We're back from Pickathon with dusty shoes, ringing ears, and a handful of fabulous new favorite artists.
Among the stand-out shows? On Friday, Ryley Walker brought some seventies songster vibes to the Wood Stage, while Liz Vice's cover of Dolly Parton's Jolene was the day's highlight.
On Saturday, all hailed Leon Bridges at the Galaxy Barn. Inside the humble wooden shack where temperatures skyrocketed to nearly 120 degrees, the soul-filled up-and-comer performed what may be one of the last intimate shows of his budding career. Also on Saturday, tUnE-yArDs' Merril Garbus (The Guardian’s “Find of the Year") rocked the Mountain Stage with heart-pounding drum beats, hypnotic loop-pedal orbits, and gutsy, powerful vocals.
On Sunday, we loved Sinkane's sweaty, psychedelic set in a packed Galaxy Barn , melding sounds from the artist's peripatetic childhood in London, Sudan, and Ohio—from pan-African beats to reggae, funk, surfer rock, and shoegaze—with a driving beat, looping synths, and killer guitar solos that had everyone in the barn begging for more.
Also on Sunday, JD McPherson's retro, rockabilly-influenced tunes from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma filled the (very dusty) Woods Stage with throw-back originals from his latest album Let the Good Times Roll. Somehow the combo of 50s era slicked-back hair and hay bales in the woods became a rock-n-roll party to remember.
So much for the music. As for the rest? Hula hooping, beer gardens, wet felting and foam arrow shooting for kids...the list of extras goes on and on. Plus, food and drinks were cheap, local, and everywhere—from Kombucha and Oregon wine to Podnah's barbecue, from Boke Bowl steam buns to Lauretta Jeans's summery fruit pies—so the whole thing felt less like a spendy destination event and more like a musical block party on one of Portland's pack restaurant rows.
Thumbs up, Pickathon. We'll be back!