Saturday, May 23, 2015


Portland's The Bugs are one of those bands who somehow remain mind bogglingly obscure. Paul and Mike are perhaps two of the most honest and genuine folks playing music. They've been cranking out fun, lo-fi garage rock since 1998. Their songs are quick, poppy bursts with sweeping, observational lyrics. Perhaps they're too self-effacing to a fault. On the surface it seems like straight forward rock, but The Bugs incorporate more wit, good will, snottiness, emotional roller-coasters, and raw sentiment into their short songs and sets than most bands can muster in a career. That's not meant as a slight to other bands, it's just sometimes a dedicated two piece with the right combination of talent, smarts, and humor can pull together and build something more quickly and with greater stability. Think of it as a challenge, then.

I feel like during a big part of the early 2000s, the Bugs played Missoula at least once a year. Then there was a break. It felt like there was this weird void. Thankfully, they crawled out of the crevasses (or more likely dealt with the life things that prevented them from venturing too far, too often) and returned for a handful of Total Fests (VI, VIII, X, XI, XIII, XIV -- to name a few) as well as a couple shows here and there. Honestly, they're a Total Fest staple, and it's bands like them who make (and made) the countless hours of organizing a festival more than worth it. I know it's August when I see Paul and Mike sitting in the grass wearing two of the biggest smiles as they fish through a plate of food. It wouldn't be a Total Fest without them. Rad dudes, intelligent tunes, and pure enjoyment. Get your summer dancing shoes out and stretch out those grins, total dudes and dudettes.

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