PICKATHON (Happy Valley, OR)

Happy Valley, Oregon
August 3-5, 2012

To be honest, this whole festival is a little irksome for me. Sure, “we” are going to be there to cover it, but “I” will not personally be there to cover it. Still, I’m the one who is sent all of the updates to forward to our writer and, with each and every press release, this thing seems to reveal itself as crazier and crazier. Overall, it’s a bit pricey, but when you begin to find out everything that is made available to attendees, it’s clear that the promoters aren’t joking when they claim that they have assembled what they believe to be the greatest festival experience available. Along with acts like Thee Oh Sees, White Denim, The War on Drugs, and Dr Dog performing, Pickathon features goods from multiple micro breweries on location, as well as a winery, extensive menus which range from stuff that tastes crazy delicious to gluten free and vegan options, showers, massages, a cafe, bakery, high quality espresso… all kinds of ridiculous shit that beats basically every single other festival experience that I’ve ever had, that generally involves laying around in my own filth for days on end. Beyond that, it’s extremely kid friendly with activities for the little ones. For anyone that doubts the amenities on site, all that they need to do is look at the schedule and recognize that many of the bands will be there for multiple days. Not only does this make it so that attendees will be able to avoid any issues with overlap by catching a performer the following day if they’ve been forced to miss them at another time slot, but it’s also evidence that the band members are even happy to stick around, enjoy the environment, and kick back a little on their own.

Peep out the OFFICIAL WEBSITE for more details.

Sharon Van Etten

w/Tennis and Lemolo
Seattle, Wa
August 7, 2012

New Jersey’s Sharon Van Etten is the type of artist that proves to what degree music in a post-Lilith Fair world can feel so refreshing.  At the risk of coming across as a chauvinistic oppressor, aside from select brilliance by individually defined artists like Bjork, the 1990s female music scene was, by and large, pretty terrible.  I get that the Lilith Fair idea was supposed to champion women artists, provide them with a platform, and empower them, but for the most part it just seemed like there was a dual message that a female artist should either be a more rigid middle-class lesbian stereotype with country leanings (ala Mellissa Etheridge, KD Lang), an acoustic coffee shop alt-rocker (Meredith Brooks, Tracy Bonham), or some irritating as fuck new age piano songstress (Sarah McLaughlin, Tori Amos, Paula Cole).  Not all of those artists in the previous parentheses performed at the festival, but you get the idea.  While there was a market for female artists, it seemed as if there was still only a very select window for women to present their material.  I didn’t even realize it until after the fact, but half of the acts that I caught at this year’s Sasquatch! Festival were women or led by them.  I didn’t intentional track down “female” acts, or anything, I simply migrated towards the “best” ones.  Without the antiquated restrictions of what determine strength and individuality, it’s a relief to find that those who embody the true definition of being an individual with their own unique sound, path, and vision are really being allowed to thrive more openly in the current musical climate without being forced beneath the confines of some worthless umbrella that validates them as part of some “legitimate” female artist banner or movement.  Mainstream radio is dead and, as with any real art, the movement is one born of the individual and not the diluted brand created to market to the unthinking masses.

More importantly than any focus on her gender–which always seems to be a focus for female artists, but obviously never should be–is her ability to transcend the stigmas associated with the title of singer/songwriter.  The term immediately evokes the corniest and most stereotypical images possible (I’m looking at you Jason Mraz) and the fact that Sharon is a woman holding an acoustic guitar can be a rough hurdle for some of us who were burned throughout the 90s to get past (Ani Difranco you are the worst).  Sharon‘s music doesn’t sound contrived and she has a great voice that works effortlessly; there’s range but it isn’t forced, the songs are straight forward without being boring.  Whatever she’s singing about couldn’t feel more real and earnest if it came out of the mouth of Leonard Coen.  The most that any artist could ever hope for is the ability to create something that is pure enough to hit their audience and immediately transmit organic emotion throughout their beings; she has that ability.  For her latest release, Tramp, similarly talented friends from acts like Beirut, The National, and Wye Oak were eager collaborators.  In fact, Kyp Malone (TV on the Radio, Iran, Rain Machine) has been credited as recognizing Van Etten‘s talent early on and being the one to encourage her to pursue a solo career in music.

Beyond Sharon‘s acclaimed live shows, the has the added benefit of such solid opening acts as the husband and wife indie-pop sailers, TENNIS, and Seattle‘s own dreampop duo, Lemolo.  Other tour stops include Outside Lands, as well as Van Etten sharing the stage with Andrew Bird.



Thu. Aug. 2 – Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Ballroom *

Fri. Aug. 3 – Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza

Sat. Aug. 4 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue *

Tue. Aug. 7 – Seattle, WA @ Neptune *

Wed. Aug. 8 – Portland, OR @ Aladdin *

Fri. Aug. 10 – San Francisco, CA @ Outside Lands Festival

Fri. Aug. 10 – San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop (Outside Lands after show)

Sun. Aug. 12 – Los Angeles, CA @ Greek Theatre #

Tue. Aug. 14 – Solana Beach, CA @ Belly Up Tavern *

Wed. Aug. 15 – Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom *

Fri. Aug. 17 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge *

Sat. Aug. 18 – Jackson, WY @ Caldera Festival #

Sun. Aug. 19 – Boulder, CO @ Fox Theatre

Mon. Aug. 20 – Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room

Wed. Aug. 22 – Cleveland, OH @ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum


* with Tennis

# with Andrew Bird


Gathering of the Juggalos (Cave-in-Rock, IL)

Cave-In-Rock, IL
August 8-12, 2012

Surprised?!  Yeah, I know, this might not seem like something that we would “suggest” and I’m not even sure if it’s a good idea to suggest if for most people, but I’ve personally been fascinated with the idea of checking this thing out for a while, if for no other reason that the photo ops.  If it wasn’t so far away from where I’m located, I would probably be organizing my camping supplies right now to attend.  Yeah… seriously.

So what’s the deal with the Gathering of the Juggalos, you ask?  That’s the big question.  In ways, it seems to be like a rainbow gathering for trailer park kids, without the shunning of alcoholic beverages and hard drugs, and with the inclusion of wet oil wrestling, “professional wrestling,” rap and metal acts, comedy tents, and a shit ton of clown makeup.  More natural drinks like mate and kombucha are repleaced with Faygo brand carbonated sugar water.  From the stories and imagery that we’ve seen, we can deduce a couple of things, one being that juggalettes have some of the gnarliest, grotesque, and odd looking boobs on the planet.  There’s the story about Tila Tequila getting attacked with foreign objects and being removed after being injured, which may or may not be justified, but believe it or not, the amount of topless young girls with stretchmarks and crooked teeth is the only real thing that truly still disturbs me.  Plus, in all honesty, the idea of people rejecting Tila Tequila to the point that they were unable to restrain themselves from throwing hefty objects at her face, does more to connect me to your cause than to push me away.  I’d like to believe that, even if you’re a lady who’s not into being covered in filth, being referred to as a bitch, getting a hatchet clown tattooed above your twat, wearing gear with the numbers 420 and 69 embroidered all over it, getting your panties ripped off in a tub of oil, and/or letting any random stranger lick your tits, you’d still be welcome to hang out at the festivities and not be treated aggressively, but that’s not the implication in any of the footage that I’ve seen.  Of course, I haven’t seen any footage of women who were into that shit already, so one or two things must be true:  the first is that no other women cares to be recorded at the gathering other than the aggressively perverse or that no one cares to film someone with an average level of personal restraint when there are a handful of other girls around with their business hanging out and dripping in pineapple soft drinks.  The other thing is that you must know what you’re getting into before attending the festival and, in turn, the only chicks that show up are the ones waiting to get into that sort of shit.  Despite the extremely loose level of security and the expectations for the crowd to police themselves and each other, I’m sure that violent gang rape is not something that’s endorsed by the festival or it’s attendees and, beyond any individual beliefs or ideas of what constitutes personal morality, any further concerns may be pure and simply paranoia.

Wait!  So why am I endorsing this festival again?  Well, I’m an adult man who can take care of myself and am far more interested is seeing what’s behind something than simply trashing it blindly.  On top of that, nobody’s asking for my approval or for my attendance, so to attack these guys from a distance for doing whatever it is that they do, is actually pretty ignorant and shitty on my part, anyway.  But I get that, just because I’ve determined that there’s no need to trash it, that doesn’t justify suggesting or endorsing it.  The reason that this year, above anything that I’ve seen up to this point, makes it the one time that I really wish that I could have attended is the lineup.  Yep, the lineup.  Beyond the typical Psychopathic Records recording family, like founders ICP and the bands like Twiztid that they’ve given platforms to who I don’t have any interest in or given a fuck about, the Gathering of the Juggalos does not play around when it comes to the talent that they’ve hired.  I’ve mentioned this to people personally and it’s hilarious to watch the look of skepticism on their faces shift as I actually break down who they’ve got coming out this year.

Here’s a brief list of some of the musical acts:

The original GETO BOYS lineup (reunited for this thing!), The Pharcyde, Master P, Three Six Mafia, Lil Wyte, Raekwon, Kool Keith, DMX, ONYX, Mack 10, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Danny Brown, Biz Markie, Rahzel, Warren G, The Fat Boys (I’ve heard rumors that Doug E. Fresh might be filling in for the late Buff Love), Warren G, and Project Pat.

This list doesn’t even mention the comedy tent, which will feature legends like Cheech and Chong and Bobcat Goldthwait or the fact that Ric Flair will actually be talking on emceeing duties one of the nights (I guess he’ll be helping to put the “Wooooh!” in “Whoop!  Whoop!“).  Of course, they also host their own professional wresting events and this year they’ve brought in some more big time old school names like Scott Steiner, Vader, and the original Rock n Roll Express (they’ve got to be pushing their 60s).  Then they have the carnival rides, a Faygo wet t-shirt contest, a bouncy house, karaoke, the expected seminars (?… don’t worry, apparently, “Mega-bombs of flavor get dropped at these seminars“), etc. etc.  The most fascinating thing to me is that they have an annual BBQ that features a Michael Jackson tribute band called Who’s Bad?  Unfortunately, they didn’t manage to book the one figure whose presence and knowledge they all could have truly benefited from: Bill Nye the Science Guy–that wicked intelligent chem lab ninja actually knows how “fuckin’ magnets” work.

Here’s a video for the event that’s about 23-minutes longer than necessary:

and here’s the




Heavy Kingdom
King Dude
Isis & The Ghost
Comet Tavern
Seattle, Wa
Aug. 12, 2012

Official Facebook event Page HERE