MusicFestNW Part 3: Antlers, Explosions in the Sky, Typhoon, Avi Buffalo, OFF!

Saturday, September 10th: my last full day and night in PDX. MusicFestNW officially ends on the night of the 11th, but Band of Horses and whatnot are hardly drivers for me to stay. So Saturday is IT for me, best make the most of it. Conveniently, one of the bands I’m most in love/lust with, The Antlers. Their latest album Burst Apart is a bit of genius. So I haul ass to the Doug Fir for their noon KEXP sesh, in the hope that I can corner the boys and make nice before I become their groupie we all hang out on the Weezer Cruise together in January. Here’s the rather tasty Darby Cicci…

Darby, The Antlers, pic by Mikala Taylor/

The Antlers’ session is rad and I’m chuffed that I get to see ’em twice today. Extra new guitarist/bassist Timothy is the joker, complaining about how his “good idea at the time” breakfast sandwich is now coming back to haunt him. This has no impact, however, on the loveliness that is “Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out” and “I Don’t Want Love”, two of the tracks that fill the room at noon.

Afterwards I corner Peter and gush (Me: “yeah, and I also love Hospice but can only listen to it when I don’t want to feel emotional.” Him: “Yeah, understandable.”), and we start to make plans about the absurdity of a Cruise featuring a bunch of 90s indie rock bands…and them. Darby and I also plot. Insert *muhahahahahahahaha* here.

Explosions in the Sky, pic by Mikala Taylor/

Next up! GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR! No, sorry, MOGWAI! No, sorry, GODSPEED YOU EXPLOSIONS IN THE MOGWAI! Uh, whoops, I mean EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY! Yeah, that’s it! I really, really dig the new era of quiet-loud-quiet-blood-loud-epic-instrumental bands, and Texas’ Explosions are bringing back the need for earplugs in a good way. Their songs soar, even at this contained KEXP sesh, and Michael James and Munaf Rayani (plus Mark Smith) are bowled over by their own awesome that they all need to sit down. Perhaps conserving for later’s night show….

MFNW PosterMart, pic by Mikala Taylor/

After the back-to-back awesome of Antlers exploding in the sky, and having a brief chat with EITS’s Rayani, I head up in the vampire-killing sunshine to check out the awesome rock PosterMart that’s on in the Jupiter Hotel’s courtyard. I fall hard for San Fran’s Lil Tuffy‘s stuff (see above), and we chat about how he did all of Pavement‘s posters last year. I’m about to buy up tons of his stuff when I realize that I’m broke. Sadface. Anyway, it’s lunchtime and I need some coin for more Sizzle Pie.

Avi Buffalo, pic by Mikala Taylor/

After lunch, I get a bit of indigestion watching Avi Buffalo. Nice enough guy, but I couldn’t pick his music out of a crowd if it came up and bit me in the mixed metaphor. We chat afterwards – he digs and knows Lou Barlow – but someone has told me that he’s seen a Tumblr with Avi’s girlfriend doing naughty stuff and that Avi’s private parts are on it as well. I can think of nothing else.

Typhoon, pic by Mikala Taylor/

Then it’s a wander down over the bridge, through the remnants of the Portland Saturday Market and towards to the outdoor venue of Pioneer Courtyard Square for my second-helpings of Typhoon, The Antlers and Explosions in the Sky, as the sun sets on a muggy night. Typhoon are great. Perfect late-summer music, and fill the stage with their aforementioned 1,698 members. I like!

Peter, The Antlers, pic by Mikala Taylor/

Then it’s back to The Antlers. Timothy walks past, sitting on a stoop, recognized me from earlier at KEXP and we end up talking about, what else? The Weezer Cruise. “I can’t decide if it’s totally hilarious or really pretentious,” he says. We agree it has to be former. It’s too much weird not to be. Then he runs off to find his cousin before taking the stage. By then, the sun is dipping and Peter’s voice just hovers in the haze. Dunno how he manages the fragile/forceful mix but hey, well done. They sound pretty perfect in the air.

Michael, The Antlers, pic by Mikala Taylor/

After the set, I run into this guy – Michael from the Antlers – to complete my full set of horns. Do I win a prize? Yep, me and Michael hit it off instantly and are riffing off each other immediately. “You’re painting quite a debauched picture of this Cruise,” he says. I apologize. “No, I think that’s what it’s going to be like.” We try to figure out the quantity of booze we need to bring onto the boat. ‘Cos, like, that shit’s gonna be expensive on the open seas! Antlers, I deem thee my favourites of MFNW. Can’t wait to help judge the Bellyflop Contest with you, Michael! *hi-five*

Explosions in the Sky, pic by Mikala Taylor/

I love this picture. It’s Explosions in the Sky, exploding before the night sky. And look! There’s a rainbow! See? Sky! Explosions and sky! (They also sounded brilliant and enormous.) But by that time it was late dinner o’clock… What’s that Deschutes Brewery? You want me to drink your beer and eat your hot wings outside with my mate Shelly from KEXP? Okay! So we do. Then I hop in a cab to the OTHER end of town’s Hawthorne Theatre in time for the mega near-finish of the week….

Dimitri Coats, pic by Mikala Taylor/

Hey look! It’s my friends in punk band OFF! featuring former Circle Jerk and Black Flag-er Keith Morris! EXCLAMATION MARKS! Here’s Dimitri Coats and his amazing hair, whom I ran into before the show. I remind him of meeting up not more than a month ago at their Copenhagen gig. He gives me a big hug and says it’s nice to see me again. I also flag down OFF!’s Steve McDonald (formerly of Redd Kross) to catch up. He says he digs my t-shirt. He’s not the only one. I’m one of, like, five girls at the show and wearing a canny only-insiders-get-it Black Flag shirt, which means I get a lot of punk guys stopping me to admire my taste in coverage. Or cleavage. Not sure.

Keith Morris, OFF!, pic by Mikala Taylor/

Keith Morris remains one of my favourite persons to take pics of. He’s brilliant, knows where the camera is and is all insane energy. He rabbits on about Gun Club’s Jeffrey Lee Pierce, before playing the song, along with pretty much everything else on their first four EPs. I love OFF! so very, very much…but Shelly’s outside in the car and it’s time to wrap MFNW back at the Doug Fir with a local band I’ve never seen before…

The Helio Sequence, pic by Mikala Taylor/

…it’s the Portland two-piece The Helio Sequence, who are playing to a wrapt and rammed room full of love. Have no idea how to describe Brandon and Benjamin’s stuffs, but it’s kinda indie pop with an electronic backbone. And it’s a pretty sweet way to end the night and end the week, with the KEXP gang, in the room they called home for a bit.

So, thanks, MusicFestNW, that was a blast. Your pizza, doughnuts, venues, local bands and locals are quite frankly, hipsterrific. I’mma be back, if you’ll have me?¬† \m/




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