The Rain (And Cold) Can’t Stop The Party At Treefort Day 2
Treefort was off to an amazing start, but then came some rain. Let me rephrase that. Treefort was off to an amazing start, and then came some rain. The pit was a mud zone, but that did not stop Boise from continuing the party that is Treefort. Day 2 was filled with indie rock gems, ambient-influenced jams, and dancing. A lot of dancing.
But first, an interview! I was able to sit down with Dani and Will from Megafauna. We chatted about their artistic process, life in Austin, and their upcoming album, Olympico! I’ll have the full transcript of that up after the festival, so keep an eye out for that, and get pumped for Olympico!
After the interview, I had some time to chill and take in life in Boise. Being surrounded by mountains and foothills is novel to me coming from the flatlands of the Midwest. The air is so dry, too, which is a welcome change of pace from Midwestern humidity. I could probably get used to this if it was just a little geographically closer.
But that’s enough wistful waxing for one day. It was time to get back to the festival grounds because illuminati hotties were about to take the Main Stage in Julia Davis Park, and if you’ve read my review of their 2021 album, Let Me Do One More, you know that I was as close to the front as possible for this one. Sarah Tudzin and crew took the stage and immediately ripped into “Joni: LA’s No. 1 Health Goth,” and the mud pit was bumping. As the band tore through their brand of “tenderpunk,” they asked the crowd to sing along with “freequent letdown.” The Boise crowd was singing on key, prompting Tudzin to remark, “We’re moving to Boise! That way we can have the children’s choir. Finally.” The whole set was incredible, but the best moment was when they brought up the guitarist from the band Cosmic Space Bunnies for “Pool Hopping.” As the crowd chanted her name, the 11 year-old ripped through the song’s lead riff, and the pit was going insane when the rest of the band came in. This was indicative of the rest of the day.
I got to Treefort Music Hall early to secure a good spot for Chilean band SISTEMAS INESTABLES. As I was sitting pretty much right on the stage, I took in the brand new venue, and may I just say, Boise, that you have a new icon? This will rival the likes of Knitting Factory. But I digress. SISTEMAS INESTABLES hail from Santiago, Chile, and the show had El Korah Shrine Wednesday night had created a palpable buzz for this Treefort Music Hall show. As Javier, Santiago, and José Tomás trickled in one by one, the looping drum machines gave way to live drums, keys, guitar, and bass, all built on each other with other loops. I don’t quite know how to describe exactly what I heard, but I noted that they had a perfect synthesis of music and lighting, and then I stopped taking notes. I was completely sucked in by what I was witnessing. Next time these guys are in the US, make it a point to go check them out. The grooves are sick, the synths sound immaculate, and they’re just completely locked in.
After a little bit of a breather, it was time to go back to Julia Davis Park for the headliner of the weekend. Unknown Mortal Orchestra took the stage with a rousing performance of “The Garden,” the opening track from their latest album, V. Though that rain I was talking about came back a little heavy at the start of their set and cooled off everything, those of us who powered through the cold were treated to something that was as close to perfection as humanly possible. Solely backlit by letters spelling out UMO, the silhouettes of the band created a sense of simultaneous intimacy and separation. This dichotomy was present even in the stage banter. Early in the set, Ruban Nielson remarked, “Thank you for coming out and watching us. We’ll love you forever for this.” And then, as they wrapped up, he shouted, “We are Unknown Mortal Orchestra, the best band in the world! Good night!” This sense of modesty coupled with such a bold statement created a surreal energy that kept the crowd buzzing through the cold. As I walked back to Treefort Music Hall, everyone I walked past was talking about that set, and I would imagine it’ll stay in their heads for a long time. Excellent stuff from Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
Back at Treefort Music Hall, Brijean was taking the stage. The duo, consisting of Briejan Murphy and Dougie Stuart, kept the crowd dancing with what I would call a live house music set. As the drum loops continued, Brijean would add auxiliary percussion underneath her soft and smooth vocals while Dougie triggered the drum loops, played keys, and laid down thick bass grooves. About halfway through the set, Brijean asked, “We’re gonna slow it down just a bit on this next one, so is it possible to get that disco ball going?” The lighting team obliged, and though it was turned off when the tempo picked back up, it was a beautiful moment of synergy between artist and crew. The last song featured both a bass solo from Dougie and a conga solo from Brijean, and it was all the crowd needed to keep moving and stay out for the late hours of Treefort.
And then came Blu DeTiger’s DJ set. When I tell you this was life-changing, I am not joking. The “bass prodigy and burgeoning pop icon” not only brought disco and funk influence to her set, but she also brought a bass to play along and show off her chops. “My name is Blu DeTiger. Thanks for coming out tonight. We’re gonna get funky. We’re gonna dance. We’re gonna let it all go.” And let it all go we did. There was indoor crowdsurfing. There were multiple dance circles going on. There was a remix of Jungle’s “Keep Moving,” a disco remix of Robin S’ “Show Me Love,” a live bass solo over Daft Punk’s “Technologic,” and a remix of Kylie Minogue’s “Can’t Get You out of My Head.” The hybridity of the set kept the energy high for the whole night, and everyone in the building was moving. Everyone. Literally the whole room. It was absolutely incredible, and I’m glad I was a part of it.
Now it’s time to get ready for Day 3, and there is so much I’m excited for that I can’t quite spill yet. If you’re interested, be sure to check out our Day 3 recap tomorrow! If you’re at the festival, let us know who your favorite performance has been! Is there anything we’ve missed? Always curious to know what’s going on elsewhere at festivals!