Bumbershoot Rocks Seattle
We have just recently returned from three days of non-stop music at Bumbershoot in Seattle. Bumbershoot is a slang term for umbrella. Being the upper Northwest, we’re quite sure that this festival is aptly named. But this year it was not applicable. We had beautiful 80 degree weather all three days. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and we were reduced to seeking out shade a few times.
The thing that’s really cool about Bumbershoot is that it is a music festival designed for music fans of all ages. We saw people ranging in age from 2 to 82. One such person made this point particularly clear. He was 82. We bumped into him on Saturday night while he was watching STRFKR. He was enjoying the music and a rather large ice cream. The Bumbershoot festival grounds are right next to the Space Needle in Seattle Center. It’s a beautiful setting. The people in Seattle are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. They are warm and friendly and always make you feel at home.
There were many standout performances at Bumbershoot. There were also some big disappointments. On the upside were Little Dragon, Charles Bradley, Eisley, Vetiver, Phantogram, STRFKR and local Seattle faves Kris Orlowski and Pickwick. All of these acts put on spectacular shows. We actually saw Pickwick twice and were blown away both times. These guys have got a lot going on and will certainly be making some big upcoming national waves. We saw Charles Bradley a couple of months ago in LA. You can read that story here. He put on a great show and delighted many first time viewers in Seattle. Little Dragon – WOW! We loved this band. The rhythms, textured layers and trance-chant vocals were incredible. They are in the process of re-defining modern music. We sat down and visited for a while with Eisley and will bring you more on that young band soon.
On the downside, funny enough, were some of the larger draw acts at this year’s Bumbershoot. Minus The Bear, Butthole Surfers, Hall & Oates and Ray Lamontagne were less than we expected. Minus The Bear seemed completely detached and blasé. Their over-inflated egos were apparent to everyone in the audience. It was embarrassing. They really should hang it up and go and do something they enjoy. Butthole Surfers have just become a B grade interpretation of themselves. It’s like Dumb and Dumber meets Bevis and Butthead. Hideous! Ray Lamontagne we can sum up in two words – BO RING! We were really looking forward to seeing Hall & Oates again. We saw them perform way back at the beginning of their careers at The Roxy in Hollywood, and then a few years later at The Greek Theater. Both times they were great. This time, although the band was superb, there was a giant problem – Daryl Hall. He is such a talented guy, but it was totally evident that Daryl was running the show. It was Daryl’s band backing them up. Daryl sang all but one song. Daryl’s guitar player played 75% of the lead guitar that John Oates used to play. John looked dejected and depressed as he longingly looked over at Daryl rocking out with his new guitar player. It was as if John was there for his name only. Poor guy! You couldn’t help but feel bad for him.
There were many other good performances, and quite honestly we didn’t see everyone perform so we probably missed some that were noteworthy in the plus or minus column. All in all though, Bumbershoot rocked! It was a great experience. The festival itself was very well laid out. There was great food and everything was easy to find. There were indoor and outdoor stages, with music that covered nearly every musical genre imaginable. There was also an entire comedy lineup over the three days, along with a film festival and an entire art area. The logistics involved in a multi day event like this must be staggering, but the Bumbershoot producers pulled it all off and made it look easy. All in all, we had a blast and can’t wait to do it again. If you’ve never been to Bumbershoot, make it a priority next year. You won’t regret it. Below is a slide show of many of the acts that we saw at this year’s Bumbershoot. We hope you enjoy them.
Photos by Alana Crawley