Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Arootsakoostik Recap!

Sorry that it's been awhile since I rapped at you - Eternal Otter Records has been busy enjoying the summer. In fact, a few weeks ago we went up to "The County" for the Arootsakoostik Music Festival, and it was so great that I just have to tell you about it.

Arootsakoostik is the creation of musician and all around good guy Travis Cyr. It's been going on for a couple of years, but its August 7th 2010 date marked both its best weather and highest attendance (350 people). The event was held in New Sweden's Thomas Park and split between two stages. Many of of my favorite bands from Portland performed, including Jesse Pilgrim, Wesley Hartley & the Traveling Trees, Johnny Fountain, The Lucid, and Meghan Yates & the Reverie Machine.

Unfortunately, we showed up just a few minutes late for Meghan's set, but she received rave reviews from the rest of the festival-goers. We set up a little booth for Eternal Otter Records as Frank Hopkins and the Line Force started rocking on the main stage with some serious bass action. Next up was The Traveling Trees, one of Portland's best new live bands, and a festival highlight. The whole crowd was engaged by the bands easy shuffle and Wesley's great lyrics: "You can save this major tongue slip-up/Say that I'm sorry, grow the fuck up".

A few minutes later on the Acoustic Stage, Jesse Pilgrim started off on a solo set, but was soon joined by bandmate Andy Barbo on guitar and his girlfriend Margaret on vocals (Margaret was also selling delicious cookies throughout the festival). The set closed with Jesse's new song (written for an upcoming horror film by [dog] and [pony]) about the devil eating you from the inside out, called 666 (as in "6 shots of whiskey, 6 shots of gin, 6 shots of bourbon - let the devil on in"), with accompaniment from Jakob Battick.

In the woods behind the Acoustic Stage lurked earthcraft, comprised of Ian Paige and Matt Lajoie from Planets Around the Sun. The duo played psychedelic drone music for hours on end whether there was an audience or not - begging the question "if earthcraft plays in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" It was a great space to wander off to and let your mind take a journey into sound, with plenty of instruments on hand to join in on the communal soundscape.

Returning to the Main Stage, we had the good fortune of catching Belfast's The Class Machine, a band we were not previously familiar with. But HOLY SHIT did they rock. A lazy, but somewhat accurate comparison would be to call them Maine's The Black Keys (or perhaps Maine's Flat Duo Jets if looking to be obscure) in that they were a bluesy duo on guitar and drums. But they added an extra level of awesomeness by having their drummer also play guitar simultaneously. This extra versatility did not come off as a gimmick, just a way to make rocking songs rock harder.

Our Arootsakoostik experience ended with the always dependable Brown Bird turning in a fine set of beardy folk music. However, the show didn't officially conclude until headliners The Toughcats took the stage for an apparently incredible show, which included a performance of GnR's "Paradise City" for the encore. Musicians and audience members alike then started up the campfires and held impromptu jams into the night. But by that point we were racing the sun back to our cabin in the middle of the woods, listening to the Traveling Trees new album "Don't Peel Your Bloomers Off Just Yet", and looking forward to next year's Arootsakoostik!

1 comment:

  1. Great time up there!

    ...does this article start off with a reference to The Onion?