by Josh Gross
After three days and what seemed like a million wristbands, there was still one day of musical madness left for Treefort Music Fest, and it was a good 'un.
How good was it? It actually summoned the powers of nature.
Atomic Mama kicked things off on the Main Stage. The Boise electro-blues band's set was apparently so powerful that it conjured the forces of nature into gale-force winds.
BW reporter Andrew Crisp was on the scene.
The hanging speakers swung and staff struggled to wrangle tents. The hair and very frames of Daniel Kerr, Jake Warnock and Stephen Gere fought against the gusts of wind while they frenetically pounded their instruments.
As Atomic Mama's set ended, the audience launched into a frenzied dance party to the beats of electronic synthesizers. Kerr and Warnock diddled their guitars as the weather reached its nastiest—the entire stage was the prow of a ship blasting through the waves of a tempest.
"Thank god for Treefort," said Kerr. "And thank Eric Gilbert."
As the clouds parted over the Main Stage, the sun popped out mere moments after the band finished. It seems something other-worldly was roused by Atomic Mama.
Gilbert wasn't there to be thanked, though. He was over at The Watercooler taking part in a panel discussion with club owners Allen Ireland and Sam Stimpert, and touring musicians Jared Wait-Molyneux of The Shivas and Pieter Hilton of Typhoon about how bands can better accomplish DIY touring.
A couple of BW reporters, Josh Gross and Jaclyn Brandt, were on the scene for that as well.
Hilton said one of the most important things is to start small and focus on house shows over clubs, something Jared Wait-Molyneux of The Shivas agreed with.
"If you are playing in a town you have never played in before, no one knows who you are, but kids always want to go to house parties," he said.
And it's important for people to know who you are. Ireland said he hangs tour posters and fliers for every band that plays in his clubs.
"[But] if no one has heard of your band's name, it doesn't mean anything," Ireland added.
Meanwhile, back at the Main Stage, things were getting weird with The Wild Ones from Portland, Ore. The John Steel Singers from Australia and Mwahaha from Oakland, Calif.
But that wasn't the only place things were getting weird. The Linen Building hosted some weirdness of its own thanks to the Treefort Performing Arts Gallery. In addition to dancing, sleep-starved local artist Chris Hunt created comics and there was a film installation from John Shinn.
All that weirdness led up the main event: Of Montreal on the Main Stage. BW reporter April Foster was on the scene.
Of Montreal had an elaborate stage setup, with flashy costumes, multiple projector screens that displayed psychedelic patterns and extras dressed in bizarre get-ups performing abstract dance moves.
A few songs into the set, rain started pouring, but it only seemed to encourage the band to play harder and the crowd to dance more wildly. Bright light cannons lit up the rain drops, and hundreds of Treefort fans spent the evening dancing together. Kevin Barnes and Co. delivered a perfect Main Stage finale to an event that’s sure to go down in Boise’s history books.
But don't think that seeing psychedelic megastars in the rain meant the end. There was still plenty more Tree to be forted.
Crowds packed into The Linen Building to see The Shivas, Koko and the Sweetmeats and Blasted Canyons, and into Neurolux to see Death Songs, Motopony and The Cave Singers. BW reporter Andrew Crisp was on the scene.
The crowd swayed together in the cave-like Neurolux, as if they were living out Plato's allegory, each an eager philosopher after a redemptive weekend.
"This is the largest crowd we've ever had in Boise," said [singer Peter] Quirk. "Thank you."
To close things out was an all-local and all-loud showcase at Red Room, headlined by doom-metal masters Wolvserpent, Built to Spill guitarist Brett Netson and the schizophrenic noise of Microbabies.
BW reporter Sarah Masterson was on the scene.
Wolvserpent filled the room completely with fog as the band's fans screamed with delight. Although the music was slow and brooding, the energy seemed to be growing. By the time The Brett Netson Band began its set, you could feel the urgency of a night that no one wanted to be over.
When Netson began yelling things like, "Our town, our money" the Boise pride overflowed and the dance floor became a sea of thrashing arms. When Microbabies finally took the stage for the last official show of Treefort, the band used the opportunity to get the crowd even more riled up. People jumped on stage, crashed into amps and beer cans flew across the room. The night ended with plenty of hugs and cheers as people made their way home in the rain for some much needed rest.
And just like that, it was over. The four-day melee might best summarized in a single tweet from Crisp.
"This #Treefort is going to change your town, Boise" said Motopony frontman Daniel Blue. "You aint never gonna be the same after this shit."
— Andrew Crisp (@andrewcrisp) March 26, 2012