The headliners for Treefort Music Fest 2018 (Wednesday, March 21-Sunday,March 25) are some of the biggest names in the history of the event. TMF will welcome acclaimed acts like Russian punk collective Pussy Riot, party-mad rocker Andrew W.K., feminist alt-rapper Princess Nokia, B-52s belter-turned-electro-pop chanteuse Cindy Wilson and funk legend George Clinton.
As with every Treefort lineup, though, there are plenty of noteworthy artists that attendees may not be familiar with, so we put together a list of a few you don't want to miss.
Haunted Summer (Neurolux, March 22, 9 p.m.)
This beguiling Highland Park, California-based band is no stranger to Boise—it played Neurolux in 2015 and The Olympic in 2016. This time around, Haunted Summer will play material from its debut LP Spirit Guides (Touch Vinyl, 2017), which the LA Weekly called "a bewitching 10-track collection of dream-pop, shoegaze and fuzz-toned psychedelia."
MeeRa (Adelmann North, March 23, 10:15 p.m.)
This pedigree of this experimental duo is promising. Arkia Jahani is a filmmaker and has released several pleasantly ominous ambient compositions, while guitarist Robin Finck has been a mainstay of Nine Inch Nails live since the early 1990s and played lead guitar for Guns N' Roses from 1997 to 2009.
Antibalas (El Korah Shrine, March 23, 11:45 p.m.)
Modeled after Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti's legendary Africa 70 band, Antibalas performed the music for Tony Award-winning musical Fela!. In the 2011 documentary Finding Fela, Roots drummer and Tonight Show bandleader Questlove called the Brooklyn-based group "one of the few American bands I fear."
Thunderpussy (Shredder, March 23, 12:40 a.m.; Hannah's, March 24, 11:30 p.m.)
This tough, all-female, rock band is cut from the same cloth as The Runaways and The Donnas but has a lissome, thunderous sound all its own. Thunderpussy's main stage set was a highlight of Treefort 2017.
Land of Talk (El Korah Shrine, March 25, 10:15 p.m.)
Eight or nine years ago, Land of Talk seemed poised for stardom. The Canadian indie-rock band toured with groups like Broken Social Scene, and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver produced its LP Some Are Lakes (Saddle Creek Records, 2008). Unfortunately, the band's momentum came to a halt after lead singer-songwriter Elizabeth Powell lost the tracks for a solo album, dealt with a vocal chord polyp and cared for her ailing father. After a seven-year hiatus, Powell reformed her band and released Life After Youth (Saddle Creek, 2017), which Paste Magazine called "one of the catchiest ... and most heartbreaking ... summer albums of the year."
Hummingbird of Death (Shredder, March 21, 10:50 p.m.)
Powerviolence wouldn't seem to lend itself to introspection or sociopolitical analysis, but Hummingbird of Death managed to squeeze both into Forbidden Techniques (self-released, 2017). If you listen past the trio's rapid-fire drums and roaring riffs, you'll hear some well-observed tirades against social injustices and alienation.
Adam Jones (The Olympic, March 21, 11:20 p.m.)
Jones' spirited vocals, thoughtful lyrics and impish stage presence made him the driving force of Hollow Wood, one of the most popular local bands of recent years. This set is a chance to hear what he's been up to since the group disbanded.
The Foxxtones (Pengilly's, March 22, 6 p.m.)
Before she moved to California, The Foxxtones' Cassie Lewis was one of Boise's most promising artists. Her booming, sultry voice serves as the perfect vehicle for plaintive, bluesy folk-country songs. Pre-funk by listening to the stunning new Foxxtones EP Welcome Home (self-released, 2018) here.
Host (Boise Contemporary Theater, March 22, 6:20 p.m.)
Alex Maddalena lives in Rhode Island now, but he performed around Boise for a couple of years as Ugly Hussy. His album Host (self-released, 2014) was one of the best local albums of 2014. Maddalena's more recent music expands upon the dreamy beauty of his earlier guitar-and-loops compositions.
Treepeople (Neurolux, March 23, 12:30 a.m.; Shredder, March 24, 12:20 a.m.)
The Friday night schedule at Neurolux includes a reunion of some great local '90s bands, including H-Hour and Dirt Fishermen. The biggest draw of them all is probably Treepeople, which will see Built to Spill head honcho Doug Martsch and The Hand frontman Scott Schmaljohn together again, trading vocals and guitar solos.