Nearly every mote constituting my being was devoted to Musicfest NW since last week’s column, which itself was devoted to Musicfest NW. I’m afraid I had very little time to experience anything—musical or otherwise—that did not involve my Heineken-sponsored wristband. So here I am, landing a few more left hooks into the rotted flesh of a very dead horse. Sorry, that was gross. The brain goes to nasty places when it experiences Pig Destroyer and Neurosis in one 24-hour span. Caveat lector, then: The following awards were cooked up by one very hung-over man with two very sore ear holes.
Most Disappointing Performance: Pig Destroyer, who were fast and intense in all the right places (meaning every place, every second), technically peerless and seemingly stoked to be there, yet somehow still dull, even with the help of a fist-pumping hype man. Turns out even grindcore doesn’t work without a little bit of soul.
Scariest Person On Stage: Steve Von Till (Neurosis), whose gaze is a malediction; whose bald, reflective head begs God to behold His own decrepit visage; who boasts a flesh container that seems to have been honed in prison; whose name alone will cut you.
Scariest Person Off Stage: The incredibly drunk woman who cornered Pierced Arrows’ Toody Cole at Ash Street Saloon and then forced Toody to take a sip from her (the incredibly drunk woman’s) beer.
Most Dangerous Costume: White Hills front man Dave W’s silver face paint. Didn’t the guy who played the Tin Man die due to a silver face paint-related illness? I’d look that up, but I don’t want to find out I’m wrong; I kind of like living in a world where someone died to play a stupid Tin Man. I also kind of like living in a world where someone risks death to look really cool while playing murderously loud psych-rock to a crowd that seemed to me to be unprepared for such an assault.
Best Celebrity Sighting: Ted Leo, donning a Filth t-shirt, hunched over his cell phone, waiting for Kylesa to take the stage at Dante’s.
Best Non-MFNW Venue In Which One Could Have A Beer Alone While Contemplating Loneliness And Coming To Terms With The Utter Pointlessness And Attendant Beauty Of Not Only Music Festivals Such As MFNW But Life Itself: Magic Gardens.
Most Heartening Comeback: Local grindcore act Transient, who not only stole the show from the aforementioned Pig Destroyer, but did so with its first live appearance since getting into a pretty hairy car accident just over a month ago. Inspiring grindcore? Yup, it exists.
Strangest Doppelgänger: YOB frontman Mike Scheidt, who, from my admittedly blurred vantage from the balcony, looked just like David Foster Wallace—a David Foster Wallace who had returned to earth with pigtails and an insatiable need to upstage the almighty Neurosis with epic stoner metal that made me feel stoned even though I wasn’t stoned, I swear.
Best Band I Saw This Weekend That Wasn’t Playing MFNW But Should Play It Next Year: Honduran, who played a hardcore matinee at Tube with Rabbits on Saturday, and whose no-nonsense power-violence attack recalls ‘90s legends like Spazz and Capitalist Casualties. That’s a good thing. A great thing.
Single Greatest Moment Of MFNW: Ted Leo playing “The Sword in the Stone”, my favorite song of all time (for now), at the Dr. Martens store at approximately 5:18 p.m. Friday. I’d been waiting years to see Leo play this one live, and it finally happened. That it happened mere seconds after Leo publicly shamed me for Tweeting a request for this very song only sweetened the deal. Thanks, Ted. Thanks, MFNW. I need to sleep now.