August 30, 2010

Bumbershoot 2010: Day One Preview


Neko Case ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

Oh, the cruel games we play.

Do you enjoy mind-stimulating activities such as Soduku, New York Times Crossword Puzzles and/or Apples to Apples? If so, then you deserve a pat on the back and possibly an invitation to tutor me in a few of those areas. Especially in regard to crossword puzzles, I’m so terrible I don’t ever see myself leaving the “word find” circuit.  Luckily for people like me, there is alternative mind-stimulating game that accurately judges the content of someone’s character in three simple words. Marry. Fuck. Kill. If you want to call into question a friend’s lack of taste in other human beings, flawed thought process or how well they react under pressure, you play this game.

If you’re not familiar, let me clue you in.  You are given three options and you select “marry, fuck, kill” depending on what fictional scenario you may or may not want to happen in reality. However, I’m going to change some of the terminology. America is founded on Puritan belief (and the decimation of native populations) and I feel like we all need to get back to our Puritan roots. In keeping with the Puritan tradition, I’m changing “fuck” to “copulate with genuine feelings of desire” and I’m changing “kill” to “feverishly ignore.” Puritans had no problems with the idea of marriage, so I’m going to leave that be. I know I should have created more of an accurate “Marry.Fuck.Kill.” scenario using spreadsheets with color coded cells to signify scheduling conflicts, but those plans didn’t fit in my budget. Below the musical acts are broken down into the following categories. Some acts will just be listed while others will have brief descriptions. Enjoy.

Bands you want to “Marry” – These are bands you’ve already loved (or should have loved) for a long time,  now you’re ready to make that everlasting commitment.  You have long ignored all the flaws and blemishes related to these acts due to your blinding love for them.  They might have disappointed you with a few bad songs, a bad album or a lackluster live performance, but you stand by them because you’re suffering from the most fortunate chemical imbalance there is, love.

Bands you want to “Copulate with Genuine Feelings of Desire” – These are the bands that you’re just killing time with. Maybe you’re waiting for a more desirable band to start their set or maybe you’ve had one too many PBR’s and suddenly that bassist with the nose ring is looking hot! Easy tiger, keep your cool. You don’t want to wake up in the morning with schwag from a band that you’re not sure you like.  I’m not saying these bands aren’t worth your undivided attention, I’m just not sure you’ll have a long-term relationship with them.  Make no mistake if you find love here, I’ll be happy for you.

Bands you want to “Feverishly Ignore” – I’m not saying these bands suck, but now might be the perfect time to pretend to be having a meaningful text message conversation far away from the stage.


Justin Townes Earle ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

•    Zoe Muth and the High Rollers – I’ve only seen Zoe Muth and the High Rollers on one occasion at the Blue Moon. I was standing front row and their set left such an impression on me that I haven’t forgotten what a quality band this is. Will it be different experiencing them during the controlled insanity of Bumbershoot? Sure, but that won’t make the music or the band any less enjoyable. (2:45pm on the Northwest Stage) •    The Maldives – Duh. It’s the Maldives! Don’t act like you don’t know! The only negative is that they’re playing at the same time as Zoe Muth. God is a puppet-master sometimes. If I were you I’d try to catch both Zoe Muth and the Maldives. Put on those P.F. Flyer’s and run back and forth between stages. (3pm on the Starbucks stage) •    Neko Case – Admittedly I don’t actively listen to Neko Case. I usually come across her music randomly. Even in those fleeting moments, I know that she’s amazing.  (7:15pm on the Bumbershoot MainStage) •    Bob Dylan – I don’t know who this is but he has two first names. (9pm on the Bumbershoot MainStage) •    The Round – Assorted singer/songwriters, poets and artists that hone their craft right here in your backyard. Check out the talented folks that are your neighbors. (4:30pm on the Northwest Court Stage) •   Solomon Burke – This guy is what I like to call “knee-deep in the Game.”  Mr. Burke and his style of R&B have caused people to put on their dancing shoes since the 1950’s. Even The Rolling Stones have covered Solomon Burke. When is the last time Mick Jagger strutted around singing one of your songs? (8:45pm on the Starbucks stage) •    Justin Townes Earle – I’m putting my faith in this young man solely based on the “Birds on a Wire Festival” YouTube video I watched months ago. If you question my judgment, that’s fine. Just don’t doubt the almighty power of YouTube. (4:45pm on the Starbucks stage) •    Great Waves – “These young upstarts, who do they think they are winning the Soundoff! (Pacific-Northwest’s largest underage battle of the bands) I wanted to pan them for that fact alone but then I actually listened to their music. The future is bright. I wonder if they ghost write…” – Imaginary Jaded Hipster Who Can’t Get Gigs (12:30pm at the EMP Sky Church)

Copulate with Genuine Feelings of Desire:

Atlas Sound ::: photo by Josh Lovseth

•    Atlas Sound – I was thinking about putting Atlas Sound in the “Marry” section, but I’m not sure if I’m entirely sold on Deerhunter frontman Brandon Cox’s other gig. In the past I’ve nothing but good things about Atlas Sound as far as the live experience goes. However, they are playing on the Broad Street stage. If the sound is anything like it was last year, I’m worried that the digital ambience of Atlas Sound will be lost in translation.  (4pm on the Broad Street Stage) •    HEALTH – This band is super fucking weird.  With that being said, they are weird in the same way Voodoo Doughnuts is weird. Sure, some of their compositions might be a bit puzzling but it’s still digestable and enjoyable. Word on the street is that HEALTH’s performance at the Vera Project a few months ago was quite good. Are you looking for me to categorize HEALTH’S music into a subgenre? How about “music for people with the ability to hear”? Does that help you out? (3pm on the Center Square Stage) •    The Submarines – Do you like Matt & Kim? I don’t. That’s kind of what the Submarines remind me of.  Apparently they are “the perfect compliment to a summer day.” In response to that, I’d like to add “The Submarines are the perfect compliment to a summer day in which your car has been towed and Bank of America has given you multiple overdraft fees.”  OK, so maybe the music isn’t that bad. They have nice pretty vocals over music that is mundane. Some of you geeks will be totally into this, that’s kind of unfortunate. (12:30pm on the Broad Street Stage) •    Feral Children – I still haven’t gotten “Kid Oragami” out of my head. (5pm at the EMP Sky Chruch) •    Idiot Pilot – Do you remember Girls Against Boys? I sure as hell do. I still listen to GVSB on a weekly basis. Idiot Pilot doesn’t list GVSB as an influence for their music, but they might want to in the near future. When it comes to mixing rock and roll with electronic music, it’s better to sound like Girls Against Boys than 30 Seconds to Mars. Unfortunately Idiot Pilot sounds like the latter rather than the former. (1:15pm on the Center Square Stage) •    Born Anchors – This band was getting a lot of buzz last year and after listening to some tracks off of Sprezzatura, I’m still not sure why. It’s not bad but I’m not picking my tongue off of the floor either. I’m interested to see what direction the band has gone in with their new release Colonize the Grey. (2pm at the EMP Sky Church) •    The Decemberists – A-HA! You thought they’d be in the “Marry” section didn’t you?!?! Well guess what, I am one of three or four people that doesn’t like the Decemberists. In fact, if I woke up in a bad mood this morning, I’d be tempted to put them in the “feverishly ignore” category, but it wouldn’t be justified. I would be doing so for the sole purpose of starting a blogosphere nuclear war. I really have no interest in turning my life into a scene straight out of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. I don’t want a bunch of bearded men, wearing flannel and bearing torches ready to drag me out of my house or burn it down. Nevertheless, I still plan on watching the Decemberists’ set. (5:30pm on the Bumbershoot MainStage) •    The Constellations (2pm at the State Farm Stage) •    Grynch (12:15pm on the State Farm Stage) •    Jamie Lidell – I’ve never heard of this guy but apparently he’s kind of a big deal. He’s got a voice that reminds me of Robin Thicke. I say that as someone whose only exposure to Robin Thicke is by music videos and cameos on Lil “Weezy F. Baby, Please Say the Baby” Wayne tracks. Lidell sings very well and you know he’s bringing some world-class musicians along with him. I expect this set to be very good, even though I probably wouldn’t enjoy outside the confines of Bumbershoot. (5:45pm on the Broad Street Stage) •    Plants and Animals (2:15pm on th Broad Street Stage) •    Becki Sue and her Big Rocking Daddies – (11:45am on the Starbucks Stage) •    Visqueen (9:45pm at the EMP Sky Church) •    Bob Schneider – Sounds like “meh.” For the record, I’m not referencing a band in that quotation. (6:45pm on the Starbucks Stage) •    Peter Molinari – Singer/songwriter stuff that is pretty good. I wonder how Bob Dylan must feel to be headlining a festival in which he has obviously influenced half of the performing acts? •    Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Sometimes this band writes a really good song. Sometimes they don’t. (7:30pm on the Broad Stret Stage) •    The Budos Band – 11-member instrumental band that promises to get your body moving in all sorts of unnatural ways? Yes, please. (5:30pm on the State Farm Stage) •    Parlour Steps (3:30pm at the EMP Sky Church) •    Star Anna and The Laughing Dogs (1:15pm on the Starbucks Stage) •    Wheddle’s Groove (3:45pm on the State Farm Stage) •    The Cute Lepers (8:15pm at the EMP Sky Church) •    The Raveonettes (9:30pm on the Broad Street Stage) •    See Me River – This band reminds me of carousels and festival grounds, cotton candy and old country roads. I wouldn’t be surprised if they reminded you of days that are long gone but not forgotten. Good stuff. •    Ozomatli (9:30pm on the State Farm Stage) •    Balkan Beat Box – I have a feeling these guys are going to have one of the best sets of the festival.  (7:30pm on the State Farm Stage) •    Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra – Weird instrumentation with fantastic results. (8:30 on the Northwest Court Stage)

Feverishly Ignore:


Civil Twilight

•    Civil Twilight – According to someone who doesn’t do a very good job writing interesting press releases: “Civil Twilight’s contemplative, emotional sound carries strong echoes of Radiohead, Oasis, and Coldplay, yet the band hails from South Africa, not England. The tensions of their homeland and the difficulty of assimilating into their new U.S. home informs the band’s profound lyrics and ultimate vision of hope…” Gentle reader, believe me it’s true. Civil Twilight is just as boring on paper as they are in your ears. I must alert this person of the press that whenever you compare the band that you work for to Oasis or Radiohead, you’re doing that band no favors. That is a difficult mountain to climb. •    This Providence – Ouch. This stuff hurts my ears. I can’t listen to the songs written by this band for longer than 20 seconds. It’s disgustingly slick and cheap. It’s like going to buy a used car and then while you’re taking a bathroom break before you sign the papers, you return only to find that the car salesman is laying the pipe to your wife in the backseat of the car your about to buy. The worst part is that her infidelity doesn’t even land you a discount on final price of the car. If This Providence were an Absolut Vodka, they’d be called Absolute Empty. •    Caspar Babypants – It pains me to put a Chris Ballew project in this category because I grew up rocking out to the Presidents of the United States of America. If I remember correctly I never lost any sleep wishing that POTUSA had written Baby Einstein tunes. If your pregnant with child and attending Bumbershoot, I urge you to press your womb against the speakers during Caspar Babypants set if you want your baby to be a rocker. If you’re literally a Sound of the Sound reader who is under the age of two, I’m sorry if I have offended you.

Stay tuned for a “Bumbershoot 2010: Day Two Preview” to be posted shortly. If you want more information about the festival, go here:


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