Treefort Music Fest 2016, Day 3: Diarrhea Planet, Charles Bradley, Built To Spill, So Pitted, La Luz

photos by Alex Crick (view set)

Day 3 of Treefort Music Fest marked the first day of the main stage and boasted a varied line up that was more than worth standing in the chilly Boise weather for. Elsewhere, acts like So Pitted and Diarrhea Planet worked venues into a frenzy, providing the coldest day of the festival yet with more than enough heat to go around.

La Luz
La Luz brought the surf to Boise, at least for an hour. The L.A. by way of Seattle band has a knack at writing music that lounges in the air, creating a beach like haze with swooping harmonies and fuzzy riffs. Treacherous guitar solos occasionally cut through the haze, and these held extra menace in the live setting, thoroughly riling the crowd up. The show was a wonderful but cruel reminder of the heartbreak La Luz left Seattle with when they band moved to L.A. reducing the amount of opportunities to see the band live in the Pacific North West in the process. The Boise set reiterated the fact that less chances to see La Luz live is surely a circumstance no one wants to face.

So Pitted
Seattle trio So Pitted is hard to quickly describe as they avoid fitting into any mold or category. The group took the stage of the Neurolux to the tune of squealing guitars and a lackadaisical demeanor. This isn’t to say that the show wasn’t passionate or intense, they just did everything so effortlessly. While one band member wore colorful ties and sequence shorts, another donned sweats and a hoody. The drummer and guitarist/vocalist switched off throughout the set, and at one point they just stopped playing to figure something out. The dissonance of these details was reflected in their music, and used to great effect. Uncomfortable melodies laced with anger stumbled through thrashing guitar riffs that left the crowds ears ringing. So Pitted puts on a unique show that can’t be compared to or against. They do things their way, and in the process create a unique and pleasant discomfort you’ll want to experience again and again.

Built To Spill
Is there any more praise that can be given to Built To Spill after 20-plus years of them consistently shredding live and putting out album after album of uncompromising excellence? The short answer is a resounding yes, as Built To Spill took the Treefort main stage once again and delivered an excellent set to their hometown crowd. Lead man Doug Martsch led the small orchestra of guitars through winding jam tangents and hit songs from every era of the bands tenure, without ever breaking a sweat. He is a man of few words on stage, but he does more than enough with his guitar to captivate crowds completely. Built To Spill is deeply ingrained in Treefort, with Martsch contributing to the curation of the festival in years past while also playing the festival for multiple years. And while Martsch and crew may be a regular sight at the festival, as the band left the stage to roars of applause, it seemed safe to say that Boise would never be able to get enough of the group; a fact quickly proven as the band put on another packed set at the El Korah Shrine two days later.

Charles Bradley
Charles Bradley lit up the main stage as the sun set in Boise. He took the stage with his 7-peice band, The Extraordinaires, that delivered a powerful punch of soul and funk. Bradley danced around the stage, tangoing with the mic stand and pouring his heart into every word he belted out to the crowd. He left for a outfit change part way through the set, and the crowd was left with an instrumental interlude that proved Bradley’s band could more than hold its own. Bradley was reintroduced by his organ player, who declared that Bradley was going to “start a fire” in the cold Idaho night. As horns punched, bass waltzed and Bradley sang and danced his heart out, it was safe to say things had heated up. But it wasn’t until Bradley told of a moment with his mother before her death and covered “Changes” by Black Sabbath that Boise saw the full power of Charles Bradley’s music. Bradley let the band play out, preaching the power of love before beginning to dish out roses and hugs to the crowd. It seemed to inspire an epidemic of goodwill through out the crowd, as strangers embraced and tears of joy fell. Bradley left the stage to continued spontaneous goodwill and a crowd that served as testament to the strength and positivity music in the right hands can offer.

Diarrhea Planet
Diarrhea Planet opened their set at the Neurolux with quite possibly the worst rendition of “Happy Birthday” (to honor a crew members birthday) ever attempted. It seemed like a sign that Diarrhea Planet just didn’t like playing slowly, a sentiment that would be reiterated later both by the pace of their show and a declaration of “its about going as fast as possible.” As a six piece with 4 guitarists, a grotesque name and a dedication to speed, Diarrhea Planet has all the elements for a sloppy show. And while the crowd was rowdy and loose, Diarrhea Planet was ironically clean and tight, expertly controlling the chaos of a four-guitar band. The result was mayhem in the best way possible. The siren of guitars clashed with underlying harmonies, and several stage dives and guitar solos were more than enough to turn the Neurolux venue into bedlam. The band brought on Jessica Boudreaux from Summer Cannibals for a song, but the true treat was the encore. Harry Kagan from Music Band emerged, and they delivered an amazing cover of Thunderstruck together in honor of Brian Johnson. Kagan did Johnson justice, letting out a blood curling cry and never letting up, and the whole venue was soon singing along. Four-guitars and an AC/DC cover are things that could be written off as cheap tricks, but with Diarrhea Planet’s unique energy and style, they were powerful tools that built a mind-blowing live show.

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