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September 4th, 2013 12:01 am WW MUSIC STAFF | Top 5

Top Five Must-See Acts at MusicfestNW

by Ryan White

music_top5_3944RYAN WHITE - Image courtesy of Ryan White
Ryan White is the former music editor of The Oregonian.

Titus Andronicus (9:30 pm Friday, Crystal Ballroom)
In an alternate reality, Portlandia stars New Jersey’s Titus Andronicus, and the show’s title is taken from the title of a song on the band’s last album, “Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape With the Flood of Detritus.” And every episode is a loud, sweaty, primal dance with fatalism.

Superchunk (10:30 pm Friday, Crystal Ballroom)

Because they put out a record called I Hate Music the same year the Replacements, who put out a song called “I Hate Music” in 1981, got back together. Because it’s Superchunk. And most of all, because seeing Superchunk means you get to watch Jon Wurster play drums.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra (11 pm Friday, Branx)
As evidenced by its Aladdin Theater show in April, Ruban Nielson’s onetime basement project is all grown up, and not just because he’s got a fog machine. Nielson and his band pack in festival-tested, big-stage chops. The prospect of that show in a smaller room is enticing.

Cody Chesnutt (Midnight Friday, Doug Fir Lounge)
Talking about “What Kind of Cool (Will We Think of Next),” from last year’s Landing on a Hundred, Chesnutt says, “We can sometimes become preoccupied with what’s cool and what’s trendy, and sometimes that can be a crutch.” Easy for him to say: He’s cool, and so is that record, packed full of horns, soul and strut.

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down (6:30 p.m. Saturday, Pioneer Courthouse Square)
After recording and touring with Mirah, Thao Nguyen is back with her band, and a record, We the Common, filled with thoughts on the concept of community. The title track was written for a prisoner Nguyen met as a volunteer for the California Coalition for Women Prisoners. If that sounds heavy, it is. But you can still dance to it. 


SEE IT: MusicfestNW continues through Sunday, Sept. 8. See musicfestnw.com for a complete schedule and ticket information. 

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