You remember when we did 14 shows in 14 nights? Hold on to your bonnet kids, at this year's Bumbershoot music festival — we witnessed 17 shows in four days. Following you will find a recap of the stuff we scribbled down in our trusty notebooks while running from venue to venue:
Greatest Rockstar Moments:
Death Cab for Cutie:
Of course they were incredibly sweet and melodic in every way, but the most T.I.G. moment occurred before they even took the stage in an incident that can only be called: Separated at Birth? (aka "Death Cab for Snooty")
Yes. We had a Death Cab Doppleganger moment. If you want to read the entire story, you're gonna need to read our Death Cab for Cutie full report.
A bit of a mind blowing 12.30 p.m. for the T.I.G.s: Pete Buck (Seattle's favorite REM guy), Scott McCaughey (the consummate Ringleader), John Wesley Harding (the local with the funny accent), Ken Stringfellow (who this day went for a Green/Black chez Muppet doo) and company all on one stage, opening for Wilco and it was only 12.30 p.m.
And, the wackiest rockstar moment of all was when we realized that it was none other than one of the showman himself, five feet in front of us as we made our way we made our way down the ramp into Memorial Stadium: John Wesley Harding! Sigh. As we furiously took notes as to Who was doing What on stage, JWH and the Fastbacks' Kurt Bloch left their audience space in front of us to join the Minus Five boys on stage. And Ken's hair was more Fraggle Rock than the Muppets, I thought. How could someone so cute make himself look so bizarre? Weird.
And I just adore the Minus Five, with their sixties-influenced sugar-sweet melodic-pop.
Our first Drop experience after reading and hearing all about them via news, radio and strangers also included a preshow banter (and a ride into the depths of EMP, no less!) with tHe Drop guys. Our collective opinion in a nutshell? Gosh, they were LOUD. Was it the sound guy at EMP or the band itself that decided to be so LOUD? It was like some freaky Star Trek episodes, where species are unintelligible to one another until they determine the correct means of listening; once I inserted earplugs, the band went from painfully ear-ringing shrieks to nice tight melodies with dreamily muddled vocals — and with a cello, no less. To read something more in-depth and intelligible, see the official Michael X Imaginary Boy review.
It had been 7 years since I had last seen Gene perform when they were supporting their first album, Olympian. Their precise mix of 80% Morrissey and 20% Earl Grey Tea earned them a coveted spot on my "Must See or Die" 2002 Bumbershoot list. My dream of "Real life Britpop at Bumbershoot" was finally realized. As they whipped into their first song of the set, I was reminded of lead singer Martin's chiseled Divaness. To my delight, his banter had increased and was much more engaging. The topper? When he needed to adjust his keyboard's mic stand but was unable to, he requested that. "Someone with stronger wrists than I come up here to tighen this."
Even though I had never seen them perform live before, I went into this show knowing that I was going to leave loving them. I did… and it wasn't just because they sounded incredible, but because they did nothing but charm at every opportunity. The banter was swift and subtle and when Jeff Tweedy says something like, "I'm not feeling so fresh" when referring to the fact that they just woke up after a late gig the night before, you couldn't help but want to buy them all a beer.
We don't know what is better, their banter, their reaction to the crowd, or, oh yea, the music. Music highlights included "Know Your Onion," as well as hearing them playing a few songs from the Flake Music days.
But when they requested that we do THE WAVE — and we all DID IT — now *that* was something special. The wave, at a Shins show. They seemed even more astonished than we were. Then Marty Crandall commented on the Sunday performance by thanking us for choosing "Rock over Jesus" and then following it up with, "God is awesome dude, seriously."
Charmed, we're sure!
Best Cover Songs:
As he espoused, Mozart was the 1st rock-star (you know, sex, drugs and symphonies) and Dave has always wondered what he would have created on the guitar. Our Mr. Edmonds gave us such a taste of what a virtuoso would have sounded like by nailing Mozart 4th Symphony in G minor with heart stopping precision. Oh yea, he also covered "Here Comes the Sun" (and introduced it with "Here is a beautiful song written by a beautiful man"). He deserved two standing ovations even without these elegant touches to the set list, but with them, he has earned many a new fan.
I had such huge plans to tell you all about the Helio Sequence. But unfortunately, I spent THE ENTIRE show in line at EMP, waiting to get in. The helpful EMP staffer told us, "You could go over and watch the show on our outdoor big screen today." The dude behind me in line retorted, "That's exactly why I came out today, to watch TV." Hilarious. EMP drives me nuts. But I did manage to hear the band perform their gorgeously lush version of that really cool Beatles song… you know the one…
Peter Parker played Damian Jurado's "Paxil." That was really cool. Matthew Parker shrieking "I'M ON FIRE!!!!" with huge images of flames flaring behind him was really quite cool. I think I have developed a musical crush on this band, now that I have seen them four times. Fire!!!!!
PS ~ Peter Parker should totally have won in the "Best Banter" category too, both for telling a superfan who screamed for a song, "No, we're still n
ot going to play 'Elliot.' Thanks for asking, but no." And also for singing this lyric on a Friday afternoon: "Bubble bubble, toil and trouble. Make mine a double." Yes yes YES!
Dave Davies Disappointment:
Like 74% of the western world, I LOVE the Kinks. When I saw Ray Davies (you know, the other Kinks guy) at the King Cat last year, I was breathless the entire time. His elegance and eloquence made his Kinks based act more of a tribute to history than a hanging on to the last tattered straw left in his creatively-drained body. In true Davies brothers' style, Dave Davies is the antithesis of his brother's performance. Dave has not aged gracefully (note mullet and purple silky shit) and neither has his on-stage shtick (please don't repeatedly order the audience to clap along with the song when we obviously don't have the enthusiasm to do so). I was able to make it through 6 songs – and decided that staying any longer could only taint my love of the Kinks' Village Green Preservation Society. His publicist really should have checked with me before putting him on the next bus out of town as I think only thing that would have made up for this lackluster afternoon performance is if he would have performed a song with the Shins later that night. How wonderful would that have been!
To what did our wandering eyes appear? A comfy table with enough seating for all in the posse in the beer garden within earshot of the Derailers' rockability lovity set! Our parched mouths and weary feet were thankful for the hour of bliss that was listening to good live music whilst drinking a relatively palatable beverage (read as, Miller Lite).
Lead Singer Craziness:
Modest Mouse (crazy):
That Isaac Brock. Everyone knows he's crazy.
The Turn-Ons (crazy sexy) :
The first time I saw the Turn-Ons, I proclaimed them to be one of my favorite local bands – because they are so NOT a local band. Their part Charlatans UK, part Dandy Warhols, part New York Dolls and all kinds of sexiness made me an instant convert. This time was a bit different as the mammoth EMP Sky Church seemed to take away a bit from the engaging, playful vibe that usually oozes from their every melodic note. Not to say I was disappointed, just that our Turn-Ons are growing up and I've got to learn to deal with it because they are fine, upstanding citizens of the Seattle local music scene and should be worshipped as such.
The Gossip (aka Beth Ditto, crazy sexy cool):
What more can I say about Beth Ditto that igDana didn't cover in her Capitol Hill Block Party review? I can't say anything more. Other than, I concur. She's amazing, her stage presence is amazing, and I covet her charisma and confidence. Yow!