musicfest, northwest!: day three

Well, last night was marred by something that was bound to happen eventually: I got rejected from the Doug Fir Lounge for having an expired license. So day three of MFNW was a little choppy, and it was mostly my fault, so let me explain in more detail…

Paul’s friend Christina (a? Christine? I’m so bad with names. guh) was going to pick us up and drive us around so that we didn’t have to rely on the bus system, which was very very nice of her. When I wanted to leave the house, however, she had not gotten back to Paul, and so they were planning on taking the bus downtown and we would meet up with her there. So I took the bus to Paul’s house, and while I was on my way, they got in touch with Christina and she said she’d be there around five. Which made me glad I bought a two hour pass instead of an all day pass. She did in fact arrive around five, due to terrible traffic, and we were off to the Wonder Ballroom.

I don’t know when we got to the Wonder but due to awful parking and our relative lateness, we ended up not being able to see Britt Daniel. So that sucked. But I did eat a lot of free ice cream, which was pretty awesome, and I got some “Ice Cream Man” stickers for my guitar.

In the end we decided to skip Britt and Built to Spill and head up to Backspace, which had the Rainy States, who I had never heard of. They’re apparently a pretty new band from Portland. While seeming incredibly nervous (especially the lead singer … but it was cute), and even barring a broken string hastily restrung by the guitar player, they played a lovely set. I think the vocals could’ve been mixed a bit higher, cause I couldn’t hear them, but other than that I enjoyed them more than I was expecting! And that’s always a plus.

With their set over, we took the trip to the Doug Fir to see Laura Gibson. Okay, let me preface this by saying I understand that I ought to just get a new license instead of bitching about the logistics of having an expired license and getting into bars, and that there’s probably some insurance problems involved with bars having people with expired licenses in them, but it’s all ridiculous nonsense. All of it. We drove across the bridge, we found an excellent parking spot, we were all having a good time, and for some reason the moment I saw the Doug Fir come into view I knew we were going to have problems. And we did. Everyone else got in, and then the bouncer saw my ID and immediately said, cut and dry, “It’s expired.” And I said, “So I can’t come in?” and he shook his head. And everyone else was kind enough to come out with me and go back across the bridge to the Crystal and more awful parking, but in lieu of the fact that I need to get a new license, let me just bitch for a second.

The only thing that will allow you or deny you access to the seamy insides of a bar is your age. The only way to verify your age is with a valid ID, whether it be driver’s license, identification card, or passport. A driver’s license has your information on it, including your birthdate. Thus, it seems to me, the expiration date of said license has no bearing whatsoever on the validity of the license. A license is valid if it is a legally obtained license that has my proof of age on it. I could understand if it was a fake ID with a guy who vaguely looked like me whose name was Mohammad, but for Chrissakes, it has my face and my physical specifications on it! Does it being expired automatically revert me into a 20-year-old? That’s physically impossible.

Obviously I’m ranting about a lost cause, cause it depends on the bar, and the Doug Fir has a perfectly legal right to refuse to let me in, and I should just get off my ass and get a new ID, but still, the legalities of the whole thing, especially with the new Idaho IDs, which clearly differentiate between under 21 and over 21 (literally, the under 21 ID is vertical and the over 21 is horizontal) seem silly to me. You can’t change my age. It’s obvious that my ID isn’t fake. I guess I’m wearing glasses in my ID. And I have short hair. Aw hell, I’ll just get a new license. haha.

Anyhoo. We went to the Crystal Ballroom and had difficulty parking, but we found a nice spot, even if we had to pay for it, that was right next to the Crystal. We got in just in time to see Lackthereof play (oh, and by the way, Doug Fir, I got into the over 21 section of the Crystal. I didn’t even drink a beer. Not. One. Beer!).

It would be ironic of me to say that Lackthereof lacked something in their presentation, but it’s true. They had little stage presence and their songs were all pretty much similar. It’s a side project of Menomena’s drummer, Danny Seim. Or, technically, according to Wikipedia, Menomena was a side project of Lackthereof. Whatever. All I know is that the best part of their set were the songs that devolved into straight percussion. That was pretty awesome. But the rest of the songs were somewhat droll and repetitive.

After that was John Vanderslice, who was pretty boring. I don’t know what else to say, honestly. I’ve heard good things about him and even have three of his albums, which I don’t listen to, and live he had a little more energy than Lackthereof, but not much. We ended up going upstairs and sitting on the ground waiting for the set to end. While we were there, though, a cool thing happened: the door bouncer gave us all VIP passes! Woo! That meant we could go to the cramped little VIP section where the grownups could drink beer and be slightly closer to the stage. The Crystal is weird like that — the under 21 crowd can sidle right up to the stage if they wish, but the overagers have to be corralled as though their beer was acid or something.

After Vanderslice was Vampire Weekend, who were actually very good, considering their Yupster status (Yuppie Hipster — I made that word up). Their songs were carbon copies of the album equivalents, but they were still enjoyable. The kids loooooved them. I haven’t heard that much screaming since I walked into the women’s locker room last summer. I don’t blame them, I was naked. But I think the ladies love VW’s lead singer, cause he is quite the cutie. Who apparently looks like Fred Savage, as Missy said (I don’t see the resembalance).

I still don’t understand why hipsters love this band. They’re so anti-hipster it’s funny. They sing songs about going to prep school and studying and knowing your butler’s name and shit. Songs about Cape Cod. Oh well.

They did play
a new song that I thought was so much better than anything on their last album, which gives me hope for their new stuff. We’ll see if it’s any good.

We had to leave the show early to get to Berbati’s (NOTE TO THE DOUG FIR: I got into Berbati’s not once, not twice, but thrice! with no hassles. AND I DIDN’T EVEN DRINK! I mean, fuck, I even got an over 21 wristband at Backspace. What do I have to do, Doug Fir? Do a little monkey dance for you? Bake you a cake? What?) … what was I talking about?

Oh yeah! Laaaaanghorne Slim! We had to get to Berbati’s in time to see them. When we got there Alela Diane was finishing up her solo set. I felt kinda bad because people were being extremely loud (to the extent that one love-infused kid shouted “SHUT THE FUCK UP!” to the poeple at the bar, before he turned around and finished his free verse poem about his feelings that he intended to give to Alela after the show), but it was a bar, so what can you do? All those people were there to see Langhorne Slim, and Langhorne Slim is a rowdy band, and therefore those people were rowdy.

Langhorne’s second night was just as enjoyable as their first. I had a blast. Sean was wearing cowboy boots and pants cutoff at the knee. He looked like a six year old boy. It was great.

The last show came from the Builders and the Butchers, who Paul really wanted to see. They were exceptional, but it was also 1am and we were exhausted. So we had a dilemma, whether we should stay and see them all the way through, or retire early and go to sleep.

We decided to go to sleep. Don’t fret, Builders and Butchers, you were great, but after the energy of Langhorne Slim, we couldn’t keep up anymore.

So, despite my misfortune of having an expired license, the night ended well. Tonight is the last night of MFNW, and we’ll be at the Crystal for most of it (hopefully with VIP wristbands again). After that, I have to transition into the Real World and get a friggen job!

By Josh

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

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