musicfest, northwest!: day two

Yesterday was, in some ways, more successful than Wednesday, as yesterday we got to see Del. And that’s the coolest thing ever. We lost Paul for most of the day because he was playing in a softball game, which meant it was just Missy and me. I had to be Primary Navigator, which is never, ever good. And since the Wonder Ballroom, our first location, was not downtown whatsoever, I was a little worried about how the hell we were going to get there. I have a terrible sense of direction, thanks to the almost non-existent bus system in Boise and the fact that downtown there is about four blocks total. Paul supplied us with directions and buses to take, though, and they were spot on, so thanks for that, Paul!

The Wonder was giving out free ice cream, which was bad ass. It also had this sectioned off VIP area with some cool hipster kids doing their thing (you know, looking generally apathetic). There was no line when we got there (around 5:30) so we walked in and the first band, No Age, was just beginning.

No Age is a two piece band, Randy on guitar and Dean on drums. Their songs would generally start like this: first, they would ask us if we were doing alright, a typical staple of most bands; then, they would make some horrendous noise with their guitar or drums or some kind of noise making device; after that, they would launch into an indiscernible song that was loud, punkish, and completely unlike the noise they were making earlier. The song would be two minutes long, then it would be abruptly over, and I would turn to Missy and say, “I wouldn’t be opposed it we got food right now.” No Age has gotten a lot of good press recently, but I think I’m too old to enjoy loud, annoying punk rock. I’ve got no particular angst right now, you know?

So we went to the Russell St Bar-B-Cue, which was recommended to us by Paul, and where we ate fried chicken that was approximately the size of my head. Seriously. I’ll have to make Missy send me the picture she took, but that thing was huge. And we got two sides and cornbread. Needless to say, we couldn’t finish it. There was an awkward point when Missy was outside smoking and the waiter came up to me and asked if I wanted boxes. I knew we didn’t need boxes, because we wouldn’t be able to take it into the Wonder, but for some reason my mouth said Yes, so we got boxes. We hauled our chicken into these boxes, paid, and promptly threw them away. I feel bad, but at the same time, that was too much chicken.

The line was forming for Battles, a pretty badass band of four dudes who were fed up with the typical musical structures and decided to make amazing songs with vocal samples and egregiously awesome drum beats and odd time signatures, etc etc etc. I like to call them a “futuristic tribal” band. Their percussion is so steady and repetitive that it sounds like something you’d hear in some African tribal dance, but the guitars and Tyondai’s weird vocal samples, where he would pitch shift his voice up an octave or two give it a distinctly futuristic, if not weird, feel.

So long story short, it was a loud, and awesome, set. I’ve never seen four men get so sweaty before (well, unless you count my old college days …). John Stanier, their drummer, receives special accolades for his amazing beat skills, his ability to change the time signature almost on a whim, and to start beats in what you would assume is the middle of the phrase. He looked exhausted as he played, but it was fantastic. Tyondai’s shirt started out white and ended up a dark beige as it became increasingly covered in sweat. Their songs were layered and amazing, and “Atlas” is as great live as it is on the album. All in all, I’m so glad I watched that set. I almost didn’t, but it was totally worth it.

After Battles Missy and I had a battle of our own: to try and make it back downtown. Once again, Paul had given us directions and proper buses, but in the end I fucked it up, as I am wont to do. It wasn’t terrible though, just a wrong stop on the bus, the need to take the MAX, and then some walking, at first in the wrong direction, then in the right. We had to get to the Roseland to see the Cool Kids and Del tha Funkee Homosapien!

First, though, we went to Berbati’s and listened to Love as Laughter. We weren’t feeling them that much, so we left at 9:30 for the walk to the Roseland, which is when I got a little lost and started walking south when I should’ve been walking north. We got there, though, and with plenty of time. There was a metal detector! I’ve never been to a show with a metal detector before. And a guy frisked me, and he felt my keys a little too sensually. So I gave him my number.

The Roseland is a great venue with a fairly large stage and a balcony where the 21+ kids go to sit and drink. My license is still expired, and they were scanning IDs at the lounge (probably to find felons or something), so I didn’t risk the balcony. Instead Missy and I went onto the floor and hung out.

Apparently the Roseland had been doing DJ and hip hop all night long. The Cool Kids came out when we got there. They were pretty good, nothing exceptional, but definitely fun and full of energy. The two guys have different pitched voices, which made their “harmonies” when they rapped together really cool. Their set was only about a half an hour long, which I thought was odd.

Afterward, some hype guy named Bookoo (or however he decided to spell it) came out and rapped a bit, and he was alright.

But then, then!, then Del tha Funkee Homosapien came out with A-Plus and the DJ whose name I cannot remember, and it was awesome. Del’s set included “Virus” from Deltron 3030 and “Mistadobolina” from his first album, AND “Clint Eastwood”, which I’m pretty sure featured new or different verses than the Gorillaz version. I’d bet that he brought out all the hits because the crowd was 3/4ths hipster white kids who only want to hear the hits, but I would’ve given my right arm to hear “Memory Loss” (my favorite Del track) or anything from Handsome Boy Modeling School. By the beginning of his set I smelt the familiar whiff of pot circulating through the room, and by the end of the set there were two opposing dance groups on each side of the floor. It was great. It was my first hip hop live show and I can’t wait to see more.

The second night of MFNW was a huge success, and tonight and tomorrow night are sure to be even bigger and better! I’ll keep you updated.

By Josh

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

Leave a Reply

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