MusicfestNW is discriminatory.
If you are lacking money—or wrists—there's no way you'll be able to wear one of their coveted festival bracelets. Never fear, you tender wristless pauper, because we've rounded up all the free shows and events going on during MusicfestNW (and there's lots) so that you can get yourself a piece of the action. Leave the wallet at home, because all these shows are NO WRISTBAND REQUIRED.
Don't Follow Me (I'm Lost): A Film About Bobby Bare Jr.
Journeyman songwriter Bobby Bare Jr. gets the documentary treatment, and you get a welcome break from live bands. Sit down, watch a movie, and enjoy the introduction from director William Miller. We bet at some point during the film, Bare Jr. will make one of those pop-smack sounds with his mouth.
• Wednesday, September 5 (7 pm)
Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan, FREE, minor allowed w/parent
The Garage Party
Eleven magazine, Tixie.com, and Marmoset Music are throwing an unofficial kickoff party with music from Last Bison and Portland up-and-comers Minden. The headliner's a secret, but an excellent one that we recommend unreservedly. Want a totally obvious clue? Take a look at the longer featured articles in this pullout guide, and look for one whose initials are "K.B."
• Wednesday, September 5 (8 pm): Secret headliner, The Last Bison, Minden, DJ Gregarious
Green Drop Garage, 1417 SE 9th, FREE, 21+
KEXP Shows at the Doug Fir
Each year, the tastemaking Seattle radio station sets up shop in the Doug Fir basement, hosting free daytime sets that are open to all ages. It's the best way to see some terrific bands for free, especially if you're not old enough to get into Dante's to see Redd Kross.
• Thursday, September 6:
Starfucker Hello Echo (4:30 pm); Purity Ring (2:30 pm); Ceremony (12:30 pm) CANCELED; Radiation City (10:30 am)
• Friday, September 7: Black Mountain (4:30 pm); Lost Lander (2:30 pm); The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (12:30 pm); Menomena (10:30 am)
• Saturday, September 8: Redd Kross (4:30 pm); The Hives (3 pm); Milo Greene (1:30 pm); Dinosaur Jr (noon)
Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside, FREE, all ages
Nike Shows at the Wonder Ballroom
In the past, Nike used to offer free passes to early shows at the Wonder Ballroom, which you could pick up that same day at Jackpot Records. Things are way different this year: The shows are later in the evening, Jackpot's not involved, and the procedure for securing a free pass is insanely intricate. We'd rehash it for you now, but frankly, we don't understand it. (You have to own a special Nike Fuelband pedometer/bracelet thingamabob, and then you have to join a kickball league or something, and then you maybe have to go on a midnight run with Charles Grodin, and what the fuck?) So the bad news is: We're not sure how you get into these things. The good news? No one else does either, so shorter lines, probably?
• Thursday, September 6: Flying Lotus (11:30 pm); Nosaj Thing (10:30 pm); Jacques Greene (9:30 pm)
• Friday, September 7: A-Trak (11:45 pm); The Hood Internet (10:45 pm); Baauer (9:45 pm)
Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell, FREE?, all ages
Fucked Up at the Doc Martens Store
Tell your parents you're going downtown to get Fucked Up. They'll laugh and laugh, and you'll get to see the Canadian hardcore rockers play for free, mere inches from your face in the Doc Martens store across the street from Powell's.
• Friday, September 7 (5 pm)
Dr. Martens Store, 2 NW 10th, FREE, all ages
Motion & Movement Art in Music Video
A panel discussion with musicians, choreographers, and video makers including Sean Pecknold and Andrew Sloan, plus the premiere of the new Miracles Club video.
• Friday, September 7 (6:30 pm)
Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison, FREE
Octopus Entertainment Showcase
Three local bands play a free showcase in the heart of downtown, a perfect opportunity for the wristband-less to see live music Friday night.
• Friday, September 7 (9 pm): Rags & Ribbons, Violet Isle, Wax Fingers
Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th, FREE, 21+
Shake off the hangover with more music and libations at this free daytime schmooze-fest hosted by OPB Music and Mississippi Studios. It's a party hosted by people with impeccable taste, so expect the very best, including the chance to see Menomena in a much more intimate setting than their MFNW set in Pioneer Courthouse Square.
• Saturday, September 8 (noon-4 pm): Menonema, Deep Sea Diver, Brainstorm, Albatross
Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi, FREE, 21+
PDX Music Hack Day
The official description: "Join Spotify, Rumblefish, Twilio, MapQuest, Mozilla, Puppet Labs, and your fellow hackers for a day of visualizations, data analysis, and general hacking via a number of awesome APIs." Either this is a chance for programming geeks to get together and poke around inside some popular music apps, or these guys really want to hacky sack.
• Saturday, September 8 (1 pm)
Puppet Labs, 411 NW Park, FREE (RSVP at pdxmusic-hackday-estw.eventbrite.com), all ages
Burnside Distribution Party
Burnside Distribution, A to Z Media, KZME, and 10 Barrel Brewing Company host a free daytime party with some seriously good bands, including Portland's own Talkdemonic and Gaytheist. Since Saturday's MFNW shows don't get started until the evening, this is the way to make sure you don't go without live music for a single second.
• Saturday, September 8 (2-7 pm): Earlimart, Talkdemonic, The Heligoats, Black Pussy, Gaytheist, Norman, J. Pinder, The Chicharones
Rontoms, 600 E Burnside, FREE (RSVP to email@example.com), 21+
Hott Summer Nights
The Marmoset music agency is throwing the big daddy of free unofficial MFNW parties, and it takes place on Sunday so you won't have to miss a thing (except for Silversun Pickups, but blech, amirite?). There's dollar beers, Sizzle Pie, and 14 great local bands playing on two outdoor stages. This is the way to come down from the festival in style—and to keep the party going for as long as possible. It's going to get packed, so RSVP at marmosetmusic.com/mfnw2012.
• Sunday, September 9: Pure Bathing Culture (10 pm); Kelli Schaefer (9 pm); Pearly Gate Music (8 pm); Purse Candy (7 pm); Sean Flinn and the Royal We (6:30 pm); 1939 Ensemble (6 pm); 1776 (5:30 pm); Kris Orlowski (5 pm); Lost Lander (4:30 pm); Wesley Jensen and the Penny Arcade (4 pm); Houndstooth (3:30 pm); Pegasus Dream (3 pm); The Dimes (2:30 pm); Great Wilderness (2 pm)
Rontoms, 600 E Burnside, FREE, 21+
Mama Bird MFNW Party
Mama Bird Recording Co. hosts an afternoon party with live music, and it's just around the corner from the big bash at Rontoms in case the crowds get to you.
• Sunday, September 9 (2 pm): Birger Olsen, Vikesh Kapoor, Barna Howard, Sean Spellman
Union/Pine, 525 SE Pine, FREE