What happens when you take 30 of Portland’s biggest musicians, break them into six supergroups and give them 48 hours to write 25 minutes of new material to be performed in front of a live audience?
That’s the question being asked at the fourth annual 48 Hour Music Festival this Saturday at SPACE Gallery, located at 538 Congress St. in Portland. The festival will bring together musicians from all walks of life and genres, including members from party-metal kings Waranimal, hardcore punk four-piece Heavy Breathing and underground garage rockers The Heeby Jeebies to form six supergroups that will each perform a 25-minute set in front of a packed audience.
Also participating in the festival for the first time, will be Glass Fingers’ Jesse Gertz, who is still in the early stages of prepping his follow-up to last year’s phenomenal this. “I wanted to do this last year, but at that point no one knew about me,” Gertz said. “I think [the festival] is really cool because I get to meet a lot of people I’ve thus far only seen from afar. Plus, I get to jam with other musicians — something I don’t often get to do.”
One of the biggest appeals for musicians participating in the 48 Hour Music Festival is the completely new groups formed for the event. Add in the extra stipulation that no members of the newly formed bands are allowed to have a previous history of playing together, and you’ve got fusions that never would have likely happened before. Last year, for example, Mike Cunnane of Portland post-punk kings Huak joined Covered in Bees vocalist Kevin “Boo” Leavitt to form the hodge-podge lo-fi group VCR, while Sydney Bourke of synth-pop eight-piece Sunset Hearts joined Nate Soule of The Mallett Brothers band to form Charlemagne.
This unexpected fusion of genres that the 48 Hour Music Festival brings is exactly the break Gertz was looking for from his usual electro-pop solo work. “I’m just a slight bit nervous, but it’ll be cool,” Gertz said. “I’m more worried that the band I’m in will want me to do electronic stuff, because I am just looking forward to rocking out.”
The fourth annual 48 Hour Music festival kicks off this Saturday at SPACE Gallery with doors opening up at 8:30 p.m. and music starting at 9 p.m. The cost of admission is $10 at the door, and like most events at the art space, it’s 18+.