We make a later entrance on Sunday afternoon after having done the only right thing in Portland on a Sunday: brunch. The lines outside the popular brunch spot often go around the street corner and exceed those of a well-known band show at other places in the world.
The crowd is bigger than the day before and the skies have cleared from smoke. Lady Lamb, the only(!) female act of the entire festival flirts with the audience and sings, “if you want to die, you don’t live in Portland”. The Portland Maine native makes simple guitar rock with quirky lyrics. In a high school film, Lady Lamb would play the alternative rock chick. Her songs start off sweet and mellow, but only to take a more sinister turn.
Danny Brown fills the hip hop quota of the otherwise indie savvy festival line-up. It is obvious that this a welcome exception as the crowd thickens. Once again the air is smokey, but the forest fires aren’t to blame this time around.The 34-year old Detroiter has made a name for himself with his drug liberal lyrics and energetic stage performances.
The MusicfestNW is a friendly festival with good vibes, but if you are looking to be blown away by new sounds, there might be other options out there for you. Kristian Mattsson aka. The Tallest Man on Earth has been compared to Bob Dylan, not an easy role to fill, but Mattsson seems to have it under control. His set starts off with a Swedish folk sing to accompany his stage entry, a sweet gimmick to show off his heritage. Tallest Man on Earth is a pro and charms the audience, no surprises here, neither good nor bad ones.
As the festival only has two stages and no acts play simultaneously, the audience commutes back and fourth across the festival area. At 8:00 pm we have almost reached the last act of the festival, and judging by the size of the crowd, MusicfestNW sure knew to save the best for last. Portland loves Modest Mouse. And Modest Mouse knows it, the wait for an encore is the longest I have ever experienced and once it is over, a fair amount of fans refuse to leave the stage area, still hoping for a second one.
Thanks MusicfestNW, it was real nice! Almost a little too nice. For next year though, an almost all male line-up is starting to get old, don’t you think?