Treefort Music Fest in Boise runs this week, from Wednesday, March 23, through Sunday, March 27. The festival, which started in 2012, was inspired by organizer Eric Gilbert's experience with Denver's Underground Music Showcase. Over several years leading up to the fest's inception, Gilbert's band, Finn Riggins, was on tour for most of the year. That heavy touring brought the band through Denver regularly and garnered friends and fans in different corners of the underground music scene. That special connection between Gilbert and Denver has meant that Denver bands have been performing at Treefort since its inception. Beyond performances by hundreds of bands, the festival features film, workshops, independent craft-beer vendors, local food, comedy, spoken word/storytelling, technology forums, skateboarding and yoga. The 2016 lineup includes more Denver bands/projects than in previous years; below is a breakdown of those artists, including when and where they will play. For more information, and to buy passes, please visit treefortmusicfest.com.
Thursday, March 24
Pengilly's, 10-10:40 p.m.
Porlolo is the long-running folk/indie-rock project of Erin Roberts. Tender yet passionate, thoughtful yet gently visceral, Porlolo has included members of Ark Life — Ben DeSoto on drums and Natalie Tate on keyboards.
Linen Building, 11 p.m.
and Friday, March 25, Neurolux, 7:30-8:10 p.m.
Newly relocated to Los Angeles, Plum honed its fuzzy, psychedelic rock chops in Denver. A cut above the spate of post-Tame Impala psych-rockers, Plum's songwriting comes off as sophisticated and ambitious.
Spacebar, 12-1:15 a.m.
and Sunday, March 27, at Reef, 10:30-11:15 p.m.
Elliott Baker's songs are in the future-pop vein and thus sound like a retrofuturist reimagining of a fusion of synth pop and R&B, soul and funk. Think Toro y Moi but somehow even more chilled out.
Friday, March 25
Werk Out Palace
Rose Room, 4-5 p.m.
A combination of high-energy, eccentric, spiritually inflected, hippie game-show/workout show/dance party with prizes. Even if you're not participating, this is a highly entertaining event to witness and is unlike anything happening at the festival. Lead werker Piper Rose is like the Dan Deacon of workout routines, and she will get you involved and make it fun.
The Raven and the Writing Desk
The Olympic, 6-6:40 p.m.
This dark pop band has evolved considerably since its debut in 2010. What hasn't changed is the high degree of imagination and skill that goes into the act's songwriting. Once a combination of dream pop and perhaps a Tin Pan Alley approach to its music-making, TRATWD has streamlined a bigger and more emotionally charged sound.
Bud Bronson & the Good Timers
Neurolux, 8:30-9 p.m.
Reconciling power pop with an earnest and thought-provoking songwriting reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen, Bud Bronson & the Good Timers transcend obvious connections with garage rock and so-called party rock.
Knitting Factory, 9:30–11:30 p.m.
These Colorado jam-band legends normally play venues much larger than the 1,000-capacity Knitting Factory in Boise, so here's your chance to see the band in a relatively intimate setting.
Pengilly's, 10:30-11:10 p.m.
If the music weren't so legitimate, you might be excused for thinking this band was a spoof on country — probably because its demeanor and performances are informed by a healthy sense of humor and energy. You can expect old-school country — not the thing that often passes for country music after the 1980s.
Read on for Denver bands playing Saturday and Sunday at Treefort.
Saturday | March 26
Ned Garthe Explosion
Neurolux, 5-5:40 p.m.
If Dead Milkmen had formed after the explosion of psychedelic and garage-rock bands of the past ten years, they would sound something like Ned Garthe Explosion. That combination of utterly irreverent humor and solid, inventive songwriting is rare in contemporary music, and this band has those qualities aplenty, delivered with a ferocious energy.
Homebody | The Shredder | 6:30-7:10 p.m.
The finely detailed guitar work and interplay between Morris Kolontyrski and Michael Stein over unusual beats has made Homebody more than a math-rock and late-era emo band with beautifully spidery melodies. Homebody has created a sound with an idiosyncratic musical vocabulary worthy of Pavement and Slint.
The Shredder | 7:30-8:10 p.m.
Delivering more power pop than songwriter/singer Chris Adolf's previous band, Bad Weather California, American Culture's catalogue is filled with songs that affectionately explore the ways we sometimes fumble our way through life.
Pengilly's | 7-7:40 p.m.
Threading together bits of bluegrass, country and folk, King Cardinal's music sounds like it would be as much at home around a campfire as it is on the stage.
Rose Room, 10-10:50 p.m.
John Hastings has been perfecting his “organic electronic music” for the past several years under the name RUMTUM. Whether using guitar, synth, beats or a combination of all three, Hastings's compositions have a warmth and spontaneous quality that separate him from being only an IDM or ambient artist (rumtum.bandcamp.com).
The Dirty Few
The Shredder, 10:30-11:10 p.m.
Raucous, messy, borderline dangerous, this band, whose music can't be defined as garage rock or punk or straight-ahead rock, has a reputation for getting rowdy and out of control. Even better, its songs are well-written and tuneful regardless of subject matter.
Sunday | March 27
The Still Tide
Main Stage, 2-2:40 p.m.
Even when it was based in Brooklyn, the Still Tide sounded like a band that could have had its origins in Colorado. Its mastery of introspective atmospherics, downtempo moods, bright melodies and expansive, triumphant dynamics have made the Still Tide a noteworthy band beyond the local scene.
The Olympic, 4-4:40 p.m.
Equal parts art project, psychedelic pop band and conceptual performance troupe, déCollage, led by Moon Magnet head Reed Fuchs, always brings heaps of imagination and passion to its performances. Not to mention rolls of Mylar to transform the stage into a magical land of mystery that envelops the audience, as well.
Neurolux, 7:30-8:10 p.m.
Maybe Flaural's roots are in psychedelic rock, shoegaze and electronic pop, but the band's live show is more in line with the likes of Super Furry Animals and Helio Sequence: shockingly powerful and entrancing.
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