As great as the Lonely Forest's set was on Friday night, Saturday was the only day that mattered at Doe Best 2009. It was 10 hours of folk-inspired indie rock, tight pop songs, and blue skies. Here's a few highlights of the day's standout acts: Weinland, Hey Marseilles, and David Bazan.
Adam Shearer performed with band, Weinland, at Doe Bay Fest 2009.
Weinland, 12:45 p.m. Portland band Weinland played in the early afternoon, and frontman Adam Shearer charmed the crowd (he called the ladies in the audience "mermaids"). Weinland performed mostly songs off their latest album, Breaks in the Sun and a new unreleased track but nothing off 2006's Demersville. I overheard a fellow audience member compare the band to Iron and Wine, but I think any similarity ends at the lead singer's soft voices and full beards. Shearer's songs are more lilting and harmonic, while Samuel Beam's are starker and more melancholy.
Hey Marseilles, 5 p.m. Seattle's old-world folk outfit was at a disadvantage Saturday afternoon. Guitar player Nick Ward sprained his hand playing volleyball Friday night, and right before the show, local EMTs wrapped his arm in a splint and a sling.
Nick Ward of Hey Marseilles may be injured, but he's still optimistic.
The band still had five members on stage, and any difference was subtle. (That's no insult to Ward's guitar playing. The strings players and the accordionist did an admirable job of filling in most musical gaps.) "Cannonballs"--a song that's particularly heavy on instrumention, revving up strongly at the chorus--felt a little empty. But unless you'd heard Hey Marseilles' album To Travel and Trunks before seeing the band live at Doe Bay, you wouldn't have noticed the change.
Matt Bishop of Hey Marseilles.
David Bazan, 6 p.m. If Bazan's performance wasn't anticipated enough--his new album debuts Sept. 1, and he's been touring with a backing band for the past month, leading to speculation he'd do the same at Doe Bay--the festival planners made it even more so. Tracks off the upcoming Curse Your Branches were played between other bands' sets. And at the beginning of Bazan's own set, it seemed like as if the confessional singer-songwriter might just play his new album in its entirely, since he opened with the album's first two tracks.
While he played a handful of songs off Curse Your Branches, Bazan also performed some from his solo EP Fewer Moving Parts ("Cold Beer and Cigarettes" and "Fewer Moving Parts") and even a few Pedro the Lion songs ("Transcontinental" and "Options"). Bazan took the stage alone and cracked jokes about the rumor he'd appear with a backing band, making reference to the demise of Pedro the Lion. "I had a band last week," he said. "But that already fell apart. Old habits, you know."
He was in good spirits Saturday, despite playing the song "Priest and Paramedics," best known for its drawn out lyrical refrain: "You're gonna die.../We're all gonna die." Death and its consequences was a theme throughout his set, as most of the songs off Curse Your Branches address Bazan's nearly atheistic view of the world. But, again, he poked fun at himself: "I hope you die out here in the woods," he told the audience, laughing. "Have we talked about death enough?"
Goldfinch, midnight. While Bazan's set was the highlight of the day, Goldfinch was the band I heard the most people talking about. I didn't catch the Tacoma band's after-hours set, and I regret it now. The band plays again Aug. 21 at the Q Cafe.