Words & Deeds

Early-bird guide to weeknight bands at Treefort Music Fest

Treefort Music Fest rocked Boise in 2016

A whopping 1,660 musicians performed at Treefort Music Fest on March 23-27, 2016, in Downtown Boise. Here are highlights from the festival, which attracted 16,000 total attendees.
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A whopping 1,660 musicians performed at Treefort Music Fest on March 23-27, 2016, in Downtown Boise. Here are highlights from the festival, which attracted 16,000 total attendees.

Treefort Music Fest won’t turn up the volume to 11 until next weekend. That’s when the outdoor Main Stage opens at 12th and Grove streets. That’s when Alefort, the jam-packed beer tent, taps dozens of kegs next to Treefort’s food-truck paradise.

But Treefort begins, not so quietly, two days earlier. On a Wednesday. The Treefort huggers will get so delirious that they’ll break the unwritten rule of small-town Boise and go see bands on a weeknight. Must be the invasion of Portland kids.

Maybe you’re one of those PDX partyers. Or maybe you have to work next weekend but still want to experience Treefort. Or maybe you’re that irritating little brother who always has to be first. Whatever the case, with major help from Treefort director and co-founder Eric Gilbert, here’s a quick guide to Wednesday and Thursday music highlights.

This isn’t supposed to be a comprehensive list. But with 400-plus acts to plow through, we all need a nudge in the right direction. Incidentally, there are fewer performers at Treefort this year. “By like 40 bands,” Gilbert says. “Crazy, huh?”

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Wednesday, March 22

Tora’dan: 6:40 to 7:20 p.m. Boise Contemporary Theater. Start Treefort off with Iranian cultural music. This duo, which moved to Boise from Iran recently, will perform a set sandwiched between ballet performances.

ChildzPlay: 9 to 9:40 p.m., Linen Building. Reuniting to rawk for the first time in 30 years, this local hair-metal band was like the Dokken of Boise in the 1980s — before moving to Hollywood to chase their dreams. The hair is now optional, but pick slides are guaranteed.

Meat Puppets: 11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., Neurolux. Fans of ’80s college rock will pack the ’Lux for this group, a favorite of the late Kurt Cobain. A scratched copy of the Meat Puppets’ 1994 CD “Too High To Die” lurks in all respectable Gen-Xer closets.

Carpenter Brut: 11:15 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., El Korah Shrine. This mysterious French synthwave group toured the United States last year with Swedish heavy metal band Ghost. Speaking of ghosts, Gost plays El Korah at 9 p.m. and Magic Sword at 10. “It’s a rare convergence of some of the biggest names in synthwave at the moment,” Gilbert says.

Happyness: 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., Boise All-ages Music Project (aka Pollo Rey restaurant). “Great indie-rock from the U.K.,” Gilbert says.

The Soft White Sixties: 11 p.m. to 12:15 a.m., Linen Building. A Treefort veteran, this California indie band plays soulful, energetic rock ’n’ roll with a retro edge.

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Thursday, March 23

Doug Martsch: 7:30 to 8:15 p.m., Boise Contemporary Theater. Built To Spill isn’t playing at Treefort, but its members are. This solo gig will be packed, so prepare accordingly.

Minihorse: 8:30 to 9:10 p.m., The Olympic. “Up-and-comers from Michigan,” Gilbert says. “Really stellar alt/indie rock.”

Bogan Via: 9 to 9:40 p.m., The Shredder. If you’re a fan of catchy synth-pop, go see this Arizona male-female duo, which shares vocal duties.

Open Mike Eagle: 10:15 to 11 p.m., El Korah Shrine. Boiseans love this L.A. indie rapper and comedy personality for his hypnotic, disturbing song about driving at night, “Idaho.”

Why?: 11:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., El Korah Shrine. The Main Stage headliner at the first Treefort will return five years later for an indoor set of indie-rock hip-hop.

The Coathangers: midnight to 1:15 a.m. (Thursday night/Friday morning), Linen Building. Treefort needs more punk bands. This infectious, all-female punk band on Suicide Squeeze Records? Even better.

Kane Strang: 11 p.m. to midnight Thursday, Boise All-ages Movement Project. This New Zealand singer-songwriter has a “good buzz around him,” Gilbert says. At his best, Strang is like “Panda Bear doing a one-man garage-band remount of Pixies slows jams,” Pitchfork wrote.

Afrosonics and Polyrhythmics: 10 to 11 p.m. and 11:30 to 1 a.m., Hannah’s. If you’re into world and funk jams, Hannah’s is the place to be.

Online: Treefortmusicfest.com.

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