Bim Ditson goes to more shows than you. Don't feel bad: He goes to more shows than just about anyone. And sometimes, he takes pictures with his cell phone. In this column, we're letting Bim—whom you might know as the drummer for garage-pop misfits And And And—show you where he's been and who he's seen this week, and tell you where to go and who to see in the week ahead. You should take his advice. After all, he goes to more shows than you.
It can be tricky deciding which festivals to spend your hard earned dollars on. Here are some of the reasons Treefort gets positive scribbles, at least in my book.
1. Ticket-pricing vs. ETEC (Event Total Enjoyment Cost). Getting a wristband is a small part of the cost of a festival: drinks (some festivals, Treefort included, are reasonable, but others are evil thieves), plus housing, travel and food. Boise's Treefort has been exceptional in all said categories. Normally I'd be guessing that next year will be the golden year before the breeding-bros hear word and come to lay waste at another great festival. Treefort might escape the Weekend Dub-Step Soldiers, though, and if it does do that longterm, I'd guess it'll be because Boise ("Boys") is simply filled to the brim with the best kind of people you could hope to meet and enjoy what's clearly their town.
2. Density vs. Volume. A festival can have a million bands and rad headliners, but that doesn't mean shit unless you listen to the lineup beforehand to make sure it's not a trap (and by "trap" I am referring to both the early 2000s crunk-inspired genre "Trap Music" as heard on T.I.'s 2003 release, creatively titled Trap Musik, and all other worthless sonic bear-traps that seem to be playing every festival these days). I hear a lot of mouths leaking about certain headliners they're stoked to see at festivals. And that's cool. I think the magic of a festival is never who you knew will be great. It is the mountain of unknowns, all waiting to make your day—so again, listen to all the bands on the roster so you don't go out there like a headless chicken. People can tell.
3. Location and Timing. Somehow, even the physical layout of Boys is perfect for a festival of this kind. For any Portlander: location! I mean, for what other well booked festival—not just a couple big names, gotta be good little guys all day—can you easily find: a Craigslist Ride Share to and from; or just ride with a band you know, and find someone to crash with who you know? Boone of The We Shared Milk put it best: "Being at Treefort is like being in Portland, but you run into way more people that you know." Being that it is the weekend after SXSW, Treefort is double-edged in some minds. I happen to think it's genius. If you couldn't make it to Texas, here's a bunch of those bands, at a bargain-basement price! And if you went to SXSW, why not extend the party? You know you want to.
3/22 - 8:15 PM @ Neurolux
After a long day of driving from Portland to Boise for Treefort, Aan was perfect. That masterful music in a new space to reassure it's, well, mastery. Aan has been through a bunch of drummers and rotated members in the past. In my fan-opinion, they're now the best they've ever been. Bud's comfortable use of his alarmingly technical talents both vocally and deliciously bipolar guitar while the rest of Aan dose notches more than seasoning along.
3/22 - 8:46 PM @ Main Stage
Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings
That woman can sing! This is the kind of band that makes you think to yourself, "Self, is this as good as a live show gets?"
3/22 - 9:14 PM @ El Korah Shrine
And then you get to Quasi and you think, "Self, how could you have thought that Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings was as good as it gets?" Power duo doesn't do it justice—maybe perpetual-motion power plant.
3/23 - 11:28 AM @ the Bouquet Building
Grandparents (Intothewoods.tv video shoot)
After an early wine-drink turn in the And And And van and a morning of painting "LET'S GET SILLY" and an alien saying "ME WANT PIZZA" on the rig with Nathan. We strolled to a towering, dilapidated building downtown that, Rochelle explained, used to be a brothel, and now is equally, or maybe more, disgustingly, filled with birds and their make. I'll risk the brown-lung to see Grandparents' shoot. Fucking love these kids. Worth my chest thing I contracted.
3/23 - 12:51 PM @ Red Room
If you were bummed that Animal Collective canceled, and you didn't go to this Talkative show, you're a dingus. Lead 'shroom-rocker Cody switches between a shifting, thick-sounding keyboard and guitar. Chad (of the Blast Majesty and Ah God) slacker-noises on guitar perfectly with the turbo V8 rhythm section forcing you to dance, or feel like a jerk if you don't.
3/23 - 8:12 PM @ Red Room
The We Shared Milk
Boone's guitar was tuned a half-step down on the first song. Unfazed, he turned it into a noise factory: thrashes around the grimy beer-littered stage between spurts of violently hunkered pedal twisting and smashing. They possess the crowd, and glide into a flawless set after retuning. In the van later: "My friend Henry's got a marshmallow head he said I wanna stay up-I said, GO TO BED!" At this point the singing drops out and one cowboy-voice remains: "Doctor told me once, doctor told me twice, doctor told me thrice," all shouting together again "that boy's gonna die-he's got a marshmallow head…" This continued throughout the freezing 11 hour overnight drive to Las Vegas.
3/25 - 11:59 PM @ The Satellite (LA)
Harper Simon (featuring Dan Aykroyd)
Harper's voice and band were wonderfully tight throughout the session. I really liked the songs, and when people say, "Special guest" they rarely mean that Dan Aykroyd is going to hop on stage, be as amazing and hilarious as you'd dream, and then bounce. Perfect.
What's Bim Seeing This Week?
3/30 @ Bunk Bar: Fuzz, Wooden Indian Burial Ground
Bunk Bar is poised to be the smallest powerhouse in Portland. Remember when they started having shows there and everybody was like, "Whoa! This'll never last…" Well it's been a couple years now, and I can hardly think of a bad show they've brought in. Not to mention the countless touring bands they've snagged—Built to Spill, Deer Tick and The Long Goodbye—somehow convincing them to play Bunk Bar instead of Wonder Ballroom or another venue of that size. This show is a wonderful continuation of an impeccable track record.
3/31 @ Tonic Lounge: Natural Child, White Fang, Mean Jeans
It's a Gnar Gnight Out at Tonic! Based on this lineup, I'm assuming free pizza and equally cheap sweat. You wont hear anything delicate at this show and you won't want to after you feel these bands punching you in the chest. Hold onto your pepperoni and don't forget to bring your cheese.
4/3 @ Mississippi Studios: Joel Harrison's Spirit House, Blue Cranes
I think this'll be good. Sorry, I'm trying to finish this before my battery dies in the van in traffic in LA on our way to San Francisco for a show that it seems we'll be very late to. Go to this show if you're rich enough.