Philip (philaros) wrote,

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Saturday night at Bumbershoot: Smart benefit for 826 Seattle

I ended up ordering the four-day pass for Bumbershoot, practically in the last possible hour to do so at the discounted advance rate. However, last night John called and suggested we hang out. The only band in the Friday night lineup I was interested in seeing - that is, the only one I'd be able to get to in time from work - was Maktub, and as they're a local Seattle band I figured I could catch them some other time. So he, judaicdiablo, and I got together in Fremont for dinner and drinks and lots of geeky RPG discussion.

We had a really good time, but because I was out so late, I ended up sleeping in late and not being ready to leave the house in time to catch The Fading Collection. They're also local, but I've already missed several of their shows, and this time I actually had plans and a ticket to see them, so I felt bad about that. Because I knew I couldn't make it in time, I stayed at home all afternoon, doing not much of anything beyond playing with Nimiel, napping, and moping a bit.

Still, I did manage to get myself out in time to catch the first event that had caught my interest in Bumbershoot this year: "Smart: Dave Eggers, Sarah Vowell, Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket), Mike Doughty, and the Transatlantic Orchestra in a benefit for 826 Seattle." 826 Seattle, to paraphrase their "about us" page, is a nonprofit language arts center designed to help students learn the art and craft of writing and communication. It's part of a national organization started by Dave Eggers, the editor of McSweeney's.

The show featured Daniel Handler as the MC, complete with tuxedo, and he also ran a "quiz show" which was an excuse to convey more information about 826 Seattle in a silly fashion, and ask for donations as this was a benefit after all. Dave Eggers explained how he used to write letters to CEOs in the voice of Steve, an Irish Setter (you all know that's a kind of dog, right?), read one that he purportedly sent to the CEO of Texaco, and then read a new one written for tonight's audience. Mike Doughty (formerly of Soul Coughing) performed some songs, accompanied on one by Daniel Handler on accordion. Sarah Vowell gave a history of the Battle Hymn of the Republic (formerly "John Brown's Body," formerly formerly some Methodist hymn), accompanied by the "Transatlantic Orchestra" performing verses of the various versions. The "Transatlantic Orchestra" turned out to be none other than Death Cab for Cutie, which was a nice surprise for me as I haven't seen them in concert before.

The "quiz show" happened before DCFC's set, and after one "contestant," who "happened" to be the president of 826 Seattle, won $10,000 for her favorite charity, the audience was urged to put donations in the envelopes we were handed as we entered. Daniel Handler promised that DCFC would do a surprise cover song if the audience donations reached the $10K goal, but warned us that if the donations did not meet the goal, Sarah Vowell would read her high school poetry instead. DCFC then played a short set, four or five songs, before Daniel Handler and Dave Eggers came out to announce the goal had already been reached, and they were still counting the donations. So DCFC came back onstage accompanied by Mike Doughty and Daniel Handler (with accordion), and broke into a rocking cover of "Hungry Like The Wolf." The final donation total, announced after the song, was $18,000.

This was an entertaining event; I was hoping for a little more Sarah Vowell, but I wasn't expecting Death Cab for Cutie, so that was a fair trade. I'm glad I went, and was able to donate a little.

There isn't anything on Sunday's schedule that I'm really interested in, but as I've got the pass, I may just go and spend some time wandering around and see whether anything catches my eye or ear. Monday the Decembrists play at 12:30, Kinski play at 6:15, and then at 8:45 both Michael Franti & Spearhead, and Tegan & Sara, are playing. So I'll probably spend most of Monday there.

Read about Monday afternoon at Bumbershoot.
Read about Monday evening at Bumbershoot.
Tags: bumbershoot, concerts, death cab for cutie, seattle center

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