Breaking Treefort 2023 - Oh My Rockness

Festival Guide

Breaking Treefort 2023

Treefort 2023 Recap!

March 28, 2023

Written by Scott Draper

Photos: Larisa Ryabokon

In its eleventh year this March, Boise's Treefort festival broke bad.

Not only were Heisenberg himself and Boise's own Aaron Paul carousing around town, but so were Spokane's Itchy Kitty, L.A.'s Leikeli47, D.C's Teen Mortgage, North Carolina's Sarah Shook and the Disarmers, and countless other ministers of leather, eye makeup, hard living, and straight-up trouble.

The paradox of Treefort 11: How could the Kindest-Gentlest Rock Festival simultaneously be so bad? We're not talking quality. The music (along with all the other “forts") this year totally set records for quantity and quality.

No, “bad" as in Thorogood. Shifty eyes. Bourbon. Hidden agendas. Jaywalking. The darker human passions. Industrial coveralls worn by people who are not even working. Leaving one's car parked on Jefferson much longer than the clearly-signified two-hours-maximum. Five full days of, if you will, cooking and ingesting 99.1%-pure sonic meth.

Fittingly, we offer here only salvaged shards of Oh My Rockness Idaho's (OMRID's) immersive, gonzo-style rock-and-roll journalism, really journal-ism, which is to say private thoughts furiously scribbled in a tiny notebook while crouched in dark corners of more than 24 concerts. What follows are scattered excretions corrupted with gin and Dos Hombres Mezcal from the Bus Depot; beer from everywhere; various herbal cures from Oregon; innumerable Dole Whip Soft Serve Frozen Desserts and canned ginger ciders from El Korah; mystically long-and-cold standing sessions; mainlined coffee; God knows how much Pie Hole pizza; Fresca; antacid; and assorted analgesics.

OMRID shares these perplexing mental echoes and flashes as much for our readers as for a personal accounting of just what exactly happened last week, and how we might have fallen so far so fast, all in such an innocent-seeming little festival.

Itchy Kitty

3/23 (5:47 PM)

If one forges deep enough into the forests of Patagonia, it turns out that there's also some really great music to be found at Treefort.

3/23 (7:37 PM)

…Regarding fashion: OMRID is gazing smugly at all these freezing suckers who must have spent weeks ahead-of-time planning their sexy style. It takes about four minutes at The Mainstage to conclude that tomorrow you'll wear more layers. Fabulous dressers abound, but the majority seem to share OMRID's basic aesthetic, once delicately described by an acquaintance as “going-out-but-not-really clothes."

Archer Oh

3/24 (10:47 PM)

Nothing is more luring than the outside of a pulsing rock venue late at night.

3/24 (10:59 PM)

Lots of suspicious smells, not the obvious kind, wafting from a certain location's line of Port-o-Potties. One begins to think of these little private sheds as miniature trap houses or something.


3/24 (12:07 AM)

Spoon Benders after midnight, in the perfect venue: The Bus Depot is an actual urban bus depot, and everything's cleared out so bands can play in the cramped, almost pitch-black “Hound Garage." There is no stage, the only lighting is psychedelic, and the band is invisible somewhere down front – just dark shadows emitting metal.

3/25 (8:43 PM)

Just noting that, even after a really fun afternoon together I thought, OMRID's photographer ditched OMRID's wordsmith several minutes ago, along with sort of an unnecessary series of parting ad hominem cracks about how OMRID's “pretentious" (?!) writing staff was welcome to continue to chill all alone with his cider, and could waste away at the Depot all night if he honestly really wants to, but TEKE::TEKE and Ani DiFranco are playing in other venues (actually a pretty long walk away, I kept pointing out) and only come to Idaho once every few years if that.

Sometimes it pays to stay in place, though, thank you very much. OMRID's admittedly woozy writing staff and a few other dazed revelers ended up with New Zealand's talented Jess Cornelius, and our ginger ciders, all to ourselves. OMRID felt a weird urge to make a speech about something, anything.

The Paranoyds

3/25 (1:07 AM)

Spoon Benders yet again, this time at The Shredder. We hope the band is not tired of seeing us everywhere. OMRID eventually has to flee waaaay back in the crowd to avoid further injury from the enormous mosh pit. After multiple football-drill assaults from the same teenager, which weirdly involved sustained eye contact, the frail OMRID writing staff became concerned that we had somehow made this strapping teen's List of Things to Do.

Spoon Benders

3/26 (4:05 PM)

The weather's been breaking real bad this year. It's not so much unseasonal as multi-seasonal, with snow, sunshine, winds, drizzles, sprinkles, fog, ethereal fairy dust, and all possible combinations thereof.

3/26 (5:11 PM)

A few notes while OMRID sips another cider… Pinback got delayed by weather, and now we'll have to agonizingly forego their postponed show so we can instead wrap Treefort with our non-optional annual ritual: Built to Spill's euphoric 11:40 closer at El Korah Shrine.

Built to Spill

3/26 (7:23 PM)

Doom-metal from Boise – Ghorot – at Neurolux near the bar. This is not the first band this week, or the first group of fans, comprised mainly of Breaking Bad Season 5 villains, apparently. Some of them kind of staring at OMRID right now in fact. Maybe we'll put away this dorky little notepad for a sec and just kind of lay low a bit.

3/26 (7:28 PM)

Mulligans Pub, laying low. Not sure OMRID should once again be writing in this dorky notepad.


3/26 (10:09 PM)

OMRID just dished out $12 in El Korah tokens for lukewarm, strictly-portioned fries (plus cider) from the Shriners' basement lounge. The setting is worth it, though, where OMRID can scribble gonzo-style and sip ginger ciders in comfy chairs accompanied by live piano and the laughter of exhausted Treeforters.

Detroit's phenomenal Protomartyr up next, once OMRID finishes this one last cider and the room stops spinning.


3/26 (1:11 AM)

Stumbled out of El Korah. Doug Martsch sure can play guitar. OMRID's back, legs, eardrums, and innocence are long gone. And goddammit, 364 more days 'til Treefort 12. Let's hope this little town, and OMRID's writing staff's dignity, can recover.


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