Notes and observations from Paul Allen’s Upstream Music Fest:
- The first band of the day (Thursday, May 11) was Los Angeles three-piece Midnight Faces, one of Thursdayâs few non-Northwest acts. At the open-to-the-public stage in Occidental Park, the group played slick new-wave rock to a late-afternoon crowd of passersby and curious office workers.
- A larger crowd turned up when rapper and Sub Pop signee Porter Ray played the same stage a few hours later, and the bass was loud enough to shake the parkâs many bricks.
- Industrial Revelation played the festivalâs most striking venueâCourt in the Square, a high-ceilinged brick-and-glass atrium. Some of the jazz groupâs nuances were lost in the cavernous space, but they made up for it with showmanship and energy.
- Minneapolis band PoliÃ§aâs chilly electro-pop drew a long line at Upstreamâs beer garden, where crowds had to dodge showers for much of the evening.
- At Flatstick Pub, Upstreamâs de facto reggae venue, a one-man band called DUBCHAMP played a minimal hybrid of reggae, dub and electro using an electronic drum set and a laptop. He played the same beat for long stretches, but the energy was palpable.
- Producer and record label owner Raica played a thumping hardware techno set that was a good fit for Kraken Congeeâs brick-walled basement.
- With its dense, proggy metal, the excellently named He Whose Ox Is Gored was perhaps the first dayâs loudest band.
- So Pittedâs jagged, jarring punk made for one of last yearâs best local records, and its raw two-guitar attack was just as vicious live.