One of the best aspects of Musicfest NW is its intimate club settings. Whereas most music festivals are synonymous with enormous outdoor stages designed to fit tens of thousands of people, Portland sticks to its quirky Portland roots and packs seething masses of people into sweaty, energy-filled bars and venues. One major perk of this indoor setting is that the festival can book major metal shows without scaring off the locals and more timid music listeners. And with that said, that is where I found myself most of the time -- in the face of thrashing riffs and flowing locks of hair.
Portland's Red Fang had a big night at Musicfest NW. The band was opening up for eventual metal legends Baroness and had also just inked a deal through Relapse Records to bring out their drink-ariffic metal tunes to the masses. So, inside the cozy confines of Dante's, tall boys of PBR and Tecate in hand, the crowd was ready to let Red Fang fly. But Red Fang didn't so much as fly as they steamrolled. The Portland quartet plays an interesting type of metal, less confined by creative riffs and more in the constant search of the ultimate head-banging guitar line. Personally, I think they found it with their beer drinking anthem of "Prehistoric Dog" (seriously, just watch the music video), which closed out a set that was equal parts old stuff, equal parts new stuff, and a bit of the stuff in between.