I think that, as with the Concerts at the Mural, I'll just do a single summary post for Bumbershoot 2011 rather than break it up across the three days. I didn't take lots of notes, partly as I spent half my time there running about the Bumbershoot Music Lounge to take photos and upload them to Facebook and Twitter for KEXP, just as I had been doing for the Concerts at the Mural. I think I took the most notes for Bumbershoot After Dark, as I had some intentions of writing a proper post for the KEXP Blog about it, and indeed ended up doing so.
For all of the Bumbershoot Music Lounge sets, I tended to miss out on the middle two or three songs, as I had to run into the green room to upload a photo to Facebook and Twitter. In some cases I wasn't interested enough in the artist to go back into the theater and listen to the rest, in others I did.
Saturday, September 3
Bumbershoot Music Lounge
- Shabazz Palaces—I'd never paid that much attention to them, but I liked them a lot more seeing them play live; I think it was the percussionist playing a thumb piano that won me over, but really they had an interesting style that I liked a lot.
- Vetiver—Folky rock, I didn't stay to listen to the whole set, so that I could see Craft Spells instead.
- Vusi Mahlasela—A solo artist on acoustic guitar, singing at least in Zulu and English, and maybe other languages; some of it sounded like scat singing rather than actual words. He's from South Africa, and seemed to be singing mainly political/social songs; I actually recognized "Say Africa", which I guess made him an "oh these guys" musician. I missed the middle few songs, but caught the last one which got upbeat and dancey, fun stuff.
- Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue—Hot stuff! Really good New Orleans soul/jazz combo, one of the highlights of the weekend. I'd meant to see Nortec Collective, but stayed for all of Trombone Shorty's set first.
- Starfucker (STRFKR)—I didn't really stay to listen.
- Craft Spells—One of the bands outside the Lounge I really wanted to see, and I was able to leave the Vetiver set in order to catch them. I really liked their bright summery pop with ringing guitar. They're a step above "oh these guys"—I knew I liked them and wanted to see them, but still didn't remember a specific song until they started "After the Moment"; I also recognized "Party Talk" and another.
- Nortec Collective presents: Bostich & Fussible—Another band I knew I wanted to see, but couldn't name anything in particular they do. I caught the second half of their set, as they overlapped with Trombone Shorty; it was fun techno-Mexican music.
- Little Dragon—I recognized the name and knew I'd heard and liked some of their music, but didn't remember anything about it; I wasn't sure whether I was confusing this band's name with another one. I ended up catching about half the set, and I was kind of too far away outside too big and noisy a crowd for me to really get into it, but they played a kind of electro dance music that I think I'd really like.
- Bumbershoot After Dark: The Dowlz, Jokers of the Scene, DJ Craze (plus Claude VonStroke, whom I missed)—I liked the Dowlz the most this evening, and didn't care much for the little I heard of Craze, but I had to leave very shortly after his set began in order to catch the bus. See my post on the KEXP Blog.
Sunday, September 4
Bumbershoot Music Lounge
- Mad Rad—Again, damn these guys are good! They had a cellist and guitarist in addition to synths and drums, which filled out their sound well. Despite playing first thing at noon to a relatively small audience, they had lots of energy and didn't hold back. This was the set of the afternoon for me.
- Tennis—Pleasant pop, singer had a really sweet voice although it was actually sweeter when she was warming up quietly backstage.
- Shelby Earl—Seemed to be pretty straight-up country, I didn't stay to listen.
- Davila 666—In contrast to Shelby Earl were very raucous rock, again I didn't stay for all of it as I was still updating the photosets on Flickr for KEXP.
- Pickwick—Good modern prog-folk-rock, I liked them.
- Warpaint—New song! It sounded lovely, but I do hope to hear them change things up a bit. They had a nice (if easy) segue from "Composure" to "Undertow". I was amused that they introduced one song by saying "this one can be kind of angsty"—umm, have you listened to yourselves? Also, it felt more angry than angsty. Also amusingly, in contrast to the musical style, they were clearly having a great time onstage, with the drummer and bassist cracking each other up. Unfortunately I missed the last two songs in the mistaken belief that School of Seven Bells were starting at 7:30 and I had to get over to the EMP.
- Tycho—However, thanks to my mistake and to my press pass allowing me to skip the long line of waiting people, I did catch last couple songs by Tycho as a result. Good trippy dance music, though the crowd was mostly chilling to it.
- School of Seven Bells—With the departure of Claudia, they're a duo now, but had a bass and drums backing duo too. They played a brand new song that was pretty rocking. "Half Asleep" was definitely lacking the dual vocal harmonies—given the contrast with the following song "Jovian", I'd guess Claudia did lead on "Half Asleep"—as were a couple others, and they'll have to do some more adjusting to make up for it. But they finished with the epic "Sempiternal-Amaranth", which sounded fine.
- The Kills—I half-heard the beginning of their set, as I was wandering about while eating some pizza. I'd wanted to see more of their set, but they were up against Lusine, and I just wasn't feeling it.
- Lusine—I caught the last 20 minutes and wish I'd seen it all but I really needed food. I was also glad I chose this over the Kills, as I needed something relaxing and groovy which he delivered.
- Bumbershoot After Dark: Dam-Funk, DJ Z-Trip (plus Four Tet, whom I missed)—Dam-Funk was pretty great, spinning groovy electro-funk and disco from the early '80s, singing along, and playing a couple of his own originals on keytar. What I heard of Z-Trip involved heavier hiphop beats than I usually care for, but I liked the different things he was mixing in, including the Godzilla theme. I suspect Four Tet would've been my favorite but unfortunately couldn't stay that late. Again, see my post on the KEXP Blog.
Monday, September 5
Bumbershoot Music Lounge
- Urge Overkill—Driving rock, a bit Southern. "That was the title track to our new album 'Rock n Roll Submarine'. It wasn't so much 'Can we name it that?' as 'How could we not name it that?'"
- Charles Bradley—Old-school funk and soul, walking in James Brown's shoes. It sounded good but I didn't stay for the whole set.
- Fitz & the Tantrums—High energy soul, they were pretty awesome, and definitely had the most packed and excited audience of the weekend. They were right in the middle of Head Like A Kite's set, which I'd really wanted to see, but I had no choice other than to stay for Fitz & the Tantrums, it was that hot.
- Phantogram—Led with "As Far as I Can See", played a couple new ones from an upcoming EP, and finished with "When I'm Small". A good if short set, but in this case I wish I had skipped out to catch the rest of YACHT, which I think I would've enjoyed more.
- Grant Lee Buffalo—I was surprised by how many songs I recognized; I've never really been into them but they're quite good. Grant Lee Phillips was amusingly affable.
- Head Like A Kite—I caught their first couple songs, went back to the Lounge for Fitz & the Tantrums, and then ran back for last 15 minutes of HLAK. It didn't look like they had too much of a crazy show, although they did have a panda onstage. I caught a few new ones with Asya as the Daydream Vacation project, though officially they were performing as HLAK. Sadly, Trent Moorman is no longer playing with HLAK due to some dispute; the new drummer was fine, though no Moorman. I didn't see any other guests besides the rapper Tilson, who came out for the last song, "Diamond Paint", which Einmo said had been the inspiration for the Daydream Vacation project.
- YACHT—Their set overlapped with Phantogram's Music Lounge set; I caught the first couple songs, including a new one and "Summer Song", before I had to run back to the Lounge to get photos of Phantogram's soundcheck. I wish I'd been able to see more, but by the time I'd covered Phantogram, it was too late to run back.
- LAKE—I caught just the last couple songs of their set, and didn't have time to get into them, but I'd still like to see them again another time, as I did really like them at the Capitol Hill Block Party.
- Ill Cosby—I ran downstairs from the EMP Level 3 stage back into the Skychurch only to catch the very last couple minutes of Ill Cosby's set, which is too bad as that was enough to tell me I'd probably have enjoyed it a lot and should've skipped Lake.
- 214—However, I then stayed for 214, which I hadn't planned on seeing, and I found his cool, deep house music good for relaxing and dancing.
- Phantogram—The other reason I should've skipped out on Phantogram's Music Lounge set to see YACHT is that I knew I'd be seeing at least some of this set, but then I also knew it'd be crowded and harder to enjoy. But it was still a really good set. They played a few new ones in addition to a good chunk of their first album. I was actually leaving early, about halfway through, to go see Hall & Oates when I ran into David and Alethea from Beehive, so I ended up staying through the whole thing while talking to them.
- Hall & Oates—I convinced David and Alethea (and their friend Joy) to join me for Hall & Oates; we entered about halfway through, and I could overhear them playing "Adult Education" as we were walking the outer hall heading for seats. Unfortunately we were just in time for a set of slower sentimental ones, such as "She's Gone" and "Sara Smiles", which even I didn't care for so much. But everyone gamely sat through them, and we were rewarded with a great final set of songs: "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)" closing the main set, "Rich Girl" and "You Make My Dreams" as a first encore, and "Kiss On My List" and "Private Eyes" as the second encore. (I figure they must've played "Maneater" early in the set.) They did a neat slow intro and extended version of "I Can't Go For That" to close the main set, featuring long-haired "Ben Franklin" on sax solos. (Seriously, that's who he looked like.) I'd been really looking forward to "Kiss On My List" and was afriad they'd played it earlier, and was ecstatic that I hadn't missed it. Scoffers can scoff, scorners can scorn, but Hall & Oates put on a great show and have some damn fine pop songs—that was totally worth it, and I probably should've caught the whole thing.