Short-Sighted Thoughts: Bumbershoot 2013
By all accounts, whether overheard firsthand on the festival grounds or seen thirdhand (new realm of voyeurism) via your most frequented social media site, Bumbershoot predominantly seen as quite the success. Normally when I go to any music festival, the “genuine enthusiasm:gripe” ratio breaks down to the tune of 7:3. However, the secretive, unscientific, devious inner-thoughts “fan:consumer” ratio is probably split dead even.
I can see your soul thru the expression on your visage. Being an observer has its unsaid advantages. For reasons I’d rather not say, Big shout-out to American and Alaskan Airlines! What up!?!? I was unable to attend Saturday’s edition of Bumbershoot. I was as saddened as one can be, flying home from an island getaway on the advent of a highly anticipated college football season. I genuinely wanted Kendrick Lamar to be given the opportunity to make an hour long diss record verbally lambasting every person in attendance at the Key Arena during his set. I also missed my opportunity to become an unofficial, official Seattleite by engaging the music of Heart for the first time in a live concert setting. 30 million albums sold worldwide isn’t enough for me to parachute out of a commercial airliner and come crashing down thru the rafters of The House That Shawn Kemp Built Thirty Years After It Was Originally Built. A few casual observations:
- Eric Burdon is timeless (and not because he washes his Bill Belichik-like sweatshirts in the Fountain of Youth). On the way to Bumbershoot, I couldn’t help but contemplate how many generations it would take for folks to forget about the music this man has created. Burdon had a huge crowd for his afternoon time slot at the Starbucks stage. As I watched his set, a woman snuck in front of me to catch a better view of the stage. At one point she turned around and said, “I was your age when I first started liking him!”
I then told that woman that if she were fishing for compliments, she should look elsewhere.It was only fitting that a couple of young ruffians unnecessarily destroyed a tree branch within close proximity, while her and I were engaged in age-themed pleasantries. They say at any given moment on this planet, “Hey Jude” is playing somewhere, by someone. I’d argue that anyone that has ever picked up for a guitar knows how to play “House of the Rising Sun.”
- I stopped and watched Mates of State while they were performing on the Fountain Lawn stage. They were playing a really catchy song that I’d never heard before. I thought it sounded great. I left. I then came back ten minutes later, Mates of State were basically performing the same song but it didn’t sound as good. I left. Eventually I circled back to the Fountain Lawn stage one last time. There Mates of State were, playing the same song as the songs before only it didn’t sound as good as the last song(s).
- Bob Mould has always been, “That one guy in that one band that I should probably listen to because I know I like them and a bunch of my friends like them too.” Bob Mould’s set was solid from the perspective of someone who is mostly unfamiliar with the complete body of his work. I noticed that lyrically speaking, Mr. Mould is really into repeating phrases. I don’t see anything wrong with shouting the same thing over and over. You’d be surprised how dense the average music festival goer can be. Every band, on every stage, could shout the same thing over and over and I’m not sure anyone would notice. The only negative of Bob Mould’s set was the media crane that hovering over the crowd in front of the Tune-In stage. It was a bit of an annoyance/eyesore. On the flip-side, it made it easy for media types to review any set that happened on that particular location from the comfort of media room couches.
As if crappy music journalism such as this needed to get any worse.
- I saw a young dad sporting a “Metz” shirt as he walked around with his kindergarten-aged son. I have a feeling that this image is something many of you can relate to. If not now then perhaps within the next few years.
- The Grizzled Mighty? More like “Microwave Blues,” am I right? Christ, when you’re the sixth best band at what you do in a local market, how do you even get on a festival such as this? “Ex member of” can only take you so far. And this year’s winner for best “Knock-off of a knock-off of a knock-off of a knock-off in the ‘Blues’ category goes to…..The Grizzled Mighty!” *Yawn* *Apathy* *Death*
- Tamaryn is too cool for school and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. Somewhere between the placid suave of Autolux, Mew’s “Behind the Drapes” and some of the more gossamered qualities of My Bloody Valentine, you’ll find the music of Tamaryn. This was one of those sets that reminded you that marijuana is legal in the state of Washington. I wanted to stick around for the entirety of Tamaryn’s performance but a guy next to me was dancing so terribly that I had to leave. It was either exit stage left or punch a stranger in the throat (in hopes of kickstarting his natural metronome process).
- During Ra Ra Riot, was I the only one that witnessed what looked to be a whirling dervish flash mob in the grandstands and floor section of Key Arena?
- DJ Girl 6 made me a firm believer in the Jimi Hendrix “Foxy Lady” mashup (also great AC/DC and Trinidad James mashups as well). I started doing the “Land Shark” and couldn’t stop until I left the building. Every time the beat dropped I felt like I was a winner on the “Price is Right” and was beginning a new chapter in my life. My favorite part of the set? It would have to be the 9-year-old boy who was standing with his mother only a handful of paces away from me. Judging by the look on his face, I was pretty sure he was losing his virginity just by witnessing DJ Girl 6 go to work on the tables. The boy’s mother, bless her heart, was fist pumping with an iphone. Ladies and gentlemen, life doesn’t get much better than this.
- I wonder how many times the word “dreamscape” has been used in an Alt-J review? They sounded much different than my brain envisioned (going on the opinions of friends and nothing else). Here’s exactly what came to mind when I saw Alt-J: “And the rafters flooded. And Peter Gabriel showed his smile in the arena lights. Muppets danced and Tears for Fears remained only mildly impressed. If Local Natives crafted things much simpler, and as a result became afflicted with a melancholy that never left…” I enjoyed it from a great height.
- Baroness rules live. I don’t think I need to expound on this opinion any further. Shout out to the guy in the viking hat that kept on yelling, “Rays of Pinion!”
- While Sol was busy getting the crowd hyped on the Tune-In stage, I couldn’t help but notice that the beer garden had became somewhat of an invasive species near the stage (the same could be said by Fisher Green stage). Sol has really stepped his performance game up since the last time I saw him. Props.
- I only saw one song from the Kopecky Family Band, it was fun while it lasted.
- Delta Rae = The soundtrack to a cinematic character re-build montage/sequence during a made for television family movie.
- Superchunk is one of the most underrated pop bands ever. It’s easy to forget how incredibly catchy this band has always been while never sacrificing their versatility and songwriting ingenuity. Even some of the stone-faced security guards couldn’t help but cracking a smile and nodding their heads to a majority of Superchunk’s set. Who doesn’t love the message behind “Slack Motherfucker”? Maybe I’m just outdated, but how can you expect me to get into bullshit like FIDLAR when this stuff is still around?