Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

{TheeSatisfaction at Bumbershoot 2012 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}
THEESatisfaction, Bumbershoot 2012

With the excitement of Bumbershoot's approach comes that sad-trombone realization that summer is coming to a close (seriously you guys, LABOR DAY ALREADY?) and in this year's case, a particularly mighty and sunny Seattle summer at that. But really, what better way to spend it than a breezy weekend down at Seattle Center, taking in bands and art and comedy and panels and everything that this year's festival has to offer?

There's so much great programming at Bumbershoot that it seems literally impossible to get to All Of The Things that one wants to see — and with that said, here are each day's absolute can't-miss non-negotiables on my music schedule this year:

{Charles Bradley at Bumbershoot 2011 / by Victoria VanBruinisse}
Charles Bradley, Bumbershoot 2011

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires {Saturday}

Seriously. Between 2011's No Time for Dreaming and this year's Victim of Love, Saturday's sets are sure to be jam-packed with that new-classic soul feel that Charles does so well. To quote the emoting that shot forth when the "Strictly Reserved for You" video came out: this man isn't just a performer, he is a literal force — and he'll give you that capitalized Experience we all hope for at a show. Fuck it, I'm calling it now: Charles Bradley's set is going to be my Ultimate Festival Moment (tied with the Death Cab set, natch, but we'll get to that in a minute). Lucikly, you'll have two chances to partake in the bliss, as Charles and the Extraordinaires will be doing their main set on the Starbucks Stage on Saturday at 8pm, and if you were lucky enough to get a ticket, you can double-dip with a performance earlier that day for KEXP.

Speaking of, can we take a minute to talk about KEXP's Bumbershoot Lounge? Their series of in-studios are almost like a fest within the fest, with excellent crowd control and icy air conditioning. The station has lined up Thao and the Get Down Stay Down {Saturday}, Charles Bradley {Saturday}, Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside {Sunday}, Bob Mould {Sunday}, Superchunk {Monday} — and that's just a fraction of the performers. The full schedule of bands is on the KEXP site here, but if you aren't already signed up for a seat, you're shit out of luck. Sorry. (We'll be sure to post pictures for you next week, promise!)

Other heavy hitters for Saturday: Thao and the Get Down Stay Down {Fountain Lawn Stage, 3:30pm}, !!! {TuneIn Stage, 6:15pm}, Washed Out {Fountain Lawn Stage, 9pm}, Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside {Plaza Stage, 9:30pm}, Heart {Mainstage, 9:45pm}

Death Cab for Cutie {Sunday}

As stated above, this one will be a tie for Ultimate Festival Moment, no contest. Transatlanticism start to finish = heart-explosion of monumental proportions. There's not even anything I can say about it besides (1) HOLY SHIT, it's been ten years?? and (2) see you in the front row. Mainstage, Sunday night, 9:45pm. Earlier on Sunday, the Words and Ideas Stage will host a panel at high noon, with a conversation about Barsuk Records (and their 15th anniversary!) with none other than Josh Rosenfeld, Sean Nelson, John Roderick, and David Bazan at the helm.

There's plenty to do in-between these Barsuk-y bookends on Sunday, specifically: The Redwood Plan {12:15pm, Fountain Lawn Stage}, Ramona Falls {12:45pm, Fountain Lawn Stage}, Tegan and Sara {2pm, Mainstage}, David Bazan {3:30pm, Fountain Lawn Stage}, Katie Kate {4:30pm, TuneIn Stage}, The Comettes {5pm, Plaza Stage}, Mates of State {5:15pm, Fountain Lawn Stage}, Bob Mould {6:15pm, TuneIn Stage}, The Grizzled Mighty {6:30pm, Plaza Stage}, The Breeders {8pm, TuneIn Stage}, The Zombies {8:15pm, Starbucks Stage}, Matt and Kim {10pm, TuneIn Stage}


Superchunk {Monday}

Yep, I know there are much bigger bands taking to various stages on Monday, but Superchunk will hands-down be my highlight. (I think I've put "Green Flowers, Blue Fish" on at least 33% of my end-of-relationship mixtapes.) I know they've got a new album out and all, but Here's Where The Strings Come In is one of my forever-classics and will always stay in high rotation!! It's going to feel a little bit like 2008 with Superchunk and DCfC playing in the same weekend and all, with all of us a mere half-decade older and wiser. Seeing these folks perform on the Fountain Lawn Stage {7pm} will be pretty intimate so far as rock shows go, and I'm hedging my bets that they'll absolutely be a highlight of the closing day of the fest.

The rest of my closing-day must-sees include The Maldives {Starbucks Stage, 1pm}, Mark Pickerel and his Praying Hands {Plaza Stage, 6pm} and Deerhunter {9pm, Fountain Lawn Stage}. All this plus Flatstock, a few comedy shows, and a stop at Skillet for a kale ceasar will leave me happy festivalgoer, and I hope you all have a good Bumbershoot this year too! If you're still on the fence though (SILLY YOU), hop on off it and head over to the Bumbershoot site to pick up your tickets. You can get an any-day for $60, daily passes for $56, and three-days for $140 (hello, affordable festival!!). If your wallet is a little deeper, splurge on some Gold Passes for Monday — all other Gold / Platinum access levels are, sadly, sold out.

{Bumbershoot takes place at Seattle Center from Saturday, August 31st through Monday, September 2nd. All ages. Photos of THEESatisfaction and Charles Bradley by Victoria VanBruinisse. Photo of Superchunk courtesy of the band.}