It’s been a weird 48 hours. Wednesday evening was spent innocently enough with first-world problems like pissing and moaning at long lines and lack of a phone charge. I caught a nice back-to-back of Lucinda Williams and the Hold Steady, blissfully unaware at the horror that was happening across town with the drunk driver plowing his car into an innocent crowd outside of the Mohawk. It seems trite to talk about the music and it feels disrespectful to send in snarky musings about the goings on, with the pall of the tragedy that is hanging over the festival—and there is a pall—but at the risk of sounding melodramatic, music always heals, so let’s talk about music.
The ability to see shows has been super frustrating. You imagine this Pollyanna world where you can flit from venue to venue, popping in and catching 30 minutes of a band you want to check out, but that just isn’t reality. The festival is so oversold that if you have your heart on seeing someone, you really have to make sure that you are catching at least half a set from the previous band just to make sure you get into the venue. I tried to catch Lee Fields, but even with the mighty Portland Mercury badge I was 150 people deep in the line outside the sold-out venue, and I couldn’t get over to Parquet Courts—who released my favorite album of 2013—because they were eight blocks from the venues where I wanted to catch the after-11 pm shows.
Other quick random musings: Caught a day show at Easy Tiger with a band called Matrimony out of Charlotte, North Carolina. Irish lead singer with a small dose of Avett Brothers. It’s worth checking out.
Gary Numan is mostly known as a one-hit wonder with "Cars." He should be better known as the man behind the criminally underrated Tubeway Army, but now all I can think about is his show being Dinosaur Jr. loud. With all due respect to Phil Spector, Numan may have the most insidious wig in the history of music.
I can’t make this up. Friends whose taste I value HIGHLY told me that they were blown away at the—wait for it—Spandau Ballet show! Trust me, these people throw compliments around like manhole covers when it comes to music. Still trying to process it.
The festival is still young, I’ll try to actually talk about a band whose members are under 50 in the next post.