Light of the Stereo

Light of the Stereo

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Musicfest Northwest:: The Game Plan

Tonight marks the start of 2011's Musicfest NW, Portland's premier music event of the year. The hype that this will be the grandest Musicfest yet is no lie. With 197 acts playing 21 venues, all squeezed into 5 amazing nights, this will be a week to remember. With all that music though, you have to have a game plan so in lue of a Triple Crown I thought I 'd share my picks for this years Musicfest NW. I hope you all have your own plans, but if you have a few open spots in your schedule, I've listed the shows I most excited about and hope you might check a few of them out yourself.

Wednesday, September 7th

10PM Hurry Up!
Mississippi Studios
3939 N Mississippi Ave
21 & Over

Portland's newest punk sensation, Hurry Up has a rambunctiously youthful energy that can only be captured in the thralls of punk rock rebellion. A supper group of sorts that includes Kathy Foster and Westin Glass of the Thermals and fellow underground veteran Maggie Vail, Hurry Up can back up their energy with the staying power of experience. I recently caught them opening at the East End and they were awesome and their show at Mississippi is a great way to start off the week.

Thursday, September 8th

10PM Witch Mountain
350 W. Burnside St.
21 & Over

If the 80's and David Grohl have taught us anything, it's that you should always make a little room for good metal in your life. Their is something to say of the cheap high you get killing useless braincells in the act of head banging. In this case I'm making sure to catch Portland's own Witch Mountain. A thick stew of instrumentation, their melodic grind has a bluesy sensuality that is heightened by the soulful voice of Uta Plotkin. Dante's red room atmosphere is a perfect match for this band and their music which will increase the enjoyment of this show as a pairing of the right wine can make a meal that much better.

11PM Handsome Furs
320 SE 2nd Ave
All Ages

The music of this married couple from Montreal is a shadowy grit-pop that oozes with a seedy industrial kink. The soundtrack of back ally hook ups and unmentionable after parties in skid row hotels, these songs have a lusty seduction to them that makes you crave them like your worst vices. I'm guessing this show will be sinfully fun and I might just need a shower afterwards, but sometimes it's the things that get you dirty that are the most fun.
If you want a taste of their sound, I featured their video for "Dumb Animals" in last weeks Tuesday Double Feature so check it out.

12PM Phantogram
Doug Fir Lounge
830 E. Burnside St.
21 & Over

LinkThe jazzy minimalistic dream scape of Phantograms music is a beautifully sparse environment that is inhabited by extremes, each sound making an impact twice as powerful as it's initial energy. Created by the duo of Joshua Carter and Sarah Barthel, I'm looking forward to seeing how their songs translate to the Doug Fir stage.

Friday, September 9th

9PM Anais Mitchell
Aladdin Theater
3017 SE Milwaukie Ave
All Ages

For Friday night I feel the best bang for the effort is camping out at the Aladdin Theater for a show case of storytellers and folk song writers. Opening is the melodic beauty of Anais Mitchell. With a diversely soulful voice that can strut about with an attitude of a blues diva or can softly tell a story so touching you can almost feel the soft caress of her breath upon your cheek.Her songwriting is wonderfully organic and has a universal quality that's charming to audiences of all ages, as my 10 year old daughter will tell you. I'm excited to take the whole family to this all ages show at the Aladdin Theater.

10PM Joe Pug
Aladdin Theater
3017 SE Milwaukie Ave
All Ages

Following Anais Mitchell is the storytelling perfection of Joe Pug. In my opinion one of the brightest rising stars to have picked up a guitar in the last few years. I might go as far as to say he could be the next Bob Dylan. Imbued with more honesty than Mumford and Son his musical tales are the callused handed revelation of the common man in all of us. I have become obsessed with his music and I look forward to seeing him fill the warmly embracing acoustics of the Aladdin Theater with the comforting sound of his road worn voice.

Saturday, September 10th

9PM Violet Isle
Jimmy Mak's
221 NW 10th Ave
21 & Over

Wonderfully multifaceted the Violet Isle's can be both bold and detailed. Their rich acoustic pop provided each song with a beautifully distinct flavor and their live show provides a lovingly fresh insight into their music that should not be passed up.

10PM Heavy Cream
Mississippi Studios
3939 N. Mississippi Ave
21 & Over
Somewhere between the Donna's and the Runaways, Heavy Cream, except for their one Y Chromosome, is the poster child for girl empowerment. Screw Hannah Montana and Taylor Swift, these are the girls I want my daughter to look up to. At least they can play their own instruments and they don't need to infect her with their unresolved daddy issues. Powerful and hungry you can hear it in their music. I'm excited about this show at Mississippi, because I can only believe that their live show will blow the audience away. If your curious abut the band,check out the video for "Watusi" which was included in last weeks Tuesday Double Feature. Check it out.

11PM Jared Mees & The Grown Children
600 E Burnside St.
21 & Over

Fun and playful Jared Mees and his Grown Children play the kind of music that makes you skip. Filled with the child like glee of sugar high sleep overs and carefree day dreaming; these songs might make one forget,even for just a moment, the bill buried world life turns into when you get older. I'm sure their set at Rontoms will rejuvenate it's audience with a popish energy that will let them finish the night strong .

12 PM Ravishers
Someday Lounge
125 NW 5th Ave
21 & Over

The jazzy pop of Portland's Ravishers is filled with dreamy urban melodies and a danceable beat that gets under your skin in all the best kind of ways. Vibrant and luscious with the wonderfully light-hearted energy that defines the Portland Pop sound, this band is making the right kind of commotion. I'm certain that big things are waiting for them just around the corner. So take this chance to catch these home town boys before the road claims them for its own.