September 8th, 2012 2:14 pm | by WW MUSIC STAFF Music | Posted In: MusicfestNW

MFNW Diaries: Friday

beirut_ingerklekacz_02Beirut @ Pioneer Courthouse Square, MFNW 2012 - Inger Klekacz

And the train kept a-rollin’... (Bloggers in order of appearance: Emilee Booher, Ruth Brown, Mark Stock, Matthew P. Singer, Jonathan Frochtzwajg, Robert Ham, Reed Jackson, Nora Eileen Jones.)

2:45 pm @ Doug Fir Lounge (KEXP session)
I really enjoy the driving drum work in Lost Lander’s music. Makes me feel like I can scale a mountain during the peak of a blizzard. (EB)

4 pm @ Leftbank Annex
At Portland Digital eXperience, an all-star Portland music industry line-up of Larry Crane, Mike Thrasher, Jared Mees, Maggie Vail, Bob Ham, Christopher Kirkley, Alicia Rose and Aaron Colter are talking independent music in the digital age. For me, this is by far the best panel of the conference. Spotify once again takes a beating. Also, I can confirm a sighting of Bob Ham and Mayor Sam Adams in the same room, finally putting to rest persistent rumors that they are actually the same person. (RB)

6 pm @ Pioneer Courthouse Square
I am here watching Gardens & Villa mainly so I don’t go home and fall asleep. The lead singer is wearing some sort of quiver of flutes on his back. He uses one of them for a Fleetwood Mac cover. (RB)

6:30 pm @ Sunset Highway
The fact that I’m missing Menomena is killing me. I feel high-strung and about to snap. Fellow drivers are staring because I’m wearing the expression of pure fear. I may miss this one. And live Menomena—in whatever incarnation it happens to be in—is a bit of a rarity. Fuck Friday night dinner traffic. (MAS)

6:57 pm @ Pioneer Courthouse Square
Danny Seim’s echoing falsetto sounds so good right now. With a simple foundation of keys and reverb to back him (not to mention the setting sun), these slow resolving moments are part of what I love about Menomena. (EB)

Menomena @ Pioneer Courthouse Square, MFNW 2012
Inger Klekacz

7 pm @ the 44 Bus Line
I’m on the bus heading downtown. I’m in desperate need of second wind, and will likely need three or four more to make it all the way to Fucked Up’s 12:30 am set. (MPS)

7:05 pm @ Pioneer Courthouse Square
Though he’s playing multiple instruments throughout Menomena’s set, the dude with the ‘fro would be equally entertaining if his sole purpose was to dance on stage the whole time. His curly hair was made for moving. (EB)

8 pm @ Pioneer Courthouse Square
A dude in the crowd for Beirut brought his own egg shaker. I’m presuming he snuck a bag of kale in with him as well. (MPS)

8:05 pm @ SW 13th & SW Burnside
A didgeridoo ‘n’ drums duo called the Urban Shaman is bringing world-hop beats to the street corner with the Zoobomb bikes. I dig. (JF)

8:08 pm @ NW 5th & Couch
Standing outside Backspace, I could’ve sworn I saw NY Times writer David Carr walk by and start filming the street corner on an iPhone. (RH)

8:10 pm @ the Crystal Ballroom
One of PDX’s more underappreciated bands, Hosannas, plays a cover of “Mad World” to a too-sparse audience. If you’ve not followed Hosannas through numerous name changes (Church → Ape Cave for a sec → Hosannas), the formerly guitar-driven group’s synth grooves and beats have gotten bigger and better (as keyboardist Richard Laws’ payot have gotten longer and longer). (JF)

8:15 pm @ Pioneer Square
Last year started it, but this year solidified it: Pioneer Square is made for music. Beirut sounds rich. Not just because they’re high off of last-show-of-the-year adrenaline, but because this heap of bricks is an ideal amphitheater. Seeing the MAX go by while onlookers from Departure clap makes me feel nostalgic and I’m not sure why. It all seems like a Hollywood set, made to look like Portland. But it’s anything but. (MAS)

8:20 pm @ Pioneer Square
Lesson learned from observing the Beirut crowd: Pulling a surprise Silly String attack on your friend is all fun and good until you blind an innocent bystander. (MPS)

8:20 pm @ Star Theater
Every time I see a band at the Star Theater, I say “I love this venue, but this band isn’t right for it.” Not this time. AAN is a good band for the Star Theater. (RB)

8:22 pm @ Backspace
The trouble with bringing people not that into experimental sounds to an experimental show is they make it very hard for you to get caught up in what’s going on onstage. The deep drones Arrington de Dionyso was pulling out of his throat, a saxophone bell, and a horn made of PVC pipes had me agog with wonder. My fellow music scribes (Mark Lore and Ryan Prado of the Mercury, Ryan White of the Oregonian) thought otherwise, cracking jokes as they took pulls off their tallboys of PBR. (RH)

8:27 pm @ Pioneer Courthouse Square
There’s a Dr. Seuss quality about Beirut. The many funny looking brass instruments they brandish. The bouncy melodies. Zach Condon’s drifting, oft-incoherent vocals. The bass drum is turned way up but that’s just fine. Beirut has always been about making classical cool anyway. (MAS)

Pioneer Courthouse Square, MFNW 2012
Inger Klekacz

8:30 pm @ the Crystal Ballroom
Listening to “The People I Know”—*the* Hosannas jam, as far as I’m concerned—I realize: This doesn’t sound like shit! Props, Crystal, on the new sound system. (JF)

8:35 pm @ Pioneer Courthouse Square
Beirut’s new songs off The Rip Tide sound solid. Last time I saw Zach Condon and his band perform there were twice as many people on stage. Tonight there are six members in total, and the music is sharp, full and purposeful. (EB)

8:40 pm @ Pioneer Courthouse Square
Beirut’s “Nantes” is one of those songs that’s acted as a soundtrack to a number of my experiences over the years. I feel as if it’s mine. Looking at the excitement and sheer captivation among the crowd as Condon sings the first lines, I forget that one song can belong to so many people. (EB)

8:41 pm @ Pioneer Square
Strumming through the striding “Nantes,” I realize that Beirut produces the kind of music you could invade a country to (in older times at least, by way of boat), or smoke a cigarette to while waiting for a bus in Paris. Graceful, classical, galloping; the soundtrack for a patient armata. (MAS)

8:45 pm @ Roseland
The Roseland bouncers, who have scared me since I was a teenager going to Atmosphere shows, are much less lenient about my ripped wristband than other venues. They are interrogating me in the corner about where I got it. For some reason, Portland rap legend Cool Nutz is standing behind them, also looking on with skepticism. I swear it’s mine, Nutz! (RJ)

9 pm @ the Crystal Ballroom
Radiation City’s Lizzy Ellison warms up her incomparable pipes with the band’s first song. Thought I was Rad City’d out; I was wrong. (JF)

9:05 pm @ Roseland
What’s not to say about Danny Brown’s appearance? He’s got a haircut that resembles Donald Trump’s comb over after a ride in a convertible and less teeth than my two-year-old nephew. Plus, he’s wearing a deeper v-neck than all the guys at Blitz in the Pearl combined. I know a lot of rappers say it, but Danny truly does not give a fuck. (RJ)

9:10 pm @ The Old Church
Is this the first time MFNW has used this space? I hope they make a habit of it. Like any good house of worship, the acoustics are pristine. And almost any band will have its outward cool enhanced by performing in front of a massive pipe organ. (RH)

9:15 @ Pioneer Courthouse Square
Oh, those trumpets! Beirut is wrapping up its third encore song, and the brass—tight, succinct and rich—sounds amazing with the warm, freshly-darkened Portland evening as its backdrop. (EB)

9:15 pm @ the Crystal Ballroom
Rad City’s Lizzy Ellison hits the impossibly high notes in “Find It of Use,” to big applause. Chills, every time. (JF)

9:18 pm @ the Crystal Ballroom
This apparently is Rad City’s first time gracing the Crystal stage. Vocalist/keyboardist Lizzy Ellison: “It’s an honor.” (JF)

9:20 pm @ Roseland
There seems to be a lot of groups of middle-aged women here, out for a night on the town. I don’t think they have any idea who Danny is, but they seem to nodding their heads with it. I think this is partly because you can’t hear his lyrics; the Roseland’s speaker system is way too bass heavy (as usual). This changes when Danny spits a minute-long accapella about licking female genatalia while making slurping sounds. One glasses-wearing woman next to me looks both appalled and excited. I bet I had the same look on my face when I first heard Danny.  (RJ)

9:25 pm @ Roseland Theater
Glanced over to see my first brawl of MFNW. For a second, though, it looked like two dudes were breakdance fighting, which would’ve been much more interesting. (MPS)

9:22 pm @ The Old Church
I knew tonight was going to be my “quiet night” of MFNW, an elongated moment of calm amid the chaos. But I didn’t know I would feel quite so rapturous. The supergroup of guitarist Ilyas Ahmed and the members of Golden Retriever (playing as Dreamboat) have combined their individual sounds so beautifully and are swaddling me in a warm blanket of Tangerine Dream-style prog-folk. (RH)

9:30 pm @ Roseland
Atrak is on stage! It makes sense: Atrak signed Danny to his label, Fool’s Gold. I’m seeing him later at the Wonder—I wonder if I can bum a ride? (RJ)

9:30 pm @ Roseland
Oh, hip-hop and the Roseland sound system: why can’t you two just get along? The bass distorts and farts through the building. It is not pleasant. I am standing near three teens in really bad homemade Yelawolf t-shirts though. That makes me happier. (RB)

Danny Brown @ Roseland, MFNW 2012
Leah Nash


9:32 pm @ Roseland Theater
Danny Brown is more interesting than, like, 90 percent of current hip-hop artists, but he can’t overcome the Roseland’s sound system. It’s too loud and too quiet at the same time: The bass is booming, which good, but it’s drowning out Danny’s vocals, which is bad. (MPS)

9:50 pm @ Star Theater
Moon Duo’s finale is to be felt rattling your ribcage rather than heard. That, and I’ve been hypnotized by the swinging hair. Hey, Sanae, can I have a sip of that?  (NEJ)

9:50 pm @ Roseland
Yelawolf hasn’t gone on, but already the crowd is much louder than it was at any point for Danny. This is crazy. Whole families are here decked out in Yelawolf gear—some of which is hand made! It’s like they’ve come to see a son or a nephew perform. (RJ)

10:10 pm @ the Crystal Ballroom
Historical set order: From Radiation City’s high-and-tight ‘50s doo-wop to Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s long ‘n’ loose ‘60s psych-rock. (JF)

10:15 pm @ The Old Church
I’ve only ever cried at one show: Low @ the Bowery Ballroom in 2000. But Mirrorring, the duo of Liz Harris (Grouper) and Jesy Fortino (Tiny Vipers) have me near tears. The music is so simple—Harris and Fortino laying ghostly vocals and delicate guitar lines over a bed of prerecorded ambient noise tracks—but so affecting. I know I’m not alone in my stunned awe as no one else can bring themselves to applaud between songs. (RH)

10:30 pm @ the Crystal Ballroom
Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Ruben Nielson tries to banter while tuning his guitar. Between the reverb and the Kiwi accent, he is doubly, utterly incomprehensible. (JF)

10:31 pm @ Star Theater
Daughn Gibson is scaring me. Luckily, OPB Music’s Jeremy Petersen is here, so I know I’ve made the right choice. Still, Gibson’s low-set twangy vocals, stormy beats and ringing effects leave me uneasy. That, and the dude is gigantic. He looks like the Marlboro Man on steroids. I’m as fascinated as I am fearful of my own well being. Gibson’s singing voice seems like a stage trick, but his banter is equally countrified. (MAS)

10:35 pm @ the Crystal Ballroom
Dear Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Please quit being written up by Pitchfork and touring the world and be Portland’s best-kept secret instead? K thx bai. (JF)

10:35 pm @ Star Theater
I will bet you any amount of money that this cornfed bohunk’s name is not spelled “Daughn” on his birth certificate. I will also bet that he didn’t pick up a keyboard and start listening to Morrissey until getting cut from his college rugby team. (MPS)

10:35 pm @ Roseland
The crowd is going absolutely berserk for Yelawolf. Tattoo-covered girls wearing booty shorts seem to be one of his main demographics. There’s also a lot of camouflage here. This is definitely the most unique crowd I’ve experienced thus far at MFNW. (RJ)

Yelawolf @ Roseland, MFNW 2012
Leah Nash 

10:47 pm @ Star Theater
No he didn’t. Yes, though, he did. Daughn Gibson just “rolled the dice.” You know the dance move I’m talking about. And shit, this guy is shameless. He’s still doing it. Props for stick-to-it-ness. (MAS)

10:50 pm @ The Old Church
As if the evening couldn’t get any better, the folks working the door at the venue hand out free slices of pizza and corn dogs as we head out into the night. (RH)

11:15 pm @ Wonder Ballroom
Hood Internet is one of the few bands that can pull off the mash up. Right now, they’re mixing Tyga’s “Rack City” with Neon Indian and, unbelievably, it sounds great. (RJ)

11:29 pm @ Branx
The air in here is roughly the consistency of a milkshake. I have gone running in the middle of the dry season in Thailand, and this is worse. Future Islands is great, though. (RB)

11:30 pm @ Branx
“I was thinking it might be nice to die onstage,” says singer Samuel Herring of synth-pop dramatists Future Islands. “Tonight might be the night.” I don’t know if Herring is actually going to kill himself, but I might die of heat exhaustion by the time this set is over. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever been in a more uncomfortably humid venue. (MPS)

11:31 pm @ Bunk Bar
What a pleasant, drifting sound Mimicking Birds is offering. The crowd is rambunctious but the Portland four piece is giving us what we need, whether we like it or not. Smooth, ringing folk-rock that occasionally dips its toes in the 90’s-era alt scent. The crowd is pretending to be energetic but the soft sounds are a much-needed lullaby. I’m amazed by a certain Simon & Garfunkel quality these guys possess, vocally, that is. (MAS)

11:50 pm @ Crystal Ballroom
I’m really impressed by how much energy the Helio Sequence exudes with only two members. Drummer Benjamin Weikel, who looks like he’s spouting mathy rhythms out of his mouth—sounds spectacular. (EB)

12 am @ Wonder Ballroom
Atrak is on and it is HOT AS BALLS in the Wonder. People are soaked to the bone with sweat, and the floor is smothered in this disgusting goo-like slush. I’ve seen so many people eat shit already. (RJ)

12:20 am @ Bunk Bar
The real party is outside the bar. Talkdemonic sounds rich through the windows, and they have the added support of a huge shroomed-out guy chanting what sounds like army shouts and throwing things at the bouncer. (NEJ)

12:25 am @ Dante’s
A much bigger crowd for Fucked Up here than when I saw them last year at the Hawthorne Theater. Maybe Portland finally realized David Comes to Life, which the band is about to play in full, is the best album of 2011. In anticipation, I buy a shot of whiskey. I’m just letting you know in advance the reason why you won’t be getting a whole lot of details about this show from me. (MPS)

12:30 am @ Wonder Ballroom
I’ve seen Atrak peform many times, and this is not one of his better performances. The songs he’s playing—mainly the techno ones–-are a little too generic. However, his choice to play old-school G-Unit was clutch. My hands are pruny—I’m going home.

12:35 am @ Dante’s
Fucked Up’s screaming man-bear Damian Abraham has lost weight. He’s damn near svelte now. Good for him, though for a guy who’s known for exposing his girth then diving into crowds, this could possibly be a “Samson losing his hair” situation. (MPS)

12:40 am @ Dante’s
It takes approximately 10 minutes for Fucked Up’s frontman to strip down to his tighty-whities (well, saggy greys). I like a man who prioritizes comfort over fashion, but I think he would really benefit from something sweat-wicking and better fitting. Isn’t Nike a sponsor of this festival? Hook the man up! The guy is working harder than most athletes right now. (RB)

12:45 am @ Ted’s
OK, after a Sizzle Pie break, back to it. Blouse’s 1-freaking-am set is past all our bedtimes, if you ask me. (JF)

DJ Mr. Jonathan Toubin @ Holocene, MFNW 2012
Nate Miller 

1 am @ Dante’s
Fucked Up is roaring through its set, and while the crowd remains significant, Portland just doesn’t know how to react to the band’s epic-sized hardcore. But if anyone wants to come up to Canada, enjoy some healthcare and crash on Damian’s couch, he says you’re all welcome to. (MPS)

1:05 am @ Ted’s
Blouse opens with a guitar—i.e. no-synth—version of “Shadow,” inducing a vicarious existential crisis: Is Blouse without synth still Blouse?!? (JF)

1:10 am @ Ted’s
Jacob Portrait (who plays on and produced Blouse’s record, but doesn’t normally perform with the band live) is playing with the dream-pop dynamos here only a couple hours after playing with Unknown Mortal Orchestra up the street at the Crystal. Busy man. (JF)

1:30 am @ Dante’s
OK, Fucked Up wins Musicfest. You can all go home now. It’s over. (RB)

1:48 am @ Matt’s house
Hm. A cab has apparently dropped me off right at my house. How did that happen? (MPS)

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