This week's ILTBIHAS is rather brief. For more of Arya Imig's astute commentary, see the MFNW Diaries.
Tuesday, September 6
Charles Bradley @ OPB
Charles Bradley @ Music Millennium
Charles Bradley's soul-stirring shout-singing was so awe-inspiring and moving in the early afternoon that because I could see it twice today, I had to. If I used all the ostensibly hyperbolic positive adjectives to describe how good instant legend Charles Bradley is, I would have nothing else to say in the rest of this column.
Denver, Ramblin' Jack Elliott @ Alberta Rose Theater
Before Elliott starts, the people behind me talk about how there's a difference between being a good musician and being a good performer, a distinction I'll ruminate on for a good long while. Elliott was both tonight and, except when the audience erupted into laughter at Elliott's sly, silly rambling...stories, you could hear a pin drop in the beautiful Alberta Rose Theater as the 80-year-old living legend transposed his entire history into every syllable sung and note plucked.
Wednesday, September 7
Little Dragon @ Doug Fir Lounge
Little Dragon might be the best band I've ever seen at 10:30 in the morning. Their smooth, minimalist electro pop is being played on instruments that look like they could all be packed in carry-on luggage.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra @ Doug Fir Lounge
Yeah, yeah, with songs this good, UMO wasn't going to stay unknown for long. When I saw them at the end of July they played with the lights out, but for this afternoon show the lights are on and the songs shine all the more. UMO's self titled debut record is so timeless, it feels like it's always been with us.
The Joy Formidable, Brand New @ Wonder Ballroom
The best part about The Joy Formidable's set might be watching MFNW director Trevor Solomon shredding on air guitar and rocking like a hurricane. MFNW associate director Dan Winters rocks out nearly as hard for Brand New later on.
Sebadoh, Archers of Loaf @ Crystal Ballroom
Eric Bachmann looks tall enough to play metal, and at times tonight the Archers of Loaf frontman and his bandmates are playing with enough intensity that you might think they are doing just that. Members of pop-rockers Hollywood Tans, atmospheric instrumentalists the Early and post metal hardcore warriors Sloths all gush about the set afterwards.
Thursday, September 8
Iron & Wine @ Pioneer Courthouse Square
Portland's living room once again proves an ideal spot for live music as the sun sets.
The Stepkids, The Horrors @ Dante's
The Stepkids' Jeff Gitelman used to be the touring guitarist for Alicia Keys. His voice soars like Barry Gibb and he shreds like Steve Howe. This is a recipe for awesome. The harmonies between him and his bandmates, Tim Walsh and Dan Edinberg are CSNY/Beach Boys/next-level-shit impeccable. The Stepkids are more than alright—they're everything I love about the last 50 years of music in one band.