Finally after weeks of anticipation, Music Fest NW began on the 3rd with a slew of shows at Dante’s. The first night has a few shows to offer at Music Fest NW but the highlight is local Portland rockers, Summer Cannibals. With their brand of crunchy rock and roll, they brought out their best performance for MFNW.
After Summer Cannibals was Black Bananas. A very loud, a very wasted band. They played pretty good music, Black Bananas had a sound like Sleigh Bells. Then the headliner was Redd Kross. Originally formed back in 1980, Redd Kross knows how to punk rock out. Their show was fantastic I only wished I stayed for the entire show, but it was bed time and there was about to be an epic week of shows.
Homegrown hip-hop hustlers TxE sound like they wandered up to Portland from L.A. a decade ago and have been ruminating on the sounds ever since. When you think of up and coming hip hop scenes, Seattle with acts like Grieves, Shabazz Palaces, and Macklemore and even Minneapolis (Brother Ali, Atmosphere, P.O.S.) might come to mind before Portland. TxE reps Portland so hard they could be the whole scene. What we’re talking about is tight rapping, dynamic beats, with both a good edm and indie rock sensibility. The crowd is minimal this early in the festival, but rappers TOPE and Epp basically work a miracle to get this small sober crowd of Portlanders moving to G-Force’s phat beats.
Next up is Sirah, a genre blending pop singer best known for her appearance on Skrillex’s Bangerang. Tonight she stands apart, flashing her pop side to the crowd, she also draws on the other radio genres; r&b, rap, electronic to achieve a complete meal deal. Last year’s C.U.L.T. Too Young To Die and older albums reflects this inspired take on being a person of the digital age, though the direction of this year’s Inhale leaves the original idea for a shinier package.
K.Flay is on the relentless tour circuit, so we’re glad to finally get a chance to catch some live. Listening to K.Flay’s new album What if it is is like taking a massive dose of purple drank before going about your day. It slows the mind way down, causing intense reverberating effects and the occasional visual hallucination. With the quality of the lyrical content, the intriguing alt aesthetic of the music, the the rhythmic mastery of K.Flay’s rapping, you’ll probably feel as silly for not checking them out sooner as I did.
Headlining this dope festival of underground is Grieves. He’s basically the shit. The beats are still as fresh as when we caught him at Treefort Mainstage in 2011. Hawthorne Theater is the perfect larger-sized venue for the crowd and their enthusiasm as he and his breaks out into “On the Rocks.”