September 4th, 2013 | by WW MUSIC STAFF Music | Posted In: MusicfestNW

MFNW Diaries: Tuesday

Joey is Bada$$, Redd Kross rocks and Black Bananas are...um...something.

joey badass 4Joey Bada$$ at Roseland Theater. - Jerek Hollender.

It begins.

MusicfestNW is here, and at six days long, it’s an even more ungainly beast than usual. Thankfully, we were still allowed to ease into it slowly, with only two shows happening directly across the street from one another. Here’s our report from Night 1. (Contributing writers, in order of appearance: Joe Donovan, Matthew P. Singer, Mitch Lillie, Robert Ham, Arya Imig, Brandon Widder.)

10 am @ Denver International

According to a cluster of travelers on the DEN to PDX flight, the Crystal Ballroom is the best venue in Portland. Maybe so, but you can’t trust the guys in Row 32. They’re listening to Neil Young, Grateful Dead and Phish. (JD)

12:30 pm @ The Good Mod

My MFNW is beginning—unofficially—in a furniture warehouse four floors above Everyday Music, where Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo is treating me and about two dozen other invited guests to a catered lunch, for reasons that remain unknown even after speaking to his manager. Judging by the presence of other local music writer-people and Wieden + Kennedy alums, I’m presuming it’s just general hobnobbing for his production company. Flute-laden exotica is fluttering from a record player. Eventually, it switches to playing Devo songs. This is sort of bizarre. Also muggy. (MPS)

2:20 pm @ The Good Mod

A few minutes of idle chit-chat, a brief toast from Mothersbaugh, some kale salad and a piece of fried chicken later, I’m still not totally sure what that lunch was all about. But here’s what was in our complimentary totes (MPS): 

6:45 pm @ Pioneer Courthouse Square

Joey Bada$$ is sitting on a wall, rolling a joint to the sound of Nike’s DJ warming up the crowd at the dodgeball game to qualify for Diplo or Flume tickets. It seems Nike has rallied Portland’s amateur dodgeball leagues for the event, so this won’t just be club kids seeing who can lose the fastest. Darn. (ML)

7:00 pm @ Pioneer Courthouse Square

A Nike volunteer tells me all you have to do is participate to qualify for the tickets, but a snarky one immediately butted in, saying, “It’s not just an event to get tickets. That’s the point.” Nike’s Facebook event claims that it is only an “opportunity to win tickets.” Feeling pretty heavily marketed, I sign up for a team. (ML)

7:20 pm @ Pioneer Courthouse Square

Nike FuelBands, little gyro-sensitive bracelets, have been passed out to all dodgeballers. Rewards are given for the more NikeFuel each team member obtains. The result? One hundred fifty people in red and green Nike shirts whipping their wrists back and forth to up the bracelet’s motion, thus the points. Who says there’s no market for the Shake Weight? (ML)

7:41 pm @ Roseland Theater

Local DJ Gang$ign$ is whipping together a frothy mix of trap and Dirty South hip-hop, having little effect on the audience of mostly white dudes. Don’t ever change, Portland. (RH)

8:03 pm @ Roseland Theater

Nacho Picasso ambles onstage wearing a Jimi Hendrix tee, a shiny grill and big square specs, grabbing his crotch like Big Daddy Kane. He’s built like a prizefighter and covered in tats. Can’t shake the feeling that this is what Raj from What’s Happening? would have turned into if he did a nickel in the joint for breaking and entering. (RH)

8:11 pm @ Roseland Theater

Where can one find the magic amulet necessary to switch Macklemore’s career with that of Nacho Picasso? Dude is tearing it up onstage with the funniest and most shamelessly filthy rhymes around. He’s referenced everything from Haile Selassie to Tommy Tune all in service of getting laid. And he’s wearing purple boxer briefs covered in pictures of bananas. (RH)

8:28 pm @ #8 bus

Rob Enbom from Eat Skull just got on the bus. Wanna bet he’s going to the Redd Kross/Black Bananas show? (AI)

8:51 pm @ Roseland Theater

Much respect to any hip-hop DJ—in this case former Portlander $u$pect—who works off a laptop with a Morrissey sticker on it. That respect is doubled when he starts jumping around the stage like a madman. (RH)

9:03 pm @ Roseland Theater

Antwon is late to the stage already. Doesn’t he know I have a schedule to maintain? (AI)

9:05 pm @ Roseland Theater

Four kids nearly run me over sprinting up the stairs to catch Antwon. All they’re going to find up there is another good rapper being eaten alive by Roseland’s sound system. (MPS)

9:07 pm @ Rosleand Theater

Oh that’s right, former Rotture booker/man about town and recent L.A. refugee Conrad Loebel is Antwon’s DJ! Antwon takes to the stage with a fair amount of swagger but at times seems shy, as he paces the stage like a boxer about to fight a large concrete room…which he is basically what he does the whole set. “The Roseland sound never fails,” remarks Matt Singer, sarcastically. (AI)

9:12pm @ Roseland Theater

You can actually feel the energy in the room change when Antwon hit the stage, like a big inhale. Could be because of his girth and nasty looking disposition (while he raps, he paces back and forth on stage like a grizzly sizing up its next meal), could be because of the distending levels of bass that came in his wake. (RH)

9:18 pm @ Dante’s

Singer Jessica Boudreaux of Summer Cannibals thanks everyone for coming out. After all, “Who can compete with Joey Bada$$ going on at the Roseland?” She immediately reiterates her sincerity to avoid any signs of sarcasm. (BW) 

9:25 pm @ Roseland Theater

The crowd starts chanting for headliner Joey Bada$$. “Whoa!” responds Antwon. A couple minutes later there’s an “Antwon” chant and, later, another loud chant for Joey Bada$$. (AI)

9:34 pm @ Roseland Theater

“Shout out to Pig Champion!” says Antwon, as he leaves the stage, name-checking the late guitarist of legendary Portland hardcore heroes Poison Idea. (AI)

9:35 pm @ Dante’s

Summer Cannibals showing off a new, unreleased tune that didn’t make their raw debut LP, No Makeup. It’s just as angsty, driven and garage-y as any other cut they’ve done, but I have my qualms whether it originated in the side building that houses your Subaru. (BW)

9:35 pm @ Roseland Theater

Made it to the Roseland for the Antwon set. Lots of kids sporting cloth sun hats. There’s an electric kind of anticipation for Bada$$, or maybe that’s just the smell of Axe body spray. Either way, my nose burns. Median age: 19 years old. (JD)

9:50 pm @ Ro$eland Theater

Joey Bada$$ couldn’t have a$ked for a better warm-up than thi$ pre-headliner $et from Gang $ign$. It’$ the definition of “getting the people hyped.” (MP$)

9:55 pm @ Roseland Theater

The crowd is chanting Joey. I’m a little bored. I do some Googling. Joey was born in 1995. Around that same time, Neko Case was doing her first recordings in Seattle. (JD)

10:09 pm @ Dante’s

The nonchalant and almost confused way that Black Bananas just took the stage is pretty much what you would expect from a band fronted by the poster child for an anti-drug campaign, Jennifer Herrema. (RH)

10:10 pm @ Pioneer Courthouse Square

A few bandages and ice packs later, our team is 1-3, but damned if I didn’t pick up Diplo tickets. (ML)

10:11 pm @ Roseland Theater

Joey Bada$$ really takes his ‘90s throwback ish seriously: He’s dressed like an extra from A Different World. I know his last mixtape dampened his buzz a bit, but the dude has undeniable star charisma, and he’s in total control of this crowd. (Oh, and those boom-bap beats actually don’t sound half-bad in here!) He’s polite, too: He picks up a joint someone tossed on stage and says, “Is this for me? Thank you.” (MPS)

Joey Bada$$ at Roseland Theater.
Jerek Hollender.

10:12 pm @ Dante’s 

Stage right: long-haired gent in loud pants making a racket fusing Moon Duo-style psychedelia with jagged hip-hop. Stage left: guitarist in a Miami Vice baseball cap acting and playing like the glam metal god he is. Staggering between the two is Herrema, lost under her heavy bangs and an oversized t-shirt featuring a huge pot leaf on it, either singing or babbling incoherently into the mike. I’m transfixed. (RH)

10:18 pm @ Dante’s 

Jennifer Herrema is fairly mesmerizing as she slinks around the stage with a Black Bananas hoody tied around her waist. Antwon was wearing a long-sleeved Antwon shirt. Is this what bands do when they haven’t been able to do laundry on tour? (AI)

10:20 pm @ Dante’s

My newfound friend Paul hastily types out a message on his phone about Black Bananas and shows it to me: “They’re like an older, inaudible version of Sleigh Bells.” He may be onto something, but I kind of dig it. I begin to wonder if Jessica Herrema would bump into things as much if she cut her bangs. I’m somewhat doubtful. (BW)

10:31 pm @ Dante’s

I split at the halfway point of Joey Bada$$ to catch the last few songs of Black Bananas. I find what looks like the cast of Workaholics grinding out an incomprehensible racket, while Jennifer Herrema ambles around the stage in a junkie stupor. The album is loud and funky. Live, it’s just loud. I’m kind of disappointed. Then again, Joey was better than I imagined. Let’s call it a wash. (MPS)

10:35 pm @ Roseland Theater

A man leaps from balcony to stage. It’s about an eight foot drop. He landed on his back and hit his head on a speaker. Security removes him. Bada$$ isn’t phased. Neither is his surprise guest, Kirk Knight of Pro Era. (JD)

10:45 pm @ Dante’s

After seeing the number of WW music hacks commenting on Black Bananas on Twitter, I text Matt Singer: “Are we going to have four writers covering the same show?” His response: “I hope so! Rock dork Rashomon!” (RH)

11:05 pm @ Roseland Theater

Kirk Knight seems like a pleasant enough guy. After the show, he spots a girl in the front row. He takes her backstage. I imagine they’ll eat Voodoo Donuts and watch Maid in Manhattan. (JD)

11:12 pm @ Dante’s

Redd Kross is late. I want to be annoyed but I remember that our intrepid editor Matt Singer spent the better part of two hours waiting for Snoop Dogg to appear on stage the other night. (RH)

11:16 pm @ Dante’s

Talking to WW copy chief Rob Fernas, who’s excited to see Redd Kross mostly because they’re from his hometown of Hawthorne, Calif. He’s even more stoked to see bassist Steve McDonald wearing a shirt emblazoned with Hawthorne’s town motto: “City of Good Neighbors”—ironic, given McDonald later introduces the 1982 punk ripper “White Trash” by discussing how he and his brother wrote the song in their garage as a screed against their asshole neighbors. (MPS)

Redd Kross at Dante's.
Jerek Hollender.

11:18 pm @ Dante’s

Tardiness is forgiven when the Brothers McDonald and their cohorts arrive and rip right into “Linda Blair.” (RH)

11:22 pm @ Dante’s

Redd Kross’ Steven McDonald seems like he could have played in Spinal Tap. I’m not quite sure if it’s the sublime bass riffs, the flowing locks of hair or just his general, unrelenting stage maneuvers. And the guy is pushing 50 years old. (BW) 

11:24 pm  @ Dante’s 

During Redd Kross’s seamless and frenetic set, an intrepid photographer climbs into one of the dancer’s cages here. This could start a trend. Sure enough, a few moments later another photographer climbs into the other dance cage. (AI) 

11:35 pm @ Dante’s 

Redd Kross is delivering a sweaty, hair-swinging power-pop master class. Portland responds in typical fashion: By staring dispassionately, then applauding politely. (MPS)

11:46 pm @ Dante’s

The folks onstage are swigging from cartons that must be filled with coconut water or some such hydrating beverage. Because if it’s milk...things could get ugly quick. (RH)

11:50 pm @ Dante’s

Redd Kross’s banter has been hilarious. At one point they ask whether there are any current or former Rajneeshees in the audience—a timely reference. There’s also a Liza Minelli shoutout. Then bassist Steve McDonald introduces “Frosted Flake” as being about “that Pavement singer. Does he still live here? He was such a blunt monkey.” (AI)

Redd Kross at Dante's.
Jerek Hollender.

Midnight @ Dante’s

Redd Kross are straight-up slaying up there, but my barking back and the notion that I have to get up and take my kid to his first day of school tomorrow means I must take my leave. (RH)

12:18 am @ Dante’s

“Are you guys saving your energy for the rest of fucking MusicfestNW?! Were you offended by the Stephen Malkmus shoutout?!” asks Steve McDonald before Redd Kross rips through a one-song encore. The crowd has thinned out pretty significantly. It is, after all, only Tuesday. (AI)

12:29 am @ #17 bus

What would have been a 15-minute bus ride has turned into nearly an hour-long ordeal due Trimet’s obliviousness to the the Highway 26 closure. Should have listened to music editor Matt Singer’s advice—should have rode my damn bike. (BW)

12:40 am @ McDonald’s on NE Broadway

Why do I have a sudden craving from McDonald’s? #reddkrosshumor #noseriously #dollarmenuallweek. (MPS)

 
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