by Tara Morgan
It’s too bad Deep Sea Diver had to open the Main Stage March 22. Lead singer Jessica Dobson’s clear croon would’ve been arresting, pouring over an eager crowd in a smaller, cozier venue. But it took a focused effort to dodge the piercingly bright sun and the bitter whip of the icy wind at Treefort’s Main Stage to soak in the band’s soulful pop songs adorned with piano and electronic flourishes. But Dobson made the best of it, effortlessly belting out infectious songs like “NWO” off the group’s album, History Speaks. I can’t wait until the Seattle group makes its way back to Boise; it’s my favorite discovery of the fest, thus far.
Pickwick, which was one of my faves from Treefort last year, also gave its best effort on the bitterly cold Main Stage. The gathering audience bounced up and down to keep warm while neo-soul singer Galen Disston broke it down onstage with his equally energetic Seattle bandmates. But when Disston tried to tackle a particularly vocally-demanding track, the band had to stop mid-song.
“I'm sorry, it's cold guys, fuck,” said Disston. “We’re gonna do another one.”
Whether it was the warmth of the packed crowd or the buzz from a few beers, Main Stage headliner Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings cranked up the thermometer Friday night. After the band introduced its soulful back-up singers, the Dapettes, Jones came bounding out onstage with the grooving audience held firmly in her commanding hand.
Jones shook off her sweater and wailed into the microphone, tufts of breath visible under the flashing lights as steam rose off the heads of her horn section. Between soulful grunts, Jones invited audience members up onstage to dance with her, and dismissed them as she saw fit, narrating the whole endeavor with hilarious sung commentary.
Though Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings gave off the polished vibe of industry professionals, the band still looked like it was having a hell of a good time.
Before Jones finished her set, I booked it to Neurolux to catch Seattle's Rose Windows. Despite not having its lead singer, Rabia Shaheen Qazi, the band charmed the crowd with its sometimes folky, sometimes psychedelic, always rock 'n' roll tracks laced with plenty of electric guitar and lilting flute.
Check back later this afternoon for a Q&A with Rose Windows guitarist Nils Petersen, where we'll chat about playing Treefort and signing to Sup Pop.