Archive for ‘Review’

December 11, 2013

Music + Sports, and Why Seattle Is Boycotting Beats

A commercial for Beats by Dr. Dre that aired during the Seahawks vs. 49ers game last weekend has pretty much all of Seattle up in arms. The commercial portrayed Seahawks fans as violent, hateful fanatics bedecked in blue and hot green while the 49ers quarterback pops on his headphones to drown out the death threats, put-downs, cooler smashing and general rabble rousing from the crowd. And not surprisingly, Seahawks fans are now boycotting the headphones.

If there’s one thing Seattleites love as much as their music, it’s their Seahawks. But this commercial seems to be mistaking passion for hatefulness. Sure, put-downs and heckling is a part of sports, but the SLM team thinks Beats has taken things a couple steps too far. The overall concept for the commercial is smart, but the execution is abysmal.

If you’re wishing for some new headphones for Christmas, we sure hope it isn’t a set of Beats.

September 5, 2013

Best of Bumbershoot 2013 – KEXP Music Lounge Edition

We know that most people who head to Bumbershoot spend most of their time at the big stages enjoying the scheduled agenda of musical acts as advertised. And why not? Those sets are the real deal!

But we can’t help ducking into the KEXP Secret Music Lounge here and there to catch a more abbreviated and intimate performance by a selection of our festival favorites. Since not everyone at Bumbershoot gets to attend these small, on-air performances, we took the liberty of capturing a few shots of what goes on visually behind what goes out over the KEXP airwaves.

September 4, 2013

Best of Bumbershoot 2013 in Photos

Another Bumbershoot has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t still relishing the great music we enjoyed with the masses all weekend.

We scurried from stage to stage, soaked in the sets, braved the photo pits and have since pulled together some photographic highlights for your viewing (and relishing?) enjoyment. (Click on any image for the full screen version.)

Wishing for a sneak peek from the KEXP Secret Music Lounge? Never fear – those are coming your way tomorrow! (Update: and are now just one click away.)

May 1, 2013

Kris Orlowski Reaches for Such Great Heights with New Cover


We just got a lovely note from local songsmith, Kris Orlowski, sharing a new cover he did of the much lauded “Such Great Heights” by the Postal Service. His version is ethereal and moving compared to the original quick-tempo, digitized original, and we think you’ll enjoy it.

Check it out below and let us know what you think – did Kris do the song justice?

On a related note, Kris is hitting the road for a quick West Coast tour with Sara Watkins. Be sure to check them out if you’ll be on the road, too!

September 2, 2012

Bumbershoot Day 1 in Photos

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here are several photos from the first day of Bumbershoot for you to enjoy.

The Cosmetics


Sera Cahoone

King Khan & The Shrines

The Barr Brothers

Heartless Bastards


September 6, 2011

Random Reflections: Our Thoughts on the New Priorities of Bumbershoot 2011

While there are certainly those who’ve been outspoken about the lack of relevant big name acts (sorry Hall & Oates) at Bumbershoot 2011, we’re seeing the silver lining in the fact that local acts have been given access to a potentially larger and more appreciative audience.

While the Black Eyed Peas or Katy Perrys from previous years drew in thousands of screaming fans, the presence of mainstream radio enthusiasts didn’t translate into increased interest in what makes Seattle music festivals so great – The intermix of homegrown local talent with lauded artists (musical and otherwise) from all corners of the world.

The lack of pop radio powerhouses, outside of Wiz Khalifa and a few others, brought an admittedly smaller crowd. Of those in attendance, however, a larger percentage was at Seattle Center to experience the variety of all Bumbershoot has to offer. From visual art to comedy to film to theater to music and beyond, at Bumbershoot 2011 there was certainly something to keep most everyone happy.

Could the festival have scored a few more buzz bands to help the festival’s reputation and attendance? Certainly. But all in all, with a widespread variety of acts ranging from Little Dragon (see our Day 2 recap) to Charles Bradley (see our Day 3 recap), we fully support One Reel’s initiative to focus on smaller bands and not spend exorbitant amounts on disappointing sets like Bob Dylan’s from 2010.

Be sure to check out our Bumbershoot 2011 coverage.

September 6, 2011

Scenes from Bumbershoot Day 3

We’d be lying if we said we woke up Monday morning feeling anything but drained. Sure, we were excited about getting to spend another day outside in gorgeous weather listening to some amazing musicians but we needed some serious extra energy to get us through the day.

Luckily for us, the performers we were lucky enough to see on Day 3 at Bumbershoot had more than enough on-stage dynamism to power the entire city for at least the day. To say there wasn’t a shortage of charisma and showmanship among the day’s best bets would be a gross understatement.

Keep on scrolling to see some of our favorite shots of the day’s very best acts and don’t forget to skim through all of our Bumbershoot 2011 coverage here.

Kicking the day off with interpretive dancing and assured gesturing recalling the Andrew Wood-era of Seattle frontmen, Daniel Blue and the rest of Motopony played to an appreciative crowd, many of whom had just rolled out of bed minutes earlier.

While area hipsters were waking up from the floors and futons across Seattle, mom and dad were starting their day off with Seattle folk band The Legendary Oaks at the Starbucks stage.

There are simply no words that can sum up the raw power and emotional force that is seeing Charles Bradley live. As one of our friends mentioned, this guy is “the real deal.” The 63-year-old “Screaming Eagle of Soul” is a performer you absolutely must see live to fully appreciate. KEXP’s forthcoming video of his music lounge performance should tide you over until he’s back in town. We’ll be sure to add the link once it’s live.

For a city that’s notoriously stationary at shows, Fitz and The Tantrums worked their new-soul charm and had the entire KEXP music lounge dancing and clapping along to every saxophone-driven tune.

What Sharon Van Etten’s set lacked in energy, she more than made up for with beautiful tales of loss and heartbreak.

With sets nearly as full of humorous asides as they are with impressive fretwork and dynamic percussion, Ravenna Woods certainly knows how to put on a fun show. One gem of a joke from drummer Matt Badger: “Why did the farmer start a band? He was tired of Haulin’ Oats.” The band then jokingly, with a splash of sincerity, checked to see if Darryl Hall or John Oates were in the audience to make sure they hadn’t offended the legends of yesteryear and headliners of the evening.

September 5, 2011

Scenes from Bumbershoot Day 2

Day 2 at Bumbershoot was a day of contrasts. We started off a bit worn out from Day 1, but we were excited to see another full day of great music. We saw some of our favorite new artists from the past year (Tennis, Warpaint), along with legends from yesteryear (Leon Russell, Butthole Surfers… OK, maybe “legends” is a bit too strong). We saw bands that sounded true-to-album (The Kills, Tennis), while some others sounded a bit pitchy (Toro Y Moi, Warpaint). We saw the under-21 crowd wait in ridiculously long lines (to get into Key Arena to see Macklemore), while we saw the 21-plus crowd wait in ridiculously long lines (to get into the Fisher Green beer garden).

All in all, another great, sunny day at Seattle Center. Scroll on to see some highlights from Day 2 and be sure to check out our Day 3 picks before you head out for the grand finale. Last but not least, you can follow all of our Bumbershoot 2011 coverage here and get our from-the-ground updates at

Tennis won over the crowd with their pitch-perfect tunes of maritime adventures, complete with sweet vocals and impressive surf guitar.

Das Racist tested the limits of the audience’s patience by playing up their trademark “Andy Kaufman of rap acts” routine, including getting the crowd to do the two handed wave for minutes on end, chant “Go Space Needle, Go Space Needle, Go” and an attempt to get the crowd chanting “USA, USA!”

The first all-female band we’ve seen this festival, Warpaint proved to be excellent instrumentalists who found their vocal footing after a few songs.

In terms of vocal clarity, entertainment value and overall listenability, 69-year-old Leon Russell played a great set that put last year’s 69-year-old Bob Dylan’s set to shame.

The Lonely Forest once again proved themselves to be the huge hit with the Hollister crowd.

While a far cry from last night’s STRFKR performance in the same time slot at the same stage, South Carolina’s Toro Y Moi’s echo-y tunes were deemed “pretty good” by a least a few chillwave aficionados in the Fountain Lawn beer garden.

Power duo of the night, The Kills, capped off the evening with their trademark transatlantic blend of muddy guitar and raw vocals.

September 4, 2011

Scenes from Bumbershoot Day 1

With Day 1 of Bumbershoot 2011 in our rearview mirror, we wanted to take a few moments to share with you some of our favorite shots of the day. We’ll share more thoughts throughout and following the three-day event but we’ll throw some initial reflections in this post as well, if you’ll indulge us. If not, just skip to the photos.

From hearing some old favorites to buzz bands to music legends, Day 1 ran the gamut for us.

We were blown away by the energy and skill of Minnesota’s Astronautalis. With one camera in the photo pit and one in the crowd, we were surprised to have just as many close-ups from each location as Astronautalis (a.k.a. Andy Bothwell) was in the crowd nearly as often as he was on stage.

Champagne Champagne have become fixtures at Seattle festivals and the group’s easy repoire with the crowd makes it easy to see why they’ve amassed such a devoted following in Seattle and beyond.

While we’ve been fans of Vetiver for some time now, seeing them today solidified their place among our favorite bands with a comfortable retro sound. Their new songs sounded great at the Fountain Lawn stage and at the KEXP music lounge.

We heard a lot of buzz prior to Little Dragon’s set and the Swedish band certainly didn’t disappoint. The backing band served up some the most aggressive beats of the day and frontwoman Yukimi Nagano charmed the crowd with her dance moves and melodic vocals.

As Pickwick made it on our top 3 can’t miss acts of day one and as #1 of the top seven Seattle bands at Bumbershoot, it came as little surprise that the EMP Level 3 stage became one-in-one-out well before the band took the stage with a line numbering a hundred plus soon thereafter.

STRFKR drew one of the largest, most hyped crowds of the day. The band’s signature synthy dance tunes had the crowd jumping and dancing pretty much from the sound check.

There’s just something to seeing a 72 year old woman sing her heart out that’s unlike anything else, and Mavis Staples sure is spunky for her age. It was surprising and fun to see Seattleites singing and clapping along to gospel tunes when we’re known for being one of the most “unchurched” cities in the nation.


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