Three Imaginary Girls

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

You won a special ticket for seven, and only seven, musical things to do at this year's Bumbershoot. They escort you in for these several performances, and these seven performances only. Here's what I would recommend you pick:

1.) Bob Mould, Sunday, 6:15 p.m., Fisher Green Stage

He's in his early 50s, he's endured scalding amounts of psychic trauma, and whether his albums hit or miss Bob Mould's worked his ass off making much of the best independent rock of the past 30 years. I started with the "Statues" single from Husker Du when I was pubbing a fanzine in 1981, and I've been an off and on quietly frenzied fanboy ever since. Crushing the Showbox with a 20th anniversary run-through of Copper Blue (!) and much more earlier this year (such a night), he brought me back to the material I last loved him most for. But his generous spirit, ability to amp a crowd, and sensuous intensity should utterly captivate the Bumbershoot 2013 audience that comes to taste the legend. I am hoping for some Du-ings I have no right to expect, but Mould blazes even when it's something else than what you came for. Fair warning: He is loud and can be brutal, but listening to Mould live is like taking a drive in a limited edition BMW sports car of rock. It's not the goal, or even the journey — it's that massaging muscle of an a high class engine beneath it all, making you wonder if it's live or if it's fantasy. This will be a superb way to sample songs from his new album, Silver Age. (Now if only Grant Hart were also playing the festival, on songs from his great new concept album …)

2.) Can You Imagine?, Saturday, 6 p.m., Leo K Theater

This is probably going to be a shorter set for Michelle Brake, Steve Fisk, Peter Bagge, Rachel Frost, and Sue Merrill, also known as Can You Imagine?,  the best power-pop band on planet Ecotopia, as it is part of the already previewed Fantagraphics Follies. But if the incredible chance to see/hear Jim Woodring, Danny Bland, Ellen Forney, Kelly Froh, and other Fantagraphics artists wow and flutter the audience can't be kicked into "crucial" by the performance of this super-talented bunch, you might as well just sit this fest out. Hence, the extra push here. 

3.) Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Saturday, 8 p.m., Mural Amphitheater

"The Screaming Eagle of Soul" just released his second album, Victim of Love, and it's full of blues from a voice drenched in the the restless world of a man who's been sick and wandering without a home, without any peace as a human being at times, who has lost his brother to murder. There's no way of saying this to young musicians, but you gotta live to create, and the fates blessed and cursed this Brooklyn-based long-time James Brown impersonator with the road few wish to travel to make his soul music rock so hard. 

4.) Katie Kate, Sunday, 4:30 p.m., Fisher Green

It's not all about the veterans. Though I admit her live cover of legend Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" is what brought me to her original, ecstatic dialogue between spirit and booty. On original tracks like "Hunter" she spins you into her world, a city as cerebral and as funk-loving as Seattle has always been. Gonna check her out again, to see if what I've seen before is for real.

5.) Supreme La Rock, Sunday, 8:15 p.m., EMP

If you're in it to really savor the Seattle flavor, and have never heard Wheedle's Groove-curator Danny Clavesilla work the circles, then your missing a masterpiece of turntable art. The sides he'll pull and blend will be some of the most magical you'll ever hear, full of rhythm and grit and glitter and transcendence. He really is a genius of knowing the right track and matching it with its best lovers in an orgy of boogiesm. Kick back, mingle, it'll make you tingle.

6.) Total Experience Gospel Choir, Monday, 9:45 p.m., Mural Amphitheater

Also featured in Wheedle's Groove, the Total Experience Gospel Choir was started by Pastor Patrinell Staten Wright as a gospel music class at Seattle's Franklin High School in 1973. "Since then the choir has grown to become a nationally and internationally known gospel singing group," their bio says, and that's an understatement. Whether you're practicing religion or not, this is the center of Seattle soul, and is very vibe-inclusive. You cannot help but be moved by these regional numinous superstars, lifting their hands to the heavens and letting it all hang out in glory. 

7.) The Zombies, Sunday 8:15 p.m., Mural Amphitheatre
They weren't as intellectual as the Velvet Underground, they didn't burn with a gasoline-soaked blaze of a Stooges or MC5, but these cats knew how to turn a garage into sound art. The cool basslines, sweet keys, strutting syncopation, are all very present in a lot of your favorite beat-happenings going on today. If you lived here and had Are You Experienced? and the banana LP and Fun House in the stack for when someone friendly dropped by to bake or bomp, you probably also had Odessy and Oracle, a perennially groovy favorite. Don't miss these guys at Bumbershoot 2013.