Saturday, September 8, 2007

MusicFestNW: Saturday Night

I had only one band on my agenda for tonight's installment of MusicFest: Atlanta feedback pilots Deerhunter.

I've encountered some long lines this weekend, and as I figured Deerhunter (pictured above) would be a pretty strong draw in Portland, I got to the venue a full 40 minutes before their set was to begin. Said venue was, no surprise, the Doug Fir (this place is becoming my home away from home; it's gotten to the point where the bartender no longer has to ask me what I want). And wouldn't you know, once I got there... no line at all! Which meant that I was able to catch some of the previous act, Chicago's Bobby Conn:

This guy was easily the sleeper of this year's MusicFest for me. He's fused 1970s glam rock and arena rock about as well as anyone can in the new millenium. To listen to what's on his Myspace page, you wouldn't think much of him, but what I saw tonight was something else entirely. His stage presence recalls the androgynous vibe of early Bowie (as you can see from the photo, he looks a bit like Eddie Izzard), and he and his band channeled the energy of that decade at its best. Imagine pre-1984 Van Halen with a punk rock violin player. Great stuff! I wish I'd gotten there earlier...

After Bobby Conn, Deerhunter almost fell a bit flat at first. They seemed a bit too noisy, a bit too dischordant. But after a few songs, they began to hit their stride. In their better moments they came close, not quite but close, to channeling My Bloody Valentine (and yes, I have seen My Bloody Valentine live, so I know full well what an amazing, if painful, experience that is...), and washed the room with a beautiful onslaught of crazy, distorted, reverby sound. Just the right note on which to end the third night of MusicFest!

The festival wraps up with a single show at the Crystal Ballroom tomorrow night. It's a show I want to see, but I haven't yet decided if I'm actually going to be there...

No comments: