This week I attended several shows as part of Music Fest North West (MFNW) 2012. There were a few bands whose music I’d heard before but none that I’d seen live. Since I had not heard the music of most of the bands playing at the festival, I spent some time filling up my schedule by listening to their music on Spotify and on their websites. By the time the festival started, I was eagerly looking forward to the experience. Here’s a day-by-day recollection.
This first night I headed straight for Crystal Ballroom because I really wanted to see Passion Pit. I got there early and also saw the opening band, L.P. I had never heard either in a live show before. Heard L.P.’s music for the first time earlier that day when I was figuring out where to go before the Passion Pit show. Enjoyed both immensely.
Spent the entire evening at Mississippi Studios. Saw Mbilly, Lemolo, Alialujah Choir and Pokey LaFarge & the South City Three. Each of these was awesome. I’d say that Alialujah Choir was the most interesting music. They even used a theremin in a couple of songs, which was awesome! They are quite the crowd entertainers. However, Pokey and band were the best at getting the crowd revved up and entertained.Their kind of Southern music is not something I listen to often It was a refreshing and festive sound. By the time the performances ended, I had had an excellent time in a small venue with some really passionate and talented musicians.
Started the evening at Pioneer Courthouse Square. Arrived when Menomena was playing. I’d never heard their music before my exploratory listening earlier in the week. Wasn’t terribly impressed, which was fine, because I was there primarily for Beirut. Beirut came on next and did a wonderful show. Their evocative use of brass wind instruments was uniquely memorable during the course of MFNW. They have a lovely sound and I hope to see them live again in the future.
Next I headed to Crystal Ballroom where I heard more new music. This time it was Unknown Mortal Orchestra (UMO) and The Helio Sequence (THS). I was there primarily because I had liked music by THS when I was exploring the MFNW bands. Ended up that UMO also grew on me and even though it felt realy loud I was really digging their music by the time their set ended. THS was fun but after listening to them for about thirty minutes their songs started to sound all the same. I was really tired at this time and decided to call it a night and head home.
Overall I’d say it was another night of new and wonderful music.
I started the night at Pioneer Courthouse Square. I was mainly there for Girl Talk (the only artist at MFNW I’d previously seen live) but decided to check out the opening bands as well. First up was AU and next came Starfucker. They were both interesting but not too memorable. Girl Talk rocked the crowd, the way he does, with amazing use of pop music remixes that appeal to pretty much everyone. Add to that the lights and video, giant air-filled balls and a bunch of helium balloons and you have a sure fire crowd pleaser.
I left for Crystal Ballroom shortly before the show ended because I wanted to be there in time to see The Tallest Man on Earth. He didn’t disappoint. After seeing so many bands with all kinds of instruments and styles, it was great to see this one guy thrilling the crowd with his voice and just a guitar or a piano. Unfortunately a lot of people kept talking through his songs. The problem was so prevalent that some people took it upon themselves to shush out those that seemed to think that they were at a cocktail party. It didn’t help a lot. Perhaps because of that, or even otherwise, I would love to see him at a smaller venue sometime.
By the end of that show I was really tired and headed home but when I got back I had caught a second wind and started to look at the schedule to see who was still playing. That’s when I noticed that TRUST was the only band playing at 1 AM, at Holocene. I listened to a couple of their songs over Spotify. I wasn’t too sure about them but my interest was sufficiently piqued that I chose to head over there. I’m really glad I did, because they sounded a lot better in that small venue and I danced my ass off for an hour. It was a great end to eight hours of music fest fun.
The only venue on the schedule for Sunday was Pioneer Courthouse Square. There were three bands and I had never heard any of them. I got there shortly before the first band started playing at 5:30 PM. They were an Australian band called Atlas Genius. They were followed by School of Seven Bells. Both these bands were really enjoyable. The last band to perform was Silversun Pickups. At first I wasn’t really into their music, but gradually and after about three to four songs, I started to get into it. By the time the show ended an hour later I was really digging their music. Their sound, style and variety all seemd to indicate that they are a rock force to be reckoned with.
And that was it. Five nights, eighteen artists, five venues. Despite all the time spent with these wonderful bands at various venues, there were a lot more that I didn’t have the chance to enjoy this time around. Hopefully someday scientists and engineers will figure out how to let a person be in two places at the same time and there will be much rejoicing.
A most thrilling music festival. An experience that was new to me and that I hope to enjoy more in the future.