If you're leaving town this weekend, go for broke and head east to Boise's third annual Treefort Music Festival. In the spirit of Austin's SXSW and Portland's Music Fest NW, Treefort features a mix of up-and-coming local bands, regional favorites and national and international acts. The five-day arts extravaganza also offers an assortment of non-musical "forts," including the Treefort Film Festival, Alefort, Yogafort, Hackfort, Storyfort and Skatefort, as well as a comedy showcase, performance art, development sessions (aka panels) hosted by Go Listen Boise, and free Boise Rock School sessions for kids. Single day passes $30-$69. Four-day general admission pass $119-$139 (discounted for under 21), "zip line" front of the line pass $299, "secret handshake" ultimate experience pass $999. Various venues.
Vikesh Kapoor is a soulful songwriter who captures the spirit of the American working class, turning the monotony and drudgery of the daily grind into poetry. Taking inspiration from his parents' immigrant experience and the politics of thinkers like Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky, Kapoor's harmonica-infused political ballads call to mind Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie (even his hair is reminiscent of The Bard's frizzy pomp). But despite the homage to '60s protest folk, Kapoor's debut album, The Ballad of Willy Robbins, is a modern take on the story of a blue-collar worker struggling against circumstance to achieve his dreams. 11 pm. Pengilly's Saloon.
Built to Spill
Hometown hero Built to Spill is a major highlight at the Treefort Music Festival with consecutive shows. Each night has a different focus, making it easy for a true fan to justify a three-night binge. On Friday, Built to Spill kicks of the weekend with a set featuring all new songs—a special treat because the band hasn't released an album since 2009. Subsequent shows highlight old songs (Saturday) and covers (Sunday). Relive the birth of indie rock with frontman Doug Martsch's introspective lyrics and Northwest sound. 10:15 pm. El Korah Shrine.
The Jackalope Saints are an upright string quartet skeleton with the quick and loose movements of a folksy outfit, ambling through a field at dusk with grass-stained knees and suede elbow patches. A little bit dressed up, a little bit reckless, the Saints weave a musical tapestry that feels like linen—well-stitched and classic but airy and free-flowing. Hailing from Portland, the band claims such folk icons as Sean Hayes, Paul Simon, The Wood Brothers, Langhorne Slim, Jim Henson and John Hartford as influences, and is expected to begin recording its first studio album sometime in April. Midnight. Pengilly's Saloon.
On the festival's final night, catch radio-friendly, of-the-moment bands like Welsh alt-rockers The Joy Formidable and Minnesota-based goth-pop outfit Polica. Or, go to church with Portland's Magic Mouth (it is Sunday, after all). This funky, soulful rock band puts on a powerful live show that feeds off the audience's energy, always giving it back tenfold. The group has exploded in the last couple years, touring with Gossip and garnering critical acclaim. But most importantly, its driving rhythms and compelling vocals will dare you to stand still. (Spoiler alert: You'll lose.) 9 pm. Neurolux.