(Thanks once more to the lovely and talented writer/photographer AJ Dent, we have this sparkling coverage of Day Two at Macefield Music Festival! I'm a pretty lucky person to know her. -- Marianne)

Ah, the sweet smell of death and decay. Ballard’s streets were filled with it as I stepped off the bus at NW Market Street and Ballard Ave NW. My friend Mariama and I paused for a moment to breathe in the aroma, caused by fallen leaves scrambling across sidewalks and huddling in the gutters. The sun coated everything with that perfect orange color that’s synonymous with October, and above the passing cars, I could hear alt-country music in the air. The minds behind Seattle's Macefield Music Festival are definitely doing the neighborhood justice by hosting it during this resplendent time of year.

Lucky Vintage was my first stop, as Great Spiders were set to play within its walls. When I think of stoner rock, I usually imagine lazy, hazy days, but this band -- brainchild of Omar Schambacher -- made it even better. Schambacher sat down and began the set with an acoustic guitar solo of “Ave Maria”. Between the sunlight flickering through the storefront window and the wooden floor’s warm reverb, you could sense actual awe form. I mean, we all succomb to jaded assholery from time to time; can we admit that? I’m sure many onlookers that day have been accused of being hipsters or music snobs before (myself included). So it was something else to feel us all just shut up and appreciate a classic song gorgeously strummed out. Plus, that songs practically makes your heart beg to be broken, so it was a clever appetizer for Great Spiders’ bouncy-yet-bitter numbers. The tunes about palliatives and failed love rocked like a hammock on a hot, breezy day.

Great Spiders, Macefield Music Festival, Seattle 10/4/14

You think I’m gonna miss seeing a band whose drummer has the same name as my brother? No. No, I am not. Stag played in the dark, disco-ball-bespeckled Sunset Tavern. Hearty and visibly happy, the five-piece sounded right at home in the heart of Ballard. “Chameleon” and “Get The Message” could fuel a movie’s honeymoon montage or a comedy’s car chase with equal force. Their performance was streaked with just enough power -- and each member’s impressive music vet experience -- to entertain harder rock fans that evening. Lovers of pop would have a blast seeing these guys live, guaranteed.

Stag, Macefield Music Festival, Seattle 10/4/14

Another group that epitomizes Ballard’s country-tinted rock scene (or, I’m sure some would say, rock-tinted country scene) is The Maldives. The group’s seven members spread across the KEXP Main Stage and brought favorites like “Muscle for the Wing” to life. Despite the wealth of attendees, the set still felt intimate, as if they were playing for family in a cozy living room. The original musical journey of Jason Dodson, lead singer and songwriter, has clearly come to fruition with this crew. The only thing that could have made their performance better was if I had some spiked cider or a s’more in hand. Head for their stuff whenever you want to combat -- or even embrace -- the coming winter.

The Maldives, Macefield Music Festival, Seattle 10/4/14

Ben Union’s sound can be hard to nail down. At times the beat sounds like something Justin Timberlake dreamed up before busting out of ‘N Sync, but at others, you’d swear he’s been jamming in a backwoods midwestern garage all his life. Turns out the band formed in Tacoma, so it all kinda makes sense. As he hopped from bro-rock to self-described “Sexy Baby-Making Soul-Pop” and back again, he consistently interacted with the Tractor Tavern audience and kept the energy level high. No matter the genre, this guy’s passion for performing is clear.

Ben Union, Macefield Music Festival, Seattle 10/4/14

The genre of the next set I sauntered to wasn’t quite so ambiguous. From their name to their dress to their song titles, Ole Tinder is tried and true country-folk. The kinda stuff that fills you up like a deep breath on a brisk autumn morning. The Conor Byrne crowd inhaled it til they were high on the romance of it all -- partners swung one another around with savvy precision, whiskey glistening across the long bar top, couples kissed at almost every table. Mike Giacolino was in his element, surrounded by ultra-talented musicians and connoisseurs of his craft. It was one of the most comfy, cohesive environments I found myself in during the festival.

Ole Tinder, Macefield Music Festival, Seattle 10/4/14

Out of the amber glow of Conor Byrne, I sought the light of the Macefield Market, where Kim Virant was wailing. The powerhouse has been gracing Seattle with her unforgettable voice since the early 90s as Lazy Susan’s lead singer. And man, can she still blow a room apart with those vocals. I’d pay good money to see her perform with Heart someday. Talent like hers doesn’t come around very often, and I’m glad she continues to use it so well -- especially for awesome causes around the area.

Kim Virant, Macefield Music Festival, Seattle 10/4/14

The Posies, man, I’m so glad I didn’t miss seeing these guys. They dominated the KEXP Main Stage, to no one’s surprise. Experiencing them switch from scissor-kick songs to gossamer melodies -- and registering the crowd’s swooning reactions -- kept my ears wanting more, even with handfuls of music-filled hours already in my head. I hope these four guys don’t venture into the “off-again” sector of their career anytime soon; let’s get another couple decades out of them, at least! (By the way, I just discovered this promo video Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow did for the weekend, and it cracked me up -- “‘cause we really are professionals.” So good.)

The Posies, Macefield Music Festival, Seattle 10/4/14

Right when I thought I’d enter a music-overload coma, it was time for the disgusting deluge that is Full Toilet. Dudes, I just tried to find their Facebook page; this popped up instead, and I think it’s only fitting. Booze, thick sweat, faux coke, (hopefully real) blood, and songs straight outta the shitter: the Sunset Tavern stage was covered in it all. I lost count of how many times certain audience members around me -- who’re usually members of polite society, I do declare -- shrieked “You suck!” and threw beer cans at them. Frustratingly, this only fed lead singer Don Sheets’ diarrhea-fast rage, and he began batting them back into the crowd with his middle finger-shaped guitar. It’s a wonder we all didn’t walk out. Guess we just felt sorry for the losers. It was like living in an even lower-brow Sin City. I’ve never wanted to see a plumber’s wet dream become a waking nightmare, and now I have. Fuck you, Full Toilet. I love you. (ed. - I see men here who look a lot like Kurt Bloch and Troy Nelson, but don't quote me. Or do, I don't care. Whatever, man.)

Full Toilet, Macefield Music Festival, Seattle 10/4/14

After that barfy band, I went back outside and pondered the source of why we were all there again: good ol' stubborn Edith. The end of her life, mixed with the night's chill, brought to mind my favorite poem about fall. It’s called “Totally” by the ingenious Tony Hoagland, and the last lines read:

“The defoliated trees look frightened
at the edge of town,

as if the train they missed
had taken all their clothes.
The whole world in unison is turning
toward a zone of nakedness and cold.

But me, I have this strange conviction
that I am going to be born.”

Ms. Macefield, thank you for inspiring such love for your locale that it’s now celebrated with beats and beers, drums and dancing. The weekend showcased exactly what makes Seattle  -- with its starving artists, unique neighborhoods, and yes, bands like Full Toilet -- this always-worth-it level of wonderful.