A Slice of Fried Gold

Bridgetown Bonanza and Musicfest NW

Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Due to the fact that I am two parts lazy and three parts busy (or maybe switch those two), I have fallen ridiculously behind on my blog. I am just now finishing up the blogging about my vacation. Is that sad? Yes it is, considering my vacation ended September 10th. Man oh man, I suck at blog. Because I have been so terrible, I will simply coast through the remainder of my vacation. It was most excellent, but definitely less eventful than the rest of my trip. Unless you consider a ridiculous amount of walking eventful. Then in that case, my trip was eventful as they come. With all that said, here are the highlights of the trip.

Best Mode of Transportation goes to...WALKING! (Just kidding, the Max wins)

What is the Max? See above. The Max is Portland's primary form of mass transportation. It is put together by TriMet, a wonderful company that does various forms of mass transit. For $4.25 (that is, if you pay, as many people who lived there told me they did not) you get an all day pass that will get you limitless travel by Max, Streetcar, and whatever other forms of transportation TriMet has in Portland. It was super awesome, getting me from Sobo and Todd's (which was near a Max station) to downtown in 15 minutes or so each time, allowing me to reach all of my destinations on time always.

Whether it was catching Once at the local theater (superbly delicious film by the way) or getting a ride back at 1 in the morning after my last night at Musicfest Northwest, the Max was the man on my trip. Of course I still had to walk countless miles to get to and fro various other locations, such as the Willamette Week offices or to Audio Cinema (an awesome concert venue where I saw a special Nike show - Cat Power and Bobby Bare Jr. with the Decemberists backing him...very cool...very relaxed), but altogether it wasn't that bad. Some good exercise, but my feet and back hated me by the end of the trip.

Best building in town goes to...this house!!!

Random huh? In Bridgetown itself, you would think I would call one of their bridges the coolest building/bit of architecture I saw, or maybe one of their larger buildings or even one of the cooler old buildings I took pictures of. But nope. This house was ridiculously cool, with its very large windows, unique design, and its extremely cool multi-tiered garden at the top. Sure it was actually split into apartments, but that doesn't mean I can't become filthy rich and buy the place, then evict all of the tenants and live there myself (Insert evil laugh here). Plus, it was in a nice neighborhood nestled in between Good Samaritan Hospital and Burnside, so I was definitely pretty sold on the place.

Best place for a midnight snack goes to...Voodoo Donuts!!!

Sheri took me to Voodoo Donuts after hyping it a good amount before my arrival and while I was there. Considering I was wiped after my ridiculously awesome Musicfest NW experience that night, nothing could possibly have been more delicious than some awesome donuts and a nice serving of Milk. This place was not your ordinary Donut shop, as I ordered an Apple Fritter (ridiculously delicious!) and a Maple Bar that had bacon on it. Both were superb, but it was so hard to choose as they had the most ridiculous selection I've ever seen.

Essentially they had the traditional stuff, variations of the traditional stuff (by putting weird things like bacon and Apple Jacks on them), specialties (like the Memphis Mafia, which sounded amazing but they were out of - it was a big glazed donut covered in chocolate chips, bananas, and peanut butter...mmm), and various other things. It was packed and was definitely a big time hipster place, drawing crowds from nearby concert venues and late night bar patrons. I fully recommend if you are ever in the area.

Best band at Musicfest NW: Favorite Band Division goes to...Spoon!!!

My personal favorite band Spoon performed the first night of Musicfest NW at the Crystal Ballroom, and after them being massively underhyped (I had heard they were not very good at all live), they totally rocked the house. They performed with openers Black Joe Louis (shockingly good with a fantastic bluesy sound) and Viva Voce (once again excellent), but regardless of how good the openers were, Spoon simply could not be topped. Even though I had to bail a little early (to catch the last Max out of there), they still played a lot of my favorites and managed to play a wide variety of material, covering tracks off Girls Can Tell, Kill the Moonlight, Gimme Fiction, and their new classic Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga.

It was a great show, although I was saddened that my boy Britt Daniel did not pull out his acoustic guitar for my favorite song ("I Summon You"), however I was excited because it was the last song I got to hear. I feel as if it was Britt trying to get me to stay and watch the rest, but alas I had to go. However, for all you folks out there, make sure to catch them this weekend on Saturday Night Live. It should be a good one as Seth Rogen hosts and they are the musical guest, so be there or be square!

Best band at Musicfest NW: Super Fun Rock Division goes to...the Thermals!!!

The Thermals were the last band I saw at Musicfest NW, and they were just an absolute blast. It was Sheri and myself at this show at the Crystal Ballroom, and it felt like the first concert I had ever been to. It was just a blast and a reminder of how fun shows can be.

The amazing thing is that similar to Art Brut, I am mostly ambivalent towards the band recorded. I really like a few tracks, but for aggressively fast three piece punkish bands, I mostly find them boring. Not live. Because Sheri held my stuff during Girl Talk, I held her purse and sweatshirt (plus my sweatshirt) during their set, and jumped around in the pit and danced and played and just had a great time. This was pretty much everything you could want from a rock show, and I was so happy we went. Sheri said it reminded her of Junior High, back when you would just go to a show and rock out and have fun. Sounds about right to me.

Best band at Musicfest NW: Dance Party Plus Division goes to...Girl Talk!!!

Now traditionally, you would think that a guy who essentially makes all of his music on a laptop by seamlessly meshing together other people's music would be pretty boring live. Right? I had heard stories of Gregg Gillis, aka Girl Talk, and his insane concerts. Nothing could have prepared me. At the very beginning of the set, after Lifesavas had finished and a good hour plus before headliners Clipse went on, I went up to the front to take a picture, as seen above. Right as I was considering going back, Gillis turned the entire venue upside down. What happened was some of the most fun I've ever had at a concert, as he did his entire set from right below the stage and with the entire audience around him and confetti shooting out from the ceiling.

Gillis commanded the audience to essentially have a big dance party, and that he wanted everyone to bob because it was too hard to dance. Well, as soon as the music started, chaos ensued for 45 minutes and I was right next to him, dancing my feet off and taking many absolutely astonishingly terrible pictures. It was truly an experience show, as I think if I hadn't been right up front it would have been an entirely different experience. The possible thought that Girl Talk would be boring live? Long gone. Girl Talk and his laptop were quite possibly the most memorable performers of the entire festival.

Also, as proof of the insanity, look below to catch a video of Girl Talk performing, and please, pay attention for yours truly as I am heavily featured in the video. Thanks to Pampelmoose, as I know this is his video but I am sure he won't mind.

Bands seen at Musicfest NW: Bobby Bare Jr. (with the Decemberists supporting), Cat Power, Black Joe Louis, Viva Voce, Spoon, Lifesavas, Girl Talk, the Thermals.

Musicfest NW grade: A

I mean come on? It's a festival that is based around going in and out of various shows and really getting a special experience. I had a great time. Although I am very sad I skipped out on Rilo Kiley, as I do quite like them.

As for the rest of the trip, it was a great time hanging out with Sobo, Todd, Sheri, Erik, Katie, and Sarah. It was excellent seeing everyone again and whenever I see them again is too far away. Thank you all so much for your hospitality and putting up with my transient nature. I must admit, next time I plan a trip to visit people, I will make sure it is sometime when they can get time off. I spent a large amount of my time by myself, which is not a problem, but I wish I got to spend more time with my friends. Finally, my blog will shift back to the present. I do have to say this, can't wait for next year's Bumbershoot and Musicfest NW experience!


patty said...

Great bobbing.

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