Another day at Bumbershoot, another opportunity to double-book yourself for the same time slot. It’s easy to feel conflicted at festivals where there’s so much great music to see and so little time in the day. Today is no exception, with a really tough decision facing us during the 8:00 hour.
DAY 2: Big Star’s Third (8:00 PM, Starbucks Stage) vs. Pickwick (8:15 PM, Fisher Green Stage)
Big Star might be the most important band you’ve never heard of. Formed in the early 1970s, the band has been hugely influential to other acts you may have heard of: REM, The Replacements, Teenage Fan Club, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Flaming Lips, Wilco and the Afghan Wigs, just to name a few. Due to some unfortunate circumstances, including distribution snafus, the radio trends of the time and in-band fighting paring down the foursome to just two in a matter of years, Big Star wasn’t privy to the limelight like they deserved. However, they did get quite popular in the UK in the late ’70s and have been picking up steam everywhere ever since. For good reason, they’ve have been referred to as “America’s #1 cult band” by Revolver. After the unfortunate passing of frontman Alex Chilton and bassist Andy Hummel in 2010, original drummer Jody Stephens pieced together a notable lineup to play Big Star’s third record for the (now) adoring masses. And rumor has it, a few very special guests will join the band on stage this evening.
That’s why Big Star narrowly beats out local funk favorites, Pickwick, in today’s Bumbershoot-out. Don’t get us wrong – Pickwick is fantastic. Originally they started as a local indie-folk group that had trouble getting much traction in the scene. But then, as a caterpillar turns into a beautiful butterfly, the band when through a metamorphosis – or at least a musical epiphany – and mixed in some funk and soul into their craft. Voila, a star is born. Unassuming frontman Galen Disston has a powerful, emotive voice that suits the band’s style perfectly. And as if that isn’t reason enough to enjoy Pickwick, local Grammy winner Kory Kruckenberg mans the vibraphone and produces the band’s albums.
See, tough decision, right? But history has the edge here so make sure you catch at least some of Big Star’s set. But really this is a win-win situation.