MusicFest Northwest, Friday: Typhoon

photo by William Anthony

Portland indie rockers Typhoon regularly play with anywhere between ten and fourteen members onstage, indulging in complicated arrangements and lush, varied orchestration. This massive lineup lends itself to a broad musical reach; with each member coming from a different background, Typhoon’s resultant sound ends up somewhere between indie rock, experimental pop, and folk. The band’s instrumentation includes everything from guitar, piano, bass, and drums to autoharp, lap steel guitar, cello, viola, violin, accordion and trumpet. This year has been a big year for the ensemble, with their first television appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, and the debut of their second EP and fourth overall release. The more attention the better, for a band this big can’t often fit on to small stages. Of course, this just adds to the group’s considerable energy and vitality. While their early recordings exhibited a greater degree of experimentation, including a number of “sea shanties,” country-western and Eastern European-inspired songs. More recently, their music shows a more focused and consistent sound, and a greater focus on the thematic atmosphere of mortality, referencing lead singer/songwriter Kyle Morton’s own struggle with Lyme Disease as a child. Now, they’re set to bring their tunes to the Doug Fir stage at MusicFestNW for KEXP’s live broadcast.

Even their soundcheck was more entertaining than some shows I’ve been to, involving multiple people yelling around simultaneously about “the kick drum being to loud in the monitor, violin two is cutting out, I don’t know man, can we use the other DI?” They crammed 13 members on to the small stage at Doug Fir, putting on an spectacular set of music that often included post-rock tendencies with a dash of epic folk. Typhoon displayed a fondness for 3/4 time. The vocals, belted out primarily by Kyle Morton but at times incorporating all 13 members, contained lyrics that explored longing for seasons and seasonal longing for love — heartbreaking at times, exuberant at others, this band is certainly going places and, with the release of their stunning new EP, A New Kind of House, is not one to miss live. Catch them tomorrow at the Pioneer Courthouse Square at 5pm.

photos by Brittney Bush Bollay:






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