Right before they began their set, drummer Paul Alcott, of Portland's Ramona Falls asked the crowd, as he pretended to not be a member of the band, if we liked rock n' roll to which we responded with a resounding "Yes! Please play us the rock music!" They then proceeded to play songs that were equal parts delicate, folky melodies dotted with sweeping feelings-inducing drum fills and sometimes an attempted heavier break down bit thrown in (queue the synth!).
Brent Knopf wailing on the keyboard.
Ramona Falls was at times directionless, yes, and frontman Brent Knopf's (of the adored Menomena) almost manically-happy facial expressions made me uncomfortable, but it was still full of sonic intricacies and solid attempts to lasso potentially discordant sounds into a semblance of something symphonic and easily digestible enough for indie pop fans.
FIDLAR, which stands for Fuck It Dog Life's a Risk, was the undeniable opposite of Ramona Falls as they dolled out loud and fast punk jams and naughty boy life lessons. I got there early and the preteens were already out in full force, under-butts and feathery mustaches ablazin' with their tiny fists and limp devil horns in the air eager for some hot mosh pit action. I started off in the front but halfway through relented and went to the outskirts with the rest of the adults - those kids were fucking wild! They were hurting each other! They were taking acid! And all the while, FIDLAR was adding fuel to the hormonal fire with gritty vocals and perfectly ramshackle ballads about cheap beer, cocaine (you know, that video featuring Nick Offerman!), not having any money for weed, how rehab sucks, and a really haggard, awesomely chuggy cover of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' "Red Right Hand".
All the onstage banter could have been taken from graffiti mantras scrawled on the bathroom wall of some shitty dive bar: "Don't wuss out!" "Beer is good for you!" "Give yourself a tattoo!" "The shittiest part about DIY is you have to do it yourself!" "Stay in a band!" They also had Jared Leto's phone number written on one of their amps and encouraged everyone to give him a call (619-something-something). They ended their set like proper punk brats, with a jump into the crowd.