Music Fest NW 2012 Recap

Once again, Portland welcomed the best indie music of the Pacific Northwest and beyond in Music Fest NW, and once again QRO was there, Thursday to Saturday, September 6th...
Music Fest NW 2012 Recap

Music Fest NW 2012 Recap

Once again, Portland welcomed the best indie music of the Pacific Northwest and beyond in Music Fest NW, and once again QRO was there, Thursday to Saturday, September 6th to 8th:

 

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6TH

Hawthorne Theatre – Shirak Agresta

On the first full day of Music Fest NW 2012, Shirak Agresta headed to Hawthorne Theater for Lightning Bolt, Quasi, and White Fang:

 

White Fang

White Fang

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Quasi

Quasi

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Lightning Bolt

Lightning Bolt

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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7TH

Pioneer Courthouse Square – Shirak Agresta

Menomena

Menomena

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Friday of Music Fest NW 2012 saw Pioneer Courthouse Square open up for the festival, and while Shirak Agresta couldn’t stick around for the day’s headliner Beirut, he did catch locals-made-good Menomena.

~

 

Crystal Ballroom – Shirak Agresta

Instead, Shirak Agresta headed to Crystal Ballroom for more Portland locals doing well for them, The Helio Sequence, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and Radiation City:

 

Radiation City

Radiation City

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Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

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The Helio Sequence

The Heilo Sequence

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Mississippi Studios – Ryan Carroll

Sarah GwenSarah Gwen

It was a shame that Sarah Gwen played to a nearly empty room, because a lot of people missed out.  Her hauntingly beautiful voice and the intricate melodies she fingered on her guitar made Ryan Carroll want to smile and cry all at the same time.  The harmonies that Scott Weedle borrowed from angels were like fingernails in my back, clutching me in their passionate grip.  At times she reminded of Sinead O’Connor at her sweetest or a young, innocent, female Kurt Cobain.  The lyrics were eerie and off-putting at times, even painful, but somehow the music was so sweet that you didn’t mind being sad.

 

Casey Neill & The Norway Rats

Casey Neill & The Norway Rats

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The house was packed by the time Casey Neill & The Norway Rats took the stage.  Neill’s songs aren’t immediately gripping, but he’s a storyteller and if you listen to the words, you won’t be disappointed.  He tells tales of love and adventure with both poetry and irony, including a song about the life of one of his heroes, Joe Strummer and a fun song about traveling around South America.  He calls his band a working band and includes members of The Minus 5, Eels, and The Decemberists.

 

Brown Bird

Brown Bird were the real deal.  The two-piece started off with Morgan Eve Swain on double bass while David Lamb sat down with his acoustic guitar and played the kick and high hat with his feet.  They went from trashcan blues to frenetic bluegrass as Swain worked the crowd into a frenzy switching from bass to cello and violin throughout a set that crescendoed to an epic finale.  The crowd came ready to dance and from the first few notes were moving to the grooves of old swamp folk tales and boot stomping blues.  Brown Bird age well.  After they open up they get more complex and finish well.  For being a two-piece they have a full-bodied sound, but are dynamic enough to bring it down to a whisper. The band definitely left the crowd wanting more.

~

 

 

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8TH

Pioneer Courthouse Square – Shirak Agresta

STRFKR

STRFKR

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Shirak Agresta again started his Music Fest NW day at Pioneer Courthouse Square with a local getting bigger, STRFKR – and again left before the headliner (Girl Talk) came on, for an evening showcase.

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Roseland Theater – Shirak Agresta

In the preview of Music Fest NW 2012, one showcase really stood out – Roseland Theater’s awesome line-up of alt-punk legends Dinosaur Jr., with related openers Sebadoh (Dinosaur bassist Lou Barlow’s band after singer/guitarist J Mascis kicked him out, which has had it’s own nice reunion), and J Mascis himself.  Shirak Agresta followed his editor’s advice and headed to Roseland for the awesomeness:

 

J Mascis

J Mascis

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Sebadoh

Sebadoh

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Dinosaur Jr.

Dinosaur Jr.

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Bunk Bar – Ryan Carroll

Mission Spotlight

Mission Spotlight

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Mission Spotlight play lonesome love songs that would be perfect for the opening theme music to an old western movie played over a desert landscape.  Kurt Foster’s evokes a nostalgic feeling of times past where crooners sang Moon River to smoke filled rooms.  Ryan Lynn’s lap steel guitar was the perfect breeze over the intricate licks that Fasil Debeb wove around the sparse rhythm section.  Mission Spotlight create big open spaces to showcase lullabies that would sound just as good around a campfire under the stars as they do electrified old time rock ‘n’ roll in the club.

 

My GoodnessMy Goodness

My Goodness reminded Ryan Carroll of a less melodic White Stripes with balls or a screaming Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.  They were a testosterone parade of swinging hair and dripping sweat, high energy whoops and hollers.  The Seattle duo riled up the crowd and worked them into a tizzy.  Beer was thrown and hearts were broken.  Joel Schneider sang with the gusto of a modern day Robert Plant while Ethan Jacobsen pummeled the skins.  My Goodness became the soundtrack to an alcohol fueled boogie riot on the dance floor and the people didn’t want them to stop.

~

photos: Shirak Agresta & Jessica Graham

 

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