Archive for ‘Review’

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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