Conor Byrne Ivan & Alyosha Ravenna Woods The Helio Sequence The Horde and The Harem The Tractor Tavern

Noise for the Needy 2014: the last goodbye

If you haven’t heard the news already, we hate to be the ones to break it to you. But here it goes – Noise for the Needy is ending. Not for the month or this year, like FOREVER. This Friday and Saturday will be the 10th and final installment of this epically generous and wonderful charity music fest that has continuously chosen to feature local music across all genres. 10 years, 350 artists, $125,000 raised, 20 + beneficiaries. Forget baseball, those are some impressive stats.

NFTN is going balls-out into retirement, giving Seattle one of their best lineups as a goodbye present. And Ballard is lucky enough to play host this go 'round with shows spread around several venues, including the Tractor and Conor Byrne. I’m overwhelmed just thinking about the list of talent participating in NFTN 2014, so I’m gonna simplify and focus on some of my favorites:

The Helio Sequence makes reliable, nice, pretty music. That is not a bad thing. Their 2012 album, Negotiations, is a go-to for a variety of clutch situations – first date, housewarming dinner party, or Sunday afternoon parent brunch. I, for one, appreciate consistency of form and the comfort of delicate alt-pop surrounding me like a warm hug. Big and glittery and stuffed full with soaring choruses, their songs have more mesmerizing appeal than Sharknado.

Falling hard for Ivan & Alyosha is easy. This is a boy band for Russian literature majors — their name comes from Dostoevsky, but their sound is derived from pure American folk music. Sweet harmonies and lyrical guitar riffs set up lyrics like “I wanna be the man who gets you all the presents underneath of your Christmas tree…” ummm, yes please!  Indie radio and NPR alike have been loving the heck out these guys since they formed in 2007, and the energy of their live shows is off the charts.

The Horde and the Harem are not exactly as the name describes, but moreso a collective of NW musicians coming together to create lushly weird songs indicative of our geographic mood. Their latest EP, Fairweather Friends, just came out in April and was recorded almost entirely live in the band’s rehearsal space. The tracks are simple yet varied, ranging from plodding melancholy to a ukulele tune about kindness. Not knowing what to expect gives infinite potential for the live performance.

So don’t miss out on NFTN’s farewell — rock out for a good cause and say a grand goodbye!

Here is the full weekend lineup:

Friday, September 12th

Tractor Tavern:

Helio Sequence
Ravenna Woods
Prisim Tats
Black Nite Crash

9pm / $20 / 21+


Black Whales
Hand Of The Hills
Goodbye Heart

8pm / FREE / all ages

Saturday, September 13th

Tractor Tavern:

Ivan and Alyosha
Horde and The Harem
Special Guests

9pm / $15 / 21+

Conor Byrne:

Sebastian and The Deep Blue
Special Guests

9pm / $10 / 21+


Ryan Caraveo
Future Shock
Special Guests

8pm / FREE / all ages

AU Beirut Crystal Ballroom Gardens and Villa Imaginary Scoop J. Mascis Jason Isbell and the 400 Units Live Show Review LP Menomena Old 97s Passion Pit Pioneer Courthouse Square Reignwolf Starfucker Tallest Man on Earth The Helio Sequence The Roseland Theatre Those Darlins

Musicfest NW 2012: a perfect way to end the summer

I'm still recovering from the long week of bands, venues, and seemingly endless late-night photo edits, however: I wouldn't change one thing about my stay in Portland. Musicfest NW is the stamp at the end of a summer of festivals and they packed their lineup with some amazing bands. My schedule kept changing up until the day of shows, so I just decided that I was going to see bands I hadn't seen before and that worked out pretty well. The weather was perfect, if not a little on the hot side — but for the last festival before fall, I didn't mind having to stand in the sun for the two or so hours before it set. So, without further ado: here are my highs from the shows I was able to catch during MFNW 2012.

I had to keep it pretty low key for Wednesday. After a day of bus travel and running around after arriving in Portland, I decided to stick to the Crystal Ballroom (my hotel was across the street) and I absolutely made the right choice. LP was brilliant, her voice alone cuts through the room with as much emotion as one could possibly imagine, and in every conceivable way produced one of those amazing, uplifting sets where all you want to do when you get home is listen to the album over and over again.

Headlining the night was Passion Pit, and I thought to myself, what better way to get introduced to this band than to see them live? It was high energy, Michael Angelakos running from one side of the stage to the other; the crowd was phenomenal: jumping, dancing, singing. Passion Pit was the perfect electro-dance heavy-pop band I needed to kickstart me into the fest.

Thursday was the toughest day to decide whom to see. Do I venue hop? Don't I? It was a tough call. I finally decided that after missing every possible chance to see him in Seattle, my only certainty that day was to catch Reignwolf play the Roseland Theater. Every review I read up until this show had one thing in common: that the performance was absolutely mindblowing, and they are all telling the truth. My mind was blown from that first puff of fog from the fog machine to the last guitar solo. I was complete putty in the hands of Reignwolf! And as if it wasn't enough to play drums and guitar simultaneously, he then gives us a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain". Geez!

I stuck to the Roseland to check out the garage rock/punk/pop band Those Darlins.

Showcasing some insane lyrical talent, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit was a good transition from the more punk-y garage rock influence of Those Darlins before heading into the rock of Old 97's

The Old 97's crowd was literally hanging over the barrier as they pounded through the first songs of their set. It was absoluely a party atmosphere, and having only heard maybe a handful of their songs in my time, it was a huge treat to witness this band give everything they had that night. The crowd completely ate it up!

Looking back at my plans, I was probably the most excited for Friday's lineup. I was seeing three of my favorite bands, two of them for the first time, and it was the first night at the Pioneer Courthouse Square mainstage. Gardens & Villa opened the night with their dreamy synth-rock.

Saying that I love Menomena might be an understatement, I listen to Mines at least once a day, so yes, I was extremely excited to see their set. The band played mostly new songs, and it definitely left me anticipating listening to the new album Moms. Also hearing some of my favorites off of Mines left me pretty happy going into the rest of the shows for the night.

I could literally write far too much about how long I have been waiting to see Beirut, so here is the shortened version: Zach Condon's voice is easily the most addicting thing I have ever heard. Add to that the array of horns, various other instruments, and a seamless series of arrangements, and I'm pretty sure the whole crowd was swooning along just as much as me.

I saw Helio Sequence (PS, the only band from the whole week that I had seen before MFNW) in 2008, but thinking back that seems like so long ago. Yet, as I type this listening to their new album Negotiations I am feeling the nostalgia of Friday night blow over me like a ton of bricks. From singing along to every song they played from Hallelujah to dancing around all by myself in the back of the room their show last Friday made my list of best shows I have seen… ever. And yes, I could totally fangirl over Helio Sequence just as much as I fangirl over Beirut.

Saturday was my final day in Portland and the second to the last day of the festival, so naturally I wanted to run around and try to catch as many bands as I could. First up was the horn heavy, experimental rock band AU. Their sound is layered with keys, horns, vocals, synths, and drums, all building in intensity as the set rolled on, creating what can only be described as a pretty addictive sound.

I stuck around at the mainstage to check out an easygoing set from Starfucker before heading to the Roseland Theater.

Saturday was the night that had the triple threat from J. Mascis, Sebadoh, and Dinosaur Jr. and and there was definitely a buzz about the room in anticipation. If there is one person that makes playing guitar look like the easiest thing ever, it's J. Mascis. From his wickedly awesome neon teddy bear shoes to his mellowed-out set of acoustic songs (and the occasional fuzzed out rock selections) it was all a win.

I really wanted to catch The Tallest Man on Earth's sold out show at The Crystal Ballroom and when I got there the place was completely packed. I happened to catch the last couple of songs from Strand of Oaks, a folk band that are currently touring with TTMoE. After 30 minutes of waiting, I was standing in the photo pit as Kristian Matsson walked up on stage, referenced to the crowd, and picked up his guitar. It was at that moment I realized that he had the strongest stage presence of anyone I had seen that week. It was his brand of intensity, coupled with that raspy-clear voice and gut-wrenching lyrics that perfectly ended my stay in Portland, and my last day of the fest.

Thanks, Portland. Can't wait to see you again next year!

{All photos by Beth Crook.}

AU Backspace Beirut Bobby Bare Jr. Crystal Ballroom Doug Fir Gardens and Villa Imaginary Scoop J. Mascis Lake Lemolo LP Mbilly Menomena Mississippi Studios Moonface Passion Pit Pioneer Courthouse Square Reignwolf Tallest Man on Earth The Hawthorne Theatre The Helio Sequence The Melvins The Roseland Theatre Those Darlins Young Turks

Must-see picks for Musicfest NW {9/5 – 9/9}

As you wind down from Bumbershoot weekend next week, don't forget that a mere 48 hours later (yep, we're talking about next Wednesday, folks) there is whole 'nother festival getting underway midweek: Portland's own Musicfest Northwest. Boasting an impressive lineup of both local and national headliners, it's difficult to decide who to see — we feel like we've changed our schedules a million times already! So, pack some walking shoes and check out some of our picks to help keep the venue-hopping as easy as possible. Make sure to check out the MFNW site to get exact set times and to make your own customized schedule.


The first night of the fest is seems decidedly easygoing: open your night with a passion-filled set of powerful vocals from LP before catching the first night of dance-heavy pop at Passion Pit's two-night stint at the Crystal Ballroom. If you are thinking you need something to do before 9pm, head to the Mission Theater and see Don't Follow Me (I'm Lost): A Film about Bobby Bare Jr. at 7pm, then catch the man himself playing the Doug Fir at 10:40pm.

7:00p :: Don't Follow Me (I'm Lost): A Film About Bobby Bare Jr., Mission Theater
9:00p :: LP, Crystal Ballroom
10:00p :: Passion Pit, Crystal Ballroom
10:40p :: Bobby Bare Jr., Doug Fir

Runners up: The Minus 5 {Doug Fir @ 9:00p}, Sloan {Doug Fir @ 11:00p}.


Thusday is really the first full day of shows, and man, is it packed. If you're following our lead, we think there's really no excuse not to miss Reignwolf since he's the first show of the night — those screaming guitar solos and blues-laden vocals are a great way to start! Stick around and hear high-energy punk from Those Darlins before heading up to Mississippi Studios, where you can check out Portland's Mbilly before you are utterly mesmerized by the dreamy pop sounds of Lemolo. That's where we'll be!

7:15p :: Reignwolf, Roseland Theater
8:00p :: Those Darlins, Roseland Theater
9:00p :: Mbilly, Mississippi Studios
10:00p :: Lemolo, Mississippi Studios

Honorable mentions: These United States {9:00p @ Aladdin Theater}, Quasi {10:00p @ Hawthorne Theater}, Old 97's {10:30p @ Roseland Theater}.


The trifecta of seeing Menomena, Beirut, and The Helio Sequence in one night really can't be topped. Menomena and The Helio Sequence are both coming out with new albums in the near future, and Beirut's spectacular 2011 album The Rip Tide is still on heavy rotation — can there be a reason not to go? If there is, we can't find it. Make sure to get to Pioneer Courthouse Square early for Gardens & Villa, who are sure to please with their synthy sounds. If you have a gap in your schedule between 8pm and 11pm, catch the sweet dreamlike sounds of Lake or the latest lineup change-edition of the Melvins, Melvins Lite at Backspace and the Hawthorne Theater respectively.

5:30pm :: Gardens & Villa, Pioneer Courthouse Square
6:30pm :: Menomena, Pioneer Courthouse Square
8:00pm :: Beirut, Pioneer Courthouse Square
9:00pm :: Lake, Backspace
10:30pm :: Melvins Lite, Hawthorne Theater
11:00pm :: The Helio Sequence, Crystal Ballroom

You might want to also make room for: These United States (if you missed 'em the first time) {9p @ Aladdin Theater} and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart {11p, Star Theater}.


Here's our take: kick off the formal start of the weekend with AU and their spacey, multi-instrumental tunes at the mainstage, and then make sure to catch Young Turks for some hardcore rock before heading to the Roseland Theater for J. Mascis and his beautifully constructed guitar melodies. Then, close out your night with Tallest Man on Earth's sparse folky tunes at the Crystal Ballroom before you head to the Doug Fir for some indie rock with Moonface. Pow!

6:00pm :: AU, Pioneer Courthouse Square
8:00pm :: Young Turks, Backspace
9:00pm :: J. Mascis, Roseland Theater
10:30pm :: Tallest Man on Earth, Crystal Ballroom
12:00pm :: Moonface, Doug Fir

See also(s): Girl Talk {8:00p @ Pioneer Courthouse Square}, Typhoon {10:00p @ Aladdin Theater}, Sebadoh {10:00p @ Roseland Theater}, Big Freedia {11:00p, Branx}, Milo Greene {11:00p, Mississippi Studios}, and The Builders and the Butchers {12:00a @ Bunk Bar}.


Finally, an easy night of choices: the only place to be of the last day of the fest is Pioneer Courthouse Square to see Atlas Genius, followed by School of Seven Bells showing off their synth-pop tunes before the final act of the night (and of the fest itself), Silversun Pickups

5:30pm :: Atlas Genius, Pioneer Courthouse Square
6:30pm :: School of Seven Bells, Pioneer Courthouse Square
8:00pm :: Silversun Pickups, Pioneer Courthouse Square

Tickets are still available for purchase, and you can read all about your options here.

We'll see you down in Portland!

Alabama Shakes Charles Bradley Dum Dum Girls Imaginary Scoop Live Show Review On The Road Pickwick The Helio Sequence THEESatisfaction Tune-Yards

The weekend in photos: Sasquatch! 2012, part I

{tUnE-yArDs at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{This is part one of a three-part Sasquatch! 2012 photo recap. Be sure to check out part two here, and part three here!}

It was an incredible long weekend at the Gorge again this year for the 2012 installment of the Sasquatch! Music Festival, which took place this past Friday {5/25} through Monday {5/28} out in the lovely, dusty, sunny town of George, Washington. After sitting through what felt like endless traffic — three and a half hours from the highway exit to the parking lot! — we finally found ourselves traipsing around the grounds, poring over the schedule to see what we could still catch a glimpse of before the night wrapped up. Our hopes were high for day one, but we wound up missing Yellow Ostrich and Allen Stone because of the backup — however, we did manage to catch a litte bit of Santigold, all of Girl Talk's bright-light-infused, toilet-paper-gun-shooting, ass-kicking party set, and a good portion of Explosions In The Sky as they tore up the crowd with their wall-of-sound instrumentals before we packed it in for the night.

Here's a few photos from day one, starting with our multi-hour traffic front- and rear-view:

{Traffic at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Traffic at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Girl Talk! Gigantic, awesome, and seriously — TOILET PAPER GUNS:

{Girl Talk at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Explosions in the Sky:

{Explosions in the Sky at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Explosions in the Sky at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Explosions in the Sky at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

We started out day two {Saturday} with high hopes for some good times, and our girl Sasquatch! did not disappoint. From start to finish, the sets were full of funk, soul, beats, lady-power, and righteousness. There's nothing quite like having a big serving of Pickwick for breakfast, and we were front and center at the big stage when they took to it at noon, dropping a seamless set to a rowdy, happy crowd. It only felt right to stay on the soul boat for Charles Bradley immediately after that, soaking in all of his modern-legend-ness. We took it all to heart, especially and extra-very-so when Charles sang those lines about "you" right out to the crowd, implying that it wasn't a love interest, but the very people who stood there bearing witness to his set. "Without you, there is no me!" he called out, and meant every ounce of it.

Pickwick, complete with MegaGalen on the Jumbotron:

{Pickwick at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Pickwick at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Pickwick at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Charles Bradley:

{Charles Bradley at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Charles Bradley at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Charles Bradley at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

The next sets of the day kept us going strong, as we lined up (with what seemed like every single other person at the festival) for the Alabama Shakes set on the Bigfoot Stage, followed by THEESatisfaction's set on the Yeti Stage. Both were near-flawless, the Shakes' set delivering almost more than we could handle of their full-frontal indie-tinged soul-revival rock goodness; and immediately after that Stas and Cat's set came through loud, clear, and powered up. Both groups, simply put, turned it on and did it right, meeting and exceeding our expectations, and living up to every bit of hype they've both received in recent months.

Alabama Shakes:

{Alabama Shakes at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Alabama Shakes at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Alabama Shakes at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Alabama Shakes at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

THEESatisfaction, doing it so good they made me blush:

{THEESatisfaction at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{THEESatisfaction at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{THEESatisfaction at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}{THEESatisfaction at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{THEESatisfaction at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

We wound through the next part of our day staying close to the Bigfoot stage for sets from Dum Dum Girls, the Helio Sequence, and tUnE-yArDs. Again, all three performances were on the money: Dum Dum Girls brought a super-edgy game, Helio Sequence dropped their hits early on in the set to get the crowd rolling, and tUnE-yArDs did what tUnE-yArDs does.

On a bit of a personal note, I have to say that the t-y set was probably the one I was most excited for on Saturday, and given that I apparently don't have a grasp on what levels of "famous" bands are these days, I was completely unprepared for / slightly bummed out by the size of the crowd that was amassed up to and around the stage for their set. Of course, I was still able to see and hear the majority of the performance, and I'm beyond thrilled that their music is reaching so many people! But seeing as my last face-to-face with tUnE-yArDs took place from the pit at the Yeti Stage in 2010, it was a little less intimate than I would have liked. That said, the set was killer, and one of my favorites of the weekend.

Dum Dum Girls:

{Dum Dum Girls at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Dum Dum Girls at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Dum Dum Girls at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Dum Dum Girls at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Helio Sequence, all sunlight and goodness!

{Helio Sequence at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Helio Sequence at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{Helio Sequence at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

tUnE-yArDs — beats and bad-assery:

{tUnE-yArDs at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{tUnE-yArDs at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

{tUnE-yArDs at Sasquatch! 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}

Of course, these are just a few highlights in the sea of bands we took in, and there's so much more to come — we're still wading through tons of photos and notes, and we'll have more to share with you as soon! If you can't wait, pop on over to the imaginary flickr pool for more photos from all four days of the festival. Stay tuned!

{All photos by Victoria VanBruinisse.}

Built to Spill Don't Talk To The Cops Imaginary Scoop John Roderick Lovesick Empire Ryan Adams The Fastbacks The Helio Sequence The Long Winters

City Arts Fest knocks our socks off with huge headliners, sing alongs and lasers

John Roderick by Victoria VanBruinisse

{John Roderick/Long Winters photo by Victoria VanBruinisse}

City Arts announced their over the top City Arts Fest line-up late last week.  If you haven’t seen it already, prepare yourself, it’s a doozy (and it’s cut and pasted below)! It looks like our schedules for October 20-22, 2011 will be filled to the brim with radness!

The core of the fest hones in on the rich medley of bands saturating the Seattle music scene, from royalty like the Fastbacks and the Long Winters to a fine sampling of up and comers like Don’t Talk To The Cops and Lovesick Empire. The organizers also secured some of the finest international acts to mix it up (Ryan Adams, Built to Spill). Oh, and then there are the laser dome shows (Grunge and Helio Sequence) and fantastic film sing alongs, including Hedwig and Purple Rain.

I wonder if Bumbershoot is looking over it’s shoulder a bit and feeling the heat of such a diverse, jam-packed festival offering?

Wristbands go on sale this Friday (August 5, 2011) at 10a and start at $69 (VIP versions are also for sale).  Single tickets go on sale later this month, August 24.  Of course, if you were to like them on Facebook, you might have special access to some pre-sale action?

I’ve marked the ones I’m most over the moon about, with multiple things each night that are high priorities for me, I’m already working on my deception making paradigm.  What are your recommendations?

The schedule:

***October 20***
CRYSTAL CASTLES w/ Picture Plane, Crypts, Nightmare Fortress
*THE LONG WINTERS w/ Campfire OK, Cobirds Unite, Cataldo
*POGO w/ That 1 Guy, Daydream Vacation
*THE COPS w/ Birthday Suits, Strong Killings
ALLEN STONE w/ Fly Moon Royalty
SCHOOL of ROCK: Laser Grunge Show
THE ECSTACY OF INFLUENCE: Heather McHugh Poetry Reading
SEATEETH: Jose Bold (John Osebold of “Awesome”, Premiere performance)
*HEDWIG and the ANGRY INCH: Movie Sing Along
CULTURE CLUB: Washington Filmworks Event and Happy Hour
CULTURE CLUB: Celebrity Karaoke

***October 21***
*BUILT TO SPILL w/ Disco Doom, Seapony
FENCES w/ William Elliot Whitmore, Black Whales, Daniel G Harmann
BOXER REBELLION w/ Pickwick, Yuni in Taxco, Kris Orlowski
USF w/ Big Spider’s Back, Blue Sky Black Death, Brainfruit
*SON OF WARREN OATES w/ Smokey Brights, Joseph Giant, Bryan John Appleby
ERIN LEDDY (Hand2Mouth Theatre): My Mind Is Like An Open Meadow
GENRE-BENDER w/ Karen Finneyfrock, Rainbow Fletcher, Joanna Lepore Dwyer, Mark Haim, Wes Hurley, Amy O’Neal, Mike Pham & more
*THRILLER DANCE CLASS: Waxie Moon, Inga Ingenue and Lou Henry Hoover
COLOR ME OBSESSED: Replacements Documentary
PURPLE RAIN: Movie Sing Along
CULTURE CLUB: NW Hip Hop Redesigned

***October 22***
OZOMATLI w/ Theoretics, Picoso, Dyno Jamz
BLACKALICIOUS w/ Freestyle Fellowship, Hi Life, Don’t Talk to the Cops
*MUDHONEY w/ Fastbacks, Thee Emergency, Lovesick Empire
*THAO AND THE GET DOWN STAY DOWN w/ Grand Hallway, Lemolo

MAN MAN: Laser Show
MALE BONDING W/ Unnatural Helpers, Virgin Islands, Fuckin Eagles
ERIN LEDDY (Hand2Mouth Theatre): My Mind Is Like An Open Meadow
*SEAPONY w/ Tea Cozies, Midday Veil, Witch Gardens
SEATEETH: Jose Bold (John Osebold of “Awesome”, Premiere performance)
COLOR ME OBSESSED: Replacements Documentary
*GREASE: Movie Sing Along

CULTURE CLUB: City? Arts? Festival? A Creative Conversation by Arts Leadership Lab

Bobby Bare Jr. David Bazan Imaginary Scoop Joshua Morrison Laura Veirs Menomena Okkervil River On The Road Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside Tallest Man on Earth The Cave Singers The Decemberists The Head and the Heart The Helio Sequence The National The Thermals The Walkmen

Countdown to Musicfest Northwest in 3… 2…

Technically, you can get your Musicfest Northwest (MFNW) on starting tonight — there will be a few gigs going on around town down in Portland to warm up the masses — but our imaginary coverage will officially begin tomorrow and we can’t hardly wait!  There’s quite a few acts and sorta-showcases that we’re espcially stoked to see… so without further ado, here are some of our picks for the best-of-the-fest shows for the next four days.

Please note: the approximate start times are listed for the first band only and are subject to change — always check your internets before heading out!

Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside
Thursday, 10p @ Berbati’s Pan

[sallie ford and the sound outside]

Having seen and heard a lot about these darlings since their 2009 blip on our Seattle radar, it’s going to be quite a treat to catch them at a hometown show. Full of good ol’ fashioned big-bodied electric sound and a pair of lungs that just won’t quit, Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside are as swoon-tastic as it gets!

David Bazan + band / Joshua Morrison
Thursday, 9p @ the Doug Fir

[david bazan / by hot avocados photography]

Does this even need an explanation? Hot on the heels of two stellar performances at Bumbershoot, David Bazan (along with the current installment of his band) have fine tuned their sound to some true indie rock perfection. Achy and anthematic to the core, we’re super-stoked to catch them at a venue like the ‘Fir. Add in local favorite-home-safe Joshua Morrison, and you’ve got a night on your hands to remember.

The Thermals
Thursday, 10:30p @ the Crystal Ballroom

[the thermals]

The Thermals killed Bumbershoot, the new album rules, and we’ll be there with bells on. ’nuff said.

Okkervil River / Bobby Bare, Jr.
Friday, 10p @ the Crystal Ballroom

[okkervil river]

One of those lineups that makes you grateful that the bookers are playing close attention: a headlining set with OKR and a warmup by local favorite Bobby Bare, Jr. sounds like the next best thing since sliced bread. The boys of Okkervil have been hard at work, following up their last album with some amazing work next to the great Roky Erickson, and judging by the sound of the twitterverse, on to the next recording of something beautiful.

The Tallest Man On Earth / The Cave Singers
Friday, 11p @ the Doug Fir

[cave singers / by victoria vanbruinisse]

Talk about a pity party. In the best of ways, we mean. With the sweet, haunted, fill-the-room-up sound that both of these acts generate, we’ll be lucky if anyone is left standing at the end of the night. Gorgeous, powerful, goosebumpy times are a-comin’.

The Decemberists / Laura Veirs
Saturday, 6p @ Pioneer Courthouse Square

[colin meloy / the decemberists / by victoria vanbruinisse]

Well, duh. If you didn’t get to hit the mainstage this past weekend in Seattle, make sure you get yourself over to this show to get your night started right.

The Head and the Heart
Saturday, 9p @ Berbati’s Pan

[the head and the heart / victoria vanbruinisse]

Yay! Seattle, represent! Deemed by Seattle Weekly as “the best band that didn’t exist twelve months ago,” our very own Head and the Heart will be taking Portland by storm on Saturday night. We’re excited to hit the town with them and watch our friends in sister-city PDX take in everything they’ve got to give. It’s gonna be Blissfest 2010, for sure.

Shabazz Palaces / Champagne Champagne / THEESatisfaction
Saturday, 9p @ Jimmy Mak’s

[theesatisfaction / by victoria vanbruinisse]

Another no-brainer. Three fantastic cuts that showcase the best of the PacNW’s specific flavor of, with well-delivered lines and thoughtful beats crafted to match. The perfect antithesis to any one of the achier lineups of the weekend.

Saturday, 11p @ the Crystal Ballroom

[menomena / laura musselman]

Menomena. Crystal Ballroom. Saturday. Be there. (Seriously.)

The National / The Walkmen / Helio Sequence
Sunday, 5p @ Pioneer Courthouse Square

[the walkmen / by victoria vanbruinisse]

Deemed the big headline show of the weekend, we can’t wait to get our elbows into the crowd for this one and all the amazing it has to deliver. Between the solid freakout that the National brings and the feel-it-in-your-back-teeth loud of the Walkmen, we’re pretty sure we might disintegrate on the spot as we close out the ‘Fest with this mega-show.

Phew. That’s a lot of music. Tickets are still available on the MFNW website, where you can also make your own handy-dandy schedule in an attempt to make it to every show on your but-all-of-these-are-a-must-see list! We’ll be splitting ourselves into quadruplets, covering everything we can get our happy hands on, and sending in reports as we’re able.

See you in PDX!

{Big thanks to Laura Musselman for the Menomena photo, and to the TIG flickr pool for the stellar Thermals shot!}

Imaginary Scoop The Helio Sequence

Bumbershoot preview: Helio Sequence

the helio sequence 7.12.08 sp20

Dynamic duos abound in music, reducing the idea of the four piece indie-rock band to a simpler two person endeavor to create resonant art. The Helio Sequence has been a great example of one such band comprised of singer/guitarist Brandon Summers and keyboardist/drummer Benjamin Wiekel. These guys may have a reduced lineup, but they maintain a complex sound that highlights both of their talents functioning in perfect symmetry. The guitar melodies accompanied perfectly by the drums beats allow Summer’s vocals to float effortlessly on top of their ambient synth infused pop songs.

And the story behind Summers’ vocals is one of overcoming. While on tour in 2004 for Love and Distance, Summers lost his voice and was instructed not sing for at least two months. Their subsequent album, their 2008 sub-pop release, Keep Your Eyes Ahead, shows Summers’ growth as a singer as a result of vocal instruction. His lyrics are solid and precise, their structure blending into the day-glow of their catchy yet subtle tunes. You can bask in all the glory of The Helio Sequence at Bumbershoot on Sunday at 9:30 on the Broad Street stage.


Photo by Amelia Gyde from TIG’s Flickr pool.

Imaginary Scoop The Helio Sequence

Happy Birthday, Neumos! Free Show on Thursday

The Helio Sequence returns to the Northwest from six weeks of touring in time to help Neumos celebrate their 5 year birthday and joining them will be The Helio Sequence, Grand Hallway, and Palmer Electric Co. The show on Thursday, June 19th is free with a purchase of a drink from MOE Bar.

What?! ANOTHER Free Seattle Show?!

Yep, it's true…
We've barely had enough time to unpack our bags since we got home Sunday night after 6 weeks of touring, but we're hitting the road again to play a show this Thursday night (June 18th) at beautiful Neumo's in Seattle, WA. We'll be headlining their 5th Anniversary Party and admission is FREE with a purchase of a drink at Moe Bar. It's first come, first serve so get there quick. Hope to see you there!
Thursday June 18, 2009
Neumo's- Seattle, WA
Doors 8pm, 21+
Admission FREE with drink purchase at Moe Bar

The Helio Sequence
Grand Hallway
Palmer Electric Co.

Warm up for the show with this freshly pressed video of The Helio Sequence at The Loft in Dallas on June 6th.

Black Nite Crash Blitzen Trapper Central Services Damien Jurado Fleet Foxes Grand Archives Gutter Twins Helm's Alee Hey Marseilles Imaginary Scoop Kaylee Cole Lake Mark Pickerel & His Praying Hands Moondoggies Natalie Portman's Shaved Head New Faces Sera Cahoone Shane Tutmarc and the Traveling Mercies Speaker Speaker Tea for Julie The Dutchess and the Duke The Helio Sequence The Kindness Kind The Saturday Knights These Arms Are Snakes Throw Me the Statue Voyager One Your Heart Breaks

Best of 2008: Top Northwest Releases of 2008 Readers' Poll Winners

Upset. The word of the our 2008 Best Northwest Releases of 2008 Readers’ Poll is upset.

With the Fleet Foxes winning readers and critical polls alike, who would’ve thought they wouldn’t get top honors in our humble little Northwest poll? But they didn’t — they placed a distant second to New Faces, another debut record from some very talented, very young Northwest fellas.

We had other surprises as well, with unsigned newcomers such as Hey Marseilles, the Kindness Kind, and Kaylee Cole cracking the top ten, beating out Northwest heavyweights such as Death Cab for Cutie. We did not expect that. And we love it when you surprise us, dear readers.

We imaginaries like to champion the up-and-comers from the Northwest, and our results indicate that you do as well. We think you all also have fabulous taste, as always. Thanks to everyone who participated in our poll. We couldn’t be more proud or thrilled to present the top 50 winners on your behalf…

Winners of the TIG Top Northwest Releases of 2008 Readers’ Poll:

50. Michael VermillionLast Night on Earth {info}
49. Jared Mees and the Grown ChildrenCaffeine, Alchohol, Sunshine, Money {album review}
48. Destruction Island Destruction Island Preaches the New Wilderness
47. Boy Eats Drums Machine Booomboxxx
46. The Apple WarAlarm Bell City {live show review}
45. The Hungry PinesGolden You {info}
44. Hypatia Lake Angels & Demons Space & Time {info}
43. All Girl Summer Fun BandLooking Into It {live show review}
42. The Dandy Warhols…Earth to the Dandy Warhols… {info}
41. By SunlightBy Sunlight
40. Blue ScholarsButter and Guns {info}
39. Parenthetical GirlsEntanglements {album review}
38. Your Heart BreaksLove is a Long Dark Road
37. Isobel Campbell & Mark LaneganSunday at Devil Dirt {info}
36. H is for HellgateCome for the peaks stay for the valleys {info}
35. Andrea Wittgens In The Skyline {info}
34. Common MarketBlack Patch War {album review}
33. Colin MeloyColin Meloy Sings Live! {album review}
32. Chris WallaField Manual {album review}
31. Head Like a Kite – There Is Loud Laughter Everywhere {album review}
30. LakeOh, the Places You’ll Go
29. BOATTopps {info}
28. 31 KnotsWorried Well {info}
27. Gutter Twins Saturnalia {album review}
26. MoondoggiesDon’t Be A Stranger {info}
25. Mark Pickerel & His Praying HandsCody’s Dream {album review}
24. Tea for JulieThe Sense in Tying Knots {album review}
23. Central Services Central Services Presents… The Board of Education! {info}
22. These Arms Are SnakesTail Swallower & Dove {info}
21. Speaker SpeakerCall It Off {info}
20. Sera CahooneOnly As the Day Is Long {album review}
19. Dutchess and the DukeShe’s the Dutchess, He’s the Duke {live show review}
18. The Saturday KnightsMingle {album review}
17. Throw Me The StatueMoonbeams {album review}
16. Helms AleeNight Terror {live show review}
15. Natalie Portman’s Shaved HeadGlistening Pleasure {live show review}
14. Death Cab for CuteNarrow Stairs {album review}
13. Voyager OneAfterhours in the Afterlife {album review}
12. Shane Tutmarc and the Traveling MerciesHey Lazarus {album review}
11. Black Nite CrashArray {info}
10. Damien JuradoCaught In The Trees {album review}
9. Blitzen Trapper – Furr {album review}
8. Grand ArchivesGrand Archives {album review}
7. Hey MarseillesTo Travels and Trunks {live show review}
6. Helio SequenceKeep Your Eyes Ahead {album review}
5. Man PlusHungarian Suicide Songbook {album review}
4. The Kindness KindThe Kindness Kind {info}
3. Kaylee ColeWe’re Still Here Missing You {live show review}
2. Fleet FoxesFleet Foxes {album review}
1. New FacesTwo Years {album review}

Battles Black Kids Damien Jurado Imaginary Scoop Mad Rad Neil Young Tegan and Sara The Black Keys The Flaming Lips The Helio Sequence The Mars Volta

Kyle Johnson's Top Ten Live Music Photos of 2008 {taken by fellow Seattle photographers}

Editor's note: Seattle has some of the most picturesque vistas (most of which are found within local clubs like Chop Suey and the Comet Tavern). It's no surprise that TIG photographer Kyle Johnson has a stack of photos he loves that have been taken by some of Seattle's finest photographers.

(Here's a recap of Kyle's Top Ten 2008 live photos from his own portfolio)


Here's a recap of Kyle's Top Ten:

Black Kids photo by Chona Kasinger

Black Kids at Neumos by Chona Kasinger  
This is just a truly bad ass rock & Roll photograph. The black and white works so well. Chona got the perfect balence, lighting, composition, and mood. Makes me wish I was at this show.


Photo by Christopher Nelson

The Flaming Lips Live at Sasquatch Festival by Christopher Nelson
A photo like this shows why the Lips are known for their stage spectacle. Chris was in the heart of the action and got the perfect shot. I love the use of the wide lens here.



photo by

The Mars Volta at Sasquatch Festival by
Right place, right time. I think her shot was the best of this fiasco out of all the photographers present.



photo by Hillary Harris

The Black Keys at Bumbershoot by Hillary Harris
A band Ive always loved and had never seen live. Hillary's shot showcases the energy I always imagined seeing them display at a show. Great lighting and action.



Photo by Sarah Joann Murphy

Damien Jurado at the Triple Door by Sarah Joann Murphy
Maybe its because its her husband but this photo really hits me. Feels like a dream. The angle really shows off the dramatic Triple Door Stage and hones in on the power of a solo Damien Jurado.



photo by Andrew Waits

Battles at Bumbershoot by Andrew Waits
Battles was my favorite live band of 2008. Having the pleasure of shooting them twice this summer, I can vouch that even a great photo can't capture the true energy and sound the put on live. Andrew comes as close as possible though. Such a great angle and moment.



photo by Vera Pashkevich

Tegan And Sarah at Sasquatch by Vera Pashkevich
I love the up close tight crop of this shot. The tone and mood are perfect. Definitely sticks out among the rest that sunny Sasquatch afternoon.


 Neil Young at Key Arena by Laura Musselman

Neil Young at Key Arena by Laura Musselman
The use of BW really captures the iconic figure that is Neil Young. I'm so jealous of Laura for getting to shoot this show. She did an incredible job.



photo by Steve Louie

 Helio Sequence at Neumos by Steve Louie 
He's still my favorite drummer to watch on stage. This photo captures that energy and those funny faces that make a Helio Sequence show so fun. Great composition as well.


Photo by RabidChild Images

MAD RAD AT Chop Suey By RabidChild Images 
MAD RAD is all about the performance. This is a perfect use of a wide angle lens. So much to take in. Crowd, Outfits, Performers, and more…The Black and White almost makes it more interesting. The lack of color makes me take in each part of the photo.