Tonight in Seattle:  

Countdown to Musicfest Northwest in 3... 2...

Technically, you can get your Musicfest Northwest (MFNW) on starting tonight -- there will be a few gigs going on around town down in Portland to warm up the masses -- but our imaginary coverage will officially begin tomorrow and we can't hardly wait!  There's quite a few acts and sorta-showcases that we're espcially stoked to see... so without further ado, here are some of our picks for the best-of-the-fest shows for the next four days.

Please note: the approximate start times are listed for the first band only and are subject to change -- always check your internets before heading out!

Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside
Thursday, 10p @ Berbati's Pan

[sallie ford and the sound outside]

Having seen and heard a lot about these darlings since their 2009 blip on our Seattle radar, it's going to be quite a treat to catch them at a hometown show. Full of good ol' fashioned big-bodied electric sound and a pair of lungs that just won't quit, Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside are as swoon-tastic as it gets!

David Bazan + band / Joshua Morrison
Thursday, 9p @ the Doug Fir

[david bazan / by hot avocados photography]

Does this even need an explanation? Hot on the heels of two stellar performances at Bumbershoot, David Bazan (along with the current installment of his band) have fine tuned their sound to some true indie rock perfection. Achy and anthematic to the core, we're super-stoked to catch them at a venue like the 'Fir. Add in local favorite-home-safe Joshua Morrison, and you've got a night on your hands to remember.

The Thermals
Thursday, 10:30p @ the Crystal Ballroom

[the thermals]

The Thermals killed Bumbershoot, the new album rules, and we'll be there with bells on. 'nuff said.

Okkervil River / Bobby Bare, Jr.
Friday, 10p @ the Crystal Ballroom

[okkervil river]

One of those lineups that makes you grateful that the bookers are playing close attention: a headlining set with OKR and a warmup by local favorite Bobby Bare, Jr. sounds like the next best thing since sliced bread. The boys of Okkervil have been hard at work, following up their last album with some amazing work next to the great Roky Erickson, and judging by the sound of the twitterverse, on to the next recording of something beautiful.

The Tallest Man On Earth / The Cave Singers
Friday, 11p @ the Doug Fir

[cave singers / by victoria vanbruinisse]

Talk about a pity party. In the best of ways, we mean. With the sweet, haunted, fill-the-room-up sound that both of these acts generate, we'll be lucky if anyone is left standing at the end of the night. Gorgeous, powerful, goosebumpy times are a-comin'.

The Decemberists / Laura Veirs
Saturday, 6p @ Pioneer Courthouse Square

[colin meloy / the decemberists / by victoria vanbruinisse]

Well, duh. If you didn't get to hit the mainstage this past weekend in Seattle, make sure you get yourself over to this show to get your night started right.

The Head and the Heart
Saturday, 9p @ Berbati's Pan

[the head and the heart / victoria vanbruinisse]

Yay! Seattle, represent! Deemed by Seattle Weekly as "the best band that didn't exist twelve months ago," our very own Head and the Heart will be taking Portland by storm on Saturday night. We're excited to hit the town with them and watch our friends in sister-city PDX take in everything they've got to give. It's gonna be Blissfest 2010, for sure.

Shabazz Palaces / Champagne Champagne / THEESatisfaction
Saturday, 9p @ Jimmy Mak's

[theesatisfaction / by victoria vanbruinisse]

Another no-brainer. Three fantastic cuts that showcase the best of the PacNW's specific flavor of alt.backback.hiphop.ish, with well-delivered lines and thoughtful beats crafted to match. The perfect antithesis to any one of the achier lineups of the weekend.

Menomena
Saturday, 11p @ the Crystal Ballroom

[menomena / laura musselman]

Menomena. Crystal Ballroom. Saturday. Be there. (Seriously.)

The National / The Walkmen / Helio Sequence
Sunday, 5p @ Pioneer Courthouse Square

[the walkmen / by victoria vanbruinisse]

Deemed the big headline show of the weekend, we can't wait to get our elbows into the crowd for this one and all the amazing it has to deliver. Between the solid freakout that the National brings and the feel-it-in-your-back-teeth loud of the Walkmen, we're pretty sure we might disintegrate on the spot as we close out the 'Fest with this mega-show.

Phew. That's a lot of music. Tickets are still available on the MFNW website, where you can also make your own handy-dandy schedule in an attempt to make it to every show on your but-all-of-these-are-a-must-see list! We'll be splitting ourselves into quadruplets, covering everything we can get our happy hands on, and sending in reports as we're able.

See you in PDX!

{Big thanks to Laura Musselman for the Menomena photo, and to the TIG flickr pool for the stellar Thermals shot!}

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