When September rolls around, it’s hard not to set high expectations for MFNW. Every year I attend successfully trumps the year previous. There always seems to be better bands, more venues and community involvement. It may not be the small festival it once was, with only a handful of bands, hidden in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest, but with MFNW’s expansion come more new bands and a chance to discover your next musical obsession. But until MFNW returns in 2013, check out some of the highlights of this year’s fest—
For a band that began playing together last year, Fort Lean has made quick work of getting themselves known, having landed themselves a spot at this year’s MFNW, as well as a critically lauded performance at CMJ. They may have been opening for Passion Pit Thursday night, but plenty of people crowded the Crystal Ballroom to see the Brooklyn quintet’s brand of buoyant alt-rock. You didn’t need to be in the front row to see these guys were having fun, as lead singer Keenan Mitchell’s large crop of curly blonde hair could be seen head-banging from the back balcony.
Moon Duo is the collaboration of two people: Ripley Johnson (Wooden Shjips) and Sanae Yamada. But listening to the band’s massive, room filling psychedelic guitar and keyboard concoctions, it would be easy to think that there were at least a dozen other musicians involved. During the show, the group projected a surreal video collage that blanketed the stage, enhancing the performance with off-kilter visuals and further confirming my love for the duo.
Given the Pitchfork article detailing front man Michael Angelakos’ recent bouts with mental illness, cancelled tour dates and hospital stays, I was curious what Thursday night’s Passion Pit show might bring. However, after the group charged through the first few selections from Manners and Gossamer (the group’s latest) there was little doubt in my mind that the rest of the show was going to be anything short of spectacular – which it was. Watching a packed house of people fully exercise the Crystal Ballroom’s famous bouncing floor to “Sleepyhead” is something I’m not likely to forget soon.
I remembered seeing Gregg Gillis when he came to Portland a few years ago. And in a lot of ways, this year’s performance was much like that one: half-naked people, dripping in sweat, dancing furiously to some of the most potent and adrenaline inducing mash-ups existing today. But this year, Girl Talk came with a more expansive light show, confetti explosions and toilet paper guns. Sound nutty? It was—see Girl Talk immediately.
Photos (c) Zach Klassen