Crowds were out in full yesterday at Boise’s Treefort Music Fest, but that didn’t mean venues were more packed. Saturday’s lineup provided many opportunities to see intimate performances from bands of every genre. Even at the giant main stage, which takes up an entire parking lot, concertgoers were able to tuck themselves inside the Radio Boise Campfire Stage to get up close and personal with various singer-songwriters and solo musicians.
Portland songwriter Nick Delffs (aka Death Songs) was one of Radio Boise’s first Saturday acts. In between a rousing set from Georgia indie rockers New Madrid and Portland pop stars Radiation City, Delffs gathered around the metaphorical campfire with nothing more than a bass drum and acoustic guitar then played a stripped down songs. Typically Delffs’ brand of upbeat rock requires a full band with an array of instruments, but this cozy show was remisce of gigs folkies like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez used to play in Greenwich Village before they hit the big time.
Just after Death Songs ended, Radiation City kicked off their main stage set. Seeing the Portland quintet just released an new album on Polyvinyl and finished a European tour, they were ready for such a large stage. Their stew of influences (e.g. ’60’s girl bands, funky motown compositions, doowop vocal groups, orchestral arrangements) immediately drew in curious onlookers, but the constant catchy harmonies between co-frontwomen Elizabeth Ellison and Patti King won them over.
At El Korah Shrine (an old Shriners club built in the early 1900s) the stage has no barrier, so lucky festivarians are able to edge up next to some of their favorite acts. For Mimicking Birds, fans hung on every note as the Portland four piece slowly burned through a handful of sweet, contemplative songs. Such personal and introspective tracks are the reason why Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock signed Mimicking Birds to his Glacial Pace record label almost eight years ago.
Denver DJ John Thomas (aka RUMTUM) is fun to watch. He rocked the raised stage of Treefort’s electronica haven Rose Room as spectators danced just a few inches away. Those not moving were able to watch him drum up a storm of heady, texture-laden beats on his control pad. Either way, it was entertaining.
Like Mimicking Birds, people packed in tight near the stage to witness Coco Rosie. The French experimental duo is comprised of sister Bianca “Coco” and Sierra “Rosie” Casady. They bend every genre by incorporating rap, beat boxing, opera, jazz and folk sounds into each of their trippy songs. Of course, El Korah’s close quarters was a great place to watch the eclectic twosome at play.
Aesop Rock feat. Rob Sonic
Even hip hoppers Ian Matthias Bavitz (aka Aesop Rock) and Robert “Rob Sonic” Smith had a good time spitting just a few feet away from a packed house at The Knitting Factory. Obviously small stages work well for hip hop because emcees, like Bavitz and Smith, really know how to work a crowd. Sometimes Sonic acted as Bavitz’s hype man, telling his congregation to throw its hands in the air, like they just don’t care. The audience happily complied.
Closing out Saturday, DJ and producer Jason Chung (aka Nosaj Thing) turned the full Rose Room into a sensuous dance party. Instead of playing original material, though, he presented a more typical DJ set by spinning and manipulating his way through hit songs from various rappers. Get enough people in Rose Room’s large banquet hall and it turns into a cramped, sweaty affair, perfect for busting a move.
- It’s not all rock ’n’ roll at Treefort. Saturday provided a veritable smorgasbord of music and it looks like Sunday will have similar offerings. Yum, yum.
- Treefort has something for everyone, even little kids. On Saturday at the Radio Boise Campfire Stage, Play Date performed fun songs about monsters and the alphabet, then gave some singing lessons. Yay!
- It seems like Boiseans love to drive fast and loud on the weekend. The amount of muffler roars and burnouts overheard throughout the city yesterday matched the number of artists playing.
Look for more festival coverage right at AXS.com.