Bumbershoot 2010, Day 3
Monday September 6th
For two days prior, Bumbershoot’s offerings were a blur. Exhibits, comedy, theatre, film, artwork, and of course music… Trying to get your bearings and explore everything was a task in itself. Something pointless to complain about.
As the Labor Day Monday began, entering the venue and observing carnival like performances on top of the opening lawn area, despite the mists of rain you couldn’t help but feel intrigued as to the day’s music performances.
Our first experience was Seattle’s BOAT annihilating their set in the EMP. They noted that the length of their performance was longer than their typical set, but despite some minor technical adjustments with the equipment, the group managed to continue on in style, with luminous light schemes flooding their stage.
The Whigs took over the Center Stage in the early afternoon, rain drizzling the crowds that stood before them. I had the good fortune of watching the set behind the hundreds alongside the beer garden. Which was where the fun commenced…
Asking one of the Budweiser drinkers what the damage would be if I were to go in there and get myself a beer, he noticed my accent and offered to buy me a drink. I’m not used to being offered drinks from other men, but after being convinced by my girlfriend to go ahead because it was free, I went on in. Little did I know that this man that’d offered me a drink was in fact a gang member complete with stereotypical tattooed hands, stories which he found amusing about how his brother had casually lopped off his now immovable finger (but had gotten him back to hospital with enough time for it to be sewn back on and of course) and how his son who’d had a scholarship to study music at the EMP was now incarcerated. I don’t think I should have asked what his son was up to now… Needless to say as The Whigs set continued on, we humoured the drunken criminal and made our excuses to go check out the KEXP performance by The Thermals.
The gang member, which lets call him “Dave,” insisted we take down his number. Politely we did so and managed to avoid him from there on end.
The Broad Stage remained strong and consistent with Meat Puppets and Surfer Blood both putting on stellar shows. Surfer Blood seemed a little on the fence with the crowd as they dabbled in performing unheard material, ignoring what their audience may have wanted. They did supply what was on demand, just not before they had exposed people to their newer music.
Booker T came out to the Starbucks stage to perform some classics as the night drew on. It seemed that the older soul demographic was well catered to at that stage on the grounds. Complete with his band, including his talented saxophone player, Booker T glazed over his hits and even performed his own version of “Ain’t No Sunshine.”
The State Farm Stage played host to Angelique Kidjo. Kidjo showcased her signature sweet soulful voice, dancing in a uniquely beautiful jittering fashion with her limbs taking a life of their own.
The Monday was definitely rap and rn’b's day with the mainstage playing host to Jay-Z’s protege J. Cole, Toronto’s musical monster Drake and the one and only Mary J. Blige.
J. Cole, despite not having an album out yet (rap’s new trend is generate a huge buzz with mixtapes and hundreds of guest verses then finally put out an album) got top billing. His audience was significant and although most of his material people had only head by downloading it, the lyrics had their fans with some songs like “Who Dat?” being recited word for word. His stage presence and crowd command showed a lot of promise for future shows. Signed to Jay-Z, he’s definitely in good company.
Drake came on early, much to many fan’s excitement. Festivals typically have people showing up on time, but oddly not in this case. The singer/rapper was 15 minutes prior to his announced start time. His set was performed smoothly, and clearly Drake knows how to engage crowd participation. However, my issue came in the confusion between being suave and vulgar. His romantic and sexual songs, which were soft spoken and sweet sometimes came in between excessive cursing before the songs began.
Mary J. Blige was definitely the third day’s highlight though. Having been listening to her since the early 90′s, finally watching her live was fantastic. Not to be offensive, but the way that woman moves and sings at her age is unbelievable. Mary moves with such pace and dances with such passion that it’s no surprise in between songs you could hear her gasp. The thousands that watched were taken aback as Miss Blige performed her many hits from “Real Love” to “No More Drama,” “I’m Goin’ Down” to “Family Affair.” The night’s worst and heaviest rain came during her set, but it didn’t matter. She surpassed how well she sounds on her records alongside adoring fans who joined her song’s every word.
The English Beat wrapped up Bumbershoot in a perculiar, but fan way. The group, which is quite racially diverse, has a middle aged white English front man speaking in a clear British accent but sings and ad-libs in a rastafarian tongue, even throwing out phrases like, “Rude boy.” Puzzling to see, but great to listen to and enjoy. The group definitely finished the festival on a high note.
As my first Bumbershoot, 40 years into the festival, I’m looking forward to next year. Thus far, it’s the most enjoyable and hard to absorb (based on the sheer amount of culture and music) three day showcase I’ve attended.
Tags: Against Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Angélique Kidjo, Aterciopelados, Atlas Sound, Balkan Beat Box, Baroness Budos Band, Becki Sue And Her Big Rockin' Daddies, Billy Bragg, Boat, BOB DYLAN, Bobby Bare Jr. Booker T, Bomba Estéreo, BORN ANCHORS, Bouncing Souls, Brian Auger's Oblivion Express, Bumbershoot 2010, bumbershoot 2010 photos, Bumbershoot 2010 photos by Avery Fane, Caspar Babypants, Chris Pureka, Civil Twilight, Constellations, Courtney Love Bumbershoot, Crash Kings, David Bazan, Day 3 Monday September 6th, Delorean, Drake, Earle Bob Schneider, Eldridge Gravy and the Court Supreme, Fatal Lucciauno, Fences, Feral Children, Fresh Espresso, Georgia Anne Muldrow & Declaime, Great Waves, Greg Laswell, Greta Matassa Quartet, Grynch, H Sweet Water, Health, Helladope, Hey Marseilles, Hole, hole bumbershoot, hole photos bumbershoot, Horse Feathers, Idiot Pilot, J Cole, James Cotton, James Cotton Band, Jamie Lidell, JAPANDROIDS, Jay Electronica, Jenny and Johnny, Justin Townes, Laura Veirs, Lay Low, Lisa Dank, LMFAO, Loch Lomond, Mary J. Blige Rise, Mctuff Trio, Meat Puppets, Monday Standard, Motion City Soundtrack Neko Case, Ozomatli, Parlour Steps Kings Go Forth JEFF The Brotherhood, PEOPLE EATING PEOPLE, Pete Molinari Visqueen, Plants and Animals, RA RA RIOT, School of Rock Allstars, See Me River, Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra, Slender Means, Solomon Burke, Star Anna & the Laughing Dogs, Surfer Blood, The Clientele, The Cute Lepers, THE DANDY WARHOLS, The Decemberists, The English Beat, The Lonely, The Maldives, The Moondoggies Physics, The Raveonettes, The Redwood Plan, The Spits, The Submarines, The Thermals, The Tripwires, The Whigs, Theesatisfaction, This Providence, Trampled By Turtles, Unnatural Helpers, Victor Shade, Vienna Teng Trio, WEEZER, Wheedle's Groove, Wild Orchid Children, Zoe Muth & the Lost High Rollers