Here are the bands to see, folks – or, at least, the bands I intend to see.
Fort Mania will take over downtown Boise for the 8th year, and this time we have over 400 artists playing in more than 25 venues over the course of five days (and long, late nights). As usual, the festival is somewhat light on household names, but I can assure you that after giving each of these artists a listen, there is plenty to see and hear. Admittedly, I am not a pop or DJ guy, and there are scores of worthwhile artists that I will not be mentioning – but here are my recommendations.
I intend to see the vast majority of these performances, although as Mike Tyson once said: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”. Weather, long lines, inebriation, exhaustion, and the whims of my buddies could alter this… either way, it’s time to rock out for five days and do our best to forget about the real world, work, and all of that other adulting…
Day #1 (Wednesday 3/20)
Lightest day of the festival, but still a few good sets to check out, including:
Eureka California – Linen Building 8:30-9:10
I’ve enjoyed these lads’ version of slacker/punk rock for a few years now, should be a high energy show.
CMMNWLTH – Linen Building 9:30-10:10
These local rockers are a joy to see live, and then its probably bedtime for this guy. Mariners in Japan means up at 3:30am to watch baseball before work (yikes). #priorities
High Prairie Whiskey Yell – Pengilly’s 11:20-12:10
My co-worker Brian is in the band – I have never heard them, but its late-night bluegrass at Pengillys. What more do you want?
Tylor & the Train Robbers – Tom Grainey’s 12:00-1:30
Yes, they play Grainey’s almost every Wednesday, but if you are still up and about this late, you wont do better.
Day #2 (Thursday 3/21)
My favorite day of the fest this year (at least on paper):
Liz Cooper & the Stampede – Main Stage 4:20-5:10
Never heard of them before the artists were announced, but they sound like a fun show.
Naked Giants – Prefunk 5:00-5:40 Prefunk
These dudes have energy to spare and brought the goods on last year’s Sluff.
Built to Spill – Main Stage 7:10-8:20
The venerable Boise legends once again support the local festival, and this time we get Doug with new musicians – this will be my 16th or 17th time seeing Doug and (some version of a) crew, I lose count…
Black Mountain – Main Stage 8:40-10:00
This is the perfect band to close out the main stage after BTS… at first listen, the proggy keyboards will catch your ears, but make no mistake- Stephen McBean’s guitar heroics are the star of the show.
Night Beats – El Korah Shrine 10:30-11:30
On his newest, Dan Auerbach-produced effort, my man from Texas brings the goods – miss this at your own peril.
Day #3 (Friday 3/22)
Dentist – Neurolux 3:00-3:45; Frankiie – Modern 4:00-4:45; Sweet Spirit – Main Stage 5:50-6:40
Mt. Joy – Main Stage 7:00-8:00
These folksy indie rockers lit up the Olympic last April and I am very pleased they are back so soon. As I write this, their “Julia” is playing in the brewery. Coincidence? Yes, of course it is, dummy. Here’s to another Neil Young cover this time.
Cy Dune – The Olympic 7:50-8:40
If you are a fan of guitar shredding, and you somehow missed Black Mountain despite me telling you not to, don’t miss this one. Homeboy is fun as Hell and can shred with the best of them.
Cedric Burnside – The Olympic 9:00-9:50
R.L.’s grandson certainly has the pedigree, and even though those are massive shoes to fill, his blend of funk and blues should translate well live.
Wilderado – Basque Center 10:30-11:20
Saw them at last year’s festival, and enjoyed their folksy pop-infused sound. Will be a nice contrast to what is up next…
Treepeople – Shredder 11:20-12:10
Doug, Scott, and crew are back together – again. Yes, last year had more oomph since they hadn’t performed in twenty years, but it was greatness and why not do it again. The boys from local bands The Hand and Built to Spill will reunite again for some serious guitar shredding. Watch out for a decidedly older crowd.
Day #4 (Saturday 3/23)
Mandolin Orange – Main Stage 3:00-4:00
Largely acoustic, very emotional, and down-home folksy, this duo is wicked talented and I predict a mind-blowing live performance. See you there.
Cedric Burnside – Basque Center 6:40-7:40
If once is good, twice is better…
Brett Netson & WEEED – BCT 8:50-11:50
Formerly the co-guitarist for BTS, Brett now does his own thing, and this should be interesting.
Sarah Shook & the Disarmers – The Olympic 11:10-12:20
Hands down, no question my favorite of the new finds from this year’s lineup. Sarah’s extremely country drawl and no-fucks-given songwriting hooked me immediately. Sign me up, this will be stellar. Don’t let me down, Sarah…
Rubblebucket – El Korah Shrine 12:20-1:30
May be tough to get into this one, but they’ll be on the main stage Sunday.
Day #5 (Sunday 3/24)
Nick Delffs – Main Stage 1:00-1:40
Local songwriter brings a certain Jack Johnson/Dave Matthews feel to his performances, which are always better than his studio efforts. Here’s hoping he doesn’t get snowed out and moved indoors like he did in a similar time slot last year…
Sarah Shook & the Disarmers – Main Stage 3:10-4:10
Yes! Twice is “very nice”! (Borat voice)
Rubblebucket – Main Stage 4:30-5:30
These two are interesting, and “Came out of a Lady” and “Lemonade” are some of my favorite jams.
Federale – Prefunk 7:00-7:40
Take a crew of young folks, and then watch them play old-timey western music that you would find right at home in some 60s John Wayne movie. Bizarre, but very, very interesting.
The Hand – Grainey’s 10:30-11:10
A night after playing with Treepeople, Scott is back to his day (err, night) job – I saw them last week at their record release show and he can still bring it, if there was any doubt. Oh, and they have a puppet/stage prop now.
Built to Spill – The Olympic 11:50-1:20
The list of reasons I would stay up until almost 2:00 the night before a full-on workweek is very, very limited: Doug Martsch playing guitar ten feet from me for ninety minutes is on that list. Stay up and enjoy as the very last band closing out this festival just so happens to be the best you’ll see all weekend.