Musicfest NW 2010 Festival Recap: Ted Leo And The Pharmacists, Sallie Ford And The Sound Outside, Morning Teleportation

My experience at Musicfest NW this year went a little less smoothly than usual. There were decisions that needed to be made, and bands that needed to be missed because they played just slightly out of the means of timely transportation (as generally confined to by bicycle and bus). As a result, I definitely saw some shows I could have lived redwithout. Similarly, I didn’t see any shows this year which I felt were particularly mind-altering (see: Om from last year) or unbelievably hilarious (see: Crom from last year), but it was a good time nonetheless. Here are my most memorable acts from the weekend.

 

Morning Teleportation

I’d been wanting to see Morning Teleportation for a while after meeting a couple of them at Sasquatch Festival this year. They just pretty much seemed like nice, straight-forward, and positive fellows, and they proved this to be true at Hawthorne Theater. Because they were opening up for the infamously energetic Man Man, the crowd was ridiculously amped. It was one of the highest-energy rock shows I’ve seen in Portland, and Morning Teleportation’s brand of psychedelic pop hit the sweet spot. It didn’t even matter that no one seemed to know who they were despite the fact that they’re Portland natives (cries of, “What band is this?” and “Does anyone know what band this is?” abounded… and it seemed like no one knew but us) or that their music is actually quite stilted and genre-hops without warning. Let’s just say that there’s probably a reason Morning Teleportation are opening for The Flaming Lips for a string of tour dates; they exude nothing but positive vibes and show a boatload of promise.

 

Ted Leo And The Pharmacists

Ted Leo and company have been doing what they do since the late ’90s, and what they’re doing is certainly something. While watching their set, I thought to myself, “How is it that Ted Leo can make pop-punk and still gather respect from an older, mainstream crowd?” I didn’t come to any conclusions, but what I did conclude was that Ted Leo And The Pharmacists have some mad skills. I have heard Ted Leo albums, but probably only as much as anyone who hasn’t really listened to his music that much. I’ve heard it around and probably have listened to one album enough to know the tracks upon encounter, but not nearly enough to rattle off album titles of even the best-sounding ones. But this is where Ted Leo’s ability to write pop songs becomes apparent. I found that I could sing along with — and head bob in time with — songs that I probably have heard only a couple times. That’s how catchy this stuff is. You don’t need to know it; you just do, somehow.

 

Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside

Musicfest NW is a pretty diverse festival, but being inundated with music from a variety of kind-of-similar, genre-sharing bands becomes tiring at times. Luckily, Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside offered me a respite from indie rock generics and pulled me into a warm (and I do mean warm — Berbati’s was packed), blues and ’50s-inspired dance party. Despite the fact that I was personally exhausted from an evening full of really, really loud rock shows, Sallie Ford did the trick and got me boogieing. To my surprise, the mature audience was pretty muted. It wasn’t that they weren’t enjoying the upright bass, the playful guitar lines, or the beautiful female vocals; the smiles on their faces showed that they definitely were. But they were just keeping it all inside, like bashful schoolkids at a middle school dance, which was really too bad. This band is channeling the likes of Billie Holiday and Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald — and any number of influential female jazz vocalists from way back when — into some really fun and timely pop jams.

 

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Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

In 2017, Vee released the narrative short film, Searching Skies — which touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States — and co-organized The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. 2022 sees the release of their next short film, Reckless Spirits, which is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature film.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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