Treefort Music Fest
March 23-27, 2016
By Marcus Shriver
Convening in Boise Idaho, Treefort Music Fest is the most underrated musical gathering on the West Coast, and most of me loves that it has managed to fly just below the major national spotlight thus far. As a result, it still feels special. Unique.
Hiding behind a 5 to 8-hour drive from Seattle, Treefort has great national acts, a local feel, and some of Seattle’s best musical swag – healthy for the whole family.
Headlining this year on the giant 400+ list of band names are performances from Boise native and recently retired Youth Lagoon; the only person whose voice can move your soul in less than two minutes, Charles Bradley; and the extremely elusive double drummer madness that is Thee Oh Sees.
This love for Seattle Music is not a fluke: last year the lineup included Beat Connection, Fauna Shade (#41for2015), and Lemolo. Clearly Seattle has something Boise likes. Now in it’s fifth year, Treefort is demonstrating that Boise has something Seattle likes too, and surprisingly it’s something Seattle’s already chock full of: great music festivals.
In theory and set up, Treefort is similar to Capitol Hill Block Party (CHBP), but with it’s own unique personality. Bear with me as I compare the two (and keep in mind that I might be biased, since I absolutely adore the CHBP).
Treefort runs a line similar to the Summer camp you went to in fifth grade mixed together with SXSW. There are so many bands at Treefort and so many music lovers that it’s a sort of gathering. A rally. A safe place where people who love independent bands can enjoy good music without the stain of fraternities and bucket hats that have overcome larger festivals like Coachella. This is a place where you can suggest a band to a neighbor and they might actually listen to it. A place where you can stand next to your favorite band at a show, then go to Carl’s Jr. with that band, and later see them perform at a sold out show. It’s this duality – the ability to be so huge, but feel so local – that is so endearing about Treefort.
Perhaps my one criticism is that there’s too much good stuff, and some of it happens at the same time. This is undoubtedly the sign of growth and expanded programming, but it’s left me with some difficult dilemmas… including these three.
- Thundercat vs. Thunderpussy
Why must the festival lord do this to me? Thundercat has become Hip Hop’s favorite bassist, working with everyone for Flying Lotus to Shabazz Palaces to Kendrick Lamar, and Thuderpussy is one of the best live bands I have ever seen. The Seattle band has the grit, the emotions, the dance moves, and the energy. I have no answer for this conflict. Where I end up will be a last minute decision.
- Hinds vs. Sallie Ford
This one cuts me deep. I’ve been following Sallie Ford for a while now, and her mixture of old jazz sounds and a beach rock persona has never seized to get me to her shows. Coming right off of a tour with Tacocat, Sallie is clearly doing everything right. Hinds, on the other hand, is fairly new to me, but I am obsessed. I stumbled upon them overhearing them in the KEXP office, and then seeing them play in the in studio. These Spanish girls do nothing but kick ass in every way. Their punk take on pop music is perfection.
- Thee Oh Sees and The Mynabirds
If you’ve ever seen a documentary or video of The Postal Service you might notice that the keyboardist is not officially in the band. That keyboardist/instrumentalist is Laura Burrhen of the Mynabirds. A sound somewhere between Lucius and tUnE-YaRdS, Laura is fantastically talented and that itself is worth seeing. The Oh Sees, on the other hand, are one of the most elusive bands I have come across. They don’t come through Seattle often and the one time it did it sold out faster than I could figure out that I needed to put an extra “e” at the end of Thee to search their name. Their fantastic guitar work and fuzzy beach vibes are calling to me.
You’ll have to tune in to NadaMucho.com’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts to see how I navigate these difficult dilemmas – I’ll be sharing updates all week.