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July 14th, 2004 WW MUSIC STAFF | Music Stories
 

PDX Popped!

New indie pop festival blasts local fans with that Portland sound.

     
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SCHICKY GNAROWITZ
IMAGE: STEPHEN VOSS
It didn't take long for PDX Pop Fest to turn into a love fest. A few hours into the three-day, all-local music festival, Viva Voce's Anita Robinson gave voice to the positive vibes in the middle of the band's wonderfully lush set. "This festival is great," she said on Friday to the 500 local-music fans at the Meow Meow. "We should do it again next year." We concur. Here were some of our favorite moments. (Mark Baumgarten)

The Punk Group: Parents ushered out the kids in droves during "Fat Girls on Bicycles." The knot of high-school punk-rock girls hissed and squirmed during the anthemic three minutes of "Sleater-Kinney Sucks." At the middle of it all was the Punk Group--a duo out to push some buttons while busting out impeccable choreography and bubble-gum punk from the vaults of 1983. (Richard Shirk)

Lackthereof: As the lanky barefooted drummer for Menomena, Danny Seim usually focuses his aggression into measured snare blasts. So when he strapped on a guitar and took the stage for the first-ever performance with his other project, Lackthereof, his ferocity on the guitar was a surprise. The spastic vocals are a little shaky, but with a few more performances under its belt, Lackthereof will come into focus. (MB)

Gravity & Henry: As youngsters hooted approval for Gravity & Henry's loop- and sequencer-aided rock, a frail shout was heard from the audience. "May I ask the name of the drummer?" demanded a paper-thin woman who looked to be in her 80s, directing her question toward Jarhid Brown. "Jarhid," the drummer replied with a confused grin. "Are you free next Sunday?" the grandma continued. "Because we've got a party down at the golf club that you should come to...." (Kelly Clarke)

Schicky Gnarowitz: From the back of the upstairs loft late Saturday afternoon the crowd looked as though they were involved in a choreographed rumble: revelers running in circles and the occasional crash of a body to the ground. No worries. No rumble. Just Schicky Gnarowitz providing the klezmer soundtrack to the biggest game of musical chairs in town. (MB)

Mirah: Mirah's sweet, lilting voice echoed about the space, hushing the capacity crowd, while a line of hopeful listeners waited down the stairs. The indie-pop singer-guitarist makes a sound that's hardly there and all the more powerful for it--one of the most compelling sets of the weekend. (Jenny Tatone)

Junior Private Detective: The goriest set saw JPD's Bo Fickel paint his guitar red with a bloody hand. Ignoring the injury, the band played on, goosing a sluggish midafternoon Saturday crowd with Rhodes-rockin', calculus-based pop tunes. Their complex sound proved, yes, you can dance with a slide rule. (Pat Wensink)

 
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