It’s Waking Windows Weekend, everybody!
What the fuck is Waking Windows? Ok, well Waking Windows is a music/literature/comedy festival that hails from Winooski VT (and has a very confusing web site, if I’m being honest) and it features local, regional and national underground and independent artists. It is held in Portland this very weekend, and it is jam-friggin-packed with shows. You won’t be able to see them all. THAT IS WHY I AM HERE. TO HELP YOU PICK WHICH ONES TO PUT YOUR EYEBALL SLUDGE ON, DUM DUM.
Last year, I saw all these flyers and ads for Waking Windows that had a bunch of colorful buoys on them, and the name of the thing combined with the buoys gave me a calcified case of hard tourism eyeroll. From the looks of the thing I just figured your aunt Donna and the gals from her walking group would be very interested in putting on their most weekend casual denim shirt dresses and Native American jewelry and attending the Santa-Fe-circa-1989-style arts festival that Waking Windows was. Because of those goddam buoys. So that weekend, I was walking down the street during the festival, and who do I bump into but Michael Freakin’ Leonard. So Leonard is like, what the fuck, why haven’t you been at any of the WW shows and I’m like, bro I don’t even know what the fuck WW is and he was like you’re an idiot and pretty much the worst and then we went into Empire together and saw one of the shows and it was good and it was fun.
So anyway, I was 100% wrong about Waking Windows last year because I am a judgmental sack of shit who shouldn’t ever speak or have opinions. THIS YEAR, however, things have grown, the lineup is fucking cool and I am excited. You should be too. This festival has comedy and literature readings as well as music, but I know when to stay in my lane - so you have to get your lit and comedy coverage elsewhere.
Waking Windows is on Saturday, October 1st and there is an opening party on Friday the 30th at SPACE that is free if you have a festi pass, and $5 if you don’t. Go ahead and follow me on instagram or fb if you want, I’ll be posting pictures and other assorted bullshit from my travels through the festival. These posts will not be professional and they will likely contain profanity and depressingly awful jokes. There will be people with real cameras and journalistic integrity covering this festival as well, I suggest you follow them. But you’re here already, so… I guess you’re stuck now, huh.
Here’s the lineup for the Friday party as well as the entire Saturday lineup:
Let’s dig into this thing. You can kick off your WW at Congress Square park for the free outdoor shows. These start at noon with local jam-jazz outfit Micromasse. I think the best pick from the CSP stage is going to be punk band Rick Rude at 4pm, but there’s some other stuff going on at 4pm too, so you’ll have to see where your head’s at.
Let’s look at Empire first. Their day starts with No Chill Comedy at 2:30, then music starts at 4pm. I’d try for Boston white dude garage pop band Beeef at 5:40 (I like this song Dogshit Paradise quite a bit), psych pop band Carinae, and heirs apparent to the Arcade Fire throne, Yairms (who are from Brooklyn but whose lineup includes our very own Peter McLaughlin on drums).
Over at Geno’s, I would definitely get there for Yonatan Gat from Monotonix. Full disclosure, their press person sent me his crap like a week ago and I’ve been listening to it for a bit and it’s real goddam interesting. Yes, I’ll always tell you when my love has been purchased (JOKES, I got nothing for this but an email). Anyway, his music is guitar-driven experimental… rock? Maybe? And it’s very busy and very dense, and it bypasses this problem that I have with so much guitar-driven music: you know that thing where you hear something you like, a riff or a tone used in a certain way, or a chord progression that is appealing, but then minutes later you’ve got an entirely different, more well-known song stuck in your head? Because what you just heard is sort of reminiscent of that more famous song, maybe with a couple of changes? Anyway, Gat is inventive enough that that’s not happening to me. I don’t feel like I’m “listening to xyz passed through abc filter.” He’s fucking great, you’ll like it.
SPACE also has a ton of great stuff, but I’m probably looking to be there for Death Vessel and lady-fronted-sorta-metal-sorta-folk The Huntress and the Holder of Hands. Death Vessel is a sub pop band from Rhode Island that plays that subset of third-wave folk that I like to call ‘creepfolk’ - all creaky floorboards and droning harmoniums and the ethereal vocals that transcend gender. Spooky!
Tandem Coffee has a super killer low-fi lineup too - Nat Baldwin headlines, but you’ve also got Henry Jamison, Lisa/Liza and Snaex over there too. I suspect this will actually be one of the hottest tickets of the festival - the intimate environment at Tandem will make for a very cozy way to see these artists. You’ll hear every breath, see every facial movement, hear not just the sound of each guitar string, but the sound the player’s grizzled fingertips make as they move across the strings… it’s such a lovely way to see a show. There’s too much to see at this fest, but if you just choose one show rather than a full pass, this is a good one at which to camp out. Plus they can fortify you with sandwiches. They have this fucking sandwich there that is just hard boiled eggs and pickled beets on focaccia bread with like mint and sauce of some kind and I know that sounds disgusting but it’s actually perfect and incredible. Try it if they have it.
OK moving on to the Bearded Lady, my favorite place at which to skulk around like a weirdo lately, you get some of your electronic artists - Altered Gee doing avant-garde hip hop, Disco Phantom doing strange little indie disco remixes, Mosart212 blowing your mind by mixing Peter, Bjorn and John with like, Nas or Biggie or something bizarro, and then my beloved KAFARI who I will always tell you to see and whose show changes depending on what the affair is. This is where to camp if you want to get your boogie going.
Also, PLEASE listen to Knockturnes, Kafari's latest album. It's fantastic.
And bringing up the rear, it’s Blue! Blue has your more psychedelic acoustic players - and can I say, this festival’s lineups at each venue are so well thought out - and I made sure I got some advice on this lineup from someone who knows. That’s right, it’s international time traveler and all around Portland rock superstar Jeff Beam! Jeff tells me that Tanner Olin Smith is the real deal, Soft Eyes are throwbacky psych rock that is well worth your time, and of course Ada headlining the night with their non-genre folk/jazz/rock Portland sound. Personally, I am interested in seeing Hot Trash: Cinema! writer and all around subtle thinker/comedian Greg Jamie with his act Drab Pony. That’s at 6pm at Blue. Yah Yah!
If you don’t go to WW this weekend, you might consider going to see Sorcha Cribben-Merrill’s album release show at PHOME. Sorcha plays sort of a mix of bluesy, Lillith Fair-y, acoustic rock. She’s very tough, and still very feminine, and the melodies and phrasing that she comes up with are unique without being “out there.” You’ll know what I mean if you go see this show. She’s got Katherine Matzell Frederick and Monique Barrett, another singer/songwriter, on the bill as well. Dare I say it? Girls rock.
And on Saturday, Flask has a new wave dance party. Ayuh.
ok everyone have a fun weekend and please don't drive drunk! Don't ever do it, no not ever, not a once! Be kind, give hugs, light up the room! Light it right the fuck up because you control the universe! Create love wherever you go! You should know: everywhere I go, always on my mind, you're in my heart, in my soul, you're the meaning in my life, you're the inspiration, you bring feeling to my life, you're the inspiration, I wanna have you near me, I wanna have you near me sayin' no one needs you more than