When one thinks of stellar fests, Boise may not be among the first couple locations that spring to mind. Or even the second…or third…or at all, for that matter. Despite that, Boise is hosting its sixth annual Treefort Music Fest and sporting the kind of enviable lineup that would be the pride of any state, much less a Great Plains state in early spring.

Treefort Music Fest is an annual music and arts festival featuring nearly 400 bands plus film, art, comedy, yoga, and more across multiple venues in downtown Boise in March. This year, headliners include more household names like The Growlers and STRFKR, as well as a host of lesser known touring acts and a plethora of local artists, but I wanted to take a moment and nerd out on just a small portion of the bands the fest has managed to lock down for 2017.

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The Bouncing Souls

The Bouncing Souls are bonafide punk legends and, in this lineup, they’re one of the few truly “bright” spots in terms of upbeat songwriting. Spring in Boise must be pretty brutal for the long list of relatively dark and/or sad artists (all of impeccably quality, of course), but after a long day in the March Idaho weather, it going to feel pretty great bouncing around to “True Believers,” “Gone,” “Hopeless Romantic,” or “Anchors Aweigh.”

Deafheaven

Besides 2016 coming to a close (and ending the clusterfuck kick in the dick this year has been), one of the best things to look forward to in 2017 is the possibility of a new record from blackgaze stalwarts Deafheaven.

Sunbather is an all-time great record, and New Bermuda did a fair amount on one-upping their breakthrough. This is not to mention how balls-out incredible their demo and Roads to Judah were, if erring more on the “black” side of that blackgaze moniker.

Their greatest weakness also happens to be their greatest strength — the band doesn’t quite belong in any genre or in any lineup. In that way, they appeal to a little of everyone and ESPECIALLY resonate with people who feel that they, themselves, do not belong.

Grouper

I have absoutely no idea how to qualify or categorize Grouper. For those that don’t know, she defies all specific genre labels, existing somewhere between art noise, folk, and electronic. Her melodies are haunting and drenched in a subdued fuzz that sounds like a ghost serenading you through a light rainstorm on a night in the woods. Her record Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill is as heartbreaking and delicate as it sounds, with that same undercurrent of darkness, and her last record, Ruins, really leaned on the piano to complement the natural heartbreaking nature of her songwriting.

Rituals of Mine

I am not going to stop championing this band. Rituals of Mine are an absolutely vital new voice in this musical landscape. Their blend of hip hop, indie, atmospheric, and post is something that has only been approached and never truly done before, their live shows are hypnotic, and they are outspoken and active in their community and of their politics. For a band to be able to easily trade from opening for metal gods Deftones to opening for trip-hop legend Tricky is no easy feat, and Rituals of Mine manages to do it gracefully.

This Will Destroy You

This Will Destroy You has been an instrumental powerhouse for awhile. Skirting some of the post-metal leanings that similarly epic-sounding bands like Pelican have immersed themselves in or the indie-darling status of Explosions in the Sky or Godspeed! You Black Emperor, TWDY has existed somewhere in between for a time — quietly releasing stellar records consistently. The band just released the ten year anniversary version of their breakthrough record, Young Mountain, and it remains as incredible today as it was ten years ago when I found it on Purevolume.

65daysofstatic

65dos are another interestingly off-beat instrumental band. Like This Will Destroy You, they have maintained a quiet presence in the scene for a number of years, despite sharing a great deal of similarities with bigger bands like Mogwai (the use of a great deal of electronic influences). They have also managed to a do a lot of very interesting projects in the meantime, including creating their own score for cult sci-fi flick Silent Running and doing the music for recent video game game-changer No Man’s Sky.

Carpenter Brut

In my last piece, Electronic for People who Hate Electronic, I noted Carpenter Brut among the artists creating dark and tantalizing synthwave. I’m pretty curious to see how that will translate into a live setting.

Kolars

Kolars are a Los Angeles brother/sister duo playing some pretty badass rock ‘n’ roll. Hearing that the drummer dances on the drums amid some nice Americana rock and roll is hardly something one could pass up seeing live. They join fellow LA-based acts Emma Ruth Rundle (who plays some stellar haunting, minimalist folk) and Open Mike Eagle (who may be my favorite new rapper).

Whiskey Shivers

For a split second, I thought Whiskey Shivers was the band from Empire Records and was intrigued at the possibility of seeing “Sugarhigh” played live and not much else. Luckily, Whiskey Shivers (and NOT Coyote Shivers) is a folk band that is very reminiscent of O’Death to me, which is always a good thing.

St. Terrible (And the Gospel of Nothingness)

I confess knowing absolutely nothing about this Boise-native artist. I saw that name in the lineup, though, and could not help but give it a listen. How could anyone not? Look at that bloody name. Everything about it tells me it’s something I will seriously enjoy. And you know what? Giving it a listen didn’t disappoint in the least. Imagine a more (comiccally?) despondent Bob Dylan fronting Mumford and Sons. That’s about as simplistic as I can get. I WILL be checking out this set come March.

For more info:

Treefort Music Festival