musicfest, northwest!: day one

It’s incredibly beautiful and sunny out in Portland today, as it has been the last couple of days, and the weather couldn’t be better for MFNW. First, I am very grateful to Paul and Missy from /orate for being kind enough to get me into the whole festival in the first place, being a poor, recently-transported son of a bitch. This was technically my third time ever meeting anyone from the internet, though the first time doesn’t count cause she lived in Boise too. These kinds of meetings always start off weird, but Paul and Missy are very cool and not crazy or weird at all. I think that stigma of internet people being strange and/or socially inept is starting to wane, as it should, since everyone uses the internet these days, and we can’t all be socially inept, right?
Wednesday night was pretty low-key, being the start of the fest and all. After getting a quick bite and wandering around town, doing typical touristy things (Powells, of course), we descended upon Berbati’s (“descended upon” is a literary critic way of describing getting somewhere. never will they say “we walked to Berbati’s”, instead they will say, “we found ourselves in the midst of Berbati’s” or “after dinner we slowly hovered on the wings of angels to Berbati’s,” etc) and waited for the bands to play.

Okay, the bands.

First were The 1900s, who are from Chicago. They were an excellent start off to the night, a good, jangly three-minute pop band with seven members stuffed onto the relatively small stage. They have two female vocalists (i’ll get to them in a second) and one male vocalist who plays guitar and everyone did their job very well. Their sound was tight and crisp and I found myself bobbing my head to most of their song (hipsters, as you well know, are not allowed to dance, with the sole exception of “that girl”, who dances like a maniac by herself in a small circle of room she carves out with wildly flailing arms whose movements are dictated by the amount of ecstacy she has ingested prior to the show).

We were standing beside and slightly behind the stage, which was great because it meant not getting the full blast of the speakers, and also because I could stare at Jeanine O’Toole’s ass all during the set. The 1900s are a seven-piece band (though there’s another girl in the picture I’ve posted … the one on the far left, I don’t know who she is), and three of them are women. Jeanine (girl at the top of that picture) was wearing a halter top and high-rise jeans, a throwback to the 60s, and she was hot. And totally into the music, which is also hot. Anyway, my point is, Jeanine, if you ever read this blog, I think it would be great if we got married. That’s all. Simple ceremony, maybe in my backyard, some friends, cheap beers, that sort of thing. Think about it.

Did Missy get a setlist? Yes.

The second band was Norfolk & Western, which I’ve never been a huge fan of but they pulled off a great set last night. Some of you might know that N&W’s drummer, Rachel (right of the guy in the middle, Adam), used to be the drummer for the Decemberists, but her boyfriend is in Norfolk, so obviously she chose them over the D’s, which is fine. I didn’t like them before because their songs were kind of slow and I just didn’t get into it, but last night they were a little more upbeat, a little more rocking, and Rachel kicked the shit out of those drums. Seriously, I saw shit flying right out of the bass drum, hitting the audience and making them cry out in disgust. She later apologized.

N&W was a four piece last night, with the bassist and keyboardist switching roles almost every other song. Sometimes one would play guitar, too. It was pretty cool, each guy utilizing his own experience with each instrument for each song. Overall, they won me over with a strong setlist.

Did Missy get a setlist? Yes.

We unfortunately had to miss the Old 97s because we had to catch the MAX back home, so our last show of the night was Langhorne Slim. Now, I had never heard of this band before in my life, which just goes to show how un-cool and un-hipster I am (I think I was the only person in the entire room wearing shorts — it was hot that day! I am a warm person!), and Paul was super excited to see him, and I was thinking, “Oh boy, this is going to be one of those soft folk picker types, and I’ll have to sit through five minute songs about the plight of the narwhal.”

Further from the truth.

The bass player, Paul, looked like a frat boy yet played an upright bass, the drummer, Malachi, was approximately 98% too cool for school, and the lead singer, Sean, wore a golfer cap and slightly nautical looking pants, and the crowd went wild, and they started playing and it was like a more Americana Flogging Molly, and it was awesome. Langhorne Slim is a lot more diverse, musically, than Flogging Molly, which made it a whole lot nicer. The energy was 110%, loud and raucous, each song two minutes or so, except for a couple of songs stretched or medley’d together. There wasn’t one dull moment in the entire show. Their set was short (they even had to play an extra song at the end) but it was intense and amazing. I’m glad I saw them.

Did Missy get a setlist? No, cause they didn’t have one.

Overall, day one was a success, a lot of fun, and especially good to hang out with people who were very cool and tons of fun. This weekend should be a blast.

By Josh

I'm the guy who owns this site, ya dummy.

4 replies on “musicfest, northwest!: day one”

fantastic portrayal of the evening Josh. I think the only thing you left out was the garlic-in-the-eye incident.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *