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Bob Mould appears to have rocked his own face off in my crappy iPhone photo.
Hi guys. Hi there. Remember how, for the last, like, 5 years, I've been all "OH I AM SO OLD I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU GUYS DO THREE DAYS OF BUMBERSHOOT"? Yes. Well. This year, I convinced myself that I needed to go to the entire weekend, because of the awesome line-up.
ANYWAY. Because of having all the (grumpy) feels about pricing and crowds, I have either skipped going entirely, or limited my exposure to one day during the weekend. But I had so much fun the last two years that I decided to pack up my water bottle and aspirin and give it a go in the name of 90's nostalgia! I live-tweeted the whole weekend, and because I know you want it, I even made a Storify of all the action.
Here's a breakdown of all the awesomeness:
I started my day with Thao and the Get Down Stay Down in the KEXP Music Lounge. Having never been in there before, I didn't know what to expect, but people: I AM A HUGE FAN. Plug me in and turn me on oscillate, because I will definitely make it a point to see every band I love in there every year. Because damnnnnnn. It's good. Comfy seats, amazing sound (bring those earplugs), and a bunch of music fans totally rocking out, live, on the air. SO GOOD.
Thao and her GDSD crew were also SO GOOD. I mean, seriously. So many great vocal highlights and wailing guitars and dancy, rockin' amazingness. That voice! That band! Who knew such a tiny girl could move a whole room like that? I made a vine video for you, but then then my phone eated the audio so you'll just have to use your imagination.
Gary Numan (parts 1 & 2)
Part 1: Numan blew me away in a cloud of Gothy clove-scented smoke, fucking KILLING it on the Music Lounge stage with heavy industrial tunes tinged with synthy pop (including a more rockin' version of his new wave hit "Cars") and my 16-year-old heart died all over the place about 20 times. Fortunately, Jenny George was with me and felt EXACTLY THE SAME WAY. Afterward, he graciously waited to talk to fans and take photos with them, which is how I ended up with a sweaty hug and a photo of us pressed cheek-to-cheek.
BONUS: After I told him much I loved his set, Numan said, "Yeah, that was set was kind of subdued. (!!!!) Come see us later. It'll be turned WAY up!"
Part 2: He was right. The second set outdoors at the Tune-In stage was WAY louder and way more energetic. WHAT. My heart melted all over again every time Gary would flutter his arms together in Gothy 80's poses, and I was broken in all the good ways by the time it was over. Oh, and also high. Totally and completely high, because of the dude standing right next to us with his huge blunt.
Ah, geez. The LAST DAY of Bumbershoot! It's always a mix of relief and woe, as everyone realizes they have to go back to work the next day, starting out with all the best intentions to go home early and tuck themselves into bed, but then saying "Fuck it!" and staying up all night partying insteaed. And … with rain on the horizon there'll probably be a lot of bitching about that as well.
And so! Monday's (9/2) musical agenda includes the following for moi:
MainStage (Key Arena)
I initially couldn't decide whether to put Superchunk or MGMT up top as my favorite thing for Monday, but ultimately I went with these guys, because I've never seen them live and I really really really really like them. Plus, they just seem like they'd be a LOT of fun on stage!
Fountain Lawn Stage
Bellamaine is another band I know next-to-nothing about, but I took a listen to their stuff while perusing through the B-shoot schedule and OMFG I'm in love. Dreamy pop rock with great vocals and bouncy progressions? Okay, Bellamaine; I'm yours. Let's be best friends forever! I'll buy you soda, but promise not to molest you in the parking lot.
By day 2 of Bumbershoot, I'm sure I'll be utilizing my water privileges liberally, and opting for lots of layers since it looks like the weather is gonna do that sun/cloud/possibly rain thing. If all else fails, I'll retreat to The Center House (I WILL NEVER CALL IT THE ARMORY PEOPLE) and take solace in the miracle that is the Skillet Kale Caesar w/fried chicken thigh.
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday (9/1) --- I'm headed for:
TuneIn Stage (Fisher Green)
Oh, you were probably expecting that I'd put DCFC at the top of this list, but SURPRISE! They're NOT EVEN ON HERE (preparing for rotten fruit assault). Nope. My most thrilling show of the day, shit, maybe even the weekend! is The Motherfucking Breeders. "Cannonball" is one of those songs that I will never, ever, never ever, neverever get tired of. Kim and Kelley Deal + the 20th Anniversary of Last Splash? Hell to the yeah, I'm excited!
Now that I've covered everything else I'm looking forward to this weekend at Bumbershoot, it's time to get into the music. Please note: I say "Dream" list, because it's entirely possible I might not make it to see every single one depending on how much of an old lady I feel like I am after trekking around all day. (HAHA) Anyway! Music. Music is good. Here's what I'm planning to hit on Saturday (8/31):
MainStage (Key Arena)
Heart!!! OMG Heart!!! Because Dreamboat Annie, Little Queen and Dog & Butterfly were frequently spun on the Simon family turntable, I have a deep and abiding love for Nancy's guitar skillz and Ann's gorgeous vox. In fact, my first real concert was seeing Heart at The Coliseum (now the Key) with my dad during their "Passionworks" tour. Oh man, was I stoked to see the band the he loved -- even though we totally had the most nose-bleedy of all the nosebleed seats.
This time I'll be front and center at the Key, rockin' to these amazing ladies. Bring on the "Barracuda!" And the "Magic Man!" And the "Heartless!" And maybe "Even It Up!" And for the love of god, please bring on the "CRAZY ON YOU!!!" (I'll even settle for some "These Dreams," you guys. Because I once loved that album whole-heartedly and sang my little 14-year-old heart out to it!). YES YES YES AND YES.
WHO IS EXCITED FOR BUMBERSHOOT THIS YEAR? Why, I yam. Glad you asked! As always, I'd like to remind our Imaginary Bumbershoot attendees that the festival has a ton of stuff going on in addition the music! Like film! And comedy! And my FAVORITE: The Words & Ideas programming. All these things take place at the Leo K. Theatre, which is in the Seattle Rep.
Here's what's on my dream to-see list this year:
The Better Bombshell
Who would like to listen to a couple of ladies talk about ladies? I DO I DO. Charlotte Austin and Siolo Thompson put together an anthology about redefining the female role model. Yes, please.
Why Froyo? Why YOLO? Why now?
I can't even. I'm going for the name alone, people. Also this: "Why is froyo so popular? Why are denizen, frozen-yogurt establishments eclipsed? Why is YOLO a reason to leave a comfort zone? Why not write "You Only Live Once" in cursive?"
I know it's really really hard to fit in ALL of these things in addition to seeing the bands you want to see, but I urge y'all to check out the other stuff Bumbershoot 2013 has to offer!
First off: the 1 Reel Film Festival at the SIFF Film Center, which gives you a chance to catch a lot of things you might have missed earlier this year. There are Films4Families, Music Videos, Award-Winners, Best of the Northwest … and really, SO many good programs I can't mention them all. Check out the full film schedule for more details. I'm definitely plan to make a few of these ... and here's the rest of what I'll be trying to cram in between band goodness:
Theatre Puget Sound Stage
What's that, you say? Improv made for people who loves shows, movies, comics, music, and games? LOOK FOR ME IN THE FRONT ROW.
Patton Oswalt and Friends
Comedy at the Bagley
The only question you need to ask yourself about this one is, "How early do I need to line up to get in?" And the answer is: EARLY, my friends. Early. But it's totally worth it. Plus, he's performing again on Sunday and Monday, so you'll have 3 chances to laugh so hard your entire can of Bud Light Lime-A-Rita comes out of your nose.
This is where I do that old person thing and tell all you kids about how I used to go to Bumbershoot every year on my birthday and wander around all four days, and discover bands, and nerd out and love, love, love it. You know, back when it was free, and then like, $5 a day, or $15 for the whole weekend.
And then it just got to be too much—standing shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers, crushing through crowds trying to make my way between stages, the damn stupid “we must empty out the entire Key Arena” rule between shows, so you couldn’t even camp out for two bands in a row. Gawd. Waiting in line for 2 hours to get into Memorial Stadium somehow became less fun too…and my tolerance for bullshit declined sharply after I edged over 35.
But! After not going for many years, I have braved it again for the last three, and honestly it’s growing on me again. Even though they cut it down to 3 days instead of 4, the festival seems mellower overall. Sure there are still a lot of people, but it’s not so many that I can’t deal with it, more or less. And it made me remember what I love about Bumbershoot the most: a combination of seeing old favorites play, and wandering around and a listening to bands that I might not have heard of, or have been intrigued by. And there’s so much other stuff besides the music to love too.
And so, Sunday at Bumbershoot was pretty much the best Bumbershoot day ever, because of the following things:
1:30pm: Katie Kate kicks the newly installed stage at The Promenade’s ass. Like, all the way across the entire Seattle Center. This woman knows how to work a crowd, and work it she did—there were more people dancing to Katie than I’ve ever seen in Seattle. The guy in front of me was popping and locking so much I thought he might implode. At the height of my enjoyment, she threw out a “Read My Motherfucking Tote Bag” …tote bag, and my boyfriend caught it. HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY TO ME. And then she nearly killed me by covering Kate Bush “Running Up That Hill.” What. I love her. So so so much.
Flatstock at the Armory
11am-8pm, all three days
I say this EVERY year, but you absolutely have to take some time out of your music-watchin’ day to browse the aisles at Flatstock and see tons of amazing poster art. Seriously. Go. I’m not kidding.
Visual Arts Exhibits at the Seattle Center Pavilion
11am-8pm, all three days
Ok, it’s not really a “store” in that you can’t buy the vinyl contained within, but! But but but. They put together a HUGE collection of records that you can browse through and choose to play—either for everyone inside, or just for yourself—and generally just marvel over how awesome records still are. Step inside this exhibit for sweet listening party bliss.
Read It and Weep (A Celebration of Nicolas Cage)
The Vera Project
Three podcast guys dissect and review some of the worst of the worst Nic Cage movies, including Wicker Man, Ghost Rider and … CITY OF ANGELS. Dude. This is going to be hilarious!
Hayyyy Imaginaries! Now’s the time of year where I remind you that in addition to Bumbershoot’s awesome musical acts, our local festival is also packed with films and performing arts, and my favorite: people talking about stuff that gets you thinking about stuff. Here are a few things in the Words & Ideas program that are thrilling me:
Saturday, September 1
Why Fairy Tales? Why War on Women? Why Now?
Leo K Theatre, Words & Ideas Stage
Lindy West is actually going to be a couple of places for Bumbershoot this year, but I’m most interested in seeing what she has to say (hilariously, I’m sure) about how women are represented in pop culture and politics, so if you have to choose, I think you should be at this one. West joins a bunch of other rad ladies on stage, and I’m sure it’s going to be one of those laugh/cry/throw-up-because-you’re-so-overwhelmed kind of talks.
John Waters – This Filthy World: Filthier & Dirtier
Bagley Wright Theatre
You guys. JOHN FREAKING WATERS is going to be at Bumbershoot! I can’t even. I’m hyperventilating because I’m so excited about this. Watching Waters perform This Filthy World: Filthier & Dirtier and talk about all the things is likely going to be one of the best parts of the weekend. Trust me on this. (and if you’ve never seen a John Waters film, for the love of all that is holy, head over to Scarecrow and rent at least three of them)
Sometimes I feel like Dave Einmo is the busiest musician in Seattle. I miss running into him on the hill, because in addition to being a kick-ass rocker, he's also a damn fine all-around nice guy. But I digress, Einmo has manned Head Like a Kite for more than a few years now (I'd tell you the exact number of years, but Stoli has clouded my memory and I'm too lazy to use the internet), putting out a variety of eclectic sounds and putting on some hella entertaining live shows. The last album, Dreams Suspend Night, is a mash-up of music genres, with some amazing vocals by Asya Smoosh, plus tracks with Tilson from The Saturday Knights (like "Director's Cut" in the video above)-- and one of my very favorites, Her Space Holiday!
Back to the "busiest musician" thing. A visit to the HLAK web site reveals some sweet cover tunes ("Gimme Shelter!" hellyes), and a free download of some tracks. Dave has teamed up with Asya to form Daydream Vacation, which (based on "The Girl Don't Sleep") is poised to put out some shiny poppy hand-clapping tunes.
I'm really interested to see what he does on the Fisher Green Stage, Monday Sept 5 at 2:15pm. Any guesses on possible special guests? :)