The Stranger's 2012 Bumbershoot Guide!
Here's What We Think of Every Damn Thing Happening at This Year's Festival (BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE!)
- Here's What We Think of Every Damn Thing Happening at This Year's Festival
- A Day in the Life of Mudhoney Wildman Mark Arm
- An Interview with Skrillex's Haircut
- Why Is That Gotye Song So Catchy?
- Listening to the Pharmacy After Having Taken a Pharmacy's Worth of Drugs
- Take This Quiz and Find Out If You're Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino
- The Head-Bending Pleasures of Cherdonna and Lou
- A Brief History of Jane's Addiction, the Band That Is Responsible for Everything
- Christopher Martin Hoff Remembered Is Not Just a Painting Exhibition, It's a Memorial
- A (Probably Partial) List of Corrigenda for How to Be a Person
- Robert "El Vez" Lopez and His Journey from Punker to Elvis Impersonator
- Why Aren't Fishbone as Big as Red Hot Chili Peppers?
- Opening the Throttle with Sandbox Radio Live!
- Let's Put the Vaselines Back Together
- The Promise Ring and I Finally Meet After Several Years of Misunderstanding
- Never Heard of 'Em: Tony Bennett
- Beauty Marks and Dirty Bath Mats: The Fashions of John Waters
(Sat, 7:30 pm, Promenade) This Portland glam-folk singer/songwriter/cat lady (you know the type) was raised in a musical family and taught herself guitar. She has opened for Joanna Newsom (as well as the Decembrists and Iron and Wine). Her tragic, personal songs about love and nature are sung with a sad, clear voice paired with acoustic guitar and sometimes fiddle. HANNAH WILSON
(Sun, 6 pm, Promenade) Steeped in analog technology and possessed of an innate funkiness, Shawn Lee cuts an album about every other month, and each one varies in approach. He's big on thematic releases: covering with fanboy zeal the Incredible Bongo Band's entire Bongo Rock LP, but using tablas instead of the titular instrument, and recording '00s hits in vastly different arrangements, to name but two. Lee's 2011 album with smooth LA vocalist AM, Celestial Electric, is a dreamy electronic-pop opus featuring some of Lee's most conventional melodic flourishes. But nothing Lee does is ordinary, so expect extraordinariness in many forms. DAVE SEGAL
(Mon, 5:45 pm, Fisher Green) Ana Tijoux is a French Chilean rapper who's been making multilingual music since the 1990s and whose autobiographical 2010 album 1977 was nominated for a Grammy. Expect quick spitting that'll probably make you feel like a failure if you're not also a hot polyglot. ANNA MINARD
(Sat, 8 pm, KeyArena) There is light hardness and light thrashing and wall-of-soundness and progressive electronic rock/popness to these songs sung (or urgently shout-growled) by frontman Aaron Bruno, who wears his hair in a dramatic side part, and who formed the band around 2010. Its biggest hit single, from 2011, was "Sail." It was covered by Macy Gray and used in lots of TV shows, commercials, and a horror movie involving Christian Slater. JEN GRAVES
(Sun, 2:45 pm, Exhibition Hall) Barcelona are a handsomely scruffy Seattle band. Their light rock and piano-based orchestration makes for simple, slow-paced, lonely songs with pretty man vocals. Their song "Please Don't Go" was used in a trailer for Water for Elephants. HW
(Sat, 4:30 pm, Promenade) Somebody at Bumbershoot this year likes pretty beardo indie-folk! The Barr Brothers—which include a lady who plays the harp—are from Montreal and sometimes wear plaid shirts and suspenders. They smell like autumn leaves. They harmonize in soft voices. And they play a nice slow-blues version of Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog" on slide guitar and piano. BRENDAN KILEY
(Mon, 1:45 pm, KeyArena) If you like the way Best Coast's first album, Crazy for You, rhymed the words "crazy" and "lazy" in almost every song (and I know you did—we all did), then hold on loosely, because here comes: "When we get bored we like to sit around, sit around and stare/At the mountains, at the birds, at the ocean, at the trees/We have fun, we have fun, we have fun when we please"—actual lyrics from the title song on recent album The Only Place. The new tunes don't have as much fuzzy buoyancy as the last set, but the melodies remain charming. EMILY NOKES See preview.
(Sun, 8:15 pm, KeyArena) Big Sean is incredibly hard to dislike. His obsession with triumphantly rapping about finally "making it" is as subtle and endearing as Dwyane Wade jumping on the scorer's table and screaming. But the word "infectious" has perhaps never suited another flow better; Sean is the kind of rapper you're almost always glad to have appear on a track. Even when his lines occasionally verge into corny territory, his agility on the mic—and the fun he constantly seems to be having—makes it all worth it. JOSEPH STATEN
(Sat, 2:45 pm, Exhibition Hall) I often feel like metal bands are just trying too hard without rocking hard enough. Too much makeup, too many generic riffs, not enough awesome. But that's not a concern with Black Breath. This Seattle band will engulf you with their scorching hard-rock/metal hybrid and bring you to the dark side, even if you've resisted the genre in the past. You'll go willingly, hypnotized into a trance by their long, lustrous hair whipping back and forth. MEGAN SELING
(Sun, 8:30 pm, Fountain Lawn) Music that skirts the edge of Southern, psychedelic, and folk rock is Blitzen Trapper's specialty. Their jangly Americana evinces images of the weathered traveler and the heartbroken hopeful. They take a multi-instrumental approach to telling the impossibly surreal true stories of a life lived on the road. SEAN JEWELL
(Mon, 2:15 pm, Fisher Green) Bombino (aka Niger-based guitarist Omara Moctar) started playing guitar at 12 after his family took refuge in Algeria during the violent Tuareg rebellion, and feelings from the subsequent hardships seeped into his music. He flaunts two main styles: sparse, mantric, acoustic blues licks that radiate an ancient ache and lack, and a lacerating, highly torqued electric attack that recalls drone rockers like Pärson Sound. Bombino's previous Seattle show was climax-free, instead coasting along a sweet plateau. Rather than end with a flamboyant bang or a dramatic fade-out, songs simply wound down, although they could've rolled on forever. This is fantastic trance music, no matter how you slice it. D. SEGAL
(Mon, 6 pm, Promenade) Picture, if you will, a young Seattle man with a reddish beard, a black wool cap, and a sweetly melancholy voice. Now picture a band around him, playing in that misty NW indie-folk fashion: a violin, a banjo, a lady harmonizing with him, a drummer who isn't too intrusive—maybe even the occasional doleful musical saw. He sings about combs, holes in the ground, "holy garments," and the bent beams of wooden buildings. Congratulations! You've just conjured Bryan John Appleby. Does he have a tattoo of an old flywheel or a ball-peen hammer under that wool sweater? Probably! BK
(Mon, 12:45 pm, Fisher Green) The nine musicians in Seattle's Cascadia '10—including TRUST percussionist Jayson Powell and Afrocop drummer Andy Sells—have mastered that unmistakable pell-mell shuffle of Afrobeat, as pioneered by Fela Kuti. Bold horn flourishes, chiming guitar punctuation, fluidly funky percussion, and hypnotic bass lines predominate in Cascadia '10's epic tracks. A member of Eldridge Gravy & the Court Supreme told me that Cascadia '10 are fantastic live, and I hear no reason to doubt him. D. SEGAL
(Mon, 11:45 am, Mural Amphitheater) The Cellar Door are a local band (six members) that make very pretty and at times even heartbreaking pop music. The autumn wind, the fall of leaves, the sorrows of a sensitive lover, the dreams of a cat on a couch, the soft sounds on a hardwood floor, the interrupted kiss, the skirt in the sunlight, the tap on a window, the remains in a wine glass—these are some of the many things I see and hear in their music. CHARLES MUDEDE
(Sat, 7:45 pm, Fisher Green) You're probably getting tired of descriptions like "heartfelt indie-folk," both in this year's Bumbershoot guide and in the world in general. (I know I am.) But there's a lot of sincere, guy-with-guitar-whose-favorite-chorus-goes-"ooh-ooo-oo-ay-ooh"-in-a-high-vocal-register bobbing around these days. City and Colour, aka Dallas Green (formerly of Alexisonfire), is one of those. He's good at it, but he doesn't particularly distinguish himself from the pack: "I can feel the wind blowing/Sending shivers down my spine/I can feel the wind blowing/Shaking trees and power lines." BK
(Sun, 4:30 pm, Exhibition Hall) Civil Twilight are a serious-looking, well-coiffed, blazer-wearing, South African three-piece. Their rich, sort of early U2 sound blends well with vocalist Steven McKellar's faintly apocalyptic falsetto narratives. HW
(Sat, 3 pm, Promenade) Cosmetics generate icy synthetic future music that sounds like the soundtrack to an endless escalator fashion ride. On the fashion ride, everything is white and shiny. You will pass emaciated mannequin humans wearing space bikinis making vacant sexy faces at you while an apathetic ghost girl voice drones, "I get a feeling of pleasure/When I wear black leather." EN
(Sat, 9 pm, Promenade) Damien Jurado playing a show in Seattle is not an event. Jurado plays in Seattle approximately 325 days out of any given calendar year, and the other 40 days a year, he'll sweetly serenade you on the sidewalk if you run into him and ask him nicely. But there's something special about a hometown artist playing to a hometown crowd at the end of a long, beautiful summer, and Jurado's signature quiet, sad-hearted voice and sleepy, slinky melodies are sure to be electrifying in this dusky show. PAUL CONSTANT
(Mon, 1:30 pm, Fountain Lawn) Ethiopian American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen sets traditional Amharic lyrics to the jazzy, hopeful notes of a big brass band. It's swing-meets-African-groove, and it's exactly what womyn's studies professors and dick-having feminists love to air-hump to. CIENNA MADRID
(Sun, 7:30 pm, Promenade) Aside from their ability to hold their collective breath for long periods of time and their side business selling hand-harvested pearls, Deep Sea Diver are a local four-piece fronted by the powerful-voiced Jessica Dobson. Their 2012 album, History Speaks, is a lovely cooking-dinner-alone playlist. Dobson can belt, they display a touch of the tambouriney hand-claps thing that's currently popular, and there's a really fun syncopation to the rhythm and an emotional depth to the lyrics that's worth pausing to enjoy. AM
(Sun, 5:45 pm, Fisher Green) The Dirtbombs are a prolific, Detroit-based garage-rock band that have been making heavy fun-noise music since the mid-'90s. But garage is only the beginning; they will splatter out of any definition you try to give their sound—messy soul, gritty pop, raunchy R&B, fuzzy punk mess dance along? Yes to all of those and more. Oh, and they have two bass players and two drummers, making their live set extra fantastic to watch. EN
(Sun, 10:30 pm, Exhibition Hall) Resident DJ for the "hit MTV show America's Best Dance Crew," DJ Mia makes party-ready dance mixes, and let's face it, you probably want to kiss her on the mouth. Get ready to sweat, and not just in your bathing-suit area. AM
(Sun, 11:30 pm, Exhibition Hall) DJ Scene is a handsome-looking man. He's from Seattle but lives in San Francisco when he's not busy traveling the world to... DJ! He DJs scenes by scratching and mixing together songs that other people have already written. People love to listen to hits, so mixing one hit with another hit sounds like the recipe for a party. A concept the whole world can understand. Speaking of party, DJ Scene also uses a Hotmail account. EN
(Sat, 1 pm, Fisher Green) Seattle's slyest noise-pop outfit is an aggregation of the best things about b-boy culture, hiphop, and rock. Their style is simple: smashed together, hyperactive, nostalgic future-pop with three solid rappers in the group and some killer dance moves to boot. Known for their fast-paced, fun live shows and outrageous songs, Don't Talk to the Cops! are a sonic and visual overload absent of ego and all about the love. SJ
(Sat, 6 pm, Promenade) Featuring the former child stars of Eight Is Enough and the kid from Two and a Half Men, this band... JK, it's a guy formerly of the Stills and the drummer from Broken Social Scene. They describe their synth-heavy debut album as both claustrophobic and kaleidoscopic, but a kaleidoscope is somewhat claustrophobic itself, isn't it? BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT
(Sun, noon, Promenade) Vocalist Irene Barber fronts this local group and sets the tone with crystalline-clear crooning and hard-edged ennui. Call it delicate rock or classy angst—it won't blow your eardrums, it's more sway-than-dance music, but it does make for some purty listening. C. MADRID
(Sun, 2:15 pm, Fisher Green) With a lineup usually tallying in the double figures, local ensemble Eldridge Gravy & the Court Supreme hark back to the heyday of big-band funk à la Sly & the Family Stone, Parliament-Funkadelic, and Tower of Power. All of these moving parts—horns, keys, guitars, bass, drums, percussion, male and female powerhouse singers—cohere into upful jams that move your parts. Eldridge Gravy's most recent album, Party Hard, is a self-fulfilling prophecy—a hot-sweat-inducing conglomeration of soul-fluffing, booty-strutting groove physiology. D. SEGAL
(Mon, 2:45 pm, Mural Amphitheater) I can still recall the first time I heard about El Vez. I was thick into my Elvis phase, and the idea of a Mexican Elvis impersonator was funny. But then a funny thing happened: El Vez turned into something way more than a "mere" impersonator. He brought personal, political energy to his songs—transforming a riff on the King into some sort of weird royalty of his own, with a stage act that combines theatricality and pure fucking talent into something unforgettable. PC See preview.
(Sat, 6:15 pm, Exhibition Hall) The sludgiest festercore New Orleans has to offer, Eyehategod will drag you through an angry doom swamp of despair. I take that back, after looking at their band photo, I've decided they would not drag you, but sort of clutch at you and make you feel obligated to wade in the doom swamp because you're the only one without pneumonia. EN
(Mon, 6:15 pm, Exhibition Hall) Sisters! Brothers! It is time to dig out those old Fishbone cassettes we bought at the Salvation Army for 69 cents apiece and reexamine that moment in our youth when we decided that Fishbone were uncool. If we were unwilling to forgive an experimental funk band for being experimental and funky, we were really making a judgment call about ourselves and not them, weren't we? Now, in the band's 25th year on this earth (!?!), let's all take a moment to appreciate their Prince-like deep-down unwillingness to give a single shit what anybody thinks. PC See preview.
(Mon, 2:45 pm, Exhibition Hall) The name "Foxy Shazam" seems like it should belong to some ass-kicking 1970s babe, à la an old Russ Meyer or Pam Grier blaxploitation flick. Instead, it's the moniker of a bunch of dudes from Ohio who really, really like to listen to old Queen records and would probably kill to have Freddie Mercury's hologram go on tour with them. They have a song called "I Like It" that has a repeated chorus of "That's the biggest black ass I've ever seen, and I like it; I like it a lot." Surely it's an ode to all those fat-bottomed girls—those girls who make the rockin' world go round. KELLY O
(Sun, 5 pm, Fountain Lawn) With five albums released over 10 years, Fruit Bats have a hefty catalog of songs, and so many of them are great. Singer Eric D. Johnson has an almost Muppety voice, bringing some fun to their classic rock meets folk meets indie rock vibes. After all these years, my favorite remains "Dragon Ships" from their debut album, where Johnson sings, "I wish I was a Viking in 1103/I'd fuck up shit on the high cold sea." You and me both, sir. You and me both. MS
(Mon, 8 pm, Exhibition Hall) British quartet Fujiya & Miyagi rank among modern music's slyest ambassadors for the less-is-more ethos. Vocalist David Best never rises above a whisper while delivering wry, seemingly stream-of-consciousness lyrics as the music cruises with precise, motorik funkiness. Guitar and keyboards punctiliously chime and swell, respectively, and the bass accentuates the beat with Holger Czukay–like intensity. Everything is perfectly poised, which should make F&M a tidy bore. Instead, they excite with deceptive grooviness and surprising rave-ups. D. SEGAL
(Mon, noon, Promenade) Two members of GIM used to be in Modest Mouse—spooky! The band describes its indie-folky-bluesy-pop songs as "simultaneously devastating and soothing and... filled with hand-tinted photographic imagery." The song "Blackwoods" makes me want to lie down and maybe cry a little bit, just for the hell of it. One DJ on KEXP likes GIM, and so might you. BJC
(Sun, noon, Fountain Lawn) Gold Leaves are not made out of leaves at all, but out of a guitar and drums and the other accouterments of 1970s-style jam rock. We're supposed to call this indie rock, maybe, but a live set by Gold Leaves sounds and looks like a young Grateful Dead (who were smart, loosey-goosey, and hopelessly cheerful). But sometimes Gold Leaves sound like a calculated, spooky orchestra in a wind tunnel. DOMINIC HOLDEN
(Sat, 3:15 pm, KeyArena) Look. Don't be a dick. You know you're here to hear "Somebody That I Used to Know." I know you're here to hear "Somebody That I Used to Know." Gotye knows you're here to hear "Somebody That I Used to Know." But once he finishes singing "Somebody That I Used to Know," don't just turn your back on the guy and walk away like he insulted your mother. You have to stay and smile and nod through the whole set, like you're interested. That's the contract you sign with a singer like this. PC See preview.
(Sun, 9:30 pm, Exhibition Hall) Once upon a time on an Air France flight to Paris, I was seated next to a guy named Guy. He was young and handsome and French, and we got to talking, and then drank a considerable amount of cognac and French-kissed all through the in-flight movie. This Guy at Bumbershoot is a regular DJ at Trinity and, according to his bio, has "the ability to keep both rookies' and seasoned clubbers' hands in the air." BJC
(Sun, 3:45 pm, Mural Amphitheater) Lee Oskar is a Danish harmonica wizard, partly responsible for the infectious hook in War's 1975 classic "Low Rider." He's teamed up with Magic "Whammer Jammer" Dick (not a clever indie-rock band name) who blew harp for the J. Geils Band. Together they've cobbled together a group of elite players to put a spotlight on what they know best: getting wild on the harmonica. DEREK ERDMAN
(Sat, 5:45 pm, Mural Amphitheater) Something about the state of Ohio turns out a lot of rockers with the blues—Heartless Bastards, originally from Cincinnati, are often compared to Akron's the Black Keys. Can the place where you hang your hat affect your sound? Absolutely. The Heartless Bastards newest album, Arrow, was recorded by Spoon drummer Jim Eno after the group relocated to Austin, Texas. Lead singer Erika Wennerstrom sounds less angsty and more sunny on Arrow—more upbeat (like Spoon) with a dash of country twang. I think sometimes you have to move out of America's heartland—before you can appreciate, or benefit from, its truly melancholy charms. KO
(Sat, 6 pm, Fisher Green) English indie soul rockers the Heavy first came together over their love of vintage R&B. They mix soul, rock, funk, hiphop, and blues into old-school-sounding soul music with jammin' horns and sultry lyrics. Their song "Sixteen" samples Screamin' Jay Hawkins's "I Put a Spell on You," which shows they have great musical taste. I have also heard that these guys, especially frontman Kelvin Swaby and his great gravelly voice, have some serious sex appeal. Find out for yourself. GILLIAN ANDERSON
(Sat, 8:45 pm, Fountain Lawn) You must watch the Helio Sequence's set and you must keep your eyes on the drummer, Benjamin Weikel. He makes the best faces while playing! The duo sounds really good, too, which I realize is more important. So even if you just want to lie back in the grass, close your eyes, and let the cool breeze kiss your skin while HS's glistening guitar-driven rock songs flow through your brain, that's cool, too. MS
(Mon, 8 pm, Mural Amphitheater) Seattle's Hey Marseilles haven't released a full-length record since their 2008 debut, To Travels & Trunks, and they played Bumbershoot in both 2009 and 2010, but I still consider the band to be a highly recommended part of this weekend's lineup, because their songs—bursting with strings, percussion, horns, and harmonies—have proven to (so far, at least) be everlasting. MS
(Sun, 7:30 pm, Mural Amphitheater) Ian Hunter, of Mott the Hoople fame (the funny-name-having '70s rock legends probably best known for the song "All the Young Dudes") and maker of 20 (!!!) albums, here fronts a band known for their tendency to talk in a noisy, excited, or declamatory manner or to scold vehemently. Exciting! AM
(Sat, 9:30 pm, KeyArena) Jane's Addiction are an alternative rock band from the late-1980s/'90s. Lead singer and founding member Perry Farrell is famous for inventing the Lollapalooza music festival, being a drug creep, and never wearing a shirt. Original member and current guitarist Dave Navarro is famous for his severe facial hair, marrying and getting divorced from Carmen Electra, and being so alt he suspends himself from the ceiling with meat hooks in his back. EN See preview.
(Sat, 7:30 pm, Mural Amphitheater) The "400 Unit" is the unofficial name used to refer to a psychiatric ward in Florence, Alabama. It's a country colloquialism that really speaks to the American realism of Jason Isbell's songwriting. Born into a musical family, Isbell has no problem crafting imagery of Southern living in a modern world. Soulful and life-affirming as the gospel with an acoustic guitar, and heated and threatening when he goes electric, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit's music has firm roots in the fertile soil of the Muscle Shoals sound. SJ
(Sat, 9:30 pm, Mural Amphitheater) Long recognized as the Minneapolis band that had the thankless job of pioneering alternative country, the Jayhawks have persevered two decades, are finally reunited in their (mostly) original lineup, and have been rocking out new albums. Themselves fans of Britpop and prog rock, their harmonies and melodies built the platform that indie rockers stand on today, but their instrumentality has never quite been duplicated. It's no stretch to say there isn't a folk-rock or country-rock band in the business today that isn't inspired in some way by the Jayhawks sound. SJ
(Sat, 2:30 pm, Fisher Green) As every American who remembers Rudy Huxtable lip-synching to Ray Charles on The Cosby Show knows, quality soul music is equal parts sincerity and acting. JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound are theater people by trade—the guitarist directs at Chicago's Second City, Saturday Night Live's comedy incubator, and JC Brooks is an acclaimed Chicago actor. They're great showmen, but there's genuine joy in their bluesy, up-tempo grooves. They are fans of and friends with Jeff Tweedy, and they cover Wilco songs as if they were written by Otis Redding: "I! Am trying! To break! Your heart!" (Insert horn fill here.) BK
(Sun, 3:15 pm, Fountain Lawn) A picture of the Jezabels, a much-praised Aussie band that makes indie pop that I admire: A woman with roller skates has just had a bad accident. She is on the ground and her upper body has plunged into a bush. She is wearing a blue dress and red stockings. Beside her is a tuba. Beside the tuba is the Jezabels—two slim women and two slim men. They are looking at us as if we had something to do with this mishap. A bridge is in the distance. The shoes of the lead singer, Hayley McGlone, have the same color as the stockings on the fallen girl. The band's talented drummer, Nik Kaloper, is wearing black sneakers and standing in the dirt. The rest of the band is on the grass. It's a great picture. C. MUDEDE
(Sun, 2 pm, Mural Amphitheater) Karen Lovely has the dusky voice of a lifelong chimney sweep. She sings bluesy songs about sin and rain and such, punctuated with authoritative guitar riffs and jam-band interludes. In a perfect world, Lovely would chew the face off of KIRO chief meteorologist Rebecca Stevenson and narrate all of Seattle's sins and weather patterns, just for fun. C. MADRID
(Sun, 5:45 pm, Mural Amphitheater) This American singer was born in California, raised in Colorado, and made her name in Nashville. Her music, which is simple, pretty, and whimsical, has appeared on commercials that promote the products of Frito-Lay and Honda. Herzig's music has also appeared on several TV programs (for example, "Sweeter Than This"—a poor woman's "More Than This"—was featured on Grey's Anatomy). The cover of Herzig's latest album, The Waking Sleep, makes it clear to the naked eye that she is one of the rare humans who can boast of possessing erotic ankles. C. MUDEDE
(Sun, 1:30 pm, Promenade) Katie Kate has been everywhere this year, and rightfully so. The local rapper is bringing something new and much needed to Seattle's hiphop scene. The beats on her album Flatland come from strange places—it's a more artificial, clubby sound than most of the Northwest artists we've been seeing lately. And her dense knowledge of music (I'm required by law as a writer to point out that she graduated from Cornish with a degree in classical piano) provides a layered sound that rewards introspection. Consider this the victory lap to a great year and the kickoff to an exciting new year. PC
(Sun, 9:15 pm, Fisher Green) Hailing from East Sussex, UK, this melodic pop band's newest album is full of sweet piano tunes and longing, pleasantly-not-Auto-Tuned vocals. One might venture to compare Keane to the Brit sensation Coldplay, but in a nice way. MELODY DATZ
(Mon, 6:15 pm, Mural Amphitheater) DIY singer-songwriter Kina Grannis has self-released all of her own albums, has a huge online fan base, and puts her focus on playing live and touring like crazy. This gifted artist plays guitar and sings sweet songs about love and life. She is fiercely protective of her music, even dropping her major label when it wouldn't support the songs she wrote. Most importantly, her "In Your Arms" video is made from amazing stop-motion jellybean art, so she's obviously pretty neat. GA
(Sat, 4:15 pm, Fisher Green) Everybody likes to talk about King Khan's out-of-control alcohol abuse—and yes, the set that got him banned from KEXP was pretty legendary—but we wouldn't be talking about King Khan at all without that special King Khan sound, a garagey I-don't-give-a-shit petulance combined with an unstoppable rhythm. The Shrines are his biggest, proudest band—a huge assemblage of horns and drums and everything else that makes him sound about 50 miles tall and powered by 70 quintillion gallons of Fuck You, That's Why. PC
(Sun, 3 pm, Promenade) Perfectly palatable 206 hiphop. And despite the name, not too mad. They've got lucid rhymes delivered expediently over ethereally slow, classic R&B chord progressions. It's a little dated, to my ear, but good. DH
(Sun, 7:30 pm, Fisher Green) Lee Fields has been around a long time, his catalog extends all the way back to 1969, but his music is not a revival of old soul—Lee Fields is soul. On his last two releases, he's finally found the right combination of sounds to get the attention he deserves with the percussive, rumbling, funk rhythms of his band the Expressions. Get ready to feel good about traipsing through the trials and tribulations of all our worldly troubles with songs that range from woeful blues to sexy energetic soul. SJ
(Mon, 7:30 pm, Fisher Green) She's a (super-hot) best new artist Juno Award (Canadian Grammys)–winning electro-rocker who likes to experiment. Lights (yeah, that's her legal name) has collaborated with metalcore band Bring Me the Horizon and rapper Shad, she's released an acoustic album, and she likes Phil Collins. For the most part, Lights makes slightly dubby electro-pop sounds on retro synthesizers and sings with a pretty girl voice. HW
(Sat, 11:45 am, Fisher Green) This is how my mind works: The moment I learned of the band called Lights from Space, I imagined them sounding like Explosions in the Sky—dreamy and ethereal post-rock. But, as the saying goes, never judge a band by its name. The Seattle trio Lights from Space sound nothing like Austin's Explosions in the Sky. Their sound is, instead, a raw and stripped rock. LFS can get a little sad sometimes, but they never get carried away, they always keep their feet on the ground. C. MUDEDE
(Mon, 6:45 pm, Fountain Lawn) This Duluth trio's haunting, minimalist presence sort of flays you open before expertly Humpty-Dumptying you back together with signature soft melodies and gentle crescendos. It's grown-up angsty music—simple guitar, bass and drums assembled with skill, honesty, and refreshing originality. MD
(Mon, 4:30 pm, Mural Amphitheater) This woman named her act LP, which makes it nearly impossible to research her on the internet, because—as very old people know—"LP" stands for "long play," which was a full-length record. That is not to be confused with a 7-inch single. Anyhow. The internet remembers LPs, so searching for a band called LP is not unlike searching for a bar called "happy hour." LP writes her own songs. DH
(Mon, 3:15 pm, KeyArena) One time when I wasn't drunk, but I wish I were because at least I'd have an excuse for being so stupid, I confused M83 with Battles. I was talking about how I like M83—"They're explosive and crazy, and they have a song called 'Ice Cream'!"—and the person I was talking to looked at me and was like, "No, I don't think that's them..." And they were right. That is not M83. M83 plays that "Midnight City" song from the Victoria's Secret commercial. I wish it were Battles playing Bumbershoot. MS
(Sun, 9:45 pm, KeyArena) Psychedelic hiphop with themes like fucking, using, bling, blonds, and pretty much all the things you'd expect a dude to rap about. Miller's got some crafty beats, so at least there's that. ERIN PIKE
(Sat, 11 pm, Exhibition Hall) "Performance art" and "house music" almost never intersect, but Portland's Miracles Club—members Rafael Fauria, Honey Owens, and Ryan Boyle—have been garnering raves by combining those seemingly incompatible disciplines. The Miracles Club's brand of house is spacious and bursting with loving vibes as they channel late '80s acid-house euphoria and create soaring synth motifs that slap a perma-grin on your mug (their blog is called "Ecstasy," for fook's sake). Expect flamboyant costumes, vogueing, and choons that'll take you higher... and higher. D. SEGAL
(Sat, 1:45 pm, KeyArena) Missy Higgins is an Australian person who sells a lot of records, as many as Olivia Newton-John and Kylie Minogue, according to her bio. One of the songs on her hit record The Ol' Razzle Dazzle is called "Unashamed Desire," for which there is a notable video. In this video, Higgins restages (without knowing it and without any resemblance) a seminal 1960s feminist performance piece by Yoko Ono called Cut Piece, in which other people come up to her and take off her clothing. Except Yoko Ono didn't end up wearing rainbow-colored origami cranes taped over her privates. JG
(Sun, 6:45 pm, Fountain Lawn) Why isn't there a Mudhoney statue at Seattle Center yet? The city's longest-running gr*ng*-rock unit have aged shockingly well over the last 24 years, earning them the right to be enshrined in a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame they'd probably not piss on if it were ablaze. While most of their peers have split, faded into oblivion, or tarnished their legacy with increasingly lame releases, Mudhoney have remained a vital font of rampaging, garage-punk fury. Their shows still provoke fiftysomething geezers to mosh. Watch them, they're sick! D. SEGAL See preview.
(Sat, 9:45 pm, Fisher Green) Monster of Folk member and half of the duo She & Him, M. Ward began crafting his introspective, witty folk numbers right here in the Northwest. With the wispy singing voice of a wise old satyr, Ward wields a guitar to string audiences along, making a journey out of every song. His music ranges from Instagram homages to rockabilly and from doo-wop to reverberating, modern, emotional folk. SJ
(Sun, 1:30 pm, Fountain Lawn) The breakout best Swedish band of the last two years, Niki & the Dove take typical pop clichés and break them into a million pieces. Singer Malin Dahlström's theatrical vocals stay awash in Gustaf Karlöf's icy cold electronic keys until the sound echoes out like tribal chants set to synthesizer. Concentrating on producing perfect beats rather than familiar pop sounds, Niki & the Dove's gothic pop shocks audiences awake rather than singing them to sleep. SJ
(Mon, 1:30 pm, Promenade) Local singer-songwriter Noah Gundersen sings sadly and sweetly over his acoustic guitar playing. He has a beautiful voice, and his folky songs contain strong messages railing against society's injustices. He lists Neil Young, Bob Dylan, the Band, and David Bazan as influences. His newest EP, Family, fittingly is a collaboration with his sister Abby and her violin. GA
(Sat, noon, Promenade) Spokane's NUDE POP used to just be called NUDE, but later added POP so that they could have two Facebook pages. Just kidding! I'm sure it was because of the nude googling problem. Anyway, they battled their way to the spotlight by winning the Sound Off! battle of the bands (which is limited to musicians under 21). Their music is sweet psych that sounds like what I believe the kids are calling "dream pop." EN
(Sat, 7 pm, Fountain Lawn) Brad Oberhofer is from Tacoma, moved to New York, and his band now sounds like the spirit animal of Williamsburg. If you check their song "o0Oo0Oo" on YouTube—what a cutesy 'n' complicated title!—one of the featured links is a comedy video called "What Hipsters Say, and What They Really Mean." Oberhofer have a lo-fi, melodic, and jangly sound (like simpler cousins of Modest Mouse) and occasional epic, soaring choruses (like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes but with fewer members). They claim influences "ranging from Brian Wilson to Descartes." They just played Lollapalooza. BK
(Mon, 4 pm, Fisher Green) Excellent Seattle label Sublime Frequencies—and its Sham Palace subsidiary—has made Syria's dabke alpha male Omar Souleyman an international star through several releases that capture the vocalist's dashing, heart-slashing mic skills. Souleyman synthesizes myriad Arabic, Turkish, and Kurdish styles into a rough, exhilarating species of folk-dance music. He charismatically exhorts and wails overtures to (potential) lovers in Arabic over marauding up-tempo beats and febrile, melismatic bleats from keyboards and bouzouk (a long-necked lute). It sounds like a Middle Eastern analogue to dancehall, with its hyper-adrenalized aura and stridently emotional vocals whose default setting is primarily "fever pitch." D. SEGAL
(Mon, 5 pm, Fountain Lawn) To call this band bad is wrong. To call it great is also wrong. To call it mediocre is wrong. To call it exciting is wrong. To call it boring is wrong. To call it innovative is wrong. To call it totally unoriginal is wrong. So what is right? The Pains of Being Pure at Heart sound exactly like what they are: an indie band from NYC. C. MUDEDE
(Mon, 9:15 pm, Fisher Green) A few years ago, you could not walk anywhere without falling into a passion pit. Squealing songs of glee and sparkly hip abandon were the ultimate weekend warrior hits—rip off your blazer to reveal a neon tube top, because TGIFF and someone at the office brought in Coronas at 4 p.m.!!! Pash Pit's newest songs are even squealier, like a joyful chipmunk in a blender filled with confetti and uppers. EN
(Sat, 9:30 pm, Exhibition Hall) Dave Pezzner is a Seattle-based electronic music maker and formerly one half of Jacob London (with Bob Hansen). Our own Dave Segal says that, solo, he "plies a slightly more serious brand of tech-house than he does in JL, while maintaining that group's slyly irresistible wiggle-ability." Wiggle-ability?!? You can never get too much wiggle-ability. Also, if you bend his head far back enough, rectangular candy spits out of his neck. Try it! AM
(Mon, 4:30 pm, Promenade) Imagine if the Doors didn't bloat themselves to death with pretentiousness and out-of-control self- regard. That's kind of what you get from local garage-rockers the Pharmacy, an organ- flavored band that does the Doors right: They don't have any songs that go over five minutes, their lyrics aren't awful teenage blank verse, and there's no fucking Jim Morrison around to screw everything up. Win-win-win! PC See preview.
(Sat, 1:30 pm, Promenade) In most of the US, "polecat" is just another word for skunk. These here Polecats are from Bellingham; they wear old-timey Western clothes in their publicity photo and promise to rock (or something) your world with a blend of "bluegrass, country, Celtic, rock, reggae, and world music." BJC
(Mon, 3 pm, Promenade) Posse are a Seattle trio building on the best parts of '90s indie bands. Comprising two singers/guitarists and a drummer (with no need for a bassist), Posse put on a rad live show—loud post-pop to shake an elephant ear to. Their song "Sarah" is such a jam; also be sure to check out each member's individual Smog covers. EN
(Sun, 6:15 pm, Exhibition Hall) In 1997, when the Promise Ring released the exceptional Nothing Feels Good, it was constantly being referred to as an emo record, so being a jaded teenager, I wrote it off as wuss rock. But that was a lie! It's not an emo record at all! It's a gloriously bouncy and fun pop record with songs that will hook themselves to the inside of your brain and never let go, and I regret learning the truth after the band had already broken up. Thankfully, they're back! And playing their first Pacific Northwest show in at least a decade. Dreams do come true. MS See preview.
(Sat, 4:30 pm, Exhibition Hall) Prong is your favorite metal band's favorite metal band. Churning out albums full of double kick drum and growling vocals topped with molten metal guitar licks since 1986, their grinding, urban hardcore sound has inspired many a hesher (Trent Reznor) to start their own industrial/metal/sludge band. Hitting Bumbershoot near the end of a North American tour in support of their first new release in five years, after playing with classic metal acts like Corrosion of Conformity and Clutch, Prong should be in rare form. SJ
(Mon, 9:45 pm, Mural Amphitheater) You've gotta know the Rebirth Brass Band, right? New Orleans? Nearly a dozen dudes with horns? They've played every festival from here to your mama, and they deserve to—they're nothing revolutionary, but they do their NOLA-brass, high-energy thing as well as anyone around. Bumbershoot has wisely listed them as the final act of the festival. (They're not sleepy, but they won't inspire some kind of rock 'n' roll riot.) Whoever's still stumbling around on Monday night to catch Rebirth will stroll out of Seattle Center with a little extra bump and swagger in their step. BK
(Mon, 1 pm, Mural Amphitheater) Even if Jordan Cook didn't play the drums and guitar at the same time (which he does), and even if he didn't eat guitar strings and shred half stacks (which he will), and even if he didn't crawl around the stage like the mythical wolf his name implies (which he's wont to do), he'd be a solid songwriter with a firm grasp on blues music. Even if he doesn't play the guitar behind his back and climb on the drum kit and howl (believe me, he's gonna), you'll enjoy this show. SJ
(Mon, 12:45 am, Exhibition Hall) DJ Scotty Boy has been at it with his self-proclaimed "Las Vegas Mash Up" style for more than 20 years. He's the resident DJ at Marquee and considered one of Vegas's, and perhaps one of the country's, best. Safe to say he likes to make people dance. And he's damn good at it. HW
(Mon, noon, Fountain Lawn) Seapony are a sleep-surf band. Or maybe shy-surf is more accurate. Shurf. Their songs are soothing, glistening waves of fuzzy pop music to hold hands to. Imagine making a surfboard out of dandelion fluff and riding those shiny waves all the way to a private island of pineapple upside-down cake and fireflies. That's where Seapony will be taking you. Make sure you're standing next to someone whose hand you would not mind holding. EN
(Sat, 12:30 pm, Mural Amphitheater) I can honestly say that I would think less of Seattle if it did not have a real-deal jazz orchestra. Any old city can have a symphony or opera. What's more impressive, and what you can't argue with, is a city that has the resources to support a company that performs jazz with a big and classical sound. The tradition consolidated by the great American Duke Ellington is preserved by the institution called Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra. C. MUDEDE
(Sat, 3:30 pm, Fountain Lawn) Like every other Seattle artist, Sera Cahoone's trademark is indie-folksy kitchen twang. But unlike her cohorts, her voice is used-snake-oil-salesman mesmerizing. If you play her self-titled debut album backward, she clearly demands your social security number and the thumbs of your enemies. Perfect for idle worship in your token plaid shirt and straw cowboy hat. C. MADRID
(Sun, 1:45 pm, KeyArena) Oh, man. Oh, man. You just don't get much better than Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. If you like classic soul music, she's just about the best thing going today. If you don't like classic soul music, you're dead to me anyway. She and the Dap Kings are amazing live. PC
(Sat, 2:15 pm, Mural Amphitheater) Skerik is a saxophone virtuoso who has crafted a sound so rare they gave it a name: saxophonics. As a founding member of Critters Buggin and staple in Les Claypool's Fancy Band, Skerik absolutely shreds the idea of what live saxophone should sound like. The lineup for Skerik's Bandalabra reads like a roster at the school for the acid-jazz inclined: Drummer D'Vonne Lewis, stand-up bassist Evan Flory-Barnes, and guitarist Andy Coe are set to conjure what Skerik himself says sounds like "Fela Kuti meeting Steve Reich in rock's backyard." SJ
(Mon, 9:30 pm, KeyArena) EDM's most popular punching bag is headlining Monday at the main stage, adding to the megamillions he's pocketing. All that green probably cushions the verbal hate that Skrillex (Grammy Award–winner Sonny John Moore) has had to endure. What is it about his music that people loathe so? It's dubstep, yeah, but not as Kode9 or Burial know it. Skrillex puffs up his tracks with simpleminded, Richter-scale beats and cartoonishly garish high- and low-frequency doodads and gewgaws. If it's not quite as lowbrow as Juggalo rap, it's pretty close. D. SEGAL See preview.
(Sat, 4 pm, Mural Amphitheater) You know what I like best about the Soul Rebels? In addition to the fact that they rule at New Orleans brass-band jazz and mix it with covers of Outkast and Jay-Z? They wear T-shirts that say their own band name. Yeah. JG
(Sat, 1 pm, Exhibition Hall) DO NOT TRY TO TAME THE SPITTIN' COBRA, MOTHERFUCKERS, FOR THE SPITTIN' COBRA CANNOT BE TAMED. (Cue spittin', ax shreddin'.) C. MADRID
(Mon, 7:30 pm, Promenade) Star Anna is a riveting performer. Whether categorized as Americana, alt-country, or soul-filled rock awesomeness, Star Anna's massively strong vocals are marked with a naked passion that fills a room to bursting. Every time I hear her, I feel a little bit wiser. Backed ably by Justin Davis, Travis Yost, and Keith Ash, Star Anna's Monday night show is a perfectly memorable way to cap off the weekend. MD
(Mon, 1 pm, Exhibition Hall) Glitter cannons. That is what I most remember about seeing SGL a long time ago, when I was checking the audience's coats as part of my job requirements as a coat check girl. SGL is weird. That's what they are going for, and they want to shove every last bit of "weirdo" into their "carazy" show. They define themselves as soul metal and employ a Hot Topic circus for their live shows (Strippers! Pillow fights! Slipknot-esque masks!). The average audience member's coat that evening was either made of faux pink dog fur or buckles. EN
(Sun, 12:15 pm, Fountain Lawn) This is the best band to ever come out of Seattle. Tacocat is made up of really nice people playing the best music you have ever heard in your whole life. EN
(Sat, 5:15 pm, Fountain Lawn) From beginning to end, THEESatisfaction's awE naturalE is a requirement for summer listening. I love the sultry songs "Enchantruss" and "Deeper," but my favorite is "QueenS," with its feel-good vibe and throwback to cool '90s R&B. Plus, the lyrics are full of good life advice. Rule number one: "Whatever you do, don't funk with my groove." Rule number two: "Let the musicians be your physicians." I could listen to it forever. MS
(Sun, 9 pm, Promenade) Thenewno2 is led by a couple of famous musicians' sons: Dhani Harrison, son of George, and Paul Hicks, son of Tony. The band (whose name is pronounced "the new number two") displayed a fairly straightforward rock approach on its first album, but their second release, thefearofmissingout—as its internet-inspired title might indicate—is a much more adventurous blend of sounds, with electronic, hiphop, and even viral video samples crowding the mix. To help you picture it better: Ben Harper and RZA both make appearances. JOSEPH STATEN
(Sun, 12:45 pm, Fisher Green) Theoretics bring a mostly straightforward brand of hip-hop that was very popular around the turn of the millennium: lyricism-oriented, positive, and uplifting. But the twist this Seattle-based seven-piece group brings to the table is a big, booming instrumental arrangement—which includes a sax and a stand-up bass. This, combined with the deft rapping of the group's two MCs, combines for a live set ideal for moving a sweaty Bumbershoot crowd. JS
(Sat, 12:15 am, Exhibition Hall) If you want to feel like a dinosaur, go listen to some of this Tiger & Woods crap the kids are dancing to these days. The song "Come Down" is nearly eight minutes long, and it's literally the same three beats with one guy chanting the word "been" over and over. That is all that happens. Been. Been. Been. Been. "Gin Nation" is even longer and even less interesting and OH MY GOD I AM SO OLD. MS
(Sun, 3:15 pm, KeyArena) Tony Bennett is best known for abandoning a vital organ in the Bay Area. He has been crooning since birth, 87 years ago. And after being tragically (but fairly) pigeonholed as a Las Vegas dud, he suffered a nearly lethal cocaine overdose in 1979, after which he shared with his sons a realization that remains poignant to this day: "It seems like people don't want to hear the music I make." DH See preview.
(Mon, 8:30 pm, KeyArena) Two Fresh are twin brothers Sherwyn and Kendrick Nicholls, who create innovative hiphop with a unique sampling style, with Colby Buckler holding it down on drums (hiphop drumming seems to add an element of impossible to an already challenging task, but he does it well). Speaking of challenging tasks, being in a band with a family member seems even more impossible. I always think about Wynonna and Naomi Judd. Can you imagine? Touring with your mom? Anyway, kudos to Two Fresh! Twins are neat! EN
(Sun, 12:15 pm, Mural Amphitheater) This young blues guitarist from Salem, Oregon, has already put out four albums. He plays an electric-guitar-heavy white-guy version of old-school blues rock. He's no B.B. King, but if you like this sort of thing, he writes his own songs, plays the guitar energetically, and sings with spirit. He's bound to appeal to fans of Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan. GA
(Mon, 3:15 pm, Fountain Lawn) If there are trucker caps, shirtless babes, and pot brownies to be had at Bumbershoot this year, the Ty Segall show is probably where you'll find them. The distorted guitars, drawly lyrics, and semi-surf-rock tones of the former Epsilons frontman are the perfect soundtrack to a summer festival. MD
(Mon, 9 pm, Promenade) Spokane folk singer-songwriter Tyrone Wells is a fine-looking man with no hair and a guitar. He has a friendly voice involving the reassuring sound of plenty of breath. He describes his lady as moving like a "swirling," "fragrant" "sea breeze," and sometimes his songs are on TV shows. Or kind of a lot, actually: Intervention, Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Rescue Me, One Tree Hill, As the World Turns—the list keeps going. Go Spokane. JG
(Sat, 1:45 pm, Fountain Lawn) Do you like bands that sound like early Fugazi and/or the Replacements? Do you like no-bullshit rock without a bunch of bells and whistles, pink hair dye, or Auto-Tuned kittens meowing in the background? Do you like heavy guitars, intelligent lyrics, and lots of hooks for your brain to latch on to? Do you like food? Do you like coffee and/or long walks on a beach? If you say "yes" to liking even ONE of the aforementioned things, then you'll LOVE Unnatural Helpers. I bet you'll especially love the brand-new song from Land Grab (due out on September 25) called "Hate Your Teachers." It was hand-tailored to be a back-to-school classic. KO
(Mon, 8:30 pm, Fountain Lawn) Kurt Cobain's favorite Scottish pop band came back from a 20-year hiatus in 2010 to drop the surprisingly strong Sex with an X album. While it doesn't equal the raunchy vitality of the Vaselines' first gush of twee-pop effervescence—hardly much tops their first two stunning EPs, Son of a Gun and Dying for It—the new material proves that creative core Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee haven't lost their ability to craft catchy melodies, devise clever vocal interplay, and pen witty lyrics. They also deliver some of the most hilarious between-song banter in the biz. D. SEGAL See preview.
(Sun, 9:30 pm, Mural Amphitheater) Wanda Jackson was there when everyone decided to slap country and R&B music around a little bit and call it rock and roll. She was one of the human beings who dragged rockabilly into this world. Wanda Jackson will survive us all. Now she's on tour with the Dusty 45s, who are themselves no slouches with the country and the rock and the ass-kicking. This should be a special one. PC
(Sun, 1 pm, Exhibition Hall) I've been so enamored with Why?'s 2008 release Alopecia—the captivatingly dark lyrics, subtle beats that get more interesting with each listen—that I didn't even notice the band released Eskimo Snow in 2009. Even more notable, the hiphop-tinged indie rock band (indie rock–tinged hiphop band?) will release Mumps, Etc. in October. The first single, "Sod in the Seed," is heavier on the hiphop than the band's previous efforts, and it kind of reminds me of Gorillaz. Well, then. Hopefully their Bumbershoot set will feature even more new material, so we can better understand the direction they're going. MS
(Mon, 4:30 pm, Exhibition Hall) These three lads from Liverpool play music that sounds like it should be in commercials, and alas it has been. It's rock music that relies heavily on synths and sounds fun, energetic, and is probably easy to dance to. Don't go looking for the secrets to the universe here, but sometimes you don't have to learn anything to have a good time. "The lasers fill our minds with empty plans/I never knew I was a techno fan/ooh ooh ooh oooh oooh." DE
(Sun, 4 pm, Fisher Green) Just when you thought all possible combinations of "wolf" had been taken by other band names, BAM, Yelawolf hits you in the face, but not with his beard—he doesn't have one; those are reserved for other Wolf (and Eagle and Bear) bands—no, he's going to hit you with his Southern hiphop that sounds like the kind of hiphop an early '00s teen was probably exposed to in high school. I suppose when Eminem and Kid Rock are involved, it's going to sound like that. Familiar and... well, I'll just leave it at that. EN
(Sun, 4:30 pm, Promenade) In some ways, the Young Evils seem less like a band and more like a recipe for a cake. The ingredients: good looks, apt musicianship, charming lyrics, music industry connections, informed enthusiasm, and an apparent hunger to succeed. It would be easy to slag them off as privileged, but their songs are just too good. It's inventive indie rock without a lot of room for overplaying, which helps, because it's the harmonies and words that are the icing on top. DE
(Sat, 8 pm; Sun, 2:45 pm; Mon, 6:15 pm; Intiman) Brian Posehn is a well-loved nerd's nerd type of comedian. You'd probably recognize him from small parts on '90s TV shows like Friends, News Radio, and Seinfeld. Oh! And he was also a regular character on Just Shoot Me! Remember that show? Somehow I watched, like, every episode of that. More recently-ish, Posehn has been involved with The Comedians of Comedy, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, Tom Goes to the Mayor and The Sarah Silverman Program. He has a funny voice and seems like a nice guy. EMILY NOKES
(Sat—Mon, 3 pm, Vera Project) This is the battleground on which the Northwest's top comedians will wage war with each other in an hour-long battle to the death by jokes and giggles. The lineup will include different local laff-makers each day, such as Adam Ray, Joe Fontenot, Heneghen, and Manny Martin, all produced by "comedy producer" Sean McCann, who is probably Irish. DEREK ERDMAN
(Sat, 8 pm; Sun, 2:45 pm; Mon, 6:15 pm; Intiman) Damien Lemon is one of those subtle, straight-faced guys who can crack up a room with a simple ribbing on cross-racial adoption. Based out of New York, Lemon effectively delivers material based on supremely unfunny things like economic recession and sexual harassment with a rare, clever touch of class. MELODY DATZ
(Sat, 2:45 pm; Sun, 6:15 pm; Mon, 4:30 pm; Intiman) "I'm a really nice and funny person." —Dan Soder's Twitter account, July 25, 2012. DE
(Sat—Mon, 4:15 pm, Bagley Wright) This is your chance to watch Doug Benson tape his popular podcast, Doug Loves Movies, with a few funny friends. (If you've never seen a comedy podcast taping, it's like standup comedy only with more sitting.) Come for the jokes, stay for your chance to win things, up to and perhaps including Doug Benson's water bill. CIENNA MADRID
(Sun, 8 pm; Mon, 1 pm; Intiman) Fred Armisen's fan base is mostly due to Portlandia, the hit documentary series that shows the daily struggles of living a more alternative lifestyle than your neighbor in an all-white city. Portlandia's just been renewed for a third season by IFC—great news!—but this is Armisen's chance to show neophytes just how fucking funny he can be on the balls of his own two feet. C. MADRID
(Sun, 1 pm; Mon, 2:45 pm; Intiman) Jackie Kashian has contributed to This American Life, she hosts a very funny podcast called The Dork Forest, and she's an all-around practiced master at pointing out the obvious. Don't miss her. C. MADRID
(Sat, 1 pm; Sun, 4:30 pm; Mon, 2:45; Intiman) James Adomian is really fucking funny. Perhaps best known for his impersonations of George W. on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Adomian is funny enough to keep me glued to a crappy smartphone video for an hour and a half as he pounded cans of Tecate and went on about being gay, being a wrestler, being Danny DeVito. I look forward to seeing him without having to squint. MD
(Sun, 1:15 pm, Vera Project) Ever wanted to know how much of a comedian's standup routine is based on reality and how much is just hilarious bullshit? Jay Hollingsworth invites comedians on stage to present their best sets; then grills them on what elements are true and what has been beefed-up for the sake of good storytelling. C. MADRID
(Sun, 2:45 pm; Mon, 6:15 pm; Intiman) At first listen, Karen Kilgariff's new EP, Behind You, harkens back to '90s-esque heartfelt guitar strumming and girlish vocals—and then her lyrics kick in. Kilgariff tells it like she sees it, giving shit where she sees the shit's due to 21st-century icons such as Modern Family, Tina Fey, and Jesus Christ. MD
(Sat, 6:15 pm; Sun, 1 pm; Mon, 1 pm; Intiman) This comedian is also the brains behind several web series and radio programs, though his jokes are hit-and-miss. He leans toward self-deprecating without being personal enough to provoke empathy, and yet there is something SO SLIGHTLY QUIRKY about him, which somehow makes him charming even if the shit he's saying isn't funny. Erin Pike
(Sat—Mon, 6:30 pm, Vera Project) Come out to see the best local comedians Seattle has to offer! Each day, Laff Hole will be hosted by a different sketch group or comedian and will feature four or five local standups, including Adam Firestone, Tristan Devin, Edrease Peshtaz, Jessica Strauss, Brent Flyberg, and Brett Hamil, among others. C. MADRID
(Sat, 1 pm; Sun, 4:30 pm; Mon, 2:45 pm; Intiman) You probably recognize Nick Swardson from Grandma's Boy, Reno 911!, Bucky Larson, and just about every Adam Sandler movie ever, but you may be surprised to learn he's also a standup comic! He makes jokes about things we can all relate to: drunkenness, STDs and old people. HANNAH WILSON
(Sat—Mon, 6 pm, Bagley Wright) Paul F. Tompkins knows how to wear suits and tell jokes with the ceremonious flair of a Kentucky Derby dandy. He's been on every great comedy show of the last two decades—from Mr. Show with Bob and David and The Paul F. Tompkins Show to There Will Be Blood. Featuring comedians Jen Kirkman, Kumail Nanjiani, Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, and more! C. MADRID
(Sat, 1 pm; Sun, 6:15 pm; Mon, 4:30 pm; Intiman) Laff-master Ron Funches grew up on the mean streets of the South Side of Chicago and eventually moved to Oregon, providing a gold mine of comedic material, which touches on race and regionalism. He's black, he's clever, and fun is actually part of his last name. DE
(Mon, 1:15 pm, Vera Project) Luke Burbank is a Seattle radio personality who leads a cast of cohorts on a daily podcast that is funny, witty, and informational. I'm normally wary of how radio and television acts will translate in a festival atmosphere, but the TBTL team's charm is sure to please a portion of any crowd. DE
Curated by SIFF, the 1 Reel Film Festival is Bumbershoot's annual "celebration of cinematic brevity," this year featuring more than 100 short films from around the globe, running continuously—in a room containing air conditioning and comfortable chairs—throughout the festival. Every hour brings a new program, full list of programs below. All showings at the SIFF Film Center. DAVID SCHMADER
(Sun, 2 pm) Short films with an artsy bent, from documentaries on artists to experimental art films.
(Sat—Mon, 4:30 pm) A collection of the best short films of SIFF 2012, chosen by SIFF audiences.
(Sat—Mon, 3:30 pm) Another collection of the best short films screened at SIFF 2012, as chosen by SIFF jurists.
(Sat, 1 pm) A collection of dance-themed shorts, from choreographed technology to modern dance in space.
(Mon, 1 pm) Shorts chronicling hardcore sportiness, including extreme diving, extreme skateboarding, and extreme surfing. EXTREME!
(Sun, 1 pm; Mon, 2 pm) A collection of music-themed shorts, featuring such subjects as the Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, Australian punks, and elks wandering around to Fleet Foxes songs.
(Sat—Mon, 8 pm) Short films that are unafraid to be bizarre and family-unfriendly. Topics include dried blood, venison, a ravenous monster, a missing toddler, and a haunted hotel.
(Sat—Mon, noon) A collection of shorts you'd be happy to watch with your 6-year-old niece and 80-year-old grandmother.
(Sat, 2 pm) Short films that better be funny, or the title of this program is a lie. Includes silent slapstick, fake Canadian campaign ads, and a puberty comedy from Germany!
(Sat, 5:30 pm) Tales of pointy-headed obsession, involving everything from superheroines and hackers to animated Stanley Kubrick.
(Sun, 5:30 pm) The results of this year's Fly Filmmaking Challenge, wherein four local directors have 10 days to shoot and edit a short film.
(Sat—Mon, 7 pm) Squirmy tales of the search for love, with side trips into obsession, confusion, and a lake.
(Mon, 5:30 pm) What do you expect? YOU WILL NOT FIND IT HERE. What you will find: shorts about weirdly beloved teddy bears, psychedelic animation, and a Behind the Music–style exposé of the barbershop quartet Lucifer's Crewcut.
(Sat, 6:45 pm; Sun, 2 pm; Center House Theater) Bed Snake is a hiphop musical by Noah Benezra and Hannah Victoria Franklin that premiered at Washington Ensemble Theater. Wolf is a dopey stoner; Kry$tal is a famous rapper who is also the devil. Wearing a magenta bra and fishnets, Kry$tal seduces Wolf into selling his soul, after which he ends up onstage with her as part of rap duo Blood Kry$tal Wolf. The rhymes that come out of their mouths will make you laugh until your face hurts: "Her pussy is a dark fuckin' chasm/My girl Kry$tal invented the orgasm... When you see the girl, man, kiss the ring/Kry$tal got titties made out of bling." ANNA MINARD
(Sun, 7 pm, Center House Theater) Live Girls! Theater, dedicated to promoting new works by women, produces a biannual cabaret with a bunch of ladies. This round, the theme is "just dance," so expect about a thousand Fame references, leg warmers, leotards, and other tributes to popular dance culture (Dirty Dancing? Saturday Night Fever? That Ciara song "1, 2 Step"?). ERIN PIKE
(Sat, 3:45 pm; Mon, 5:15 pm; Center House Theater) Local comedian and actor Kate Jaeger—a longtime affiliate of Live Girls! Theater and Wing-It Productions—knows how to own a stage and is frequently funnier than a purse full of parrots trying to give each other manicures. Her solo show Miss Fanny's Fun Box chronicles the final episode of a children's show before it gets shoved off the air by Extreme Toddler Cage Match. BRENDAN KILEY
(Mon, 3:45 pm, Center House Theater) IT'S NERDS + IMPROV = HA-HA-HA. Standard improv usually has a dollop-sized dose of nerd, so this particular strain of improv promises to be positively bursting with it, broaching all kinds of nerdy audience-suggested subjects like Star Wars and nerd video games and Harry Potter and nerd comic books. Nerds. EP
(Sat, 2:30 pm; Mon, 2:30 pm; Center House Theater) ACT Theater is in the middle of producing a new adaptation of the Sanskrit epic poem the Ramayana, which concerns monkey kings, demon armies, early thoughts about dharma, and the journey of Rama (an avatar of Vishnu) to find his kidnapped wife. As part of its own epic journey, ACT has been making connections in Seattle's Asian communities, and this youth ensemble has 20 performers using dance and puppetry from India to Indonesia to interpret their own version of the story. BK
(Mon, 7 pm, Center House Theater) Sandbox Radio Live! reanimates the old-fashioned radio show with short sketches—some comical, some not-so-comical—and entr'acte music and fake commercials. Some live radio-drama programs are dull as dishwater, but Sandbox pulls from some of Seattle's best theater talent: Leslie Law, Charles Leggett, Scot Augustson, Paul Mullin, Amy Thone, Jose Gonzales, Marya Sea Kaminski, and dozens of others who bring the high-octane, sprawling comedy of a group of professionals flying by the seats of their collective pants. BK See preview.
(Sun, 3:45 pm, Center House Theater) Some of Seattle's most favoritest sketch-comedy groups that regularly perform in the oldest sketch-comedy festival in the US: Charles, Ubiquitous They, and the Entertainment Show. What do they all have in common (besides being regulars at SketchFest)? Stranger comedy correspondent Lindy West has heaped loving praise on all three. BK
(Sat, 5 pm; Sun, 5:30 pm; Center House Theater) Longtime Seattle improv favorites stage a presidential election cycle in 60 minutes. If only we could dispense with this presidential election so quickly. Mitt Romney is clearly inept, unfit for the job, and bound for the dustbin of history. How long before we can start forgetting that he ever existed? BK
(Mon, 8:30 pm, Bagley Wright) The Atomic Bombshells are Seattle's most venerable burlesque dancers—one of their award-winning members, Miss Indigo Blue, even has her own Academy of Burlesque with 11 different teachers. The Bombshells have been instrumental in spearheading the Seattle burlesque revival, practicing the old-fashioned stuff with new inflections—queer, neo-vaudeville, boylesque, what have you. BRENDAN KILEY
(Sun, 8:30 pm, Bagley Wright) Cherdonna and Lou are the gender-bending, brilliantly campy modern-dance duo whose latest show, out out there (A Whole Night Lost), will warp your mind with delight. (Key pleasures: Lou's gorgeously eloquent dancing, Cherdonna's entire head.) DAVE SCHMADER See preview.
(Sat, 12:15 pm, Bagley Wright) An athletic, acrobatic trio whose performance style lands somewhere in the intersection of dance, theater, and comedy, Galumpha often uses odd props (Velcro and tennis balls, for example). ERIN PIKE
(Sat, 8:30 pm, Bagley Wright) The American treasure behind such cult-film landmarks as the coprophiliatastic Pink Flamingos and the glorious, original Hairspray takes the stage to tell charming tales of his luridly charmed life. According to its PR, This Filthy World: Filthier & Dirtier finds Waters focusing on "his early artistic influences and his fascination with true crime, exploitation films, fashion lunacy, the extremes of the art world, Catholicism, sexual deviancy, and a love of reading." D. SCHMADER See preview.
(Mon, 12:15 pm, Bagley Wright) Velocity Dance Center, which won a Stranger Genius Award in 2003, has been a fertile local incubator for internationally renowned choreographers. (The latest big shot, Zoe Scofield, won a prestigious award from the Princess Grace Foundation this year and has also been nominated for a 2012 Stranger Genius Award.) This showcase will be a primer of Seattle's modern-dance scene: Scofield's meticulously designed, often spooky (though occasionally funny) "feral ballet," and Amy O'Neal, a leader of the pack in fusing pop culture and hiphop with modern dance. Both Scofield and O'Neal are rigorous, inspired artists moving along very different aesthetic trajectories. Joining them: young Turks Kate Wallich (who works with tight, moody ambience) and Markeith Wiley (who, like O'Neal, injects his modern choreography with b-boy and other street-dance styles). This should be a broad, informative survey of Seattle dance that goes down easy. BK
(Sun, 12:15 pm, Bagley Wright) Take a break from the sun and the more frenetic sounds to sit in an air-conditioned room, listening to virtuosos do their thing, but without the penguin suits. Assistant Seattle Symphony conductor Stilian Kirov will lead a chamber orchestra through baroque music, some Piazzolla tangos, and a piece for violin and cassette player titled "Memo." BK
Words & Ideas
(Mon, noon, Leo K.) Bushwick Book Club is a local music series wherein musicians read one particular book and write an original song or two in response to it. It's often a funny, strange anthology of an evening, and you can always tell when the performer didn't actually read the book in question, which is fun, too. Today's book is the classic A Wrinkle in Time, and musicians include Sean Nelson, along with some of the most entertaining Bushwick veterans—Tai Shan, Wes Weddell, and most especially Bucket of Honey. PAUL CONSTANT
(Sun, noon, Leo K.) Phoenix, who is purportedly a "Retro pop culture humorist and author," will discuss the "kitschy pop culture of yesterday," in particular the 1962 World's Fair, which, rumor has it, happened 50 years ago. PC
(Sat, 3:30 pm, Leo K.) I'm sorry, but I just don't get it. It's a kids' book with a cuss word in the title. Why is it such a huge deal, with Samuel L. Jackson and Werner Herzog getting involved? It's not that funny. People with kids tell me that I'd understand the viral appeal of Go the Fuck to Sleep if I ever had kids, but I just don't think it's that good of a joke. Look, I can play, too: Winnie-the-Poop. Get it? No? It's kind of subtle. Oh, fuck you. You'd understand if you had kids. PC
(Sat, noon, Leo K.) Whoever named this event should be fired. You get some of the best spoken-word poets in the area—including Karen Finneyfrock and Tara Hardy—on a bill and you waste space in the title on a shitty made-up word like "fem-myths"? Here's what you need to know: Hedgebrook is an awesome organization from Whidbey Island that is devoted to literature written for and by females. Some of those females will read. You will not be bored. The end. PC
(Sun, 1:45 pm, Leo K.) The senior editor of MAD magazine will discuss "banned books, movie ratings, the FCC, the Patriot Act, and the true meaning of obscenity," as well as the history of MAD. This will be an interesting talk, and I bet there will be a lot of single men in the audience if you're looking for love, ladies. PC
(Sun, 3:30 pm, Leo K.) Erlandson was the guitarist for Hole. Letters to Kurt is a collection of letters Erlandson wrote to Kurt Cobain. I bet Cobain would have hated the fact that this reading exists. PC
(Sat, 1:45 pm, Leo K.) I don't know if I ever want to cook from Modernist Cuisine—I'm more a casseroles and steak kind of guy—but I sure do love to read it, and I definitely want to eat recipes from it. Modernist Cuisine examines all the latest ways to cook food—using science!—and today, some of the scientists and chefs who helped write the book will discuss why it's so important. The big caveat here is that if you attend this reading, you will want to buy Modernist Cuisine, and it costs just over six hundred dollars. You read that right. PC
(Mon, 3:30 pm, Leo K.) We get lots of e-mails from dancers accusing us of not caring enough about dance. To those dancers, I say you should get down with the man (and woman) in the mirror before you accuse anyone of not giving a shit about dance. Read the title of this event. Why would anyone want to attend that? It's about something very interesting—the way music videos present dance—but the title of the event and the description, which promises an "open community dialogue," sound to me like a PhD-level lecture on The Epidemiology of Drying Paint, presented by Professor Rotting Corpse. PC
(Mon, 1:45 pm, Leo K.) Quentin Rowan published a pretentious thriller that was almost immediately proven to be a patchwork of plagiarism, from sources as obvious as Ian Fleming and Graham Greene. Then he wrote a memoir about his experiences. I urge you not to attend this reading, thereby giving this loser another moment of literary fame. Shame on Bumbershoot for trying to cash in on Rowan's sleazy aura like this instead of booking a real, deserving author instead. PC
(Sat, 7 pm, Leo K.) Conflict of interest alert! These guys are really funny and smart. They're also my coworkers—or, in Lindy's case, former coworker—and bosses. So, yeah, take my recommendation with a grain of salt: I'm biased. But you should go to this anyway, because they're awesome. PC See preview.
(Mon, 7 pm, Leo K.) One time, I found myself standing in Tom Skerritt's living room with Ken Jennings. I didn't want to mention Jennings's record-breaking winning streak on Jeopardy! because I figured everybody did that. So instead I thanked him for being so funny on Twitter. It's true! Jennings is a hilarious crafter of tweets, and he's charming and very funny in person, too, which makes him a brilliant choice for a trivia night host. This should be fun. PC
(Mon, 5:15 pm, Leo K.) It's time again for Bumbershoot's most confusing and awkward panel discussion series, the Why This? Why That? Why Now? "investigations." Why bother? Why feign interest? Who cares? PC
(Sat, 5:15 pm, Leo K.) If you have to attend one of these things—and believe me, you don't—this is the one to attend, because it stars my lovely and hilarious former coworker, and current Jezebel editor, Lindy West. Lindy will make up for whatever lack of guidance or intelligence the rest of the yet-to-be-determined-at-press-time panel will provide by sheer force of will alone. PC
(Sun, 5:15 pm, Leo K.) Another day, another confusing and pointless panel discussion with a cloying name! This one features brilliant comedian Solomon Georgio, though, so it's at least guaranteed to be funny. PC
(Sun, 7 pm, Leo K.) At last! Because you demanded it! The writers of Futurama will discuss writing Futurama. Panelists include David X. Cohen, Eric Horsted, Ken Keeler, Josh Weinstein, and Mike Rowe. If you're a fan of Futurama, you don't need me to tell you to go to this. If you don't know what a Futurama is, this would be an incredibly boring panel to sit through. PC
(Sat—Mon, Fisher Pavilion) Christopher Martin Hoff, who died suddenly this spring, was the first artist who'd been confirmed to be featured at Bumbershoot. This is not the show he'd have intended, but let's take this time to consider a wide collection of his works and personal materials (which comes on the heels of a recent smaller memorial exhibition at Linda Hodges Gallery, and will be followed by an exhibition of his early works opening September 6 at Fountainhead Gallery)—not to mourn what might have been, but to celebrate and learn from what was. JEN GRAVES See preview.
(Sat—Mon, Seattle Center Pavilion) Fifty years ago, Elvis came to Seattle to shoot the movie It Happened at the World's Fair—and now Seattle's number-one Elvis fans, the fantastic Marlow Harris and Jo David, have organized his second coming. Elvistravaganza includes an exhibition of 15 LA artists inspired by the King, curated by past museum and gallery director Annie Adjchavanich and Juxtapoz founder Greg Escalante. Among the rest of the Elvis-loving artists from around the world are Finland's Markku Laakso. You must see what he makes. Here's Harris's description: "Markku is from the village of Koppelo in the Lapland town of Inari. He paints traditional Lappist peasants with Elvis." Yes, he does. Mm-hmm. It's as good as you hope it is. JG
(Sat—Mon, Fisher Pavilion) Seattle artist Dylan Neuwirth's 12-foot circular neon sculpture NOW—it resembles a rainbow looking at its reflection in grayscale—changes hues "to represent our continuous cycle of personal change across time." JG
(Sat—Mon, Seattle Center Pavilion) The first iteration of Record Store opened in December 2011 in an empty storefront in Pioneer Square, in conjunction with Chicago artist Theaster Gates's Listening Room installation at Seattle Art Museum. DJs hosted listening parties so that people could exchange ideas and dance moves at a "store" where nothing was for sale. Bumbershoot continues the tradition created/curated by SAM's Sandra Jackson-Dumont and Olson Kundig Architects. JG
(Sat—Mon, Fisher Pavilion) Just like the Space Needle, the Seattle World's Fair, and the creation of The Jetsons all in the same year sent projections of the future out into the ether, so Skyward! is a display of contemporary artists' visions of what's to come—"and what life might be like if we lived in the sky," write curators Shelly Leavens and Jana Brevick. The lineup of artists is starry: Britta Johnson, Emily Pothast and David Golightly, Vaughn Bell and Iole Alessandrini, Heather and Ivan Morison, Ron Lambert, Hollow Earth Radio's Garrett Kelly and Amber Kai Morgan, and more. JG
(Sat—Mon, Fisher Pavilion) "And you think our title is a little vague?" says curator Sarah Traver, laughing, when asked to explain what This Is Glass will cover. Turns out it's a group show meant as a counterpoint to the new Chihuly Garden and Glass displays that are also going to be at the heart of Bumbershoot. This Is Glass "takes a closer look at how glass is being used in contemporary art outside the realm of craft and the Dale Chihuly/Dante Marioni beautiful-object realm," Traver says. "Not that there's anything wrong with that!" Artists include Matthew Szosz (pronounced Zoze: "best last name ever"), Edison Osorio Zapata, Christopher McElroy, Katherine Gray, and John Drury and Robbie Miller working together under the name CUD. JG