As an acquaintance commented sarcastically when the new MusicFestNW lineup and setup was announced: finally Portland playing host to a music festival with shows in moderate proximity to each other, all happening the same-ish weekend. Crazy!
Part of the charm of a music festival to me is the freedom that can be found within the curated eco-systems built as temporary, fleeting shrines to the love of music as experienced in one time and place. If one has grown complacent or numbed by the grind, a good music festival with all it’s well-timed sounds and organic sights can remind just how short and just how sweet we have it.
While biking around town to catch each show is charming, there’s something to be said about locking up the bike for a day and catching the shows on foot. And for those yearning for the old MusicFestNW vibes, there are still festival off-shoot shows and after parties to catch (for a price) at Bunk Bar, Star Theater, Doug Fir and the Dr. Marten’s parking lot.
If you are in PDX this weekend, here’s who you shouldn’t miss:
Girl Talk: Mashup veteran Girl Talk shamelessly mines pop and dance familiars from the decades, and we ain’t mad about it.
Phantogram: Fall In Love. Seriously. Phantogram manages to hit all the notes I can’t get enough of these days: a psychedelic pop sound mixed with dreamy electronics, beautiful female vocals and some well-placed heavy hits. If you are even just a little bit in love with this duo, seeing them live will seal the deal for you.
Shy Girls: We the people of Portland are so proud of our Shy Girl (actually adult man, Dan Vidmar), who has made such a gentle, sexy scene in the music world with his blissy R&B deliciousness. His music is most often listened to in pairs (if you’re catching my drift), but as long as you are prepared to share him with the group, this show is a must see.
Wild Ones: Another Portland band to get in front of, Wild Ones is a music collective whose indie sound is both easy on the ears and interesting enough to keep the attention of those of us who spent much of the 2000s with mellow indie-rock piping through our earbuds.
Haim: Everyone’s favorite band right now. These insanely talented sisters produce a sound that is part vintage soft rock and part bright Cali-pop. Haim live is quite the treat.
MusicFestNW August 16, 17 at Portland’s Waterfront Park. Tickets available, but get ’em quick.