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  • Nathan Yoder

A Treefort 2020 Preview: Five Must-See Acts

Every March, Boise's Treefort Music Fest kicks off festival season. Growing in scope each year, the five-day celebration now goes beyond live music and has expanded to include food, comedy, yoga, storytelling, and so much more. It is beautiful and overwhelming all at once, as there are no shortages of experiences to partake in all across the city. And because of the sheer amount of choices, most festival-goers inevitably feel some serious FOMO. In order to lessen that anxiety, here are five, and only five, musical acts that you do not want to miss come Treefort time:


Xiu Xiu (Thursday, 10:10 - 11:00, Mardi Gras Ballroom)

Bay-area experimentalists, Xiu Xiu, bring their LOUD/soft dissonance to what feels like the first full evening of Treefort. Jamie Stewart's distinct vocal delivery rides over top their expansive catalogue, and since the ever-changing band is quite prolific, attendees might see electronic synths and throbbing bass, or instead, new wave-tinged rock. Either way, it will be a great way to get into the weekend. And as is bound to happen at Treefort, Prefuse 73 performs at the same time at Xiu Xiu on Thursday - the first of many tough choices to make.


Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah (Friday, 7:00 - 8:00, Main Stage)

A jazz composer and trumpeter (who is prolific in his own right) headlines Friday performances, and along with his band, Christian Scott is sure to impress. Raised in a jazz-centric context, Scott has been in the family business for a while now and boasts an impressive list of collaborators, as well as two Grammy Award nominations. His most recent release, Ancestral Recall, weaves together West African, First Nation, African Diaspora, and Caribbean influences and will, no doubt, be amazing to witness live.


Lightning Bolt (Friday, 12:20 - 1:30, El Korah Shrine)

No festival is complete without a bit of time spent in a sweaty mosh pit, and noise duo, Lightning Bolt, is sure to host the most chaotic scene of the weekend. A blur of machine-gun snare and guitar distortion, their music seems to pummel the listener relentlessly. It is the kind of live show where you will want press up as close as possible to the band (who often like to play on the ground among fans), and grab hold. It is surely intense, but also cathartic in a way, and so so so much fun.


Georgia (Saturday, 11:50 - 12:50, KARMA)

For an experience that has the potential to be a bit more...uplifting, check out Georgia's dance set on Saturday night. Her recent release, Seeking Thrills, is chock full of bangers and her impressive synth/drum/vocal looping act is sure to get the crowd moving. Described as "euphoric, late-night dance," her music should provide that extra boost that most festival-goers need heading into the final day of Treefort. Alas, YOB (a completely different, but equally awesome act) plays at the same time as Georgia, so another tough call here.


Mdou Moctar (Sunday, 10:30 - 11:40, El Korah Shrine)

By this time, you will likely be exhausted by electronic, jazz, noise, and dance music, so you might as well close out Treefort with some insane Tuareg guitar noodling! Described as the "Hendrix of the Sahara," Mdou Moctar leads his band through sprawling jams and over-the-top riffing, while still capturing that essential Tuareg sound. And perhaps since this is the final night of Treefort, some spaced-out, psychedelic rock is exactly what you will need to end on a high note.


With so much entertainment to choose from over five days, you really can't do Treefort wrong, but by seeking out these five shows, you are sure to have an excellent time. The entire fest is a blast every year, and March just can't come soon enough.

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