Crowdsurfing and The Guitar Are Still Alive at Treefort Day 1

Yesterday marked the first day of Treefort Music Festival! My day might have been cut short by post-flight exhaustion, but what I was able to see in five and a half hours in Julia Davis Park in the heart of Boise was incredible. As the title suggests, crowdsurfers were plentiful, and every single band I saw was centered around the raw power of the electric guitar. You might be wondering at this point who these bands were, so let’s hop in!

Credit: Andrew Gardner

As soon as I entered the Wristband Zone where the two main park stages reside, I made a beeline for The Hideout stage. The Austin, Texas-based rock band Megafauna was about to go on, and the crowd was coming in fast. As they threw out a beautiful blend of psychedelic rock, punk, and math rock, everyone was sucked in by frontwoman Dani Neff’s otherworldly vocals soaked in reverb and sheer virtuosity on the guitar. From the intricate riffs to the shredding guitar solos, her instrumental prowess and stage presence had everyone in a trance for their whole 50 minute set. That’s not even mentioning the rest of the band, as Will Krause decimated the low end and Zack Humphrey laid down the drum grooves while Winston Barrett traded solos with Neff.

Following Megafauna, I was on the move to the Main Stage. Admittedly, I was there to secure a solid spot for Dinosaur Jr., who I’ll get to in a moment, but San Francisco punk rockers Destroy Boys were absolutely crushing their set when I got there. I was instantly drawn in by the energy of the band’s cofounders, Violet Mayugba and Alexia Roditis. I got there as they started their 2018 track “Vixen,” and they immediately pivoted into a cover of Nirvana’s “Drain You.” The rest of the set after that is a blur of crowdsurfing, dancing, and admiring how much fun the band was obviously having. As a Weezer fan myself, I thought their bit making fun of “Undone (The Sweater Song)” was hysterical. It’s always a blessing to see bands having fun during their sets, and I feel blessed to have been in the presence of Destroy Boys.

And then came Dinosaur Jr. The Amherst, Massachusetts rock outfit has been going since 1984, and this was their first time ever playing in Boise. According to bassist Lou Barlow, they broke down in Mountain Home, about an hour southeast of Boise, on one of their first tours, and were there for three days. If you’re like me, you recognize the name from playing Rock Band in your youth, but this band is so much more than “Feel the Pain.” Was it absolutely incredible to see live? Yes. But the entire set was made up of songs that featured J Mascis’ earworm guitar and signature vocal drawl, Barlow’s precision on the low-end, and Murph’s absolutely insane drumming. The set ended with a cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” and a ten-minute jam. Definitely one of the highlights of the weekend, and the weekend is just getting started.

Dinosaur Jr. (Credit: Andrew Gardner)

It’s here that I must mention I needed to get off my feet, and the set-up of Julia Davis Park has The Hideout stage right next to a pavilion of picnic tables. Thank you, Treefort logistics team. So while I was taking a load off, I got to listen to even more insane guitar work from Yvette Young and her band, Covet. I don’t know if I could do the full set justice because I wasn’t in a place to view anything, but what I heard was absolutely amazing. Go check out Covet.

To end my night, I headed back to the Main Stage for Surf Curse. As they pointed out graciously in their introduction, this was “Night one out of so many nights… of music!” Then they ripped through “Arrow,” off of their most recent record, Magic Hour. It was the first time drummer and vocalist Nick Rattigan had played a show in pigtails, and as I was writing down that quip, one of the other band members – could have been cofounder Jacob Rubeck, could have been new additions Noah Kholl or Henry Dillon – remarked that he was “gonna shoot [his] eye out with those things.” Much like Destroy Boys, this was just four friends having fun playing great music for an invested crowd. Crowdsurfing galore at this one, too. Most importantly, after something happened to an audience member towards the front, Rattigan made sure to remind everyone to “be mindful of the people around you. Be mindful of yourself and your limits.” The rest of the set was just as energetic and entertaining, and the band is poised to launch high in 2023.

Surf Curse (Credit: Andrew Gardner)

And that was the end of the night for me. There was more going on, but my jet lag hit me right as Surf Curse was wrapping up, so I went and slept it off to get ready for Day 2. I’m excited to get back at it! If you’re at the festival, let us know who you’re most excited for! If you’re following along from home, let us know who you’d like to see us cover!

Andrew Gardner Administrator
Obsessed with all things music. Currently finishing an MFA in Chicago. If you see me at a show, say hey!
Andrew Gardner Administrator
Obsessed with all things music. Currently finishing an MFA in Chicago. If you see me at a show, say hey!

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