I basically stayed at the Vera stage the whole day because it was all young bands trying to find themselves and sort out this whole rock-star thing—which makes a more interesting performance than watching seasoned pros like The Gossip hit all the tested crowd-pleasing notes.
Case in point: New Faces, an Interpol-ish band from around here. A while back they won the EMP Soundoff with their adequate (but unnecessary) dance punk. They went out on tour, hitting SXSW and California, and they're now a bit older and clearly wondering if those jams they wrote in high school aren't a wee bit derivative. They split the set between playing old rockers and announcing nervously, “this is a new song” and playing experiments in the straight-ahead pop territory mastered by Telekenisis.
Or SOL, a 20-year-old rapper with swagger and a real love of hip-hop (his duet with a beat boxer was great) who's still searching for tighter hooks. Like any young rapper, some lines still feel like filler (a chorus that goes “I love this shit/ do you love this shit?” sounded like a placeholder for something more personal and distinctive) and some lines seemed like they belonged to another rapper. But there is so much promise! SOL commands a crowd and has an enviably laid-back flow.
And finally, The Lonely Forest, an Anacortes 4-piece, balancing sprawling rock with Deathcab pop sensibilities. Their set played like a long piece, ebbing and flowing from frantic jams to quieter piano moments. But there was still a sense that the band hadn't hit its peak yet, that the weird moments and the pop moments, which worked on their own, might be combined into something delirious. Also they were super nice guys (I'll be posting an interview later.)