In my last post I had alluded to a forthcoming post detailing my experiences at MusicFest NW. While I would have liked to get this post up sooner, time and energy have not been on my side this past week. In fact, it's even an understatement to say that my experience at Music Fest was a whirlwind. After spending hours strategizing about which bands to see, planning travel time between the venues and speculating the average waiting times for specific acts, I was finally ready to brave the streets of Portland for a fun-filled week of musical adventures. Nevertheless, I restlessly tossed and turned the night prior to Music Fest, leaving me to start out the first night of Music Fest with much less energy than I had planned. I wasn't going to let this stop me though. There was music to see, and even if I was starting out with an energy deficit, I was bound and determined to make the best of it. Armed with only my wits, and my handy Music Fest NW 2013 app, I was ready to hit the streets and see some stellar live music.
Starting out the night with Summer Cannibals seemed to be the best plan as I was digging the songs that they had posted on their bandcamp page. After catching a power nap after work, I cleaned up and frantically dashed out the door just in time to catch the beginning of their set at Dante's. I had planned to meet a friend at Dante's, and he was already there standing by the mixing board in the back of the venue. We moved closer to the front so we could get a better look at the band, but since I wasn't able to get a decent picture with my iPhone I have borrowed this one from the Portland Mercury blog. The Summer Cannibals set was largely filled with punchy, melodic songs that were reminiscent of the Breeders or Throwing Muses. They were clearly happy to be performing, and because of this they delivered a high-energy set with pounding drums and angular guitar riffing that went over exceptionally well with the audience. Considering that they are a local band, I will definitely be checking them out again.
As I stated in my last post, I wasn't really into Black Bananas so I was planning on going to the Roseland to check out Joey Bada$$. My friend was up for checking out Joey too, so we eagerly headed to the Roseland as we chatted about his recent experience seeing El-P and Killer Mike at a festival in Louisville, KY. With my night starting out this well, I was pumped for what the rest of the evening had in store
After having two high-profile mix tapes released in the past couple years, it's no surprise that Joey Bada$$ is practically becoming a household name. Last year's 1999 resonated with me more primarily because I like the old-school soul and funk samples that were used on the record, but there are still a handful of stellar tracks on his recently released mix tape Summer Knights. Since the sound at the Roseland is often not ideal for hip-hop shows, I didn't have very high expectations for this show. Thankfully, Joey delivered an inspired and thoughtful set of 90's era hip-hop that had no problem with keeping the crowd moving. I was able to tell that he is a talented lyricist, but unfortunately his vocals were buried under the wall-rattling bass as it bounced of the cavernous walls of the venue. Since we were standing at the back of the venue I wasn't able to get a great picture, thus I am posting this one that was posted on the Portland Mercury blog. I would love to see Joey at the Aladdin or Doug Fir Lounge because the Roseland always seems to have the sound mixed at hip-hop shows so that the vocals are practically unintelligible. Despite this, I would highly recommend seeing him the next time he comes through your town.
Due to the encouragement of my friend combined with having an uplifting experience at the Joey Bada$$ show, I decided to check out the power-pop quartet Redd Kross at Dante's. We got there in plenty of time to get a drink, and head to the front of the stage. I'll admit that my exposure to Redd Kross's music was minimal up to this point, but I liked the couple songs that I had heard. My friend was more into them, and he described their sound to me as a mix of 70's glam and punk as opposed to the "power-pop" description that they were mostly associated with throughout the 90's. For tonight's show, the band put on an impressive set of melodic classic rock, glam and aggressive punk featuring all the classic rock-star moves like perfectly choreographed leg kicks and lunges, microphone tossing and switching off on vocals between the various band members. As you can see from this picture posted on the Portland Mercury blog, this was clearly a band that had nothing to prove because they had done it all, and lived to tell about it. Seeing this show was a fantastic way to cap off my first night of Music Fest 2013.
I will try to post the rest of my recaps as time permits, but I hope that you have enjoyed this first installment. If any of you went to MusicFest NW this year, I would love to hear what your experience was like.