Review: Two years on and THING is already WA’s Best Destination Festival.entertainment

Port Townsend — Rhian Teasdale was feeling the vibe. The lead of British rockers Wet Leg, her singer/guitarist has performed as one of the most talked about bands. this weekend At the THING festival, she had just sorted her way through a frenetic, fun-loving indie pop nugget when she spent a minute watching Friday’s modest crowd in the afternoon sun.

“What a beautiful day,” said the bassist, just as desperate to kill time while listening to the unwanted crackling of the cabinets, tickled by the illuminations at the festival grounds. said the soft-spoken front woman. Her gentle stage presence combined with lyrical whimsy lightens the wet-leg mood of a potent blend of quirky post-punk and flammable power pop, and the ridiculously hyped British made the perfect festival rock band.

The current indie rock ‘it’ band was a great ‘acquisition’ for the burgeoning music and more festival. 3 days eventwhich starts on Friday and runs until Sunday.

After an initial sellout of 2019, THING is back at Port Townsend’s Fort Warden Historic State Park. Another impressive line-up hit the right mix of established indie favorites, intriguing up-and-coming artists, and deeper discoveries across a myriad of genres. After ironing out a few minor issues from the first year, like doing away with the clumsy concession ticket system, the small, family-friendly festival’s comeback edition will be big without the many hassles (and skyrocketing beer prices). provided everything you love about a great music festival. more mainstream counterparts.

With just a few thousand attendees and more space (capacity increased slightly this year to 6,500, plus children under 12 were admitted free), Hiatus Kaiyote held one. I didn’t have to bend my elbows to move forward while serving. First of his best performance of the two days. The crowd was mesmerized by the Australian group’s glorious experimental R&B as the setting sun cast a golden hue over the stage facing the Salish Sea. Singer/guitarist Nai Palm’s voice is powerful enough to move the nearby Olympic Mountains (or at least keep the clouds clear for an hour-long set), and the groove acrobats are jazzy, funky and soulful. It pushed and pulled a full, unexpected, lilting tune. direction.

THING’s first two stages did not have overlapping set times, reducing the FOMO inherent in large festivals, but featuring local tribal storytellers, comedians, speakers, KEXP DJs and other non-musical performances. programming filled various small spaces throughout the day. When Hiatus Kaiyote wrapped up on Friday, former Seattle priest John Misty, on the other side of the sprawling yet manageable property, put on one of the most intimidating local performances he’s done in years. calmed down.

Backed by a strong nine-piece band, the squat dark humorist knocks out one of his most famous songs early (“Hollywood Cemetery Forever”) and “builds a little credibility” before the next. The former Fleet Fox took a sharp turn for the vaudevillian “Chloé,” graced with old-fashioned cuts you’d hear in a smoky jazz club in the 1930s or come out of a hand-cranked gramophone. led his big band to Festival in 2022.

Father John Misty wasn’t the only big band leader to make a splash during THING’s first two days. Like a forest hours after Seattle rapper Jav Dee ignited the still-assembled afternoon crowd with a smooth Auto-Tune rap over a quiet house beat (performed by a stellar three-piece band). Jazz is Dead was held on the famous Littlefield Green Stage.

As producer/composer/guitarist Adrian Young explained, the generational bridging project was to “give flowers to the legend”, and the set featured three jazz stalwarts, bassist Henry Franklin and organ magnate. ‘s Doug Khan, pianist/flatist Brian Jackson, each had a personalized section. Out of nowhere, motorized hang-gliders galloped above the crowd, Khan decked out a cheeky conga rap number with a chiming solo, and Young organized a dozen players on stage.

A timeless collaboration between Jackson and Gil Scott-Heron in 1974, the resilient “Winter in America” ​​marked one of the most beloved and warmly received performances of the weekend to date. “I love Port Townsend. I’m moving. [here]’ Young gushed as he and Jackson prepared the crowd for a jubilant call-and-response segment. You can get a certain Tyler.

One of the biggest questions heading into THING’s second year was how offering one-day tickets for the first time would affect voter turnout over the weekend (fans were sold out by Sunday). will it be?). Unsurprisingly, the most spacious Parade Grounds stage lawn was the fullest during Saturday’s headliner Modesto His Mouse, the biggest name in the lineup. Fans of glowing, flashing orbs that can be painted onsite littered the lawn, while Northwest indie-rock greats dutifully eccentric rompers like “Tiny Cities Made of Ash” and “Lampshades on Fire.” It’s done well and brought a strange vibe to the air. If the latter lacks the usual punch.

THING continues on Sunday with Jungle, rap nerd hero Freddie Gibbs, art pop experimentalists Yves Tomor, Lido Pimienta and more.

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