Lots of good things happening at Bumbershoot this year. When was the last time Jane’s Addiction played in Seattle?
Does anyone remember that Porno for Pyros song “Tahitian Moon”? Were you there? Did they play “Mountain Song”?
Don’t Talk to the Cops (1pm on Fisher Green Stage) – A few weeks ago a reader berated me saying that Don’t Talk To The Cops are
trash terrible. I disagree. For those out there who still aren’t sold on this charismatic group, you have to see them at least three times minimum. I promise by the third time you’ll finally understand what you failed to comprehend the previous two performances. Yeah, I drink coffee, so back up off me, bitch. You can send all thank you notes and haikus paying tribute to the song “Big Ass Head” to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Polecat (1:30pm The Promenade) - I saw Polecat at the High Dive this spring and I thought they put on one hell of a show. A friend of mine begged to differ. He had to leave because, “This band is playing reggae shit that is my kryptonite.” I didn’t want to be responsible for the death of Superman so I trusted his words. Later that night a stranger asked me if I knew what clogging was. It was a weird night. Polecat aren’t reggae and they aren’t the kind of music that one would clog to. They are an amalgam of all things groove oriented in Bellingham. Are you into bluegrasscelticfolkreggaeamericanacountryjams? If that’s the case, I think this band is going to blow your mind.
Unnatural Helpers (1:45pm Sub Pop Stage) – A couple of years ago this band wrote my favorite song of the year. I’ll always be grateful to them for penning a tune that represents 98% of my brain activity. Sunshine and pretty girls.
Missy Higgins (1:45 Bumbershoot Main Stage) – I think we should all give this Australian singer/songwriter our undivided attention for the suffering she has endured opening up for Gotye on a recent. Can you imagine hearing “Somebody I Use to Know” on an every single night? Brutal. If I see anyone I know at Gotye I am going to capture them in a giant burlap sack normally meant for potatoes and throw them in the back of my trunk.
Black Breath (2:45 Exhibition Hall Stage) – I have been in Black Breath detox all year. I saw this band so much in 2010 and 2011 that something had to be done. If I am exposed to a band too often I begin to resent their music. Clearly something is wrong with me. I haven’t even heard Black Breath’s ”new” album yet. Honesty, I am frightened it won’t be as good as Heavy Breathing and my affections for this group will wane dramatically. I can be a coward in more ways than you can possibly imagine.
Eyehategod (6:15pm Exhibition Hall) – Sludge metal from the Big Easy. Not to be confused with Virginia’s Lamb of God. Out of all the acts performing this weekend, I am looking forward to this and Tony Bennett the most. Maybe they’ll perform together? At Bumbershoot anything can happen….
Jane’s Addiction (9:30pm Main Stage) – Duh.
Why? (1pm Exhibition Hall Stage) – A couple of years ago when I
was a young man, eager to don an apron at Pasta and Company in the U-Village when I use to work at Pasta and Company, my co-worker would always play Alopecia on repeat throughout the morning. At the time I can’t say I had heard anything like it. I don’t say that because the music was incredibly innovative (although it was). I make that remark because if you stepped outside of the kitchen and into the front of the store, you were bombarded with adult contemporary crap and “rich people” jams. “Oh, is that Joni Mitchell playing somewhat audibly? I use to protest Vietnam before you were born, now I protest poor people. I’ll take 20 pounds of that $32.95 per/lb petite filet. My retired racing greyhound is hungry.” I haven’t heard Alopecia since. Why do I do this to myself? What pleasure can I possibly derive from failing to buy albums I already know I like? I did that for almost the entirety of high school to Lifetime’s Jersey’s Best Dancers. I need a shrink.
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings (1:45pm Main Stage) – One of the premiere acts of this contemporary “soul revival” that everyone is really into these days.
Tony Bennett (3:15pm Main Stage) – For all you young folks out there that aren’t familiar with this legend, let me contemporize his greatness for you in a jejune language that you can understand. Tony Bennett* was in a movie with Gwenyth Paltrow in which he sang a duet with her. The name of that movie was called “Duets.” Gwenyth Paltrow is married to Chris Martin. Chris Martin is friends with Jay-Z and Beyonce. Mr. Martin is also the frontman in Coldplay. How many of you remember Coldplay? Many blank faces.
In other words, Tony Bennett is a member of the illuminati by six degrees of separation in relation to Jay-Z and Beyonce.
Yelawolf (4pm Fisher Green Stage) – I don’t much about this cat except that he’s from Alabama and I get hyped to this song. I’m wondering if he’ll be the “Jay Electronica” of this year’s Bumbershoot (read: slightly under the radar, shows up and crushes all other mic grippers that perform this weekend).
Fruit Bats (5pm Sub Pop Stage) – I haven’t heard tracks from the album Tripper but I am looking forward to hearing them this weekend. I’ve never seen a sub-par Fruit Bats performance. Never.
The Promise Ring (6:15pm Exhibition Hall Stage) – I can write millions thousands hundreds of trillions of words about this band. Some would be positive. Some would be negative. As of right now, I am only going to say one thing. If they’re too cool to play “E. Texas Ave” I am going to throw a multitude of footwear at their visages. I’m taking my size 12′s and they are going to land right between the eyes of Davey von Boehlen. Then I am taking your flip flops and I am tossing them at the drummer
whose name I don’t recall. If any of you are planning on wearing heels (To a music festival? Do you masochist much?), please let me know so that I can make proper use of them.
Mudhoney (6:45pm Sub Pop Stage) – Duh.
Big Sean (8:15pm Main Stage) – 313 in the house! Straight from the D!
Not Dallas, that’s Big D That’s all I have to say about that.
Mac Miller (9:45pm Main Stage) – This guy was born in 1992! How ancient are you feeling right now!?! Steel City’s finest if you ask me (in comparison to the young man who was at Bumbershoot last year, Wiz Khalifa).
Fresh Espresso ::: photo by Josh Lovseth
Plebeian Paradise, it’s so good to see you again. It’s been about a year but every July you come to Seattle, sashshaying your way into the conscious of local residents
who then proceed to complain to me about how awesome it used to be before I moved here who then in turn show up in droves to populate the aforementioned metropolitan arcadia despite their reservations. It’s a vicious cycle of self-hatred, sunburn and inebriation. I suppose I should include the concept of “fun” or “enjoyment” in there, but we all know that simply does not occur. Patrons of summer festivals, would you have it any other way? Block Party, what will you be wearing this year? I’d bet a sixpence on a can of PBR that has been sitting in the trunk of a 1993 Honda Accord all day that it will be the following:
Dudes – Tight blue jorts that your kid sister would have worn when she was nine years old and imitating Clarissa Explains It All, a graphic t-shirt with a picture of a “fierce” animal on the front (Grizzly Bear, Grey Wolf or Golden Retriever all accepted) and white Keds (no laces, duh). You can substitute the animal shirt for something that Pee Wee Herman might wear, that is allowed.
Ladies – Thrift store Jordache jorts that make your butt look like you gave yourself a wedgie for a good 40 minutes before you left your house (you can’t spell “summertime figure” without “sheeplike faux modesty”), a brightly colored blouse that looks like it was attacked by moths and boots that Burt Reynolds wore on the day of his famous Cosmopolitan shoot. Yes, you can substitute the blouse for a bevy well placed cigarette burns. That’s totally cool with me.
Oh my god, don’t forget your sunglasses.
As for what I’m looking forward to, continue reading at your own peril.
Sasquatch ::: all photos by Josh Lovseth
Well, it has been weeks since I have logged into wordpress for this website. I haven’t felt inspired or motivated to do much of anything, let alone string together snarky comments about a festival that you paid too much to be at apparently had no trash cans after 1pm. Learn to throw your trash away, you savages! Sometimes life happens. Be kind to your neighbors.
Sasquatch. What can I say? Sometimes I wish a pack of “real” Sasquatches would crash the festival gates and devour roughly 68% percent of the audience. Especially if they are wearing a Native American head-dress or have the acronym “YOLO” printed across their back. Let’s go to the video tape. These thoughts and musings are in no particular order of importance.
1) Did you ever wonder what it’s like to be in REM’s “Everybody Hurts” video during the traffic scene? You know what I’m talking about. The point of the video when everyone gets out of their cars (as if they’re under some enchanted spell) and begins to wander up the open road we call “life.” Luckily for many of you, the desire to know what it feels like to be Micheal Stipe in that legendary nineties video is no more. The first question you asked your friends when you saw them in the festival gates was not, “Hey! How are you doing!?!?” It was “How long did you wait!? What the…..” I didn’t even try to get in on Friday night. I set-up shop in my Saturn while it was parked in Ellensberg and I proceeded to drink alone in an empty motel parking lot. That’s what artists writers bloggers people with no future do.
2) Pickwick, whether it’s your “thing” or not, is better than your band. They are also better than all the bands you listen to. They played on Saturday at noon on the Main Stage this year. If Sasquatch is smart enough to ask them back next year, I expect them to play almost a third of Sun’s rotation daily rotation later than they did this year. Do the math and we’re talking about a slot at 7 or 8pm (on a different stage than the Main Stage).
3) The visual highlight of my day on Saturday was Charles Bradley pretending to fly like a raptor while he was performing. Other than that, his sexual overtures and pelvic thrusts almost turned this 29-year-old heterosexual African-American male into a homosexual retrophile, who craves dark chocolate that can croon to me as I’m eating it. This is a big deal. I don’t even like chocolate all that much (Ironically, vanilla ice cream is my jam…).
4) Craft Spells put out one of my favorite records last year. Make no mistake about it, I also have been known to dabble heavily in The Cure’s discography. I don’t want to start any conspiracies or anything, but sometimes there isn’t a huge difference between the two aforementioned bands and for some reason this didn’t strike me until Memorial Day weekend. Hmmm….With that being said, I genuinely enjoyed Craft Spells set. Their performance can basically be summed up as this:
“Craft Spells started an umbrella jellyfish dance party in all their faux “Fascination Street” glory. It was “Just Like Heaven” as crusts punks, who looked liked they ended up at Sasquatch by way of Burning Man, crowd surfed without losing a single band patch off their cut-off jean jackets. Grown men put their arms around each other and drank Kokanee. All was right with the world.”
5) Most enthusiastic performances of the weekend went to anyone who is signed to Sportn’ Life records. Fatal Lucciuano, Fly Moon Royalty, Spac3man, you name the artist and they were killing it. Lucciuano brought as many audience members on-stage as the party patrol imaginary fire marshall would allow. Spac3man decided that standing up on-stage wasn’t for him, so he got into the crowd and decided to throw some ‘bows like any man of the proletariat would do and continued to perform at a high level. Fly Moon Royalty decided to utilize dancers that were wearing a wardrobe straight out of the ultimate Eighties movie “Heavenly Bodies“ (you need to see this motion picture). There was no dance-a-thon to save a local gym from a corporate takeover like the aforementioned flick. However, Fly Moon Royalty performed like their was no tomorrow. Because my movements were limited for a brief moment due to some delicious blackberry pie, I didn’t get to groove to “Into the Woods” as much as I normally would have. Whenever I see Fly Moon Royalty, that is usually the song that jumpstarts my heart the most. On this particular day another song stole the show. During “Roxy” Adra Boo delivered the line “If you don’t like me, tough titty..” in such a way that you would have a tough time convincing me that it wasn’t the most impressionable line of the long weekend. (Writer’s note: Dyme Def, Fresh Espresso, Grynch and Don’t Talk To The Cops were also tremendous. Basically any act that I caught on the Maine Stage was good.)
6) Dry The River are good. If you saw them at Crocodile in April when they played with Bowerbirds (another solid act) then you already know this. I was concerned that their sound might be ruined by the outside settings/ atmosphere of Sasquatch but I was merely another paranoid blogger wrong. Keep as close as an eye as you can on this band (seeing as they’re from Great Britain, it won’t be the easiest thing to do).
The War on Drugs
7) As far as my favorite set of the weekend is concerned, it’s a toss up between The War on Drugs and AraabMuzik. Two artists that are on opposite ends of the musical spectrum. The War on Drugs sounded so pleasant on Sunday afternoon that I began to hum “Afternoon Delight” (Yes, the Anchorman version) under my breath. It was something about the way there was just the right amount of a breeze to create a delay so perfect every guitar pedal-maker around the globe would shake an angry fist at mother nature. AraabMuzik was ebullient to say the least. I scavenged dictionary.com for another word but nothing else seemed to fit. The tent was thrown into an uncontrollable frenzy. Every bass synth beat sounded like petawatt blast being generated from the center of the Earth. My favorite Sasquatch goers, The Where’s Waldo Crew, were all losing their minds to the sounds with an amoebic-like cohesion. Never have red and white stripes been so breathtakingly beautiful.
8 ) I enjoy the sense of humor offered by Todd Barry. I am familiar with his work (I already knew some of the material) and at Sasquatch he some funny quips. Jokes about IBM computers, being a server in the service industry, becoming a millionaire as a comic. However, he was so chaffed about the noise coming from the Maine Stage (It was Spac3man at the time and it was somewhat justified…BUT COME ON MAN! IT’S A FESTIVAL. LIGHTEN UP!), that he could not and would not let it go. Maybe it was a part of his rhythm as a comic, but every couple of minutes he would revert to old faithful. It was basically advertising for Spac3man. Eventually I left the Banana Shack and went and watched a spectacle that Barry could only hear.
9) Beirut inspired the best crowd group dancing that I saw all weekend. It seemed like a hundred people were waltzing in perfect time with one another. If you would have transformed the venue and the attire of the participants, it would have made for an excellent time period specific dance sequence. On the topic of individual dancing, some guy was committing unspeakable acts of tempo and downbeat debauchery during Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside. I wish I could describe what was happening to you. Better yet, I wish I could post his movements in .gif form so everyone could gather around the illuminated screen and have a good chuckle. Never forget that Portland knows the “secret of the ooze.”
Don’t Talk to the Cops
10) “Favorite Song of the Weekend” goes to Don’t Talk To The Cops “Big Ass Head.” The lyrics had my sides aching from too much laughter.
11) The Sheepdogs < Stillwater
12) Fresh Espresso what the hell was up with all the flour tortillas being thrown around near the front of the stage? has a new album out (Bossalona - prior to their Sasquatch performance this was not true). From what I’ve heard so far, the songs are excellent (especially the title track).
13) The Nelson Twins > Grouplove. In fact, if you have pubic hair and you listen to Grouplove, not only am I revoking your adulthood card, I am asking that the Official Panel of Humanity throw a gear in your evolutionary process and start burying you alive immediately.
14) Two artists that I don’t normally enjoy blew the barnyard doors off of the place: Jack White and Bon Iver.
15) Gary Clark Jr. is a master of all things pick-slide and pick-scrape related. He might be the greatest of all-time. Don’t dispute this.
16) I know this is a festival that appears to the masses, but I think it would be nice to book less (for lack of a better word) “wussy” bands. I’m not saying the festival should be turned into Best Friends Day or Hellfest (although that would make it my favorite festival in the northwest). I’m not attacking anyone’s masculinity or implying that some musical performers are too sensitive personally or artistically. I’m just saying that when Walk The Moon cover Fleet Foxes, I’m convinced a jaded teenage boy with a guitar and a dream dies of cancer instantly. Even if he wasn’t diagnosed prior, he’ll just drop dead on the spot. We can’t let this go on. We need to protect the youth of tomorrow from the youth of today.
17) Music is a fascinating thing. The reasons people listen to it, what they actually hear in comparison to someone else, how it makes them feel etc. I could go in-depth on this but I think I’ll save that for an individualized blog post at a different point in time.
18) The final memory I have from Sasquatch 2012 was watching a boy wearing a unicorn horn prude slow-dancing with a girl wearing a Holden Caufield hat during Beck’s “Lost Cause.” Right then and there I forced myself to leave because I couldn’t have ended my weekend any other way.
19) Stay weird Sasquatch. Sometimes the bright colors are your only saving grace.
Fatal Lucciauno ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth
The smallest stage was nestled on a hill in the center of the Gorge grounds but played host to some of the weekend’s biggest personalities and most entertaining sets. Whatever you might think of Seattle as a hotbed, this year’s edition of Sasquatch’s hip hop focused Maine stage (as in the northeastern state and the slang?) each day was a glorious afternoon primer in the best the 206 has to offer. The inclusion of Sub Pop’s dynamic interconnected duo of duo’s THEESatisfaction and Shabazz Palaces on larger stages elevated the weekend from a primer to an eloquent treatise on the finer points. Situated just yard from the Banana Shack dance tent with crowds constantly passing by, a few groups stuck out for their ability to deliver an attention-grabbing set under a dusty sun and divert folks from the oh-so-enticing lasers.
Metal Chocolates [Friday]
Late afternoon Friday Producer/MC OC Notes and Fresh Espresso MC Rik Rude had the unenviable job of keeping Girl Talk fans interested for more than 45 seconds. Upon hearing of their taste for blunts in the opening remarks, one such fan was kind enough to dance and roll a lengthy blunt at the same time (mad skills!), and pass it to the stage mid-burn. Like DTTC (see below) the duo’s goofy repoire could just as easily have been booked in a transition slot between comedy and dance music in the Banana Shack. The unofficial dancers who made their way to the stage weaving between the duo as the pair themselves dropped lines over OC Notes basement beats, wouldn’t be the last time the crowd took to the stage to show their approval and participate.
Metal Chocolates ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth
::: Photo by Josh Lovseth
Fatal Lucciauno [Saturday]
Fatal Lucciauno’s set was host to probably the most frenzied crowd at Maine Stage I saw all weekend (though apparently Sol’s was also hype). Lucciauno’s a street poet who commands his audience, providing a scathing entertainment to emphatically point middle fingers in the air with. He’s utterly comfortable with the core traditions of rap, and often riffing a capella his self-confident literate performance leaves little room for doubt about his command. After his crowd took over the stage Lucciauno ventured into the audience and surrounded himself, feeding off of the crowd’s response himself and going even harder. It was a rare positive feedback loop I can’t say I’ve often experienced, and expected least of all at a massive festival.
Don’t Talk To the Cops ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth
Don’t Talk to the Cops [Monday]
There are joke bands and then bands that make jokes. Late Monday night Jack Black and Friends doing “The Pick of Destiny” with a giant inflatable cock-and-balls as a backdrop were the joke, and a tired one that didn’t bear repeating after 2006 (or maybe even in 2006). Earlier that day on the other hand Emecks and BlesOne (and DJ El Mizell) were a band for whom life is the joke to be constantly milking amusement out of. Ferociously serious about being unserious, their coordinated dances and uncommonly wry raps about coffee and getting rich lend a light-heartedness to the very important business of ushering along the party times. In short, they were perfect for Sasquatch.
Don’t Talk To the Cops ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth
I don’t harbor too many regrets about missing a set everyone else proclaims as epic, particularly in the biggest of venues, but reliable reports of the last Radiohead and Death Cab shows (and Sufjan a ways back) as being of each band’s highest standard have been leaving me feeling a bit burned. The only festival set I can recall regretting missing in the last decade is Beck’s 2006 appearance at Sasquatch where he staged an elaborate puppet show, the day after I decided to go home sopping wet from a massive hailstorm. Second chances are few and far between but Beck’s final placement on Monday’s mainstage may have me keeping this regret should I have to leave early. The internal debate is still raging about staying strong through Monday no matter what, so I thought I’d dig into some bands who are scheduled for that day and share a few band’s who’ll be keeping my energy and interest above water.
Don’t Talk to the Cops [www] 3:30pm at the Maine Stage
Holding it down on the Maine stage in the late afternoon is Seattle’s Don’t Talk to the Cops, a hip hop throwdown laced with shit-talking and goofy hooks of b-boy agitator DJ BlesOne. Are you trying to break out of that hands-in-pocket BS that Seattle has a bad rep for? Sasquatch is definitely the place and there is no better example than Bles and Emecks to look to for a few moves.
Awesome Tapes from Africa [www] 4:40pm at the Banana Shack
Band names become more un-googable by the week, but cleverness will only get you so far when nobody can find your music. Awesome Tapes from Africa on the other hand is exactly what the name implies, an actual DJ playing tapes from Africa that he’s collected and blogged over the years. Here the hitch isn’t the name but the medium as Brooklyn’s Brian Shimkovitz highlights music that’s mostly pre-mp3, only issued locally on tape and so by it’s very nature is ungoogleable. I’ve no idea what to expect, and the very notion of the project playing something I’ve never heard before and will not be likely to ever hear again has me deeply interested.
Feist [www] 5:30pm on the Sasquatch Mainstage
With “1, 2, 3, 4…” Leslie Feist had the unfortunate luck penning a cute song, and an even cuter group dance, that Apple’s massive ad budget made impossible to escape. Inundated I made no effort to engage with 2007′s The Reminder. The ambitious arrangements of 2011′s Metals stood out immediately though and shook me out of my prejudice. (I’m a sucker for String sections and Saxophones, so sue me.) We’ll just have to see whether her delicately orchestrated pop stands out enough live from the mainstage to keep me from an afternoon nap in the grass.
The Cave Singers [www] 6:50pm on the Bigfoot Stage
The Cave Bros are a band I count among Seattle’s finest, but are a group who play rarely enough that I often lose track. 2011′s No Witch snuck under my radar somehow, and so for a while I’d missed the memo that these dudes had stepped off the back porch and into the basement to get crunchy. I’ve seen each new tour bring a injection of energy into their sound, and now in league with the laid back stompers they debuted with in 2006 are electric hellraisers and their own brand of backwoods psych. The recent addition of Blood Brothers/Fleet Fox multi-instrumentalist Morgan Henderson is sure to enhance the band’s standing as incomparable on all fronts.
With the proliferation of iPhone videos and digital SLR cameras, you hardly need a Hammer sized budget to make a music video. Enter Posse and Don’t Talk to The Cops, two local bands who released delightfully DIY videos today.
Both bands are getting ready to celebrate the release of new records:
Posse shared their debut full-length today on Bandcamp and will be playing a show this Sunday at The Comet (with Curious Mystery, Nucular Animals and Jeremy Jay).
Don’t Talk to the Cops announced they’ll be releasing their latest Let’s Quit on local outfit Out for Stardom this Valentines Day. They’ll be celebrating the release with a rager next Saturday (February 4th) at The Baltic Room.
Who knew that all we had to do was party? – Humans
Who knew? Probably everyone who has already made plans to head to the Comet on Saturday night, when local party heavyweights Don’t Talk To The Cops are grand marshaling the good times parade with support from Vancouver’s Humans and local talents Sports and USF.
USF offer chill electronic sounds with slow builds and dreamy synths, warming you up and getting you loose like a mug of spiked hot chocolate (which I hope the Comet serves, given this weekend’s rumored snow). Sports draw on New Order and The Cure, bringing 80s lushness and a touch of melodrama to their synthpop.
Making a rare border crossing are Humans, who bring a touch of their hometown’s grittiness to their otherwise playful dance tunes with a heavy beat and a loud bass end. It’s fun and physically compelling – expect involuntary dance movements.
Hip-hop and dance masters Don’t Talk To The Cops have been tearing up Seattle all year, from Doe Bay to City Arts Fest. At the Comet, a venue whose charm lies in its seeming almost glued together, they might literally bring the walls down. Make sure you can say you were there when it happened.
If nothing else, a cold November night could use some extra body heat, so take your dance moves and your PBR money to the hill Saturday and help create a human-powered steam room. If you’re lucky, Humans might give you a ride home in their party van:
Kelli Schaefer ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth
The end of summer should go out with a bang, a thump on the kick drum, a chord that sends a front man’s guitar soaring above his head as the vivid lick fades into falling leaves, and then the white silence of winter. It’s why I love fall music festivals; the air that tastes of wood smoke and sweet piles of leaves, the drastically warmer venues pulsing with people who get too hot dancing and then burst into the chilly air like it’s a first breath.
I strolled into Ballard for Seattle Weekly’s Reverb Fest all giddy for a full fall day of music coming from every conceivable corner of the long street. First show; The Golden Blondes.
The Golden Blondes are essentially your standard rock three piece, with an unassailably cool lady on stage adding some vocal sparkle to the hooks that sound like they were ripped right out of a 90′s garage. There’s something cosmically perfect about a power trio. When the mix is right, the drums have room to kick you smack in the face, the guitar somehow spreads wings, and the bass can create the most powerful undertow. Front man Josey Markiewicz swung and sweated all over the place, in a London punk band he’d fit without question. He led The Golden Blondes through a set that turned a daylight show at the Tractor on its head with a possessive coolness. Their fiery riffs exhibit a certain rock and roll attitude that is hard to achieve and is never dated.
Next up; Cataldo.
I have been a fan of Cataldo since before my recent move to Seattle. I saw Eric Anderson, the songwriter and leading man, open for Laura Veirs in the winter of 2010 in Colorado Springs, and I was taken by his bright melodies, his subtle cleverness that so deftly balances against an earnest warmth, and the occasional penchant for a sing along chorus. Since moving here I have seen more than a handful of singer/songwriters, and there is a disappointing trend toward character acting as a performer; taking honest emotions and singing caricatures of them, blanketing them in modern indie tropes. Cataldo’s music, though in that genre, has a terrific sense of reality to it, and in that, is unique. They played in the upstairs of Salmon Bay Eagle Club, a room with vaulted ceilings and hardwood floors that held sound warmly. The guys who make up Eric’s band are Matt Batey (also of Conservative Dad and The Warm Hardies), Sam Anderson, and Colin Richey (both of Hey Marseilles), and play together with remarkable ease and skill. I firmly believe Cataldo has the kind of fresh approach we need to combat the stagnation that comes with formulaic timidity. It’s not that he breaks all the rules; they just suddenly make sense again.
I walked back to the Tractor to catch the rest of Don’t Talk to the Cops.
Don’t Talk to the Cops, a study in height difference having no effect on stage presence, is a golden song and dance, breakbeat show with band members named DJBlesOne, Emecks, and Gatsby. The real magic here is between Bles and Emecks, Bles being a towering Nordic pillar of a man, and Emecks a slight short woman who can really dance, and has sass enough to make herself seem about eight feet tall. I’ve heard it said that there are some folk bands, some rock bands, in Seattle that can really get a crowd moving. I do not doubt this, and have even experienced this, but there is an intention behind Bles and Emecks dancing on the stage. It’s thought out, a production. Their music is equal parts goofy, smart, and catchy, with some wacky sampling and mixing in between Bles and Emecks, and it all plays directly into the dancing. Don’t Talk to the Cops is a show you have to see to understand what they’re going for; it’s as much a dance show as it is about the music. To conclude, a word to boys with guitars: go ahead and make me dance, you can sometimes do it, but if I want to really get down, I’ll be back here in a heartbeat.
It was about this time I started feeling my pizza dinner start to kick back, and being active was just a little less appealing, but I knew I couldn’t miss Portland’s Kelli Schaefer. Honestly, I’ve seen Kelli a few times. So I should be over it, right? But this extraordinary thing happens every time I see her play, where she engulfs the room, possesses it. I can’t miss that. I stood toward the back, leaning against the leather booths in the corner of the Tractor, and considered unceremoniously kicking the people talking during her set. She stood stage right, and even though I was behind festival goers whose attentions were not directed at Kelli, as soon as she began it didn’t matter who the hell was listening. She was mighty, and her voice and guitar poured to the back effortlessly. There is a trend in the Northwest I have noticed where women sing with their throats, often masking a beautiful range and natural timbre. It has become a real sticking point for me at shows, a vocal trend much like when many tried to copy Eddie Vedder’s signature throat bubble voice. Kelli does not do this. She opens up her mouth and wails from her chest up, and it can suck the air from a room. Kelli’s band added a tight accompaniment to her thoughtful songs that can stand strong on bare bones legs, making subtle arrangements to flesh out familiar songs into things of ecstatic breadth and life. She ended her performance by imploring anyone in the audience who felt they could possibly express themselves by making music to do so. Though I won’t be honing my high school flute skills any time soon, I left inspired, into the rain, into the fall, grateful to have all this music on one street for a day.
Otter Cove Stage ::: photo by Josh Lovseth
You’re already planning on catching most of the mainstage acts, you’re ready to party with Champagne Champagne, your “Hacienda hands” are ready for Pickwick, you’ve mastered the complex clap of The Maldives’ “By the Wind Sailor” and you can’t wait to sing along to “Rivers and Roads” with your best friends. But Doe Bay isn’t just about the headliners and there are a number of lesser known names you won’t want to miss.
Thursday: from 6pm till late, there’ll be an open mic in the Doe Bay Cafe featuring many of the artists performing over the weekend. If you’re a song-writer yourself, bring your guitar and sign up for a slot.
Sean Flinn (12:00-12:45, Otter Cove Stage) the first artist of Doe Bay 2011 will be Portland’s Sean Flinn, front man of the band Sean Flinn and the Royal We. Enjoy him while you’re checking in by the Cafe or getting your bearings at the Fest.
Tony Kevin Jr(1:00-1:45, Otter Cove Stage) due to illness, Goldfinch has had to cancel their appearance at Doe Bay, which is a huge bummer. However, it makes room for singer-song writer and Doe Bay open mic host Tony Kevin Jr. to perform officially. Tony’s a performer who can sing it to the rafters and with the natural amphitheater of the Bay, I suspect you’ll be able to follow his voice from Eastbound to Olga if you happen to arrive on the island during his set.
Damien Jurado (2:00-3:00pm, Otter Cove Stage): Jurado really needs no introduction, so this is just a reminder he’s not playing the main stage, he is not to be missed and you should plan your ferry and arrival time accordingly. If you make his set, you’ll be treated to some new songs that will be on his next record, like Reel to Reel:
Lemolo (10:15 – 11:00, Yoga Studio): Never again will you be able to see this band in such a small setting. If you don’t know Lemolo now, I feel confident you will very soon.
Frank Fairfield (10:15 – 11:00, Cafe Stage): If the Yoga Studio is full for Lemolo, and it will be, stop by the Cafe to see some world-class pickin’ by Saturday mainstage performer Frank Fairfield.
See Saturday and Sunday’s unmissable acts you might not know (more…)