B-Sides: MFNW wrap-up

To wrap-up our coverage of this year’s Musicfest Northwest queer and female musicians, we just wanted to share a final wrap-up of some of the live shows we saw, from little kid audiences to confetti-throwing back-up dancers.

Seattle rappers Stasia Irons and Catherine Harris-White, who together make the hiphop group THEEsatisfaction, landed their self-proclaimed spaceship at Jimmy Mak’s on Saturday night. Nowhere else over the course of MFNW could you find a catchier beat or flashier outfit accompanying rhymes about queer politics, black female identity (“Moon Identity (Intergalactic Church)”, or political commentary (Why do we celebrate Colonization?). This year THEEsatisfaction are nominated for a Genuis Award for Music in The Stranger, with good reason. They are smart, funky, talented women who inform their audiences while making them dance. We have seen the face of Musical Genius, and it wears high-waisted pants and primary colors. -Katie Presley

I hadn’t heard of Boy Joy before seeing him at Rotture Saturday night. “I think he’s like a gay DJ?” my friend said. WRONG. Boy Joy is a full-on pop experience, complete with headset microphone, costume changes (which included at various points: included at various points: cut off shorts, a mesh top, sunglasses with gold chains, and a string of bullets), and one chiseled body flanked by two “Addicted to Love” stone-faced backup dancers. Inspired both by Kate Bush and Beyonce, Boy Joy’s disco-synth songs cover unrequited love, heartbreak on the dancefloor, love making on the dance floor, etc. Just to show you what you missed but what shall be yours should you see Boy Joy live…-Kjerstin Johnson

video by Erin Sullivan

The Lovers, a three-piece synth band of Carolyn Berk, Kerby Ferris, and Emily Kingan, transforms there lyrical synth beats to an amazing live show, with Berk putting her whole self into every song. Live harmonies and loud beats combine for a great synth pop show that’s incredibly intense but also danceable. Check out Lovers on tour this fall (or if you’re in Portland, tonight at the TBA festival) and their much-anticipated new album Dark Light is out on October 12th. -KJ

Even with a killer lineup of Boy Joy and Lovers, more than one person I ran into could only talk about MEN–not just seeing the three piece dance band live but also finally get a chance to propose to JD Samson (sorry, ladies, JD’s taken). MEN mounted the stage in uniforms of white onesies with paint designs, Samson took to the mixing board and Ginger Brooks Takahashi and Michael O’Neil were on guitars. Samson’s affable persona and tireless voice, plus the steady riffs and dropped beats kept the crowd going through MEN’s songs about gender identity, the economy, and queer relationships (see: “Credit Card Babie$,” below which as Samson explains, is about gay couples adopting) -KJ

My dad is a classic rock kind of a guy. His knowledge of contemporary music slowed way down after the Violent Femmes (but really, if you have to stop somewhere, the Femmes are not the worst way to go down). So it was a huge surprise for me, three summers ago, when he namedropped Portland’s own Laura Veirs. I now have him to thank for Jim Morrison, Gordon Gano, and Veirs, who played Pioneer Courthouse Square on Saturday. My favorite part of a Laura Veirs show is how beloved she is by the crowd – she writes personal, intricate songs that her fans have spent a decade memorizing and hoping she’ll play. She has also never looked happier, sounded better, or had more visible fun onstage than she is having now. Put her (frequent) tour dates on your RSS feed FOR REAL. -KP

On Sunday, I had the distinct pleasure of attending the latest installment of the You Who! children’s concert series, featuring my band crush, The Thermals. The You Who! series brings cool bands in to play for a literally all-ages crowd, and let me tell you, folks, you haven’t lived until you’ve gone to a pop-punk show populated almost entirely by fans who aren’t old enough to drink without a sippy cup. Those kids were losing it in the best way possible—there was screaming, jumping, breakdancing, and even a bit of impromptu napping. (Oh, and most of the kids were wearing cooler clothing than I have ever owned in my life. Thanks, Portland.) Surprisingly enough, The Thermals played a regular set (I guess they banked on the kids not listening to the lyrics of “I Might Need You to Kill”) with regular crowd banter, except for the moment when Hutch Harris advised the crowd to, when asked 20 years from now if they’d heard of The Thermals, say that yeah, they liked them when they were five. Check out a video of the show from Kill Rock Stars! -Kelsey Wallace

I’m just going to throw this out there. Typhoon ruled MFNW this year. They played on Friday night at Someday lounge with Y La Bamba, and the whole night had a feeling of being on the cusp of something huge. This band will explode. Not for much longer will Portlanders get them all to ourselves, playing house parties and blowing mostly Pacific Northwesterner minds. Watch a video from their performance here and get on board, quick, before L.A. catches their scent. -KP

by Kjerstin Johnson
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Kjerstin Johnson is a writer and editor in Portland, Oregon. She is the former editor in chief of Bitch. She tweets at @kajerstin

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1 Comment Has Been Posted


I love Laura Veirs! I'm going to check out these other bands too...

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