(LEFT) Monotonix, photo by jeffwalls.com (CENTER) Dirty Three, photo by vivianjohnson.com (TOP RIGHT) Girl Talk (BOTTOM RIGHT) Damien Jurado, photos by Kyle Johnson


Wednesday, Sept. 16

9 pm @ Berbati's: Portland Cello Project and Damien Jurado get kudos for making the first Kanye West/Taylor Swift reference, though when Douglas Jenkins proclaimed, "No offense to Taylor Swift, but this is the best MFNW show ever!" I hear the woman behind me musing: "Oh, is Taylor Swift playing tonight? Cool, I wonder where." JB

10:14 pm @ Berbati's (via twitter): If this guy next to me doesn't stop yapping about the pizza he had for dinner while Jurado sings, I might go all LeGarrette Blount on his ass. MM

11:15 pm @ Berbati's: Will Sheff is right, it's a sweat lodge in here. I can taste the person next to me. He's playing a heartbroken rendition of "A Stone" and a piano-powered version of "For Real." Sounds morbid, but it's endearing to see him suffer. MS

Thursday, Sept. 17

10:30 am @ Doug Fir: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart take the stage for their KEXP session to a surprisingly hearty early-morning crowd. It either proves that these Brooklyn twee/noise-pop revivalists are draw enough for people to call in sick, or we really do have an unemployment problem here in Oregon. RR

6:55 pm @ Wonder Ballroom: Only in Portland does one struggle to find a parking spot for his bicycle. I'm three blocks from the entrance, where the members of Dr. Dog are sipping beer and not parking their bikes. If I sprint over, I'm a clingy, desperate fan. If I walk by casually, I'm playing it too cool. I'll jog. MS

11 pm @ Roseland: You ever been to Heldenplatz, in Vienna, in 1939, when Hitler rolled in to celebrate his annexation of Austria? This was like that, except it was more 1980s white populist rock mashed with hip-hop beats. I swear, if Girl Talk ever decides he hates somebody, they're all gonna die, because these people would do whatever he wants. Watch out. MK

11:38 PM @ Roseland: Taking a leak downstairs and the restroom is shaking. I swear the ceiling is going to cave in on me. A funneled sea of sweaty party kids from the booming Girl Talk show above is going to crumble in; a screaming pile of Day-Glo and bodies will crush me before I can leave this urinal. CJ

12:37 Am @ Berbati's Pan: " We're all going to fucking heaven!" shouts Warren Ellis. The Dirty Three frontman is one quotable Aussie. "We're Led Zeppelin without the lead singer," he explains, attempting to justify the Three's gratuitous violins. "This is a song about taking so much crystal meth that your brain feels like a shriveled-up testicle." AM

(TOP LEFT) Luck One, photo by Rodrigo Melgarejo (BOTTOM LEFT) Shaky Hands, photo by Eliza Sohn (RIGHT) Blind Pilot, photo by Nick Albertson

1 am in Chinatown, walking home: The hunger for corn-dog nuggets kicks in hardcore, and I know where to get them. But I don't like going to strip clubs by myself. Really wishing MFNW had a Magic Garden stage. CJ

Friday, Sept. 18

9:36 pm @ Satyricon: LAKE has got to be the most darling band Satyricon has ever hosted. It's all ponytails and bangs and Medieval Times singalongs. The crowd at the all-ages venue consists of a hundred 16-year-old kids and one 45-year-old guy with a headband. He seems to know them. AM

10:05 pm on bus to Crystal Ballroom: On the bus to Sunny Day and hoping they're running late also. Had to finish a bottle of wine before leaving or I might not cry on cue when they play "Pillars." DR

10:18 pm @ Jimmy Mak's: I'm surprised to realize there is a whole other side to Musicfest. It's refreshing to see a young Elvis Costello look-alike on the upright bass play with a mellow jazz ensemble on a night when everyone else is celebrating emo originators down the street. The room at Jimmy Mak's is packed for the Ben Darwish Trio's set. RR

10:27 pm @ Roseland: Pretty sure I just saw Monotonix singer Ami Shalev's nuts as he climbed up a column at the Roseland like the world's hairiest stripper on the world's thickest pole. Pretty sure I'm OK with that. MSR.

10:42 pm @ Crystal Ballroom (for Sunny Day REal estate): So, so relieved this isn't shite. They sound unbelievably good. Me so emo right now. Me wanna make out with everyone here. DR

10:50 @ Roseland (outside): A street musician is playing drums on a big array of buckets, where Monotonix just wrapped up a psychotic set. As he whacks the buckets, I am tempted to take a cue from Monotonix and gather a group of passersby to hoist him, still playing, into the air and crowd-surf him. Then I realize I have no idea where those buckets came from. APK

11 pm @ Roseland: Seriously, why was Bad Brains even onstage except to get paid? MK

11:23 pm @ Someday Lounge: No one in Boat can sing falsetto, but they all try really hard. And the weirdly excitable clean-cut dudes up front are not throwing confetti ironically. They love Boat and attend every one of the band's shows in Portland. CJ

11:30 pm on West Burnside: Apparently, the Burgerville Nomad cart is using prostitutes to coax in customers. Or strippers. It's hard to tell sometimes. MSR.

12:15 am @ Berbati's: " Is there a hair stylist here?" says Long Winters frontman John Roderick, pushing his thick, sweaty locks back from his thick, sweaty face. "I'm in definite need of a stylist right now. I've got that Justin-from-Menomena thing going on." KC

12:34 am @ Someday Lounge: Shaky Hands covering Dead Moon = Portland as FUCK! CJ

2 am @ BodyVox Studio (mfnw after party): Casey Jarman headbangs to the Thermals until his glasses fall off his face. Then he simply holds them and headbangs some more. MSR.

2:30 am @ BodyVox Studio (outside): Enrique Soriah, third-ranked Tuvan throat singer in the world, randomly busts out a fleeting, jaw-droppingly impressive half-minute of obscure freestyle harmonics while on a smoke break. It's a private demonstration, meant for an audience of one, and when he's finished, the woman he's been talking to spontaneously embraces him in sincere and stunned gratitude. MK

Saturday, Sept. 19

8:30 am @ home: Just realized I had a tuna sandwich last night at the after party. I realized this when I found pieces of a tuna sandwich in my vomit. APK 8:01 pm @ Someday Lounge: Stages are so 2008. Monotonix, the Mint Chicks and now Breakfast Mountain have all eschewed playing above us common folk in favor of getting down to our level—our level being the dirty, nasty-ass club floor. MSR

9:03 pm @ Jimmy Mak's: MC/poet Chaucer Barnes invites his wife onstage and says something about tonight being a personal journey. Then he begins his eloquent flow, shaking his long dreadlocks around as he sings while perched in a chair. But his wife isn't onstage to sing. She grabs a pair of scissors and begins to slowly cut off his long dreads. APK

10:34 pm @ Someday Lounge: Luck-One tells the crowd that, while he forgot his skinny jeans at home, he still had to get emo on us. CJ

11:55 pm @ Dante's: Eight years ago I saw Frank Black in an English field and he played shitloads of Pixies songs. Baby-faced bastard better do that again. DR

12:20 am @ Crystal Ballroom: Just when I begin to worry about Blind Pilot's stage presence, they play a picture-perfect cover of MGMT's "Kids." In fact, it's better than the original—rawer and armed with brass. MS

1:25 am @ Someday Lounge: Were there any doubt the Chicharones are the most fun hip-hop group in PDX, this show ought to seal the deal. My favorite Josh Martinez rap, from the Chicharones' "Little by Little": "Where's my welfare? Where's my health care? Where's my sandwich? Oh, there's my sandwich." CJ

Sunday, Sept. 20

7:10 pm @ Crystal Ballroom: If the folks standing in the two-block-long line outside the Crystal knew it was only half-full in here, a full-on class war would break out. As my friend said, "You white wristbands can just walk right on. Us coloreds have to wait." MSR

10:17 pm @ Crystal ballroom: Do most guys use large crowds as an excuse to brush up against boobs? 'Cause I've been flagrantly molested by specky guy for 10 minutes now. Modest Mouse, you're gonna have to play the show of your life to make this worth it. JB

11:19 pm @ Crystal ballroom: The best bits are when Isaac Brock chats away—explaining how he'll have to flood everywhere he wants to go with the tears of the vanquished, so he can ride in on a chariot pulled by a hundred speedboats. An angry man shouts, "Play some fucking music!" Brock: "You seriously think that's not going to happen? Like, this is the rest of the show? Shut the fuck up, dummy." JB

Midnight @ Crystal Ballroom: MFNW is over, and yet I still have my wristband on. After five days, it's part of my body now. Sort of like James Woods' stomach vagina in Videodrome. Long live the new flesh! MSR


Read more exhaustive, drunken day-by-day MusicfestNW coverage, plus see live performance photos and video