Thee Oh Sees (Dante’s, Friday, 11:30 pm)
The super-prolific San Francisco band combines punk-rock scuzz with classic ’60s pop melodies better than just about anyone these days. Also, frontman John Dwyer is crazy.
Big Freedia (Roseland, Thursday, 10 pm; Holocene, Saturday, 11:55 pm)
Who doesn’t want to see a transsexual rapper start the party by yelling “azz everywhere!”? Freedia is guaranteed to be MFNW’s best dance party, and you have the chance to see her—and a cavalcade of scantily clad backup dancers—twice.
Crooked Fingers (Mississippi Studios, Saturday, 11:55 pm)
Former Archers of Loaf frontman Eric Bachmann is still bringing the goods with his rootsy, whiskey-soaked outfit. Bonus: The Portland Cello Project joins Crooked Fingers for four songs! Gimme “Web in Front” with cellos, thank you.
White Hinterland (Holocene, Friday, 10:30 pm)
Don’t sleep on Casey Dienel’s slinky, minimal white-girl R&B. Go to Holocene, tell her you love her, and then scream when White Hinterland covers Justin Timberlake’s “My Love.”
The National (Pioneer Courthouse Square, Sunday, 7:30 pm)
Pioneer Square + indie rock’s answer to U2 + sunshine (fingers crossed!) + frontman Matt Berninger + a bottle of white wine that he drinks, turning him into a crazy person who roams the stage, yelling at his band and then jumping into the audience = pure summer bliss.