Music

Fucking in the Streets

Best of Bumbershoot

Fucking in the Streets

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The best act of the day Saturday was easily Gang Gang Dance, an experimental outfit from NYC that fuse gothic vocals (courtesy of witchy singer Liz Bougatsos), noisy psychedelic murk, and unstoppable, internationally accented percussive grooves. Their set built from tinkling, otherworldly space jam to gently Balearic quasi tropicalia—all glassy synths, steel-drum sounds, slow steady rhythmic thump giving way to hard-pounded jungle beats, and Bougatsos's Kate Bush–lite vocals and the keyboardist's moaning delayed and stretched and smeared and looped all over the place. One song sounded like an airplane taking off ever higher and higher. For their finale, the band busted out a fucking fantastic Liquid Liquid–style percussive jam, a tight-circling marimba melody bouncing around on a bed of interlocking and then counter-rhythmic drumming. The crowd that hadn't been scared off earlier was now dancing in ecstatic little pockets (an improvement from GGD's last Seattle set at the Triple Door: This time you could actually dance along with the Gang).

Sunday belonged to Holy Fuck. If you're going to give yourself a profane exclamation for a band name, you better live up to it, and Holy Fuck totally do—hell, they could add a few exclamation points and still be in very good shape. If you were diligent and lucky, you could see the band three times that day; for their proper evening performance at the Broad Street Stage, the Canadian instrumental quartet—consisting of an impressively locked-in drummer and bassist and a couple guys on cheapo keyboards and analog effects—had the crowd eating it up, dancing and clapping along and even crowd-surfing to their weird, robot-voiced future funk and muscular motorik grooves. It was great to see such an audience for one of the fest's more outré acts, although there's nothing particularly hard to grasp about the band's visceral rhythms and booming low end, even if it's all flecked with weird bursts of crackling noise or smeared with delayed falsetto or walkie-talkie-grade vocoder vocals. The set built to one elevated crescendo after another, reaching a seriously ecstatic climax in the soaring strings of "Lovely Allen"—it felt like the Space Needle towering above the stage was about to lift off. Stellar.

Best of the whole weekend, though, was Modest Mouse's festival-closing Monday night set on the Main Stage. Their set was nicely balanced between new and old material, from "Dramamine" to "Satellite Skin," with an emphasis on The Moon & Antarctica, and the expanded (seven piece?) band sounded great, perfectly loud and clear from dubby bass to cleanly cutting treble, their arrangements alternately spare and booming as the songs deserved. Highlights: the extended jamming and Isaac Brock's freestyle almost-rapping on "Dramamine" and "Tiny Cities Made of Ashes" (both were everything I always loved about Modest Mouse's old sloppy and feral and combustible sets, translated without a hitch to the arena); the unexpected inclusion of The Lonesome Crowded West's thrash freak-out "Shit Luck" and its forlorn B-side ballad "Baby Blue Sedan"; The Moon & Antarctica's stunning, heartbreaking opener "3rd Planet"; and the inevitable but still totally irresistible sing-along of "Float On." recommended

 

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