You may love it, or hate it, or you’re not sure what to feel about it, or you’re waiting to see how it all turns out—regardless, we can all agree there is a LOT OF STUFF to check out at Upstream Music Fest this week.
In fact, there are so many names on the lineup that if you printed it out and stood 10 feet back you could probably use it as an eye test. What’s that on the bottom line? Is that P O L I Ç A? Why, yes it is! Anyway…
Me and my best b-day twin Brady will be out and about this weekend trying to take in as much as our eyeballs and earholes will handle. Here are some of our picks—plus our couch potato option for the day:
Thursday, May 11
7:00pm, Kraken Congee
Formerly known as Aeon Fux, Guayaba brings a fresh, tropical sounding hip-hop from the wilds of Bremerton, WA. She effortlessly blends Spanish and English into her fiercely nimble flow, straddling party vibe beats with a verse to be reckoned with. Check out tracks “Santa Sangre” and “Brown Recluse” for a little taster. —Brady
8:30pm, Axis 1
Though I’ve prattled on about CHARMS before, I don’t think too many of you have heard about this undiscovered DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH. Their doomsday synth punk will shake your innards like a blender full of nickels. You won’t know which way is up, or down, and your teeth will probably hurt, but by god you’ll be entertained. They’re about to release an epic record in June, so catch ‘em now so you can brag about already seeing them later. —Brady
8:30pm, Weyerhaeuser Woodshed at Zocalo
AHEM AHEM DISCLAIMER one of the b-day twins may or may not be in this amazing janglepop unit that is fashionable, delightful, with a beauty only matched by the ancient Greek Gods, and who always remember my birthday. Please make sure not to miss this once-in-a-lifetime reunion show—after twelve years together, it’s their last one ever!!! —Jean
If Ya Lazy: Killroom Records Stage at Axis 1
If you’re “over” doing the festival thing and want to plant yourself at one stage, we suggest this line-up curated by Killroom Records on Axis 1 with Black Whales, CHARMS, Bread & Butter, and Hobosexual.
Friday, May 12
5:30pm, J&M Cafe
Earlier this year, I caught these cats at Dancing on a Valentine, where they played an incredibly fuzzed out cover of Prince’s Darling Nikki that turned me into an awe inspired mouth breather right then and there. They’re experts in grungy psych rock riffs and sneering vocals. Check out “Party Song” to prep, grab a big ole’ beer at the show, and swing your hair around obnoxiously into your neighbor’s face. —Brady
8:15pm, House of Sparkling Ice
Tilson is possibly the most elusive rapper in Seattle. He’s always on the edges of the scene, popping up from the tall grasses like a tiger in wait, quick to quip, and make you peel with laughter while wearing the coolest sneakers you’ve ever seen. His unique flavor of hip-hop is full of soul, 70’s funk, and glossed up to shine. This former member of The Saturday Knights has been recently performing some new material so check him out quick before he ducks out of sight again. —Brady
10:00pm, Main Stage
When I listen to flying lotus it makes me feel like I’m inside a haunted video game. So yeah, I’m gonna check out flying lotus. —Jean
If Ya Lazy: Brick Lane Records Stage at Court in the Square
Get a little hip-hop and a little something extra at this line-up curated by Brick Lane Records with Raven Matthews, Kirt Debique, DoNormaal, Erik Blood, and Iska Dhaaf.
Saturday, May 13
6:00pm, Axis 1
Sometimes I wish I could turn my mundane annoyances into shouty lyrics for a lo-fi punk band. Then I remember I have no musical talents and someone is already doing this, and better. Their LP Suitcase is packed with catchy anthems celebrating the banal, like “Dump,” “Basement,” and “Old Guy.” If y’all ever need some mundane material, I have a LOT of pet peeves to share. —Jean
7:45pm, Fuel Sports Beer Garden
The coolest dude in my high school was OBSESSED with Sunny Day Real Estate and singer Jeremy Enigk, before anyone had ever heard hipsters or Emo. He was right to love them as Jeremy’s voice is one of the greatest you’ll ever hear; simultaneously genuine, urgent and soothing all at once. Rumor has it he’ll be performing his ‘96 solo record, Return of the Frog Queen, while backed by the Passenger String Quartet. Be sure to see this intimate and rare set. —Brady
8:00pm, House of Sparkling Ice
Everytime I see this cutie patootie perform he lights up the room. If you want to feel good at a hip-hop show then come check him out. Thompson’s music is light-hearted, fun, and never too serious. He’s got a self-awareness and honesty that you didn’t know you were missing. Plus, he’s got songs covering topics ranging from Tom Hanks to Horchata. I’m in! —Jean
9:45pm, Axis 2
Sisters sent me their new record to review like sweethearts AGES ago and I totally spaced it. WHAT WAS I THINKING?? Sisters is the optimistically vibed indie-pop you NEED right now. Especially after all that’s happened this year. Go don a crop top, get some sweatbands, and dance along to their synthy beats with your bbs. —Brady
If Ya Lazy/Weirdest Lineup: Top Tree/Sub Pop Records Stage at Fuel Sports Beer Garden
Maybe you got a case of the mood swings that needs a kindred spirit—check out this stage featuring Porter Ray, Kristin Kontrol, Jeremy Enigk, and METZ.