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June 14, 2008 2:24 PM

"Hi Everybody." "Hi Eric!"

Posted by Jonathan Zwickel

You're still here?

That's fine. Since you insist on staying home and reading about the festival instead of coming here and experiencing it, you ought to have something good to read. You ought to know what you're missing.

The Setting: Old brick buildings, narrow back alleys, 38 bands, three outdoor stages and two inside Jules Maes. Georgetown's wonderfully rough-hewn cafes, bars, and restaurants (said our server at Smartypants after picking up our bill: "Have a kickass day!"). A wildly diverse crowd, from punk-rock tweens to fanny-packed Boomers to bearded, tatted locals, plus dogs and babies. A supremely low-key atmosphere, far from the sweaty hipster crush of Block Party or the milling thongs of Bumbershoot. Sun. Beer. Beer in the sun! Almost like summer!

The Sound: First band of the day was the Lonely Forest, a pop-rock trio from Anacortes with emo-ish tendencies. The crowd at the Rainier Stage matched the band in looks and age and familiarity with each other. "Hi everybody!" the bassist said from the stage. "Hi Eric," everybody replied. We're all friends here.

Lead singer switched off on guitar and keyboards; he bumped up his vocals from angsty croon to angsty scream for the poingnant moments. There's a whiff of the Faint in their piano-driven tracks, yearning and ambitious, though the Lonely Forest keep the edges enjoyably rough. The mostly teenage crowd was enthralled. The band ended their set with a cover of "Tomorrow"--the "Annie" song--which was unexpected.

Word is Spokane's Kaylee Cole started singing and writing songs just a year ago. She had a wonderfully nuanced voice and emotional range considering, and her piano-led solo pop tunes were surprisingly complex and catchy. The aggressively cute, blue-eyed, blond-haired 22-year old subsumed apparent influences (Tori Amos, Joanna Newsom) to arrive at a hopelessly likable sound. "This is a song about Spokane," she said; the chorus went "Every day is the same and nothing is gonna change around here."

Danny's House is from the Bay Area freeway suburb of Vallejo and exhumed that drunk-fun brand of goofy post-Sublime ska-funk that went extinct in 1996. The bassist wore a shiny turqoise suit and matching cowboy hat.

Levator just followed at the Stockhouse Stage. Hard to focus on to focus on the music and blog simultaneously, but I liked the thick, drony psych-rock that I overheard. While I was sitting outside. In the sun. Listening to music. Sun! Seriously, it's been since like September. I almost forgot what it was like. Bliss.

Shim is currently classic-rocking the Rainier Stage and sound damn good doing it.

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