PALS Multiple Personalities Festival – 7/30/11

Ya, that just happened. Amidst the beer festivals and Willamette floaters this past weekend, some of the best music and people in Portland were hanging out and being awesome at PALS Clubhouse’s first annual Multiple Personalities Festival. If you missed out on this, you missed out on something really special. There was nothing fancy about this celebration: a chicken coop, a house that usually has multiple non-rent paying inhabitants, cheap beer, two stages of rock and roll, and a hot dog cart blocking the street. A block party in the truest sense.

The small cul-de-sac was scarcely dotted with arts and craft vendors looking to make a couple extra bucks with their homemade wares. Bands setup makeshift merch tables to sell CDs and shirts. A group of people even setup shop collecting donations to help the victims of the Minot, ND floods. For a measly dollar, you could throw water balloons at barely clothed hairy guys riding tall bikes around the street. All this while music came from multiple directions, upstairs in the beer garden and on the street on the main stage.

Usually, the stage playing for the drunkards in the beer garden has pretty sub par bands. Whatever, everyone is drunk, they won’t care. That was not the case at PALS. Surprisingly, all of the bands on the smaller stage sounded really tight and extremely well put together. Amongst great names like Fanno Creek and Patti King, two bands really stood out.

Bubble Cats claim they’re a new band that haven’t really played together for very long, but you wouldn’t know it seeing them on stage. They must spend every waking minute practicing because they’re dub tinged rock was spot on and had the bar area packed. Animal Eyes followed up Bubble Cat’s great set with their take on indie folk. One couldn’t help but think of a pared down Arcade Fire or even hear slight hints of Gogol Bordello in some of Animal Eyes’ music. The five piece bring a sense of grandness to their music, both in sound and imagery, creating feelings of vast emptiness and collective wisdom at the same time. And what else would you expect from a group of guys from Alaska on a journey to find, well, something?

At the same time that all of these “smaller” bands were playing upstairs, the main stage was snowballing crowds as the day went on. The San Francisco group Ash Reiter kicked the day off with Oregonians such as Old Age, Porches, and The We Shared Milk continuing the fun.

Afterwards, The Angry Orts showed up and meant business. We’d been meaning to check these guys out for a while and weren’t disappointed when we finally did. Front woman Sara Hernandez completely let loose without skipping a beat. In between some pretty sexy lyrics, Sara turned into a blur, dancing and buzzing around the stage while tapping her tambourine. The rest of the band threw in some pretty heavy garage rock sound that mixed together really well to create a fun, energetic set.

Following The Angry Orts were Sons of Huns, a wildly loud band that can only be summed up as fucking rock and roll. While other bands that share the brash and out-of-control garage rock sound tone it down to please the masses, Sons of Huns choose to go all out, and it completely works. We don’t normally get in to music this heavy, but we were right in the mix, rocking out with the rest of the crowd. They were obviously doing something right.

As the sun set, Hello Electric and Turbo Perfecto played to the day’s biggest crowds and Yeah Great Fine hopped up on stage and played, arguably, the best set of the night. YGF constantly mixes a friendly stage presence with some mathy party rock that just gets better with every listen. Out of no where, beach balls of all sizes appeared and became constant players in the crowd. You never knew when one might hit you or the band in the face, making the set all the more fun, especially for the guys on stage. Lead singer and guitarist Jake Hershman could see the excitement in the crowd bubbling as he asked the crowd to start a “friendly mosh pit,” the first one ever at a Yeah Great Fine show. As the fans obliged, you could feel the cooperative love in the air that cheap beer and great music breeds.

And And And finished the night off with their ever maturing sound. We weren’t blown away the first time we saw these guys, but after a couple more viewings, we can honestly say we’re fans. While on record they bring a much more aggressive sound, on stage And And And are endearing and comforting, even if they’re blowing your mind. Just the perfect way to finish the night.

Thanks go out to all of the bands, but especially to PALS and the volunteers there.  What an awesome first attempt guys.



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