Only in its fourth year, Boise's Treefort Music Fest has become the Northwest's preeminent introduction to festival season and an institution adored by both bands and fans. For bands, playing the festival is a symbol of being on the rise. For fans, it's a fairly priced festival where every show is within walking distance, there's always a good band to see, and the drinks are cheap. Recognizable members of nationally touring acts feel at ease wandering around Boise checking out the scene, and importantly, the festival feels far from reaching a critical mass where venues become unbearably crowded and corporate sponsors invade every inch of free space. And we didn't get a single parking ticket.
Here are pictures from some of the finest sets we saw at Treefort 2015—from Thursday March 26 through Sunday, March 29.
LA-based Francisco The Man's propulsive drone-pop had the kids in the front row losing their minds on Thursday night at The Linen Building.
Critical darlings Viet Cong played a sweaty, packed set of contrapuntal and melodic post-punk at El Korah Shrine.
Portland's own Animal Eyes rocked the intimate tiki bar setting at The Reef after midnight on Thursday. Their metrically complex, anthemic tunes kept the party going into the night.
Genders' dreamy, intricate guitar work was a warm introduction to a blissfully sunny day at Neurolux on Friday afternoon.
Sama Dams' sinewy and cathartic multi-genre balancing act captivated the audience as the impressive material from their latest album, Comfort In Doubt, leaned more heavily on bass guitar and complex vocal harmonies than their earlier material.
Portland trio The Ghost Ease exuberantly performed their dynamic, intense songs.
Rising Portland outfit Summer Cannibals tirelessly delivered rockers from both of their records at Neurolux.
The Domestics' live set brought the well-crafted songs from their acclaimed debut into a satisfyingly rocked-out zone: Elliott Smith's way with jangly chord changes meets the baritone delivery and lyrical complexity of Leonard Cohen.
Probably Boise's most well-known band, Built To Spill hit the Main Stage on Friday night. They covered a wide breadth of their catalog including both precisely performed classics and newer, climactic guitar odysseys.
Portland's Tango Alpha Tango rocked a rowdy house at Hannah's, a local sports bar and the most roots music-friendly venue of the festival. Nathan Trueb's advanced chops and showmanship invigorated the crowd.
Bed.'s wistful, distorted, bass-driven pop songs were a gentle kickoff to another sunny day during Tender Loving Empire's Portland Party. Their melodic tunes helped displaced Portlanders nurse their hangovers outside of Saint Lawrence Gridiron.
Trippy Seattle trio Tomten woke up the Neurolux with their authentically textured, late-'60s-pop-influenced material.
Veteran Treeforters Aan brought guitar-heavy versions of their knotty compositions to The Linen Building on Saturday afternoon.
Posse's downtempo guitar interplay kept vibes incredibly chill into the evening.
Foxygen's theatrical and unhinged performance on the Main Stage was fun to watch, despite frontman Sam France seeming more interested in playing the mildly antagonistic hype man than lead singer.
Talkative's percussive psych covered The Linen Building in a sweet, reverberant haze.
LA-based newcomers Sego took the Main Stage on Sunday afternoon. Their sound combines wry, Malkmus-esque lyrics with post-punk-influenced, occasionally atonal guitar work.
After almost exclusively seeing guitar bands all weekend, a set of elegantly composed jazz by Portland's Blue Cranes was a welcome reprieve.
Solo live looper and intense Portland favorite Like A Villain entranced a reverently silent and seated audience at The WaterCooler on Sunday evening.
TV On The Radio was the final headliner of the festival, and while they didn't bring all of their studio magic to the stage, their rawest and simplest songs hit the hardest.
Boise's psych blues ensemble Sun Blood Stories capped off the fest at The WaterCooler.