Read about Saturday at Bumbershoot 2008.
Read about Monday at Bumbershoot 2008.
Sunday afternoon I stayed at home to do housework, but I made sure to get down to Bumbershoot in time for Sons and Daughters. I didn't recognize many of the songs and I expect they were mostly from the latest album, This Gift, but they did play "Rama Lama" and "Dance Me In" along with a few other older songs. The band was clearly having a great time, with singer Adele Bethel and guitarist/singer Scott Paterson both avowing several times that they loved Seattle, and the audience loudly returned their love. I'd still like to hear them mix in the acoustic sound of their previous album rather than play all electric, but I enjoyed the performance very much. [Sons and Daughters photos start here.]
Afterward, following my sister's directive to "find out if he's any good for real for real," I headed over to see Final Fantasy, the solo project of violinist Owen Pallett. Although his MySpace page lists his genre simply as "pop", his music had little in common with the conventions of modern pop or rock. Rather, he essentially plays baroque fugues, building the songs by sampling himself playing short parts and looping the samples one on top of the next. I thought of this as "techno-baroque", although using "techno" may be misleading as it had nothing in common with the electronic genre of dance music. He occasionally used a keyboard to create loops as well, tapped on the violin for sound effects, and also sang lyrics. I noted that he held his bow baroque-style, a little higher than the modern style, and also mostly held the violin baroque-style in front of him; this style seemed to facilitate the other performance elements (pizzicato, tapping, and singing). Pallett certainly was a skilled violinist with good tone and vibrato, switching smoothly between plucking and bowing the strings, and just as smoothly picking up a complicated part from a loop and playing it live again. He did play one song "acoustic" as he called it, using no sampling or loops, which helped me assess his talent. I was also quite impressed that he could keep track of all the different parts at once from memory, adding and dropping loops throughout each song. Lyrically, the songs did not seem to be geek-heavy despite his video-game-inspired name; what I picked out sounded more like typical themes of relationships and modern life. After hearing Final Fantasy, I have to say that he is indeed quite good for real for real... but I'm still not sure how much I actually enjoy his music. I have had a few bits of his songs stuck in my head since then, so I think I need to pick up one of his albums to consider it some more. [Just two photos of Final Fantasy, here and here.]