I went to the NW Music Festival over the weekend, which was an event where you can buy a wristband and get access to a bunch of different venues around the city. It was a nice motivation to get out, as I hadn’t been out for three nights in a row for years.
I started the festival off with going to the Roseland theater Thursday night, in which there were two men wearing Indian-style shirts, each set up with a drum set, drumming along to a soundtrack. I thought it was kind of goofy. The follow-up act was Big Freedia, a flamboyant Bounce rapper from New Orleans, who was far more enthusiastic and with it.
Next stop was the Ash Street Saloon. I had never been there before, but it was a pretty fun time, the Bellrays interacted well with the audience and got all in and danced with them. Their opening band, Garotas Suecas, was some garage band from Sao Paolo that I’d been intending to see for months, so I finally got my chance.
Saturday I went through a few places. Started off at the Wonder Ballroom for the Black Lips, which were okay, I’ve seen them play better shows, especially when Nike wasn’t sponsoring them. We then biked downtown and hung out at the Ash Street Saloon for their cheap drinks, but the music was a bit whiny. Our final stop was Dante’s, so we decided to stay there for a while and wait for the bands we wanted to see, as the lines can get pretty long if you’re not already in. Thee Oh Sees from San Francisco played, they were fun to watch. The headliner for this show was the Gories, an old garage band from Detroit. I’d seen the singer play for the Dirtbombs a few times, but the Gories were great, nice and simple music and playing all sorts of originals and covers. The audience was a bit rowdy, full of leather-toters and bare-chested greasers, but a bit away from the main action was better.
The third night we went to Holocene, a venue in Southeast I’d never been to before. A lot of really well-dressed youth were there, sporting their back tattoos or tight, yellow pants, or faux- or true-fur coats. The acts all had good music, all seeming to be centered out of tangling cords or Macbooks. Big Freedia was once again the headliner, being bouncy and energetic all to a new crowd.
Though I am leaving Portland pretty soon, I will definitely miss the well-organized, fun weekends.