Planning, for me anyway, is a task committed in vain. Take this weekend's MusicfestNW. A complicated maze, the festival will feature 200 bands playing at 20-plus clubs from Thursday to Saturday. Add in the Sound Unseen Film Festival-a new feature of the fest this year-and the whole thing is pretty daunting. Add to that the fact that there's a hell of a lot of good music to be heard, and the nausea kicks in. And if you're someone who is thrown off path by a look from a beautiful woman, well, then you're really screwed.

Despite all this, I will not throw out my highlighter. I will, once again, attempt to predict my MusicfestNW weekend. This year, though, I will attempt to actually give myself time to get from place to place. Join me.


7 pm, Live Wire! at the Aladdin Theater

This one is easy, since I will be a guest on the special MusicfestNW edition of Live Wire!, the quirky OPB radio show that will feature Helio Sequence and Modernstate.

9 pm, Heroes and Villains at the Doug Fir

I will miss Quiet Countries' 8 pm set at Doug Fir because of an extended conversation with Pete Krebs about man's inhumanity toward fellow man, or something like that. But I will saunter into the Local Cut Showcase in time to see the powerful parlor pop delivered by Heroes and Villains. They will play a rag, and I will dance.

11 pm, Colin Meloy at the Crystal Ballroom

I will show up for the last three songs of Robyn Hitchcock. Missing much of his set will make me sad, which is where the Decemberists' Colin Meloy will step in and tell me-with his music-that everything's OK. Kind of.

Midnight, Jean Grae at Berbati's Pan

I don't know what to expect, but I will be there. And then it's back to the Doug Fir for Portland General Electro's three-hour dance extravaganza.


7 pm, Malfunkshun at the Clinton Street

After missing both the documentary on Bernie Worrell at Cinema 21 and the one on Jeff Buckley at the Clinton Street Theater-because I can't decide which one I'd rather see-I'll make my way to this doc about Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone.

10 pm, Menomena at the Crystal Ballroom

Malfunkshun will make me cry. After recovering, I will catch the first three songs of Menomena. With Justin Harris' sax still buzzing in my ears, I'll take the free shuttle to the Doug Fir to catch the last couple songs of Point Juncture, WA, and then, the highlight of the evening, Viva Voce in 3-D. Hell yeah.

1 am, Kitchen Syncopators at White Eagle

In a risky move, I will miss Swords, Katastrophe and Quasi for the old-time scene at the White Eagle, where I will dance to that washtub bass. Then, to PGE.


9 pm-midnight, Sprinkler, Crackerbash, Pond and Hazel at the Crystal Ballroom; Lucky Madison Showcase at Lola's Room

Barring any seductress leading me elsewhere, I will inhabit this complex where Portland's past will be unfurled before me (see "Riff City," page 18) all night long, as Portland's musical future plays downstairs.

1 am, Sexton Blake at Mississippi Studios

If I can still see, I will hail a cab and make my way to North Mississippi Avenue, where I will listen to some of this city's most beautiful pop in one of its coziest venues. Then I will pass out. If you see me sleeping, please let me be.

Find a guide to MFNW, which is co-sponsored by


, at the venues or at .