MusicfestNW 2015
Waterfront Park; Portland, OR

When I woke up on Saturday morning, I thought to myself “Why is someone BBQing this early?!” It wasn’t until later when I went outside and saw the sky that I realized it was definitely not someone BBQing… The world was on fire.

Portland isn’t a place that’s usually affected by fire, so generally you don’t have to worry about fire threatening a music festival. Don’t worry, Portland didn’t burn to the ground — you can still come visit and get VooDoo Donughts — but we did get rogue air currents that brought in smoke from the massive fires happening not too far away. Sadly, that made the air really awful to both breathe and be in. Not shockingly, it kept a bunch of people away. The bands weren’t really into the whole smoke thing, either. So, attendance was down and so was morale, which was not great for business. But… it was gross. I went home covered in grime, only grotesquely fascinated by being able to literally wipe black gunk off my body.

I have to be honest. I was most excited about Modest Mouse and Belle and Sebastian, because I’m old. I wanted to hear the entirety of Good News For People Who Love Bad News and If You’re Feeling Sinister to take me back to a simpler time when I didn’t have real bills to pay and waking up at 9 AM was EARLY. Both put on spectacular shows. Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian was curious to know if Portland is still weird and inquired about our Sex Toy bandit who made (inter)national news recently for hanging dildos from power lines. Later in the show, he started a dance party on stage with people from the crowd. Meanwhile, Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock had made some statements about Portland recently while he was in Poland, and I was interested to see if the crowd would boo or bring it up. They did not. Portland still loves Modest Mouse, and Isaac is still a masterful showman.

I was also excited to see The Tallest Man on Earth. This was the third time I’ve seen him in concert, and it was my favorite of all three. I am in love with Kristian Matsson, and I’m pretty sure he is the musical lovechild of Bob Dylan and Paul Simon. While he’s relatively short, his personality and presence are large. Some other things to point out: Danny Brown was really proud of his tongue and showed it off, a lot; Foster The People had an incredible light show; The Best Sweater award has to go to Beirut; tallest cymbal in a drum kit goes to Battles; and best ska number goes to MisterWives. Yeah. Ska. We’re still in 2015, right?



Belle and Sebastian


Danny Brown

Foster The People


Modest Mouse

Talk In Tongues

Tallest Man on Earth

Title Fight

Twin Shadow

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