MusicFest NW 2009
So, MusicFest NW went well. I didn't even get sick this year! I think the secret was only staying up past midnight on one night instead of four nights in a row (I don't know how I did that last year!). This is probably the last year that I'll buy a wristband, since I had the most fun at the free daytime performances sponsored by KEXP.
We started out easy on Thursday by going to see Hey Marseilles at Ash Street Saloon. There was an accordion, so I was happy. After the performance, we headed over to Dante's to see We Were Promised Jetpacks, but there was a long line full of noisy people, and we decided to just head home at a reasonable hour.
On Friday afternoon, I headed over to Doug Fir to see The Builders and the Butchers perform live on KEXP. There weren't that many people there, and I was able to stand right next to the stage. It was great! I'd never seen an electric banjo before--pretty cool (you can kind of see it on the right in the picture below). I also liked that their songs are so awesome that they need two drummers!
Gunny (aka Jon) arrived from Seattle a little later in the day, and we grabbed a quick dinner at SubRosa before catching the bus downtown. Gunny was really excited about seeing Sunny Day Real Estate reunited, so we went to the Crystal Ballroom to see them and The Jealous Sound (another 90's band that hadn't played together in over 10 years). Since I wasn't cool in high school (or college), I hadn't heard of either band. Pretty much everybody else there was super excited to see them and had clearly been awaiting this day for 11-14 years.
Patrick and I left about halfway through Sunny Day Real Estate's performance so we'd be able to see Viva Voce at Berbati's Pan, but Gunny stayed behind to soak up as much emo reunion music as possible. He really seemed to enjoy it, which was good :) We weren't that familiar with Viva Voce, and their vocals were kind of hard to hear from where we were standing, but I was glad to see them. They played a few songs that I recognized, including Rose City, which I like by default because it's about Portland :)
After Viva Voce were The Long Winters, who were enjoyable. I like their album cover art, and John Roderick is a funny guy. However, I was really sleepy at that point, since it was past midnight, so I found a chair and tried (unsuccessfully) to keep my eyes open until the show was over. Add to that the fact that I was wearing practical footwear (clogs!) and complaining about how loud it was (despite my earplugs), and I think I am officially too old for MFNW. Ah well.
On Saturday, we had breakfast at Chaos Cafe (our default neighborhood destination for healthy and delicious vegetarian food) and then headed up to N. Mississippi. I stopped at that garage sale I mentioned earlier, where I bought my very own full-sized ironing board, but no skulls or male mannequins. The ironing board is lumpy and wobbly, but I think with some love I can make it better, plus it was cheap. I definitely want to make a pretty cover for it, and hopefully Patrick can fix the wobbliness.
We stopped in at Mississippi Records, where Gunny spotted the bassist from The Thermals and we picked up AC/DC's Back in Black and a Simon and Garfunkel album, plus the original Star Wars soundtrack for Susan! I forgot to tell you that we bought a used record player at Crossroads a few weeks ago. I'm afraid that buying a record player at this point makes us hipsters. Except that we don't wear day-glo sunglasses or smoke, so that's something. We just thought it might be nice to listen to records, like our families did when we were kids.
We had a quick lunch at Por Que No, and then I headed down to Sellwood to see a bunch of bands (Langhorne Slim, The Lonely Forest, John Vanderslice, Bobby Bare Jr., The Black Whales, and Port O'Brien) play unplugged sets at The Woods, as part of a free showcase hosted by KEXP and Caffe Vita. I'd never been to The Woods before, but I really liked it! It's an old funeral home that was recently turned into a small music venue. There were lots of nice old comfy couches and chairs and a little kitchenette where you could buy cupcakes, cheese plates, and goblets of Chex mix (those first two items ended up being my dinner, but I didn't have room for Chex mix. Next time!). I grabbed a chair, settled in, and hung out there happily for the next 6 hours. The only thing that would've made it better is if I'd had my knitting and my cat (and my husband!). I'll definitely bring the knitting next time. I don't think it would be out of place.
There was one guy on a couch next to me who stayed for the whole 6 hours too, but he ended up falling asleep after about 4 hours, and he just slept peacefully in the back, curled up on a couch, while everybody else listened to music. I thought that was nice :)
Langhorne Slim's set was short but good. My favorite performers of the evening were John Vanderslice and Bobby Bare Jr. I'd definitely like to see them perform live again in the future. John Vanderslice just seemed like a genuinely nice guy, plus he sang a song about cannibalism on the moon--how innovative! He said that he lives in San Francisco, but he wishes he'd moved to Portland 5 years ago when he had the chance.
Bobby Bare Jr. got there late, but he was totally worth the wait. He was an awesome performer, and his steel guitar player looks just like Ken Burns. Bobby Bare Jr. is really into Shel Silverstein--in fact he's working on an album of covers of Shel Silverstein songs. Sounds cool!
When the show was over (around 9pm), I headed home and went to bed at a totally reasonable hour! I had originally planned to see Langhorne Slim and The Builders and The Butchers at Crystal Ballroom, but that would have been another late night, and I'm not really a fan of the setup at Crystal Ballroom (the three times I've been there, I've ended up in the crowded over-21 corral, smushed against a stair railing, unable to see much of the stage). Since I had seen both bands already that weekend, I decided it wasn't a big deal to miss them.
On Sunday, I went for a solo run along the Eastbank Esplanade (Patrick and Gunny did go to the Crystal Ballroom show, so they skipped the run in favor of more sleep). Then we had a lovely morning bike ride through Ladd's Addition (perfect weather!) to Juniors, where we had a very nice breakfast.
Patrick saw Gunny off at the train station, and then we finished out the evening with a little Buffy-watching. We actually just finished our second rewatching of the entire series, so I guess now it's time to find a new TV show to watch on DVD. We have a list of contenders. I'd be interested in True Blood, but I don't know if Patrick will go for it. Maybe Deadwood?
P.S. Yesterday, while biking to trivia, I saw a parade of ~10 naked bike riders at SE 26th and Clinton. They were hooting and hollering, and everybody on the sidewalk at SubRosa and Press Club was cheering for them. It was an unexpected and momentarily shocking sight, but it kind of made my day--such a cheery and innocent display of nudity! Portland is the best :)
P.P.S. I got my information packet for Ladies' Rock Camp in the mail today! I don't think I told you, but I signed up for a three-day-long rock immersion camp in late October. It's a fundraiser for the Rock Camp for Girls program, and I'm both nervous and excited about it! I signed up for vocals, but if it goes well, maybe I'll try drums next year. The camp bands will be performing our original songs on Sunday, October 25, from 3-5pm at Satyricon, if anybody wants to come check it out. It'll be like taking Rock Band to the next level!