More PDX Pop Now! Photos, Videos, and Words (Updated w/ New Pics)
I know we've already devoted quite a bit of space to PDX Pop Now! on this little blog, but sometimes it's tough to really know what to say until you've had a few days to sit back and reflect. Few music festivals capture the spirit of a city and its community the way that PDX Pop does, and the best way I can describe the weekend is like one huge family reunion. No matter what time you go, you're guaranteed to see not only live music but tons of friends and musicians just hanging out—and the conversations and laughs are almost as important as which band is coming up next. On that note, we've got one final post (I swear!) from the LocalCut family, with more of Arya Imig's highlights, some amazing and weird photos from Ben Johnson, and a few videos I took with my digital camera—including the Shaky Hands' cover of Dead Moon's "Fire in the Western World," which turned out so well that it actually crashed my computer as I tried to import it from my camera to my hard drive. Yup, it's that hot. -MM
Photos by Ben Johnson and Nilina Mason-Campbell. Videos by Michael Mannheimer.
Arya Imig's Day 2 highlights:
You can already assume I enjoyed Deelay Ceelay and Strength's performances from Saturday as much as I predicted I would. Deelay Ceelay's set was a triumph. And Strength? Fuggedaboutit. It's like the song says, "Summer's here and the time is right/For dancin' in the streets." On a day packed to the gills with highlights, here's three more sets that stood out, all from artists I was eager to see for the first time.
When I arrived mid afternoon the festival was, believe it or not, ahead of schedule. What to do with the extra time? "Maybe we should have a group meditation," suggested PPN! board member Nick Johnson. Performing inside after louder sets from the bands who preceded him, Benoît Pioulard's compelling and dreamy set would have been the perfect soundtrack. "I got your group meditation set right here," I texted to Nick. "No doubt," he replied.
I don't see nearly as much hip-hop as I'd like to but the early evening set by Luck-One was among been the best hip-hop performances I've ever seen. Seriously. He's that good. Great flow, great tracks, great presence, great PDX pride. The whole package. And his EP Beautiful Music is real good too.
Do you remember where you were when you found out Dead Moon was breaking up? I do. It was December 7, 2006, and I was on the porch of a house in Northeast (go figure) waiting around for Ample Sample (Noah Jay-Bonn from Dirty Mittens' old band) to play when a friend got the call. I never got to see the legendary and hugely influential Dead Moon and it wasn't until Saturday night that I finally got to see Fred and Toody Cole's post Dead Moon project Pierced Arrows tear it up. Wow. Totally worth the wait.
Arya Imig's Day 3 recap:
Anybody got dibs on the tagline "3 days of peace and music"?
Here's five highlights from what might have been, from beginning to end, the best day of the weekend:
I never thought I'd say this, but I really enjoyed Guidance Counselor for probably the first time ever. The now three piece was, in my mind, three times better than this time last year and had a very solid, engaged crowd for their 1:20 pm slot. In a city with some pretty incredible drummers, GC's kitmaster Keil Corcoran (also of Starfucker) is among the best. Kinda reminded me of Wolf Parade who, oddly enough, are another band everybody else loved but who it took me awhile to get into.
While I've found it hard to like Guidance Counselor over the years, I've been a Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside fan since the second I heard them earlier this year. Most everybody, in fact, seems to instantly like this extraordinarily endearing group. I saw people walking away from the merch table with the group's EP halfway through the set and when they played at the NW Film Center's Top Down Film Festival's opening night earlier this month, they sold two CDs during their soundcheck. I ran into Autistic Youth/PRF drummer Seve Sheldon on his way out and even he, who had never heard of them before, had a mile wide grin.
It was so hot during Nurses' primetime indoor 9 pm set that sweat stuck to the ceiling and then dripped down, making the capacity crowd think maybe a pipe had broken or there was a leak. Nurses totally conquered.
Ever since first seeing them (October 14, 2005) I don't feel like I've ever seen a bad set by the Shaky Hands. I don't even know what one would look like. Basements, living rooms, radio stations, street fairs, record stores, high school patios, barns...the Shaky Hands bring it every single time. It kind of scares me. No seriously, can they be Best New Band again next year?
In the days and weeks (and months and years) to come, much ink (and a whole lotta pixels) will be spilled talking about the closing set of the festival by Menomena. People who weren't there might think everybody who was were just having a collective illusion. "It couldn't have been that great," the sour grapers will say. At times, it almost did feel surreal, like we were in some ridiculously awesome movie. However, I regret to inform the unlucky who didn't attend, that Menomena's 1 am set was very real indeed. And it was spectacular. The circumstances. The energy. The songs. It was literally so amazing that all the ink and pixels, while plenty justified, will hardly do it justice.
PDX Pop Now! made it happen. Thank you. What a great weekend. Always. Always. Always.
Ah Holly Fam'ly killin' "Loneliest City," the super jam from its forthcoming record Reservoir.