Words & Deeds

These off-the-radar bands will ‘blow some minds’ at Treefort Music Fest

Everything soared at Treefort Music Fest in 2018 — guitar notes, hair, spirits.
Everything soared at Treefort Music Fest in 2018 — guitar notes, hair, spirits.

Eric Gilbert’s got your back, Boise.

The co-founder and talent buyer at Treefort Music Fest realizes you can’t be familiar with all 440 (and counting) musical acts at the March 20-24 festival. Sure, you’ve done your homework about the schedule. You’re fired up about rapper Vince Staples helping kick things off Wednesday at the Knitting Factory. You’re aware that hometown favorites Built To Spill will return to the Main Stage for a Thursday set. Even your mom is stoked that Liz Phair will rock that Main Stage on Friday.

But if you’ve experienced Treefort, you’re keenly aware that the most gratifying part involves digging. Discovering your new favorite band. Or even taking the time to explore performers you’ve heard about — but never gotten around to appreciating.

To make your life easier, Gilbert has highlighted six acts each day: 30 total. These are more than band picks. He’s even provided short descriptions. All are under-the-radar to varying degrees. Sure, they might be unknown to a few festivalgoers — or many — but they’re highly recommended, Gilbert says.

“There’s some that people don’t know about that are definitely going to blow some minds,” he says.

just in time to gig Saturday at the Knitting Factory. Maybe you’re even fired up for rapper Vince Staples’ set

Wednesday, March 20

East Forest — 5:30 p.m., El Korah Shrine, 1118 W. Idaho St.

“Electronic artist East Forest is partially based in Boise now. He released the first part of a collaborative album with Ram Dass back in January and the second part releases on March 22. He’ll be kicking off the music portion of Treefort this year with an opening ceremony featuring the music from the new album. East Forest is also appearing at Yogafort again this year.”

Martha Stax — 9:10 p.m., El Korah Shrine, 1118 W. Idaho St.

“From the band’s bio: ‘Martha Stax is a six-piece minimalist/art-rock group from Portland, Oregon. The sound of early rock ‘n’ roll meets bebop with a twist. A kid in a candy store in 1956.’ I’ve only heard a couple of glimpses into their music, but I have a really good feeling about this new Portland band, and they could definitely be a sleeper set in this year’s lineup.”

Billy Moon — 10 p.m., The Shredder, 430 S. 10th St. Also 7:30 p.m. Thursday at The Olympic, 1009 W. Main St.

“Rock ‘n’ roll band from Toronto. Catchy and subtly complex riffage. Listen to his new album ‘Punk Songs’ that came out last Fall on Old Flame Records.”

Liz Cooper & The Stampede — 11:30 p.m., Neurolux, 111 N. 11th St. Also 4:20 p.m. Thursday on Main Stage, 12th and Grove streets.

“Fresh off of tours last year with Phosphorescent, M. Ward, Deer Tick and others, Liz Cooper has a full head of steam coming into Treefort this year, and we’re excited to introduce her to Boise. I highly recommend her record ‘Window Flowers’ that came out last year, especially to fans of psychedelic-rock and folk.”

The Puscie Jones Revue — 11:50 p.m., El Korah Shrine, 1118 W. Idaho St.

“Raw soul/funk from this up-and-comer out of Los Angeles that will get the walls shaking at the Shrine on opening night.”

Illuminati Hotties — 12:30 a.m., Linen Building, 1402 W. Grove St.

“Buzzy indie-pop, or as they say, ‘pioneering tenderpunk.’ Fresh off of a tour with Treefort alum Lucy Dacus. Listen to their album ‘Kiss Yr Frenemies’ that came out last year on Tiny Engines.”

Thursday, March 21

Laura Veirs — 8:30 p.m., Boise Contemporary Theater, 854 W Fulton St. Also hosting a songwriting workshop at Storyfort at 3:30 p.m. Friday at The Owyhee.

“Acclaimed indie singer-songwriter. She was part of case / lang / veirs with Neko Case and k.d. Lang. She’s collaborated with many others throughout the music scene through the years. She has a very deep catalog, but Paste Magazine recently put together a great place to start — ‘The 10 Best Laura Veirs Songs.’ Her set at BCT will be one of the more intimate shows on her tour schedule, and look for a likely collaboration with Boise Philharmonic String Quartet as well.”

Black Mountain — 8:40 p.m., Main Stage, 12th and Grove streets.

“For fans of ‘classic rock’ as much as modern heavy rock fans. New record coming in May. They’ve been through Boise a few times over the years, and we’re really excited to have them outdoors headlining our first Thursday night of the festival Main Stage.”

Good Not Great — 10:20 p.m., Pengilly’s Saloon, 513 W. Main St.

“Some not-so-serious bluegrass pickers for the serious bluegrass heads. Look for them playing on the Treeline bus, too.”

Joshy Soul — 11:10 p.m., The Olympic, 1009 W. Main St.

“Real deal seven-piece soul band from nearby Salt Lake City. First time playing Boise. Influenced by Little Richard, Otis Redding, and Stevie wonder. Joshy Soul brings a high-energy performance with James Brown dance moves and horn section.”

Cherry Glazerr — midnight, El Korah Shrine, 1118 W. Idaho St.

“Great new record ‘Stuffed & Ready’ came out earlier this year on Secretly Canadian. Genre-bending rock trio led by 22-year-old Clementine Creevy. She started the band when she was only 16.”

Anemone — 12:30 a.m., Neurolux, 111 N. 11th St. Also, 8 p.m. Friday at El Korah Shrine, 1118 W. Idaho St.

“Dream Pop from Montreal, Quebec. Gets into some dub and disco territory at times. Blissfully psychedelic and groovy dance beats. Playing twice, but particularly excited for this late night and longer set at Neurolux.”

Friday, March 22

Raccoon Tour — 5 p.m., Boise All-ages Movement Project pop-up venue, 1507 W. Main St.

“Look out for this local in 2019. Brand new project led by Nate Burr. When’s the last time you heard a punk-influenced song with ukulele in it? Listen to their single ‘Sofarinrunning.’ Album on the way.”

Chong The Nomad — 5:30 p.m., El Korah Shrine, 1118 W. Idaho St. Also, DJing at 11 p.m. Saturday at Capital City Event Center at The Adelmann, 622 W. Idaho St.

“Buzzing up-and-coming producer and DJ out of Seattle. She has been getting a lot of attention as of late for her quirky beats and pop songs. Looking forward to her live set at El Korah Shrine, but also her DJ set at Adelmann on Saturday.”

Sweet Spirit — 5:50 p.m., Main Stage, 12th and Grove streets. Also 10:20 p.m. Saturday at Neurolux, 111 N. 11th St.

“Two shots to catch this burst of fun, sweaty, rock ‘n’ roll at Treefort this year. I recommend both. Sweet Spirit were built for Treefort.”

Gaelynn Lea — 8 p.m., Boise Contemporary Theater, 854 W. Fulton St. Also speaking at Storyfort on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at The Owyhee.

“Folk singer, violinist, public speaker and disability advocate from Duluth, Minnesota. Winner of NPR’s second annual Tiny Desk Contest.”

Cedric Burnside — 9 p.m., The Olympic, 1009 W. Main St. Also 6:40 p.m. Saturday at Basque Center, 601 W. Grove St.

“Grandson of R.L. Burnside, Cedric played drums in R.L.’s band for several years. Now leading his own band on guitar. Nominated for a Grammy this year for his latest album ‘Benton County Relic.’ Blues fans don’t want to miss this, especially fans of hill country blues from the Mississippi Delta.”

Flint Eastwood — 10:50 p.m., El Korah Shrine, 1118 W. Idaho St.

“Alt-pop powerhouse from Detroit led by singer and producer Jax Anderson. For fans of electronic, dance pop, hip-hop, R&B, warehouse parties, artist advocacy, activism, LGBT music.”

Saturday, March 23

Y La Bamba — 1:50 p.m., Main Stage, 12th and Grove streets. Also 10:30 p.m. Sunday at The Olympic, 1009 W. Main St.

“Y La Bamba have played Treefort several times and come to Boise fairly regularly. They started out real good. Then after some personnel changes and some time to rebuild, they have evolved in to a real inspiring force beyond band leader Luz Elena Mendoza, and one of the best bands in the West. The record they just released, ‘Mujeres,’ is catching fire. Their last few live shows in Boise have been some of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Don’t miss this band.”

CHAI — 4:20 p.m., Main Stage, 12th & Grove streets. Also 9:30 p.m. Friday at El Korah Shrine, 1118 W. Idaho St.

“Experimental pop from Japan. New album ‘Punk’ comes out March 15. Two opportunities to catch them at Treefort. From their bio: ‘When you think of all things Pink, a sound that fuses the likings of Basement Jaxx, the Gorillaz, CSS, and Tom Tom Club, with lyrics focused on ‘women empowerment’ and redefining the definition of ‘kawaii’ or cute in Japanese, you think of CHAI.’”

Caroline Rose — 7 p.m., Main Stage, 12th and Grove streets. Also 12:30 a.m. Friday night at Neurolux, 111 N. 11th St.

“Her album ‘Loner’ was on many best of lists from last year. It definitely got a lot of spins in my life. Caroline Rose started her career more in the Americana world, but this latest record is a strong move in to the new wave-y pop-rock realm.”

Twain — 9 p.m., The District Coffeehouse, 219 N. 10th St.

“Legendary singer-songwriter, lauded by many active musicians and friends of Treefort. Twain will be in the heart of a stacked singer-songwriter bill at The District on Saturday night.”

Don Chicharrón — 10:30 p.m., Basque Center, 601 W. Grove St.

“From their bio: ‘Don Chicharrón plays and pays homage to Chicha, the sonic result of Peruvian artists mixing the various aural stylings of their day: ‘60s psychedelia, Andean traditional folk melodies, and Afro-Cuban cumbia rhythms.’”

Ric Wilson — 11:10 p.m., Linen Building, 1402 W. Grove St. Also 12:20 a.m. on Friday night at Reef, 105 S. 6th St.

“Live band hip-hop from the hot Chicago scene. Gets funky and dancy.”

Sunday, March 24

Sarah Shook & the Disarmers — 3:10 p.m., Main Stage, 12th and Grove streets. Also 11:10 p.m. Saturday at The Olympic, 1009 W. Main St.

“Outlaw country from North Carolina. Her record ‘Years’ that came out last year on Bloodshot Records hit a bunch of best of lists at the end of the year. This is going to be a good one.”

Sudan Archives — 6 p.m., Main Stage, 12th and Grove streets. Also 12:20 a.m. Saturday night at Linen Building, 1402 W. Grove St.

“Experimental R&B artist fusing electronic and folk music. Violin player drawing inspiration from Sudanese fiddle players. Making a lot of waves as of late, one of the buzzier artists playing Treefort this year.”

The Ophelias — 8 p.m., Linen Building, 1402 W. Grove St. Also look for them playing a second chance show or two.

“The Cincinnati quartet’s latest record was produced by Yoni Wolf (Why?). Recently highlighted by NPR as one of the top 100 acts to see at South By Southwest: ‘... a sound that meets somewhere between girl groups of the ‘60s and dream-pop bands of the ‘90s.’”

Sávila — 9:20 p.m., Neurolux, 111 N. 11th St.

“Recent winners of Best New Band in Portland. They came through Boise last year on tour with La Luz and blew all of us away that were there with their cumbia/Latin/world/R&B-inspired music. They’ll be helping warm up the final night dance party at Neurolux.”

Mattson 2 — 10:30 p.m., El Korah Shrine, 1118 W. Idaho St. Also 9:30 p.m. on Friday at Neurolux, 111 N. 11th St.

“Twin brothers Jonathan and Jared Mattson bring a lot of energy to their surf-inspired jazz compositions. In the last couple of years they’ve released a collaborative album with Chaz Bundick of Toro Y Moi and a full album tribute to John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme.’ Multiple opportunities to catch these guys at Treefort this year, including as part of Band Dialogue VIII happening outside of JUMP again this year.”

The French Tips — 10:40 p.m., Neurolux, 111 N. 11th St.

“Fairly new local band that have been stirring up a lot of interest in the scene with their fresh take on dance punk. Their debut album ‘It’s The Tips’ was released in January and is very good. Right after Treefort, they are going on tour with Built To Spill.”

— Compiled by Eric Gilbert

Michael Deeds is an entertainment reporter and columnist at the Idaho Statesman, where he’s also been a sportswriter, features editor and entertainment editor. Deeds co-hosts “The Other Studio,” a one-hour music show, at 8 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.