After a successful debut in 2012, Downtown Boise's Treefort Music Fest is branching out in its second year.
By doubling the number of acts and expanding the music genres, the indie-centric, emerging-acts showcase suddenly feels more palatable to the casual but eager music fan.
If that describes you - and there's no shame in that - here are half a dozen picks for you to target at the March 21-24 festival. Featuring nearly 300 acts at multiple venues, Treefort has an irresistible vibe that blends musical enthusiasm, a sense of discovery and fist-pumping city pride. For ticket prices and a full schedule, visit Treefortmusicfest.com:
- Earth - 11:30 p.m. March 21, Neurolux. Are you a headbanger? These bands ain't Slipknot, kids, but Treefort is nudging the amps to 11 for at least one night.
Expect Neurolux to be packed for Seattle (mostly) instrumental act Earth, whose slow music is as heavy as its name. Founded in 1989, Earth helped pioneer drone doom, a repetitive, sludgy subgenre of doom metal. The band has "lightened" somewhat with age, adding elements of other genres. (Trombone metal, anyone?)
Arrive at 10:30 p.m. to catch trippy Canadian act Menace Ruine, who may strike you as the Beach House of metal.
- Foxygen, Unknown Mortal Orchestra - 9 p.m., 10 p.m., March 21, El Korah Shrine. Welcome to the buzz-band zone. Both of these bands made Rolling Stone's "20 Must-See Acts" preview of South By Southwest, the gargantuan music festival in Austin, Texas, that wraps up March 17.
Rolling Stone called Foxygen's latest album "an absorbing collection of psychedelic rock full of hazy vocals on songs that shift and morph seemingly without effort."
As for Unknown Mortal Orchestra? The mag gushed, "After a buzzed-about LP in 2011, the trio returned last month with their second album, 'II,' a collection of spacious, loose-knit songs laced with reverb-y vocals and swirling washes of guitar."
- Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings - 8:30 p.m. March 22, Main Stage.
Everyone needs to see this set. Fifty-six-year-old soul singer Sharon Jones and her funky band have crossed over on the festival circuit and appeal to all ages.
This should be one of the standouts of Treefort - a performance that transcends specific music preferences and just appeals to people's bones. Curious about the band's '60s-laced sound? Check out the song "100 Days, 100 Nights" on YouTube.
If you show up to the Main Stage at 5:50 p.m., you'll catch one of the breakouts at last year's Treefort: soulful Seattle group Pickwick.
- K.Flay - 12:30 a.m. March 23 (Saturday night), Reef. I've never seen rapper K.Flay. But I've heard she's impressive. Repeatedly. While covering Treefort last year, I wrote on my blog, "If one more person asks me if I saw rapper K.Flay ... I'm going to scream." She'll perform as part of a hip-hop-oriented lineup at Reef that also includes outstanding, eccentric band Forrest Day earlier at 10 p.m.
- Built To Spill - 10 p.m. March 22-24, El Korah Shrine. Even if you're not a fan, it's impossible to deny the fun of Idaho's indie-rock group headlining three nights at this all-ages venue. Built To Spill will crank sets of "Ultimate Alternative Wavers" (March 22), career-spanning originals (March 23) and covers (March 24).
It's an opportunity to see what type of chemistry new bassist Jason Albertini and drummer Steve Gere bring. They've replaced longtime, steady rhythm section Brett Nelson and Scott Plouf in a "completely amicable" lineup change, according to a press release. Frontman Doug Martsch hasn't made himself accessible to his hometown newspaper lately (I haven't interviewed him in years), but last month he told the Spokesman-Review of Spokane that the members quit and "wanted to do something else."
- Youth Lagoon, Dan Deacon, Animal Collective - 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 8:30 p.m., March 24, Main Stage. Treefort's Main Stage finale is a doozy.
Boise's Youth Lagoon recently beefed up its live sound with additional members, which should make the group's spacey new album, "Wondrous Bughouse," translate on stage.
Electronic musician and composer Dan Deacon is known for a visceral show that often emphasizes audience involvement.
Critically acclaimed Animal Collective is the most fascinating gig at Treefort. Not only is the psychedelic group arguably the festival's biggest name, it has a reputation for a hit-and-miss live show. This could be Treefort's home run - or a Main Stage fizzle of an ending.
YAHOO? TIMBERLAKE? GARDEN CITY? WHAAA?
Put on your suit and tie, Garden City. Is Justin Timberlake headed to the Revolution Center?
Based on somewhat confusing news on the Internet about the Yahoo on the Road Festival (links are on my blog), it appears to be some sort of possibility. The tour will stop at the Revolution Center on May 28.
Timberlake, Frank Ocean, Jay-Z, The Lumineers and Kendrick Lamar are among acts being reported as part of the trek, which includes "32 performers, 10 comedians and one yodeler."
It stands to reason that only a handful of the acts will be at each date. And it appears that Timberlake and Jay-Z are part of a final aspect of the tour in London. But whoever winds up being in Garden City, this will be a major event for the 2,200-capacity Revolution, which hosted a sold-out Tiesto concert March 8 and welcomed almost 2,000 fans March 14 for a Flogging Molly blowout.
The Yahoo concert is rumored to be similar to the America Online-sponsored Counting Crows gig in 2003 at Boise's 1,000-capacity Big Easy (now called the Knitting Factory).
That was a free show.
Timberlake? Free? Can you imagine?
TONIGHT IN 'THE OTHER STUDIO'
Tim Johnstone and I welcome Treefort festival director Eric Gilbert, who spins music and talks about the challenges of assembling the festival in Boise.
"The Other Studio" airs at 9 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.
IN SCENE MARCH 22
- Boise musician Trevor Powers talks about life in Youth Lagoon.
- Seven days of grub: A week's worth of restaurant specials to seek out.
Michael Deeds' column runs Fridays in Scene and Sundays in Life. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @IDS_Deeds