by Josh Gross
While the Treefort Main Stage was being blasted with rain on March 25, The Linen Building was being blasted with fine rock 'n' roll.
Portland, Ore., band The Shivas, brought a balls-out delivery, dropping four solidly on the floor and covering it up with a mix of snarling and twanging guitars.
But things went another way with the next band, Koko and the Sweetmeats. The surfy, high-end Fender twang was replaced with muddy riffs and drums like a hammered nail. The Seattle band dropped a set of spooky blues songs that were led in alternation by howling vocals and a the hum of a tenor sax played by a guy dressed like a lumberjack.
No members of Koko and the Sweetmeats had sleeves on their shirts, which is how you know the band is gen-u-ine rock 'n' roll.
But the meat got no less sweet with the next band, Blasted Canyons. The San Francisco three-piece was all systems go from the start. No one in the band even introduced it when stepping onstage. There was just a four-count, and then a blast of distorted power chords and synth bass. Many of the songs sounded like a much rawer and revved-up version of Joy Division.
All three members of the band did shifts on guitar, drums and keys—which was interesting not just because it showed a broad level of musicianship, but because the sound maintained for the most part even with the shifts.
Though many were all Treeforted out by that point, the Linen Building slowly filled in as people drifted over after the conclusion of Of Montreal's set at the Main Stage. When Blasted Canyons gave its "thank-you-good-nights," the crowd schlepped over to Red Room to finish things out with a packed house for the Brett Netson Band and festival-closers Microbabies.