What more can we say? Who needs much of an intro when you've got 5,000 words on day 3 of MFNW, complete with Sunny Day Real Estate, Bad Brains, the LC showcase and drunken antics at the afterparty. Contributors include Mark Stock, Matthew Singer, Jenny Booth, Aaron Mesh, Kelly Clarke, AP Kryza, David Robinson, Devan Cook, Matthew Korfhage and Rebecca Raber. Michael and Casey both tweeted the night away, and those will be added later.
3:35 pm @ Work
Realizing now that determining who to see on tonight's bill is a bit like determining who on death row to pardon. The extensive thought and deliberation I put into my itinerary is the result of somebody's life on the line. Will Pink Mountaintops die via lethal injection if I choose Deer Tick? Will Viva Voce be alive to forgive me if I go another direction? I'm no court justice, I can't do it. I simply can't. Oh, to be cloned five times and witness them all. MARK STOCK.
6:15 pm @ Wonder Ballroom
Contrary to popular belief, the Wonder is not Standing Room Only at the very start of the free Arctic Monkeys show. I guess some folks actually do have work in this town (or, considering the band's main demographic, school). A popularly-held belief that does hold up here: opening bands blow. Who the fuck is the Like? It sounds like a band that'd be playing during a club scene on Gossip Girl. And its Isley Brothers cover somehow makes me want to shop at TJ Maxx. MATTHEW SINGER.
7:12 pm @ Wonder Ballroom
Why was it so hard to get in when this place is nowhere near full?? Arctic Monkeys had better appear soon – got a packed schedule tonight. JB
8:10 pm @ Wonder Ballroom
As it turns out, Arctic Monkeys are not the kind with the inflamed red asses—they're the ones with shoulder-length haircuts that dress like Kings of Leon. It's good to see a band come out the other end of the music industry hype machine and actually be better for it. Nice cover of Nick Cave's “Red Right Hand”—not as menacing, of course, but they made it their own. Alex Turner needs some charisma injections, though. On the other hand, he is British, so maybe he is just “charmingly disaffected.” MATTHEW SINGER.
8:45 pm @ Wonder Ballroom
Looks like I'm not gonna make it to Southern Belle. Arctics were good though, if only I wasn't stuck in a large section of crowd that would not move, at all, not one hop. But then again AM do tend to frustrate by never playing my favorite songs, no Fake Tales, no Secret Door, no Teddypicker. Fluorescent Adolescent was a super encore but finishing on 505 makes no sense to me. I knew there was a reason I get reluctant about seeing them. Some of the loud ferocious stuff is good, but it's all about light and shade guys. JB
9:12 pm @ Someday Lounge
A Great White-style fire at the Inside Voices show would kill four-fifths of the Willamette Week culture staff. AM
9:15 p.m. @ Someday Lounge
film editor Aaron Mesh has left the building, not because he doesn't enjoy Inside Voices, but so if Someday burns down in a freak fire, at least one member of the paper's Culture staff will survive to carry on the section. Expect a lot more movie coverage and stories about blazers with elbow patches. MATTHEW SINGER.
9:21 pm @ Berbati's
Why do Mississippi Studios have to be so far away? No way I'm making it over there, so investigating Say Hi. The super hirsute lead guy is engaging in very stilted banter about butterflies tasting with their feet. Hm. Not planning on sticking around, but now they've grown on me like a snug jumper, and this bouncy number is a lot of fun. JB
9:22 pm @ Rotture
Manny Reyes' unearthly howl tears through the crowd, forcing limbs to twitch and heads to roll, as Marius Libman (aka keytar champ Copy) thumps out a steady beat on the bass. It's not even 10 pm and the crowd's already sweaty from Atole's disco dance party onslaught—like we're all taking part in some indie Jazzercise class. Reyes just threw a water bottle and now we're soaked, too. “We're gonna change our name to ‘So Fuck You We're Starfucker,” Reyes shouts in to the mic, the reverb so heavy his joke is nearly unintelligible. “So tell Josh.” KC.
9:30 pm @ Ash Street Saloon
Ash Street is fairly empty…but 30 doesn't really seem like Ash Street. About 30 people are in the joint, making the room housing the stage appear about three times bigger than it is, while the neon beer signs give it an odd glow. The dancefloor is sparsely populated with a group of middle-aged barflies, and they're dancing along as the Dry County Crooks well-cultivated brand of urban hillbilly country rock. But something is missing. Ash Street looks like a rough-and-tumble roughneck bar right now, and rough-and-tumble roughneck bars need a special kind of bouncer who can greet action with action, whose zen-like approach to bar security is the stuff of legend. Ash Street makes me miss the Swayze. APK
9:36 pm @ Satyricon
LAKE has got to be the most darling band Satyricon has ever hosted. It's all pony tails 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 pm @ Roseland
Is anybody supposed to even bother pointing out anymore that Monotonix shows are fun? I mean, what: wild-ass hair, ironic mustaches, they get naked, they jump the crowd, they do sprints all the way down to the gangway. They signify, you know? Christ, they're not even a band anymore (certainly nothing you'd listen to at home)—they're an event, some kind of rock-based performance art spectacle where the crowd is the real show. So Roseland, despite its myriad faults, is almost the perfect venue for it: from far overhead in the drinking seats one views not the band, which was hidden in the crowd anyway, but rather the overexcited all-ages mob and whatever is set loose to surf atop their sea of hands: trash bins, kids, drums, Monotonix's precariously balanced fully upright standing singer (and this particular feat, the standing on top of people's hands, looked like it required a lot of messy practice.) And seriously, the dude set up a stool and drum literally on top of people's hands and heads and pounded away. He drummed badly, true, but who even cared? At one point, while the singer made sex noises over muddy guitar, the crowd in an unscripted moment passed a tight-shirted sixteen-year-old girl across the length of the floor and passed her over to the band as a crazily inappropriate and very nonvirginal sacrifice. The band called, the world repeated, and all was stupid, mindless frenzy. A Monotonix show is just rock and goddam roll boiled down to its absolute essence—stupid gesture, violent stupidity--and if you don't like it you're afraid of life and I probably don't trust you. MK.
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
10:08 pm @ on bus to Crystal Ballroom.
Still can't decide whether to go see Bad Brains afterwards. I know it'll be awful. But still-it's fucking Bad Brains! DR
10:10 p.m. @ Roseland
I've never heard Monotonix, but from what I gather about the legend of their live show, this isn't a band you actually listen to. True to the breathless stories I've been told about last year's performance, the three piece sets up on the floor of the Roseland, and the singer opens the set by crowd surfing. He proceeds to spend most of his time atop the crowd while his drummer and guitarist bash out some inconsequential riff-centric garage rock. Somebody finds a large plastic trash can and the audience tosses it around like a beach ball. At one point, the frontman climbs up a pole and pulls his tiny red shorts down, allowing a fan to use his ass as a bongo. Everyone is digging this mayhem, and it's fun to watch, but at the risk of sounding like a contrarian, the whole thing strikes me as gimmicky. If the band were ever not allowed to go the full-nine with it's in-the-crowd insanity, would anyone care about them? MATTHEW SINGER.
10:14 pm @ Satyricon
Everything's running late which is faintly reassuring. Reporter show up and goodness! Alberta Poon's guitar is bigger than she is, odd perspective going on there. Their crowd are the coolest young things and are raving away, good sign. Except for the guy next to me who is listening and rocking with his fingers in his ears, what does this mean? JB
10:14 pm @ entering Crystal Ballroom
Just saw a girl who looked like Heath Ledger's batman. Then a guy who traversed the sidewalk with one step. Walk in to the Crystal to find SDRE kicking into probably its best song, “Seven.” DR
10:15 pm @ Crystal Ballroom
Strangely familiar, Sunny Day Real Estate is the music of my youth, though I was barely too young to realize just how good it was. Nice to seem them crisp again, Jeremy Enigk droning wonderfully just as he did in 1995. What a band to drum for, there are more stalls and startups here than a trip through airport security. Icons playing before our very eyes. MARK STOCK.
10.17 pm @ Crystal Ballroom
HOLY SHIT I JUST WATCHED SDRE PLAY "SEVEN." WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING HERE?! DR
10:18 pm @ Jimmy Mak's
I'm totally surprised to realize that there is a whole other side to MusicFest. It's refreshing to see a young Elvis Costello lookalike 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, but judging from the plaid shirt and skinny jeans uniform that prevails (not to mention the amount of ambient talking during the quiet set), it's not full of usual jazz aficionados. Score one for people expanding their horizons. RR
10:25 pm @ Jimmy Mak's
It's not often you see a jazz trio playing in front of a set of turntables and Roland synths. I'm thinking we're in for a good (and eclectic) night. RR
10:27 pm @ The Roseland
Pretty sure I just saw Monotonix singer Ami Shalev's nuts as he climber 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. MATTHEW SINGER.
10.28 pm @ Crystal Ballroom
However many years later, the bald God-bothering Jeremy dude can still sing like a fucking motherfucker. DR
10:30 pm @ confused Portland streets
Completely lost on my way to Someday Lounge, have found a very exciting looking transvestite bar though, a limo just drove by with two guys sticking awkwardly out the top, and then a “mobile groovebomb” trundled past, these are good streets. JB
10:33 pm @ Crystal Ballroom
Another from Diary
then one off the Pink Album
. This is looking promising. DR
10:37 pm @ Someday Lounge
Made it for the end of Jared Mees & the Grown Children, who look like they're having a ball. Must catch their full set at some point. Their fans at the front dance in the most endearing fashion, it's a tie dye T-shirt crowd. Tallest Building in Hell is my fave. JB
10:42 pm @ Jimmy Mak's
Ben Darwish, the pianist and jazz combo frontman with one of the bounciest white-boy afros I've ever seen, is readying to play his final song and admonishes the crowd of obvious jazz club newbies, “We'd love it if you wanted to listen, but if not please don't talk because other people might want to listen.” Three jazzbos (the same three who applauded the last drum solo) clap, everyone else looks a little offended, but does, in fact, stop talking for most of the tune. RR
10:42 pm @ Crystal Ballroom
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 massive array of buckets outside the Roseland, where Monotonix just wrapped up a typically psychotic set. As he whacks the buckets, I am strongly tempted to take a cue from Monotonix and gather a group of passers-by 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
10:54 pm @ Crystal Ballroom
It's like I'm choosing the setlist. SDRE: best band or bestest band? How am I not writhing on the ground sobbing yet? I give it one more IPA. DR
10:55 pm @ West Burnside
Overheard outside Caberet, the 18-and-up strip club: “I'm not selling myself! It's amateur night. I don't have to take anything off unless I want to.” AM
11:00 pm @ Crystal Ballroom
New SDRE song sounded conspicuously Rising Tide
-ish. But it's OK, they've already done enough. I'm gonna fall apart. Don't dare play "Pillars." Or "In Circles." DR
11 pm @ Roseland
Seriously, why was Bad Brains even on the stage except to get paid? One got the feeling they were pissed off that they even had to take the stage. Sure, OK, fine, they played all the notes acceptably in a sequence, but for all the band seemed to care they might as well have been doing assembly-line factory work. Left after four songs to catch Mudhoney instead at Dante's, who were delayed by a party-crashing punk-by-numbers Zeroes set, which somehow sneaked unadvertised into the set. MK.
11:06 pm @ Jimmy Mak's
James Pants takes the stage—wearing sunglasses and a weird leather hat that obscures his face—for what should be a DJ set, but is actually more like an odd Andy Kaufman-esque comedy routine replete with moments of him karaoking to old records (first number of the night: Frankie Avalon's “Venus”) in front of a baffled crowd. RR
11:06 pm @ Crystal Ballroom
It's like I'm a puppet at the absolute whim of the bald religious guy. Make my heart dance at your will, Jeremy. Not gonna remember a moment of this. DR
11:10 pm @ Jimmy Maks
Very few records are actually being played during James Pants' 50-minute dj set, as he instead channels a bit of Tony Clifton for a comedy routine that has him performing a bumbling karaoke rendition of "Light My Fire." Once things start going sour with the audience, Pants' simply proclaims, "Thank you very much, Mayer Hawthorne is next, goodnight!" Then tries to exit stage right, only to find Jimmy Maks' does not have a stage exit. "I've just discovered this is not an exit, but a rather deceiving brick wall. Also, my manager informs me that I still have... 40 minutes left," he says with a sigh. The heckles outnumber the chuckles, but personally, I almost pee my pants from laughing so hard. Don't worry James, like Andy Kaufman, you're simply just ahead of your time. DC.
11:10 pm @ Someday Lounge
The red curtain is swept aside to reveal Boat, seven guys who look so happy and fun! I have a total crush. And it appears I'm not the only one, some seriously dedicated followers up front are throwing confetti in the air on the big numbers. What's the new “lately lately” one called? It's solely responsible for red wine being all down my clothes and not in my glass. Small price to pay. Their merch is awesome too, none of the bright blue lion T-shirts left though, criminal. JB
11:15 pm @ Jimmy Mak's
James Pants surveys the crowd of people politely seated in the jazz venue and realizes that “the 2 Live Crew Megamix that I had planned—this is probably not the best venue for that.” RR
11:17 pm @ Roseland
For the record, Bad Brains are one of my favorite bands of all-time—and the cover of its first album might be my favorite ever...which is why I just plunked down $25 for a shirt of it—but honestly, they're a group that should just exist in a certain place and time. Specifically, the '80s hardcore scene. Back then, there wasn't a fiercer live act on the planet. But now I'm watching H.R. sing “Attitude” with his hands in his pockets, and his elastic-voiced screams sound like yawns. I've seen the Brains twice in recent years, and H.R. always seemed to be transmitting from another planet, but here he looks totally disinterested. It's depressing, frankly. MATTHEW SINGER.
11:17 pm @ Crystal Ballroom
Sunny Day just played "In Circles" and I'm very relieved that I don't have a girlfriend right now. I would've invariably have proposed right there and then. DR
11:20 pm @ Backspace
Wow. Hats off to The Black Keys' Patrick Carney for signing these guys. What a set. The Knoxville band admitted that their main goal is to make us dance but they're doing more than that. We're all becoming diehard fans already. In fact, I'm already saying it in my head, as if forecasting their surefire path toward success: I saw them in front of thirty people in Portland at a small, sweaty club, before they were colossal. Infectious, interactive, engaging - Royal Bangs are all that and then some. MARK STOCK.
11:23 pm @ Jimmy Mak's
Still no real music yet from James Pants. You can sense the audience starting to turn as he announces that the rest of the show will be a “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style effort. He asks us if we'd rather see him have a karaoke battle with a member of the audience, dance to one of his own tunes, play a psychedelic mind-melding set or roll around in feces. And though the crowd chooses option B, and he begins to oblige with a set of '60s classics (including “Incense And Peppermint”), that only lasts for five minutes before he is back to his swaggering impersonation of an arrogant, clueless DJ who spends most of the rest of his set monologue-ing. RR
11:25 pm @ Berbati's Pan
It's a married-people shredding contest at the Viva Voce show. Anita Robinson is cruelly and unusually punishing her pink guitar. Just to keep up, Kevin Robinson grinds his axe on the speakers and smashes it in half on the stage. It's a ringer, brought to Berbati's for just such an occasion. AM
11:30 pm @ West Burnside
Can't take it. I'm walking to Doug Fir, hoping to catch a bit of Nurses set before Pink Mountaintops. Apparently, the Burgerville Nomad is using prostitutes to coax in customers. Or strippers. It's hard to tell sometimes. MATTHEW SINGER.
11:35 pm @ Berbati's
Ran into a friend who was trying to explain how she spent her night on Thursday rather than watch the bands, for which she had a wristband. They spent the whole evening smoking pot in a van parked out by Waterfront Park, she said, listening to all of the new Beatles remasters, and somewhere along the way she peed out the open door of the van. You just made the news, I told her. MK.
11:37 pm @ Crystal Ballroom
Maybe the second time ever—following Three Mile Pilot in July—that I've wished a band would play forever. Fuck. Fuck. FUCK. Fuck. DR
11:40 pm @ Jimmy Mak's
The crowd has started to boo. One guy yells, “Just do something
11:48 pm @ Jimmy Mak's
James Pants leaves the stage. “We made it!” he yells triumphantly when he notes that his set time is up. And a collective WTF is issued from the entire standing-room-only crowd. RR
12 am @ the east side, lost again
Successfully hailed a cab and then directed him to Rotture. When Chairlift are clearly playing Holocene in about five minutes. Shit. Going to half walk, half run and hope no one sees me. JB
12:05 am @ Jimmy Mak's
Mayer Hawthorne takes the stage and immediately the mood in the room changes. He announces that he doesn't stand “for this sitting down shit.” And by the end of the first song, the cheered-up crowd is standing and dancing, pushing all the way up to the stage. RR
12:07 am @ Holocene
Made it to Chairlift, and everyone is crowded around the back of the room when the front is half empty, need to get some osmosis going on. Why is the band playing in the dark? It's like a gloomy red twilight atmosphere, which is only serving to make me sleepier, as most of their songs lull and wash right over me. Naturally they save Bruises ‘til the end, kinda wish they played a few more dancey numbers in that vein. I also wish I was Caroline Polachek. JB
12:15 am @ Berbati's
“Is there a hair stylist here?” says the Long Winters' frontman John Roderick, pushing his thick, sweaty locks back from his thick, sweaty face and filling time while the Seattle band tunes up for another melodic sprawl of indie pop wonderful. “I'm in definite need of a stylist right now. I've got that Justin from Menomena thing going on.” KC.
12:15 am @ BodyVox Studio
Somehow all anybody seemed to do between 11 and midnight was try to score passes to the official MFNW afterparty, which was perplexingly held smack in the middle of the festival instead of, you know… after it. Following an intimate Thermals set to which, against standard industry protocol, people actually paid attention, the sponsored party was every sponsored party ever, anywhere: insanely ubiquitous security staff, mid-shelf drinks, incestuous chatter, silly black lights, and especially a global and inexplicably aggrieved entitlement. This party was theoretically a VIP thing already, or invite only in any case—that is, it was mostly media people, band people, people with money, friends of these—but nonetheless, tucked away in a corner of the cavernous hollows of the main room there was a hilariously tiny 10-foot by 10-foot VIP area, cordoned off and guarded by a large-ish, black-clad security professional, containing precisely two cheap-looking couches, a minibar, and about six ill-clad, nondescript people trying really hard to make it look like they were having a good time. Did you want to go anywhere else in the massive repurposed yoga complex? A-OK; have fun. But as for this little corner behind the velvet? Totally off limits to all but those with mysterious orange wristbands, whatever those were (no one knew, no one knows still, they might be imaginary). It was a performance piece, perhaps, we wondered, held over from the TBA fest—they'd brought their own velvet rope and a couch from the rec room at the YMCA, and then all sat on it together, proclaiming, “Only important people allowed.” In any case, one somehow felt a little sorry for the pack of them huddled in that tiny space, as one would for animals in a zoo, or for lepers in a quarantine colony. So why were they there? It's because if they left their huddled couch, then no one would even possibly suspect that they were in any way important to anything. And so, it worked a lot like a Chinese finger trap, or like an old-school raccoon trap—the raccoon can't fit its paw back out of the trap because too greedy to release the shiny object in its grasp, and so it sits there, voluntarily stuck with its arm in a hole, proud of its bauble, until eaten by dogs. Ah, well. MK.
12:20 am @ Jimmy Mak's
This bespectacled nerdy white boy in a sweater vest singing honest-to-god blue-eyed soul and his funky, suit-wearing backup band have the crowd in the palms of their hands. When he asks everyone to make an L with their hands and put it up in the air, over 70% of the crowd obliges. When he offers up rest-in-peace messages to J Dilla and DJ AM, everyone murmurs in agreement. And when the band covers ELO's “Mr. Blue Sky” (complete with use of vocoder), it seems like the entire crowd is singing along. RR
12:20 a.m. @ Doug Fir
Missed Nurses, but it doesn't matter, as Pink Mountaintops is delivering my favorite set of the weekend so far. Stephen McBean is a dude who truly understands what it means to be “psychedelic.” And no, it doesn't involve dressing like Devendra Banhart. Although I wouldn't think it'd involve having a bassist who looks like a guy who'd go fishing with my dad, either. A groovy, head-tripping show, man. MATTHEW SINGER.
12:30 am @ Doug Fir
The guy next to me is being escorted out as Pink Mountaintops perform another bluesy serenade. The band is overstaffed, some looking for things to do on stage, but overall they're strong and resemble a cross between Wilco and a Mark Lanegan project. They're very classic rock, the sound of the dying days of summer. But based on the herd of salivating followers damed by the Doug Fir staff at the top of the stairs, I expected a little more. MARK STOCK.
12:33 am @ Satyricon
The Japanther show is a jolly wreck. The Pratt punks thrash and scream over their own tapes; the drums are amped so loud they literally blow my clothes back. (It's a loose-fitting shirt, but still.) “All you wild babies in the crowd tonight, give yourselves a hand,” says Casio player Matt Reilly. He then hands out T-shirts, but only to professed weed smokers. AM
1:05 am @ Someday Lounge.
Just mistakenly walked into the ladies bathroom at Someday and somehow struck up a riveting conversation with a lovely young lady. Then remembered I was in the ladies bathroom and ran out. DR
1:28 am @ outside after-party
That dog looks like R. Kelly and I'm totally gonna get pissed on tonight. DR
1:30 am @ Bodyvox
I know I should be stoked on the awesome Bunk sandwiches and drinks named after performers at the festival (enjoying a Bad Brains, anyone?), but as a mega-nerdy Thermals superfan, I can't concentrate on anything else except waiting for my favorite band to take the stage at the MFNW afterparty. This will be the 12th time I've seen them perform this year. I'm not sure if I should be proud or ashamed of that. RR
2 am @ Bodyvox
I still contend the new Thermals album sounds like Better Than Ezra, but they sound pretty fucking good at this super-secret after party in Northwest. Everyone is here, and whiskey is flowing freely (well, until about 2:30, when all that's left is vodka and Heineken). My favorite MFNW moment so far: Casey Jarman headbanging until his glasses fall of his face. Then he simply holds them and headbangs some more. And we have two more days of this? MATTHEW SINGER.
2:10 am @ Bodyvox
Thermals cover Sonic Youth's “100%,” and I can officially die happy now. RR
2:10 am @ MWNW Afterparty
The Thermals' tight, thwacking pop punk is filling every corner of this dance studio turned rock venue, the crowd bobbing in time to the beat in a tight, sweaty horseshoe around the band. There's a maniac in a black Channing Frye t-shirt directly in front of me bouncing and flailing so hard to Hutch Harris' sharp shouts that he nearly invades the band's force field. His name is Casey Jarman. KC.
2:30 am @ BodyVox Studio
Best MFNW-related performance of the night, hands down: Enrique Soriah, 3rd-ranked Tuvan throat singer in the world, randomly busting out a fleeting, lyrical, jaw-droppingly impressive half-minute of obscure freestyle harmonics while hanging outside on a smoke break. It was a private demonstration, meant for an audience of one, and when he was finished the woman he'd been talking to spontaneously embraced him in sincere and stunned gratitude. MK.
2:40 am @ Bodyvox
Drenched in sweat after dancing up a storm at the Thermals show, I am officially not fit for public viewing anymore. Time to go home and take the world's most deserved shower. But not before grabbing one of those Bunk sandwiches. Yummy. RR
3:28 am @ BodyVox
Everyone is disastrously trashed. AM [Editor's note: It is possible, in retrospect, that this reporter was projecting somewhat.
3:31 am @ after-party
Currently hanging out with Michael Mannheimer and very, very happy. Just for the record. [Editor's note: We were all very, very happy.] DR
4:30 am @ BodyVox Studio
Are you still here? Seriously? Your face is bloated and you don't walk right. MK.
4:43 am @ taxi between after-party and after-after-party
The best thing about this night is that it absolutely refuses to end. DR
Thermals photo by Bobby McHugh