by April Foster
On the first night of Treefort Music Fest, Pengilly’s offered up two energetic, genre-hopping sets—the first from Portland, Ore. band Ascetic Junkies, and the second from Reno, Nevada act Buster Blue.
Festival-goers packed the venue from stage to door for both acts, but still managed to find enough room to dance.
Ascetic Junkies' set stayed firmly planted in indie pop territory, but fiddled around with bits of jazz, country and blues—often in the same four-minute song. The guitarist and keyboardist traded vocal duties, while the bassist and drummer maintained a bouncy and lively rhythm.
The band noted from the stage that Treefort is its first ever music festival. But for festival virgins, Ascetic Junkies managed to get the party at Pengilly’s started with an upbeat set of solid pop music.
Buster Blue really got the crowd moving with a set of boisterous freak folk. The quintet seemed too big for the Pengilly’s stage, with a sound that aimed for Arcade Fire-style grandiosity.
The band members were multi-talented, often trading in their standard rock instruments for trombone, accordion or harmonica. This suited the band's sound, which moved from folk to old-timey bluegrass, with hints of ragtime and swing.
Mostly, Ascetic Junkies was eclectic, loud, fun and provided some great party music. If the Thursday night acts are any indication, it’s looking like Treefort is going to kick some major ass.