Time confuses me. After 3 days of energetic music, I can barely remember who I’ve seen. (Luckily, I snapped some photos.) My legs are jello and my eyelids are locked. A dream already, fragments of the music float by, in no particular order. You can also check out more acts and photos over at StereoGum, where my cousin’s old collage mate, Heather, snapped some amazing photos. (Note to self: work on getting a photo pass to the next festival!)
- Bon Iver
Delicate, remote, curious, alive. Their Jeff Buckly voices ignite our souls and the pendulum people soon sway. We roll their purposefully misspelled French name over our tongues, as if to find extra meaning. And at the end of a much-too-short set, the Wisconsin born singer trains us to sing, first quietly and then with all our might. “It’s all you against this P.A.” He promises we’ll all be able to then “let loose” and that it’ll be lots of fun. From the cries and howls, the crowd agrees and I can’t wait to hear a recording. [Portland Show @ Aladdin, 8/29]
- Regina Spektor
Coming from Kaki King, where the vocals are muddy, tinny and painfully off-key, Regina Spektor turns the universe upside down with her voice. Her fiery hair and omniscient body fill the stage. I’m glued in my binoculars to catch her drumming the chair with one hand while playing the guitar with the other – and still singing, of course. I’m happy she throws in a few “oldies” and closes with my sappy fave named after my lost kitty, Samson.
- Kaki King
I’m disappointed with the sound system. I don’t know why the vocals are off, and I wish she’d stop singing and play the guitars. I fall in love with an electric-accoustic she makes impossible music on and want to reassure the crowd that she’s much better than the sound. [Portland Show @ Wonder Ballroom, 10/21]
I won’t laugh like this until we play “catch phrase” later in the night. Cake cracks me up and I love them for it. They play gem after gem and I’m so happy to have decided to wander over to their stage. I may not pop in their CD on the way home, but I can die a little happier.
- Andrew Bird
Nope. I didn’t know he played with the Squirrel Nut Zippers. And I have no idea he will be this beautiful and charismatic on stage. Andrew (we’re on a first name basis now) creates timeless music by capturing sound, sending it through a time machine and elegantly infusing it back into the “live” sound waves. Colorful phonographs and a victrola, an antique amp, grey suit … I lose myself in space and time and let myself be carried through the universe, back to when we painted my kitchen, when I first saw the Portland Rose Garden, when I first ran out to catch a bird. When it’s all done, I still want to check w/my binoculars, as I’m skeptical on what to believe. I see him whistling, but I hear a crying violin. I see him walk off the stage, but I hear the music loop, feel the pulse of the rotating phonographs and don’t know when it fades away.
- Rodrigo y Gabriela
- Jack Johnson
- Devandra Banhart
- M. Ward
- Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers
- Manu Chao