Treefort 2017: Boise Has Our Hearts

[Photo via Treefort Music Fest official website]

Treefort from the perspective of Adrienne, the Treefort newbie:

Before this weekend, I’d only ever been to one festival before (Sasquatch, last year), and I’d never been to Boise, ID before. The idea of a whole city devoting itself to music for five days was a very wholesome prospect—especially their emphasis on local artists. I kept hearing this idea of a “community,” advertised as something special to the people of Boise (and to Treefort itself), and I have to admit, I was kind of skeptical that it was just a buzzword people threw around to enhance its whimsicality. But I soon realized just how much of an effort both the artists and the audience were giving to each other to connect and understand. The idea of intimacy in performance sometimes sounds like a bit of an ironic stretch to me—the divide between the stage seems like too great of a fourth wall for any kind of reciprocal relationship. You can never really meet your heroes, and no matter how much musicians say they do it all “for the fans,” it’s hard to tell if they will ever really know any of us. And yet, my cynicism, after last weekend, fell flat in the face of a number of moments over the course of those five days, when I felt like the performer wanted me there, felt appreciative that I was there, and had something to say to me. I’m very thankful to Boise (and my sweet Airbnb host, Brad) for being so cordial and accommodating to a little Treefort newbie like me.

Treefort from the perspective of Sadie, the native Boise-dweller:

My, oh, my, did I love Treefort this year. As a Boise native, I’ve been indoctrinated with the belief that the city is one of the best places on earth. For the most part, I couldn’t really pinpoint why, but after living away from home and returning for Treefort, I remembered. Boise is just too darn nice. Even when people don’t know you, they care for you. Also, somehow, you are connected to the people around you because even though Boise isn’t small, it also isn’t huge. However, Treefort is definitely beginning to gain attention from people outside of the area, which, as a native, is rather frightening. I don’t want the festival to lose its magical niceness because, while the music is good, it’s the people and vibes that are better. While Treefort is growing, I can definitely continue depending on it to introduce me to some cool new artists that I’ve heard of, but haven’t taken the time to listen to.


Some of Treefort Music Fest 2017’s highlights…

Psycache

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Photo by Sadie Lopez

I had never listened to Psycache before Treefort, but I enjoy dance music almost more than any other genre, so I made it a point to go to a musician every evening that plays some amazing dancing tunes, and Psycache did not disappoint. They played in the Linen Building, which was a relatively central location at the Fest, so the room was pretty full to begin with, and they arranged an amazing set of songs that pumped up the crowd. At some point, they mixed the song “1977” by Ana Tijoux, and I fell in love. They also used some tropical sounds and samples to softly integrate into their music. -SL

The Coathangers

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Photo by Adrienne Hohensee

My first day at the fest was long and tiring, and after seeing Why?, I was ready to call it a night. But perhaps the best part of a festival is its overwhelming and inviting accessibility to music. I walked by the big white Linen Building, just before reaching the car, and heard some avidly loud music calling me in. So, I made my way into the red lights and roaring crowd, all gathered in front of three badass women from Atlanta, GA. They were so unapologetic that it was impossible not to want to be up there with them. They took turns rotating around the stage, smiling and sharing drinks and jokes with each other as they passed. As the night got a little drunker and grittier, the atmosphere in the Linen Building only got more and more confident and entertaining. -AH

East Forest

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Photo by Sadie Lopez

Last year at Treefort, I heard East Forest for the first time, and while I enjoyed his vibe, it was too calm and slow for me. I wanted to try his material out again, though. East Forest played some older and newer songs, which kept it interesting because he’s starting to incorporate some new sounds into his music, including vocals, which was not common for him before. My favorite song of his that I found rather touching was “Grandmothersphere”. The speech within the song was all recorded while East Forest was under the influence of Ayahuasca, which I found pretty interesting. He’s definitely someone to listen to when you want calm, ambient music. -SL

Hybrid Sheep Organizer

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Photo by Adrienne Hohensee

Festivals, with their overbooked schedules and jam-packed nights, tend to put a lot of pressure on the bigger, late night acts, and dismiss the early sets as simply openers. I’m definitely not exempt from this tendency, and would sometimes find myself lounging around venues, just waiting for bands I was already familiar with. Hybrid Sheep Organizer changed all my pretension with their completely unpretentious performance. They were young musicians with cheering buds in the audience (the lead singer answered a phone call just before his set with, “Sorry, man; I’m about to play a show!”) and it only added to the classic Treefort charm of community. They played the All-Ages Movement, a Mexican food restaurant-turned-venue by a group of under-21 year olds. He began the show by rolling around on the ground (oh, so punk), and I rolled my eyes a bit, but by the time they finished with a heart-wrenching ballad, “Someone You Were Proud Was Your Son” (and with a recording of a woman’s voice), I was sincerely impressed. This Boise local is one to remember. -AH

Delicate Steve

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Photo by Adrienne Hohensee

Delicate Steve is probably my favorite band name of the festival, mostly because I like imagining the lead guitarist, named Steve, choosing the one adjective he’d like to call himself as “delicate.” Steve and his band had the perfect dynamic: a charismatic leader, a bearded and easy-going guitarist, and a serious-looking female bassist. The set was great for its groove’s own sake; pure and cheerful and promising. He wore a funny-looking red corduroy shirt, pictured above, tucked into high-waisted black pants and probably the coolest monochrome white Vans I’d ever seen. He led the crowd in the cutest little dance-step back and forth, and seemed to find an incredibly genuine joy in watching us all in tandem. -AH

Hollow Wood

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Photo by Sadie Lopez

I heard about Hollow Wood last year at Treefort, but I couldn’t find the time to go listen to them. This year, when I saw that they were on the lineup, I was determined to check them out, and I’m glad I did. For some reason, I imagine that Boise musicians are good, but not great. Hollow Wood shifted that mindset of mine; they indeed are great. Their music made the crowd go wild. They’ve got a very indie sound, in the sense that their vocals have a choir-like sound at certain points, and the drumbeats partner with heavier and more powerful guitar presences to mark the climax of each song. On top of the sound, I found the singer to be pretty darn attractive. He wore a shiny shirt and had glitter all over his face. Throughout the concert, he was talking to his parents, who were standing at the front by the stage. -SL

Los Growlers

I had heard of The Growlers before Treefort, and while I enjoyed their sounds, I wasn’t too into it. However, at Treefort, I really got a feel for their live vibe, and I ended up totally falling for ‘em. The Growlers really have an amazing and unique musical identity. I know they’ve been called “beach goth,” and I think that’s rather fitting. During the show, I was entranced by the lead singer, as he has an amazing voice. Just hearing him talk turned me into a fangirl. Although I really enjoyed their music, though, I did have to cut my time at their concert short in order to get to El Korah Shrine to be in the front row for Mac DeMarco. -SL

Mac DeMarco

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Photo by Sadie Lopez

I am in love with Mac DeMarco. I saw him twice during this year’s Treefort Music Fest, and I’ve turned into the biggest fangirl ever. For his first concert at El Korah Shrine, I was in the front row, and while it was pretty wild, I really enjoyed it. He acts so weird on stage. Him and his bandmates kissed each other’s stomachs. They were drinking on stage. The guitarist, Andrew Charles White, would do some yoga-ish poses, and at some point he ended up doing the splits. During Mac DeMarco’s set, I was overwhelmed with a sense of community. I was standing in a huge crowd of complete strangers, and we were all singing along to his songs together. And since the crowd was so wild, the people around me kept checking in on each other to make sure we were all okay. From what I know, caring for those you don’t even know is not something that’s normal at most music festivals. This is how most of Treefort was, but you could really feel it at Mac DeMarco’s concert. -SL

I missed Mac DeMarco at El Korah Shrine but saw him at his second performance on the Main Stage the next night (also I saw him that afternoon on the street just walking around with his buds, and I froze up and just kept walking and didn’t say one word, and I will never forgive myself. I’m getting upset just typing this. Ahhhh.) This was my third time seeing DeMarco, and his good-natured, comforting, extremely likeable demeanor is truly a remarkable characteristic to watch. Even though it’s a performance he’s given night after night, it never seems too much of a burden to him, and instead, his complete honesty (rather than pretension), in my opinion, speaks volumes to the intelligent taste of the fangirl. -AH

Deafheaven

I’ve been trying to accurately describe my experience at my first metal show for a while now, but I still can’t quite get it right. I’ve always prided myself on being the short girl able to handle herself at even the roughest of concerts. It wasn’t that I couldn’t handle myself at Deafheaven, though; it was that I couldn’t quite match the intensity of George Clarke’s raw and undoubtedly masculine energy. The moshing wasn’t rhythmic headbanging; it was completely one’s own, and impossible to pin down. This sounds like maybe too sociology-student of me, I know, and maybe most of the older metal guys there wouldn’t agree with me, but it felt like the reaction to his commanding presence was close to sexual. Clarke is a fascinating leader. He’s got weird snake hair and wore a tight black button down. He’d continually gesture to the crowd in conductor-like hand movements, pulling the crowd closer to him in a way that was less of an invitation and more of an expectation or demand. “If you know this next one, give it your all,” he would say, softly, before the guitars began, and he resumed another round of his sharply-alluring shrieking. -AH

Angel Olsen

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Photo by Adrienne Hohensee

 I found myself feeling a bit sad while waiting for Angel Olsen. It was the last night, hers was the last show I ended up seeing, I was unable to see the show with the person I had come with, and my feet were really cold. This might be just a tad too personal for an article for a music blog, but I’d feel dishonest not to include it in my Angel Olsen experience. She is unapologetic in the same respect as the Coathangers are, even if it isn’t as roll-off-the-tongue bada**. She doesn’t smile as often as the indie singer-songwriter woman is expected to, she never pushes emotions into her performance that aren’t natural and honest, and she is gracious without ever dismissing her own efforts. When the rest of her incredibly sweet, tight-grey-suit-clad backup band gave her the stage to perform “Unf***theworld,” my heart dropped into my stomach as she drawled, “I quit my dreaming the moment that I found you.” By the time she reached the lyric, “It’s not just me for you/I have to look out, too/I have to save my life/I need some peace of mind,” before repeating over and over, “I am the only one now,” I thought she maybe knew what it felt like to stand by myself in an audience with my cold feet and my small feeling of “Maybe I am a bit sad now, but it’ll be okay.” -AH


Honorable Mentions:

GROUPER: My only show at the sit-down Contemporary Theatre, where solo artist Liz Harris from Portland, OR gave a hauntingly beautiful performance with blurry (and at times hard-to-watch) shots of the ocean, and ambiguously zoomed-in objects. -AH

OPEN MIKE EAGLE: A super underrated rapper who pushes the boundaries of the genre, and who himself claims to feel more comfortable amongst slam poets and stand up comedians. –AH


ADRIENNE HOHENSEE | festivalgurl1234 | KXSU Music Reporter

SADIE LOPEZ | Already waiting for next year’s Treefort | KXSU DJ

 

 

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