Navigating MusicfestNW can leave even lifelong Portlanders looking like common tourists, standing dazed on a street corner, trying to figure out which direction to head. Every night is a treacherous journey in which one bad decision can ruin the entire evening. Don't worry, though: WW is here to help. Plotting the perfect schedule can be overwhelming, but it's not impossible. Each night of the festival, check back here to read our music experts' suggestions for making your MFNW the best damn MFNW it can be. That way, you'll never be on the receiving end of that most painful of statements: "Oh, dude, you shoulda been there!"
And And And
8 pm, Aladdin Theater
And And And can't stop, won't stop. Not content just being considered one of Portland's best young bands—a designation made official when it placed first in Willamette Week's 2011 Best New Band poll—the group is also one of its most tireless. It plays constantly, hosts its annual rigsketball tournament, and churns out gloriously shambolic, beer-sodden shoutalongs at a rate that would make Robert Pollard jealous. MATTHEW SINGER.
8:30 pm, Pioneer Courthouse Square
I thank Girl Talk for Miley Cyrus. While vaguely aware of the Disney created phenomenon of the Achy Breaky bloodline, I'd never actually heard her until "Party in the U.S.A." popped up 15 minutes into Girl Talk's All Day. Without context or baggage, the song grabbed me hard. I didn't need to know where it came from, it was enough to hear a simple, innocent pop song about how music can cure our anxieties.Dozens of songs found their way into my library this way, starting with a snippet from Girl Talk and growing into full-blown appreciation. At its best, the Girl Talk experience isn't about nodding along to the songs you know, it's about downloading all the music you've ignored until Gregg Gillis mashes it up and spoons it into your ears. It's magical, really. As often as Gillis' sonic collages remind you why you loved Of Montreal's "Gronlandic Edit" or UGK's "Int'l Players Anthem," they push you toward things you'd never know you liked until they're presented in a neutral context. Yes, Girl Talk is known for wildly enjoyable shows—you will not have more fun at any concert, ever. And, yes, Gillis deserves credit for boldly interpreting archaic copyright laws in a way that could go very wrong. But most impressive is the way the Pittsburgh native can confront our prejudices and expectations with the simple joys of a great hook. MARTIN CIZMAR.
9 pm, The Old Church
10 pm, Hawthorne Theater
10:30 pm, Wonder Ballroom
11 pm, Branx
12 am, Dante's
8 pm, Pioneer Courthouse Square