Someday I want to attend South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. It’s a bar-hopping live music extravaganza of epic proportions featuring fresh-faced local bands and grizzled national acts.
Portland’s MusicFest Northwest is what I imagine South by Southwest is like, albeit smaller and in the Pacific Northwest. (Duh!)
I witnessed everyone from veteran post-rock outfit Explosions In The Sky and dynamic Seattle hip-hop act Macklemore and Ryan Lewis to local buzz bands And And And and Ages and Ages during the three days I attended MusicFest Northwest 2011.
It was a solid festival. I would hesitate to call it great because the headlining options — Iron and Wine, Explosions in the Sky, Band of Horses –could have been better. But overall I enjoyed myself.
Twin Shadow’s abrupt cancellation last night at Doug Fir Lounge in Portland caused quite a stir. But rather than let any hard feelings linger frontman George Lewis Jr. responded to fans’ concerns with a show of class today.
Lewis’ trip to the hospital for unknown reasons resulted in his band aborting their slot on a bill headlined by Pains of Being Pure At Heart. He apparently felt better today. This video of “When We’re Dancing” is stallar. His apology was a nice gesture.
Lewis also reached out to fans on his Twitter page. Attendees of last night’s show can get their names on the guest list of his next show by emailing a photo of their stub along with their name to the band’s management. “Please no funny biz,” Lewis wrote on Twitter.
Twin Shadow's George Lewis Jr.
I have seen a lot of weird things at shows. From bands that looked like they would rather fight each other than play together (i.e., Trail of Dead) to egomaniacal frontmen who chastised their mates mercilessly on-stage (i.e., Anton Newcombe) to artists that came on-stage an hour and a half late only to play 15 minutes (i.e., Plies*).
But what I witnessed Thursday night at the Doug Fir Lounge in Portland was a new one for me.
Minutes before their set’s scheduled start time, the members of Brooklyn new wave revivalists Twin Shadow, save for frontman George Lewis Jr., gathered around the microphone to announce they would not be playing. The band’s keyboardist informed the crowd Lewis had fallen ill and was taken to a nearby hospital. (NOTE: I wish Lewis a speedy recovery from his unspecified malady.)
Following the announcement, I could almost see WTF? bubbles popping up in the crowd’s heads. All the band’s equipment was on stage. They had even soundchecked, minus Lewis. Surely, this must be a mistake.