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Ty Segall and the Muggers
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A real festival as an event celebrating or memorializing something. Pickathon feels like a festival in that sense - more than just a creative gathering. It feels like it is deepening community and it gives me hope that groups of people can get together and get along and have a workable society that is good for all. People you barely knew become amazing friends in an evening. OK, enough of that!
Nostalgia. I don't fall for it a lot in music but Yo La Tengo is kind of in the sweet spot of popularish, non-sell out indie bands of the 80s/90s. They played the biggest stage, the one in a field, and it was totally captivating.
Everyone I knew was super keen to listen to the really sweet pop harmonies of Alvvays (Belle and Sebastian meets Camera Obscura). Canadian band alert! In fact, vocalist Molly Rankin descends from Canadian traditional music royalty - the Rankin Family. Listen to the insanely catchy tune Archie, Marry Me on bandcamp and you will be converted.
Thee Oh Sees are fronted by the indefatigable John Dwyer. His move from San Francisco to LA and a complete lineup change about two years ago signalled a drop in cohesion and innovation but this night on the magical Woods stage (yes you might spot an elf) was the best set they have played since the switch.
I was able to sample several of the comics performing in the lucky barn. Portland has a thriving scene, which I well believe since JoAnn Schinderle and Caitlin Weyerhaeuser were consistently funny.
I couldn't resist watching Black Mountain again as they played another heavy and intense set in the Galaxy Barn.
Several hikes and two lunches later, I was back from the beautiful duo My Bubba. This is the kind of music I might not hear of it wasn't for the festival - clever Scandinavian folk influenced by southern gothic via Appalachia. The pair have the typical very understated humour of the North, lost a little on the crowd. Some of the songs are A Capella and some have a guitar or a Scandinavian autoharp for accompaniment.
The highlight was Ty Segall and the Muggers' set on the main Mt Hood stage. It had the feeling of a tent revival show - with Ty as the flashy preacher in a white suit jacket. Experiencing great music is like its own ecstatic church, so it seemed fitting.
Now to wash out all the dust and get some sleep. But seriously, think about putting Pickathon on your calendar for 2017. You will not regret it.