(Once again, I am happier than a kitten rolling in endless carpets of fluffy catnip to bring you the writing and photography of AJ Dent, who spent last weekend covering the Macefield fest for Popthomology. Thank you so much, AJ, and everyone at Macefield! -- Marianne)

Live music is medicinal, I swear. Even though I had a horrible cold and was way too sober Friday night, I found myself elated as I wandered around Ballard for the Macefield Music Festival. Northwest Market Street and Ballard Ave were lit up with fellow revelers, but the atmosphere felt very mature -- no teens in neon nor angry, shovey crowds here. I did catch wafts of weed and plenty of smiling stumblers, but they added to the contentment all around. It seemed people were actually there to support local bands (gasp!), not just be seen.

As twilight took over the sky, I bolted to the KEXP main stage in Hattie’s Hat’s parking lot to catch the Boss Martians. Since their debut album dropped nearly twenty years ago, they’ve been fueling parties with surf-poppy rock and their badass 'n bubbly stage presence. To the loud delight of the crowd, Sonics bassist Freddie Dennis joined the guys to provide vocals for a cover of Esquerita’s “Rockin’ The Joint,” and the entire scene just made sense. No doubt the Sonics have been inspirational for the Seattle four-piece, so for them to appear together at a PNW showcase, well, it was just awesome. And the perfect appetizer for The Sonics’ full performance.

Boss Martians, Macefield Music Festival 10/3/14

OK, so. The Sonics. Man oh man. They played nineteen songs! Women boogied across the stage! We all sang “Louie Louie” together! I could go on and on and still not do this show justice. During my interview with guitarist and founder Larry Parypa, he’d mentioned that their band manager wants them to still play like their sixteen-year-olds. I’m here to tell you: They do! It’s insane. And, honestly, really goddamn beautiful to take in. The fact that many attendees saw them back in ‘65 and now are 65 -- how cool is that? Makes me imagine catching some of my friends who’re currently in bands still rocking out decades from now. The Tacoma heroes did more than just satisfy at the Macefield Music Festival; they surprised and had fans shrieking throughout the entire set. They kicked it off with “Cinderella,” closed out the encore with “The Witch,” and in between, the universe was a punked-out paradise. I can’t wait to experience what their upcoming album brings.

The Sonics, Macefield Music Festival 10/3/14

Frankly, it was hard to think about seeing another group after that! How could anyone ever follow that? Thankfully, my head cold was now the last thing on my mind, and I indulged in a beer with some pals to toast to the legends. As soon as I entered the Tractor Tavern to catch DEEP CREEP, I was in it all over again. They’d been buzzing in my ears for several weeks now, thanks to the persistent voices of my friends, and for good reason. Consisting of local music vets Brian Yeager, Andrea Zollo, Jeff Alvarez, and Derek Fudesco, the group generates jams filled with anxious basslines and huskily deadpanned vocals. Snark-filled '70s-ish jams swing into cooing, sexually-tense siren songs, and the quartet is cool as a cucumber on stage. They kept my spirits high and my ears interested post-Sonics, a feat I doubt many others could have accomplished.

DEEP CREEP, Macefield Music Festival 10/3/14

On this most gorgeous fall evening, the last act I could stay for was that of Star Anna. Apparently I’d been living under a rock, because I only really gave her a listen a couple months back. Omar Schambacher of Great Spiders issued an ultimatum of check-out-her-stuff-or-die-a-failure, so I was pumped to finally catch her live and see that he was performing with her that night. Moody and mesmerizing, her set fit the revamped Sunset Tavern flawlessly. Real-deal rainy-day goodness, passion and pluckiness, and that ensnaring voice: watching her writhe, I could already sense that her latest album, Go to Hell, will help me through some of Seattle’s impending gloom.

Star Anna, Macefield Music Festival 10/3/14

After Star Anna’s magic, walking out into the shockingly-warm autumn air was icing on the cake. Seeing the neighborhood team up to present such an event reminded me of my favorite parts of Ballard, and I realized I don’t visit there nearly enough these days. Given the fest’s focus on community and the area’s many classic venues, I like to think that Ms. Macefield would be proud of it.

Day Two coverage of Macefield Music Festival comin' up!