September 6th, 2012 10:54 am | by Music Staff Music | Posted In: MusicfestNW

MFNW Diaries: Wednesday

redfang-andywright-048Red Fang @ the Roseland, MFNW 2012 - Andy Wright

Five straights nights of music isn’t something to dive into headfirst. You must ease into MusicfestNW slowly. That used to be much easier to do. Typically, the first night of MFNW features only one marquee show. This year, there were at least three. So much for taking it easy. Here’s how music staff started their week of debauchery, exhaustion and tinnitus. (Bloggers in order of appearance: Matthew P. Singer, Robert Ham, Ruth Brown, Arya Imig, Reed Jackson, Emilee Booher.)

6:30 pm @ Instrument
“Here’s to Musicfest!” I exclaim with a mix of joy and regret as myself and Bob Ham knock together plastic cups full of complimentary Heinekens at the festival kickoff party. And we’re off! (MPS)

6:30 pm @ Instrument
New music editor Matt Singer and I toast the start of another Musicfest. We’re already exhausted. Time for a complimentary ice cream sandwich. (RH)

7:24 pm @ Everyday Music
I’ve reached the limits of my mingling abilities at the kickoff party. So, I do as God intended: I find the nearest record store. (RH)

8 pm @ Instrument
The addition of Portland Digital eXperience (oh, that capital X is going to drive me insane all festival) to MFNW gives the kickoff party an interesting mix of rockers and startup geeks. I pass the time playing “PDX or MFNW?” (RB)

MFNW + PDX kickoff party @ Instrument
Natalye Anne St. Lucia

8:03 pm @ Hawthorne Theater
Joyce Manor are probably the band I was most excited to see at MusicFestNW and, in a room full of moshing and singing fans, I’m clearly not the only one. Two songs into the band’s set, people start crowdsurfing. At 8:06, a group of people in front starts singing along so loudly that Joyce Manor’s frontman turns the microphone towards them. (AI)

8:08 pm @ Hawthorne Theater
I’ve pretty much had Joyce Manor’s “Constant Headache”on repeat for the last five months, it might be one of my favorite songs of the last decade. When the band starts playing it, it’s like everything is in slow motion and, for a second, tears well up in my eyes. By the end of it, I’m singing along and rocking back and forth. This moment is why we go see live music—to see a piece of art we love created and recreated again by its makers before our very eyes. (AI)

8:15 pm @ Slow Bar
Well, maybe things haven’t quite kicked off for me yet. The key to surviving MFNW is taking things slow. No need to rush off and have my ears obliterated when I can pause to enjoy a giant burger topped with onion rings and have drinks with a few friends. I mean, c’mon. That’s a no brainer. (MPS)

8:18 pm @ Hawthorne Theater
Joyce Manor covers “Midnight Service at the Mutter Museum” by Murder City Devils. (AI)

8:23 pm @ Hawthone Theater
“How much time do we have?” asks the Joyce Manor singer. “Oh shit,” he says upon learning the band probably has time for two more songs. The nine-song album they released this year is about 15 minutes in length. (AI)

8:27 pm @ NW Couch & Park
Can I count the street drummer playing in the North Park Blocks as the first MFNW act I saw this year? He’s pretty good, if that helps. (RH)

8:30 pm @ Hawthorne Theater
Based on the reception when Joyce Manor first hit the stage, it can be concluded that a big portion of the audience are here to see Andrew Jackson Jihad. But, by the end of the show, the Cali rockers—with their fuzzed-out guitars and surprisingly sophisticated chord progressions—have many smiling and nodding their heads as if to say, “Hey, these guys are pretty good!” (RJ)

8:48 pm @ Roseland Theater
The terribly placed marquee at the Roseland has tonight’s headliner down as “Hot Shakes.” A great name for a soul/R&B combo. Terrible idea for a dessert treat. (RH)

Crowd at the Roseland, MFNW 2012
Andy Wright

9:08 pm @ Roseland Theater
Hungry Ghost sounds positively huge through the Roseland’s sound system. Bluesy, beautiful stuff. (RH)

9:10 pm @ Mississippi Studios
Adventure Galley’s youthful, high-energy guise channels sweaty college house parties. Come to think of it, I may have actually gone to school in Eugene with some of these guys. (EB)

9:14 pm @ Roseland Theater
Here’s a great question posed to me tonight: why don’t you ever see women drummers make “drummer faces”? You know, the odd expression that could be pained, orgasmic, or just plain goofy that you see on so many dude percussionists as they play? My friend posits that it is due to women’s ability to multi-task. (RH)

9:15 pm @ Mississippi Studios
Why don’t the people in Portland dance? There’s plenty of liveliness coming from Adventure Galley’s synthy set, but as usual, the crowd is awkwardly standing in a semi-circle like there’s an invisible force field around the stage. (EB)

9:18 pm @ Crystal Ballroom
LP are playing. I keep waiting for them to cover Fleetwood Mac or the Cranberries, which might make for a more interesting set, and I don’t even like Fleetwood Mac that much. (AI)

9:25 pm @ Crystal Ballroom
A surprising amount of people are dancing to LP. None better than a five-foot, shoeless man in the back, who has created a 10-foot radius around him by awkwardly rubbing his body against anyone who crosses his path. (RJ)

9:35 pm @ Mississippi Studios
Alas, everyone loosens up as Adventure Galley’s keyboardist strikes the first bright notes of the band’s most popular song, “Addict.” This restores my faith in the city’s concertgoers—but it’s entirely possible that these people are also from Eugene. (EB)

9:55 pm @ Hawthorne Theater
Standing in line for the bathroom just before Against Me!’s set, a kid spots the Breaking Bad shirt my girlfriend and Willamette Week production manager Kendra Clune made me and strikes up a conversation. That’s like the fifth time someone has commented on the shirt tonight. I decide that, in commemoration of my first MFNW as the paper’s music editor, I will wear this shirt for a week straight. My girlfriend is conflicted by this declaration. (MPS)

10 pm @ Ruth’s apartment
I’m just going to drop my bag at home, I said. I’m just going to sit on the couch for five minutes, I said. Oh, this is going to be a long weekend. Must. Go. Rock. (RB)

10:11 pm @ Roseland Theater
Holy. Fuck. Red Fang are playing like the end of the world is nigh. They are road tight and visibly relieved to be back home after months of touring. (RH)

Red Fang @ the Roseland, MFNW 2012
Andy Wright

10:14 pm @ Crystal Ballroom.
Passion Pit are four minutes overdue to the stage. Is this a last minute cancellation??? Oh, nope, here they come, opening with “Take A Walk”. (AI)

10:17 pm @ Crystal Ballroom
The new sound system at the Crystal Ballroom is really really choice. (AI)

10:18 pm @ Hawthorne Theater
Is it wrong of me to have thought that Against Me! would sound different, considering the singer formerly known as Tom Gabel is now Laura Jane Grace? Honestly, the only noticeable difference is that instead of wearing a solid black shirt like her bandmates, she now wears a solid black dress. The band is still a punk powerhouse, ripping through anthem after anthem with no breaks in between and turning the Hawthorne into a humid swamp full of crowd-surfing teens with patchy facial hair. (Their new songs do sound disconcertingly like the Killers, though.) (MPS)  

10:20 pm @ Green Drop Garage
A great thing about this festival is the cluster of unofficial parties. I just ventured across town for a free Marmoset Music/Eleven Magazine MFNW kickoff party, and there’s a surprise headliner rumored to be Kishi Bashi (Jupiter One, Of Montreal). (EB)

10:25 pm @ Crystal Ballroom
Is there a more fitting venue for Passion Pit to play than the Crystal? Its bouncy floors are a perfect match for the band’s synth-drenched sound. (RJ)

10:36 pm @ Roseland Theater
Question for discussion: Who would you rate as Portland’s best drummer? There are plenty of contenders, but if pressed, I’d have to go right for Red Fang’s John Sherman. Dude plays with this perfect balance of joy and fury. (RH)

Passion Pit @ the Crystal Ballroom, MFNW 2012
Mike Grippi

10:37 pm @ Crystal Ballroom
Passion Pit have a packed house of people taking full advantage of the Crystal Ballroom’s bouncing floor as they kick into “Carried Away”, one of my favorite tracks from their new album Gossamer. I’ve made a lot of jokes about Passion Pit over the last several years but I’m ready to take a break from that. (AI)  

10:40 pm @ Crystal Ballroom
It’s kind of crazy to see Passion Pit’s Michael Angelakos perform after all I’ve heard about his mental health problems. I wonder how many of the neon-clad teeny boppers here realize how deep and disheartening the lyrics are to some of these songs. (RJ)

10:40 pm @ Roseland Theater
Wow, Red Fang are tight as a duck’s asshole. I mean that in a nice way. Killing it. (RB)

10:52 pm @ Roseland Theater
The once packed Roseland is now half empty as tons of people vacate after Red Fang’s set. Wait, is that a pessimistic thing to say? Should I say instead that it is half full of Hot Snakes fans? Getting my therapist on the horn to talk this out. (RH)

Hot Snakes @ the Roseland, MFNW 2012
Lana Mac

11:00 pm @ Hawthorne Theater
Against Me!’s set nearing a close, I could rush over to the Roseland and catch the tail end of Hot Snakes, or head to Doug Fir for Sloan. As I said earlier, though, after four years of covering MFNW, I know the key to surviving it all is taking things slow. I opt to call it an early night. (MPS)

11:14 pm @ Roseland Theater
Is Hot Snakes pulling a Passion Pit??? The group is fourteen minutes late to the stage. Oh, here they come. Dude next to me just saw them in San Francisco, says they are wearing the same clothes here as they did there. Hell yeah brother. (AI)

11:17 pm @ Roseland Theater
Hot Snakes forgot to do their light check. I laugh out loud. The stage is pretty much completely unadorned, a pretty stark contrast to the lights of the Passion Pit stage set up I just came from. (AI)

11:20 pm @ Roseland Theater
You ever wonder why The Stooges’ reunion album was such a pile of shit? All the puckish punk energy available in the universe got sopped up by the men of Hot Snakes. They are tearing through their set with barely a second between each song, leaving us mere mortals in the audience dizzy with delight. (RH)

11:24 pm @ Roseland Theater
Roseland sound system/sound man is no match for Hot Snakes bassist Gar Wood. When he rides the E string hard, the response in the PA rumbles the floor and walls like we’re in the end of The Cabin In The Woods. (RH)

11:44 pm @ Roseland Theater
The notoriously strict Roseland security attempts to nab a crowdsurfer but he eludes their grasp and escapes back into the crowd. (AI)

11:45 pm @ Roseland Theater
A spectacular piece of crowdsurfing. The guy leapt—flew—two-and-a-half meters from the top of the crowd to the stage, sprinted through the band, and jumped straight back in. Security looked awestruck. (RB)

11:30 pm @ Green Drop Garage
I’m wondering how differently I would experience shows if I configured an apparatus that made me a foot taller. Kishi Bashi’s doing some awesome vocal/violin looping on stage right now, but all I can see is the back of a dude’s head. (EB)

11:40 pm @ Roseland Theater
John Reis has sweat patches on his kneecaps. Can’t decide if I’m impressed or repulsed. (RB)

11:46 pm @ Roseland Theater
I need to hang around more music geeks so that I can start a conversation about the best rock rhythm guitar players and make an impassioned, yet reasoned case for Hot Snakes’ John Reis. (RH)

11:49 pm @ Roseland Theater
Hot Snakes switch drummers. (AI)

11:50 pm @ Roseland Theater
Wow, Hot Snakes have both their original drummer Jason Kourkonis and second drummer Mario Rubalcaba with them. I spend far too much time wondering whether they split a paycheck or not. It’s funny, on record, I prefer Kourkonis’s wild thrashy drumming, but live, Rubalcaba’s rapid-fire machine-gun blasts do it for me much more. It’s actually quite amazing how two dudes can get such different sounds out of the one kit. (RB)

12:03 am @ Roseland Theater
I’m done. I’m dehydrated, tired, and I have some Elvis Costello 12”s to listen to. Heading home. (RH)

12:06 am @ Roseland Theater
In an extremely sincere tone of voice, Hot Snakes’ lead singer says “Hope you guys are having a good time,” and blows the audience a kiss. (AI)

12:10 am @ Roseland Theater
Hot Snakes’ lead singer dedicates the next song to his cat DJ who is dying of cancer. Hot Snakes are kicking a lot of ass tonight but they’re not afraid to show a little tenderness and it’s that combination of raw energy and genuine emotion that makes them so appealing. (AI)

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