Bumbershoot is a large, chilled, blue raspberry drink of piping-hot entertainment, if that makes any sense. This year seems particularly well thought out for taste and diversity over trying to be all things to all people. A lot of creative (even avant) bands with mindful fanbases, a ton of the escalatingly-popular comedy sets, and batches of pop-cult weirdness and edification spread throughout all three days. My dear comrades and colleagues Imaginary Victoria and Imaginary Amie already picked a batch of the music and Other Stuff (respectively) that they won't be missing, and I'm chiming in now with my own picks for Saturday and Monday.
Unfortunately, I still haven't really made up my mind (I'm a Libra, baby, so why don't you confuse me): Thus, I am stealing the old "Vs." trope from press articles about festivals in the past, letting you wallow in my indecision with me. At least in this public display of confusion, you will see what's available and where I will probably be at any given time (if you want to buy me a beer or rassle or something). Yes, usually I often hide out in the KEXP Music Lounge, which is air-conditioned and has great line ups every year too, but this time I'll be out among the fabulous hoi polloi to get my public festival on. Hola!
Saturday, September 1st, 2012
12p: Nude Pop (The Promenade) Vs. Hedgebrook Busts Fem-Myths (Leo K Theatre)
Spokane-spawned Nude Pop won Sound Off!, the EMP Battle of the Bands this year, so that's there to hear first thing. It's psychey, which kids raised in Twin Peaks-berg tend to favor and flavor accordingly. (Seriously: If you like David Lynch, check out that beautiful, surreal, disturbing city for a summer. Be careful though.) They're young, and this is a cozy place to experience what had 'em win the contest. Meanwhile, I am also feverishly drawn to the feminist salon of the Hedgebrook Busts Fem-Myths round up of femme lit phenoms Karen Finneyfrock, Storme Webber, Tara Hardy, Rose McAleese, and the org's Executive Director Amy Wheeler. It's spoken word and I like it when that sort of thing is stacked with lots of different voices (if all on a theme, but a fetching one at that). Which one is more likely for me? Maybe poetry this early in the day, unless The Promenade is very comfy.
12:15p: TacocaT (Sub Pop Stage/Fountain Lawn) Vs. Galumpha – Experiments in Human Architecture (Bagley Wright Theatre)
Wow, that was fast! 15 minutes for trippy rock or fascinating imagery, and then I am pulled to the punk pop pranks of TacocaT, which I have seen several times and enjoy as much as the first couple of Blondie LPs (that is, a lot). That human architecture thing sounds great though but man the lines pack out for that because the posh Platinum Pass peeps need something tasteful (if strange) to attend. Depends on how much glitter and kitty litter is being thrown at the Sub Pop Stage (if plenty, I'm hooked). Still, athletic and poetic choreography is damn well worth it if you can squeeze in amongst the high-falutin'.
1p: James Adomian, Nick Swardson (Intiman Theatre) Vs. Don't Talk To The Cops! (Fisher Green)
Can't miss Don't Talk To The Cops! Best local live band, in my opinion. Crazy punk-rap dance madness, can't beat it (but its beats per minute will beat you). But wait, that Adomian review recently posted at the AV Club makes him sound like this year's Bumbershoot comedy discovery (reviving impressions as an artistic thrill, and not a hacky happy-maker). And Swardson's always tight. This is literally a brutal TIE. Ouch! Not so tight! Being realistic, the throbbing crowd of one will probably send me scampering over to the other. And back again.
2p: Flashes of Funny (1 Reel Film Festival) Vs. 2:15p: Skerik's Bandalabra (Mural Amphitheatre)
This year I might actually get to see some movies — this set is a bunch of shorts of funny flicks from USA, Sweden, Canada, Turkey, etc. — and I like funny. But no, once again there will not be a seat left for me. (I am not kidding, I haven't gotten a seat at 1 Reel at Bumbershoot since like 1995.) So it's to the punk-jazz of Pac NW's own Skerik I will probably go after waiting in line a few hopeless minutes for seeing short movies. And I will probably be thankful, as skronky world-beat-bap is some of the best stuff to sweat at at Bumbershoot. So: not complaining.
2:30p: How Did This Get Made? (Bagley Wright Theatre) Vs. JC Brooks And The Uptown Sound (Fisher Green)
I'm a fan of the frenetic, spastic, super-sarcastic How Did This Get Made? podcast, and it would be meatish-sweetballs to see the three comedians (Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas, and June Raphael) chitter-chatter up Hollywood's dumbassedness live for sure. But they're appearing a couple of times at Bumbershoot, and if I don't make it into the Music Lounge, this might be my only chance to catch the back alley soul-jive stylings of JC. And I tend to not miss any band I haven't heard live signed to Bloodshot Records. Truth.
3:15p: Gotye VERSUS THE WORLD (Bumbershoot Mainstage)
The other day I was waiting for the bus on The Ave thinking, "I've been out too long. It's been at least an hour doing errands, some store nearby is going to play that song while I'm standing here." Yep, it was the Mexican restaurant with the hot wings right behind the bus stop. Nailed! They played it super loud, and for once I wished a terrible busker would come by and compete. Just for my own real life remix, really.
4:15p: Doug Loves Movies Starring Doug Benson (Bagley Wright) Vs. King Khan & The Shrines (Fisher Green)
Wow, somebody at 1 Reel hasn't checked with their weed-loving pals about this scheduling (potential conflict). Anyways, Doug is going to be hosting trivia fun along with making fun of films and he's around most of the weekend too but you may not want to miss any of it, as it will certainly be out of control. On the other hand, King Khan and his gang of gut-bucket soul-punk music-makers come back to let things get just as crazy, if not more so. Either one would be a safe bet. Depends on what condition my condition is in at this point, if you get my "drift."
5:15p: THEE Satisfaction (Sub Pop Stage/Fountain Lawn) WINS.
Just go see Stasia and Cat. Damn! They're great. Wish this was a match up with Don't Talk To The Cops though set-wise. I guess that will come around again locally sometime anyhoo. But you know if you need to do something literary at this point, Why Fairy Tales, Why War On Women, Why Now? at the Leo K would be good. Oy vey! It's great to see the feminism overflowing at this fest, music and Theory.
5:30p: Heartless Bastards (Mural Amphitheatre)
What's going on.
7p: Oberhofer (Sub Pop Stage/Fountain Lawn) Vs. The Stranger's Guide To America
Oberhofer sprang from Tacoma into into Brooklyn, and there is a sense of philosophical wise-assness about them, listing Descartes as an influence. This I might have to see/hear. Also: Brian Wilson, other influence. Hmmm. Meanwhile, they will probably lose out with me to watching the live antics of The Stranger staff, because I have to get a copy of their book How To Be A Person and the best way to do that is when many of them are all in one place to sign it. And tell the stories from it! (And hey, Lindy West's in town!)
8:30p: John Waters – This Filthy World: Dirtier & Dirtier (Bagley Wright Theatre)
LOVE HIM. Like Imaginary Amie, I wouldn't miss his caustic sweetness and gracious cruel wit for the world. A man who can tell you where to get the weird what cures the boredom of your soul wherever you may be, Waters is the original definition of "hipster": The hilarious scary dude who loves what he mocks and can have you popped for a couple of pills. Our national satirical Saint, don't ever miss an opportunity to hear him shit-talk.
9p: Damien Jurado (The Promenade)
I would have it Waters Vs. Jurado, as both are mighty big lights in my book, but I can't. Do. That. What I will say is depending on how you feel in this half-hour of splashover in the schedule — whether you want spine-curdling yucks or soul-chilling songs to settle your deep dark fears, choose Damien for the latter. Depends on your (and my) mood then and there.
Monday, September 3, 2012
12p: Bushwick Book Club (Leo K Theatre) Vs. 12:15p Maximum VELOCITY (Bagley Wright Theatre)
Featuring Mary Lambert, Ian McFeron, Bucket of Honey, Wes Weddell, Tai Shan, and Aaron Zuege, the BBC do musicals based on books they've agreed to write songs for/about. I saw them do some great stuff at the Emerald City Comic Con this year, which made me regret missing previous shows. Love the fact they'll be doing Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time, which means it will be thought-provoking, family friendly, and really fun. Maximum Velocity is "feral ballet" which sounds like something I'll go hide in and enjoy if there's too many kids packed into the Leo K!
1p: Fred Armison, Kurt Braunohler, Gabe and Jenny (Intiman) Vs. Reignwolf (Mural Amphitheatre) Vs. Super Geek League (Exhibition Hall) Vs. Super Cool Science Show (Next 50 Plaza)
Wow, well, the mind boggle-woggles. That comedy team up (which features Fred from SNL and Portlandia) is ace, and possibly the funniest set promised all festival. On the other hand, Reignwolf rock your entrails down the shower-hole. On the right foot, Super Geek League is outlandish punk buttrock opera you have to see at least once, and since they don't play out as often nowl this might be the right time to check 'em out. And for a tenacle, there's a Super Cool Science Show at the Pacific Science center. This whole thing exposes my deep inner nerd conflicts all at once. I am shamed, and terribly awed.
1:15p: Too Beautiful To Live (Vera) Vs. 1:45p Debo Band (Sub Pop Stage/Fountain Lawn)
Local radio-wave superstar Luke Burbank brings his award-winning, utterly charming podcasty natter to the Vera Stage, and it should be a blast for music and comedy fans. But if it's too packed in there, come see one of Sub Pop's most recent signings, which dazzle and dub down a red velvet carpet of dance stylings. Once again, your choice is body versus brain; it's awesome that those things go up against each other so much during the festival according to shifting mood.
A Couple of Quick Mid-Afternoon Run Down Of Several Musical Battles In My Own Brain For Choice:
2:45p: El Vez (Mural) Vs. Foxy Shazam (Exhibition Hall): Yow! Mighty established high camp versus upcoming 70s rock high camp! Going to go with El Vez, because he's a super swanky fella with the grooves'n'humah. However, if you have seen EV a few times already (and I have), the Queen-Meat Loaf shenanigans of FS might be a stank-weed vanilla twist on the final B'shoot afternoon.
3:15p: M83 (KeyArena) Vs. Ty Seagull (Sub Pop Stage): A bit of personal irony for me here, as I have always wanted to like both of these artists more than I actually do. I'm still on the fence about both of 'em, though I realize they're all real talented. Maybe this will be the show to make my mind up for me. But which one? FLIP A COIN!
3:30p: REDEFINE (Leo K Theatre) Vs. NerdProv (Center Theatre)
REDEFINE is creative journalism dedicated to breaking down ideas and movements in dance and its music. Participants include producer/vocalist Honey Owens (The Miracles Club – “The Wheel”), director Judah Switzer (The Miracles Club – “The Wheel”), dancer Ryan Boyle (The Miracles Club – “The Wheel”), choreographer Amy O'Neal (Reggie Watts – “F_ck Sh_t Stack”, director ELY – Eugene Lee Yang (Polica – “Wandering Star”), and producer Cathleen Cher (Polica – “Wandering Star”). Sounds kinda like an art school take on the EMP Pop Con (a Seattle event I've really missed). Very tempting. Then again: NERDS DOING IMPROV! They were great at the Emerald City Comic Con when I saw 'em there a couple years ago! This is hard.
4:30p: LP (Mural Amphitheatre) Vs. The Pharmacy (The Promenade)
Curly, cute singer-songwriter for Top 40 divas belting out her own bubbling pop art, or blarge-beat homeboys scaring the kids with the sounds of their sonic whiskey sodas. Probably the latter for me, but no offense to my Popist peeps.
5p: The Pains of Being Pure At Heart (Sub Pop Stage) Vs. The Fact That I Am Getting Very Old & Cranky
But seriously, if I get goofy I might go see the Elvis Parade at this time (various locations). I love Pains of Being etc., which are utterly electric live as their name is ultra-coy. Sure, one more great band at the Sub Pop stage, I ain't dead yet.
Can't Miss These Rest (No Contest):
6:15p: FISHBONE! (Exhibition Hall Stage): You have to see Fishbone at least once in your life. The songs never truly came together for me on most LPs (with some awesome exceptions), but live they blend the fire of prime Black Flag with the searing smoke of James Blood Ulmer. This is Real Rock.
8:30p: THE VASELINES (Sub Pop Stage):
Great way to wrap up the festival! I wasn't a huge fan of their last album but got to see 'em play at Neumos around that time and heard the same great zazzy perv pop I've always found pleasure in their play. You won't regret fitting this in before the big headliners later tonight.
Possibilities if I work it around the above: Star Anna & The Laughing Dogs (!!! – see 'em even if I can't make it), Brian John Appleby (is he as great live as my friends tell me? That's a hell of an LP he has), lots of Laff Hole (which I always seem to hit every year, bless their wicked hearts), and The Atomic Bombshells Burlesque LIVE At Bumbershoot, which certainly sounds a seXXXy hoot.