Henry Wagons, including a wild call and respond with the audience of "Willie Nelson!" and a song about "Jail" in which he's decided he's tired of get butt raped so he better shape up his attitude so he can get out of jail. Unfortunately we only caught the last couple of songs. I say unfortunately because I think I could have been happy spending several hours listening to him talk and sing. He made me think Flight of the Conchords meets Johnny Cash... but Australian.

Since the show was over pretty quickly we hopped in the car and headed to
the other side of the river to get in early on Ted Leo and the Pharmacists at the Crystal Ballroom.

We got there early enough to catch the last several songs by Seattle art-punk group Past Lives (the only band I didn't get a photo of). Now it's likely, if you've lived in PDX for any amount of time you've heard stories about how bouncy the floor is as the CB. This is no joke and if you get the chance to see a show here be sure to take about 6 steps onto the wooden floor in the ballroom with a friend and bounce each other around. It's apparently very amusing to do if your friend has big boobs....

Following TL&TP, also at the Crystal Ballroom, were local artists The Thermals with their CD release party show for "Personal Life".

From there we left a few songs early to try to catch Red Fang at Dante's but arrived to see a crowd spilling out of the doorway either for lack of room inside or perhaps just a smoke break. We parked the car just down from Berbati's and decided to wander inside to check out the catchy tunes drifting from their back door. I'm glad we did because we got to see some of Frank Turner's set which was pretty fantastic, high energy and fun especially for just one dude and his guitar.

Following Frank Turner we walked down the block to Ash Street Saloon to see what was going on there and found Garotas Suecas (swedish girls) a tropical garage rock funk band from Brazil who were a lot of fun but sadly we only caught their last 2 songs as well.

From there we wandered across the street for a quick bite at a new cart called Killa Dilla. A specialty quesadilla spot which is purported to have the best albacore tuna in PDX line caught fresh on the owner's dad's boat. We of course got the veggie dilla stuffed with finely shredded local cabbage from Sauvie's Island though I felt that I would have undoubtedly been more impressed with the tuna if I ate fish. (a couple carrying burritos walked up shortly after we ordered and were so excited that the dilla cart was opened they ordered the albacore dillas and decided to save their burritos for leftovers!)

We shoveled the quesadilla into our mouths passing back and forth as we walked up the street headed back to Diablo's to see Baroness, a metal band. Garrett really wanted to see them and kept assuring me that we could leave if I really didn't like it... Apparently I never mentioned that I'm actually quite a fan of good metal and let me tell you... these guys are melt your face off FABULOUS! The perfect mix of harmonies and ultra complex guitar riffs peppered with just a little bit of nightmare inducing scream-growling. Yeah. LOVED IT! Cyrus's text message to Garrett summed it up pretty well... "Hey, Aren't these guys a little beefy for you vegetarians?" No, Cyrus because I'm a full on musical carnivore! You should also check out the incredible Art Nouveau style artwork on their website and album covers which I've heard are created by the lead singer!

I really didn't want to leave but by this time of the night, we were bound and determined to hit 10 bands before the night's end so I left Dante's with a shit-eating grin on my face and we headed back to Berbati's to catch some of Justin Townes Earl but I was still on the metal train so JTE's music was too much of a switch for me to enjoy very much... Perhaps another time.

The last stop of the night was wandering back into Ash Street Saloon to see the Bellrays which were a must see for us as they were described as Blues/Soul Punk.... uh, huh? You wouldn't think it could work but it REEEALLY does! Garrett put it best when he said "it's like if Tina Turner had fronted a 70's punk band!"
All in all a great night and a great start to a fantastic weekend of music!


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