From the first time I saw Hillstomp in a Portland basement nearly a decade ago, its fleet-fingered junk box approach to blues has never ceased to amaze. Not only is it the only band at Treefort that has to sound check both a 5-gallon bucket AND a brake rotor, but it makes them sound amazing, with equal homage paid to R.L. Burnside and The Cramps.
The band made sure to thank the Record Exchange for having it play.
"There's not a lot of these around anymore," said drummer John Johnson. "And I think it's a testimony to the kind of community you have that one this big and this awesome is still here."
I couldn't agree more.
From there I went to check out Dave Grohl's documentary, Sound City, playing at The Egyptian.
It was equal parts high-quality Behind the Music, nerd overload and self-involved look at the nuances of music production that went on for about a half-hour too long. But since most of that extra half-hour was Foo Fighters jamming with Paul McCartney, Rick Springfield, Trent Reznor and Stevie Nicks, it was pretty easy to sit through. Sound City tells a beautifully filmed, emotional (if industry-centric) story.
From there I started seeking out bands I knew nothing about, giving them a single song to catch my attention and then skedaddling if they didn't.
The wild howls, jungle beats and diatonic modes of Kithkin didn't, nor did the blah-ness of Burnt Ones at The Linen Building. The simple and joyful garage-rock of Boys did however. It wasn't game-changing in any way, but the band's no-B.S. approach was the sort of simple joy that Grohl's documentary was all about.
The band that really caught my ear, however, was Nude Pop, which played a fantastic set of glossy, future-pop at The Crux. The guitars shimmered like neon on a rainy street while the sub-octaves of an electronic drum kit punched through hard, making the songs an excellent hybrid between dance and indie rock. The band is young and definitely one to watch. Unfortunately, not one to listen to.
"We just finished recording a new E.P.," the singer said. "It's really stupid we don't have it here."
Again, I couldn't agree more.
When the band asked the sound guy if they had time for one more song, several members of the audience began chanting "10 more songs."
Not too shabby.
But then we moved into the religious experience portion of the evening with absurdest rapper, Andy D. I'd seen him before at The Evil Wine Carnival, but that performance lacked the punch of his show at Treefort.
Clad in neon jams, a jean vest with no shirt and fanny pack, D. shook, jiggled and pelvic-thrusted up a storm while rapping about the sort of redneck conspiracy theories one generally only gets to after drinking a year's supply of Budweiser on a hunting trip.
"This is from our new album," D. said. "It's a concept album about a post-apocalyptic future invaded by robots that can't dance. It's a thin premise, but we work it."
D. was so good, he might as well have had Tenacious in his name too.
And from there, I went over to The Linen Building to catch Japanther. Faith in rock and roll restored. No riffs. No licks. No solos. Just overdriven bass pulsing to a 4/4 beat with shouted lyrics and band members that can't keep their feet on the ground, or the rent money in their bank accounts.
"We love Boise," shouted the drummer. "Who knew?"