Bumbershoot Guide 2014
(Sun, 1 pm, Starbucks Stage) I'll forgive LA bluesmen the 44's for their errant use of apostrophes because they look super tough and are named after a vintage gun. They also sound super tough, kicking out no-bullshit gnarly-harmonica-laden Americana blues/roots jams. Kid Ramos, the guitarist from the Fabulous Thunderbirds, will be joining the 44's, about whom he has been quoted as saying, "They play like their life depends on it, and you can quote me." EMILY NOKES
(Sun, 8 pm, Pavilion Stage) Mr. Simpson's Facebook page describes him as an "old school DJ (circa 1999)," and we all know what that means: "Sandstorm." His website is what I would describe as an old-school website, circa 1999. It's a file directory. Currently listening to: aaronsimpson_volume1_2000.mp3 and digging it. I won't say it's completely identical to "Sandstorm," but I will say that if I were to dance to this song, my dancing would be completely identical to the dancing I would dance to "Sandstorm." Pressed to characterize it further, I would say it's sort of like a more low-key "Sandstorm." KRISHANU RAY
(Mon, 10 pm, Fisher Green Stage) Here we have the Boston frat-rap duo of David von Mering and Carter Schultz, a couple of dudes blending "rap, reggae, pop, and indie rock aesthetics"—think Sugar Ray, Crazy Town, or LFO, but, sadly, without labret piercings, frosted tips, precision chin-strap facial hair, or elaborate back pieces. Nope, these two simply like marijuana, occasionally wear matching tracksuits, and have a song that asks a woman for her phone number and also where she is going in that short skirt. EN
(Sat, 10 pm, Fisher Green Stage) The Afghan Whigs are one of those bands that are impossible to separate from their frontman's persona. In this case, Greg Dulli possesses an intense bad-boy swagger that's clearly alluring to some, but to me it seemed as if he was always trying to prove something. The Whigs reunited a couple years ago and in April released a new album on Sub Pop, Do to the Beast—their first in 16 years. From the songs I've heard, it sounds as if the Whigs haven't lost any of their belly-scorching fire. KATHLEEN RICHARDS See preview.
(Mon, 7 pm, Pavilion Stage) Seattle's Allen Oh has been DJing as Audioh since 2010, when he got his start at Northwest Film Forum and Kai's Bistro, under the mentorship of DJ Law. He plays all kinds of music and the people like him; the clubs keep inviting him back. He's been a regular at the Social, Volume, Foundation, and the Showbox. Do you like Above & Beyond, BT, Myon & Shane 54, Dinka, and Late Night Alumni? Yes, you do. And he has shared stages with them. JEN GRAVES
(Mon, 1:30 pm, End Zone Stage) Can Olympic gold medals translate into rock 'n' roll? Find out when snowboard star Shaun White picks up the guitar in his bland synth-rock band Bad Things. I was about to say that there's nothing terribly offensive about these Warner Bros. Records bros other than being kind of tepid, but then a song came with the lyric: "Stop: don't talk, bitch. Why you running away?" Maybe old Flying Tomato should stick to landing back-to-back double corks (which is apparently a snowboarding thing he's good at). ROBIN EDWARDS
(Sat, 7:45 pm, Pavilion Stage) Seattle's own Bgeezy is one of those DJs who mix hot party hits together so you can feel like you're dancing in a Mazda commercial and don't have to deal with listening to an entire song. He's also gonna ride the ironic mullet thing until sincere mullets come back into style. EN
(Sat, 2:45 pm, Fisher Green Stage) The Bumbershoot website lists New Orleans' Big Freedia (pronounced "Freeda") in the "soul" category. I suppose with no section for "bounce music" or "booty rap," soul will have to do. Freedia, the person, is also somewhat unclassifiable. "I am not transgendered; I am just a gay male," Freedia told Louisiana music mag OffBeat. "I wear women's hair and carry a purse, but I am a man. I answer to either 'he' or 'she.'" Either way, Freedia "the Queen Diva" has blazed a trail all her own, setting a Guinness World Record for "Most People Twerking Simultaneously," starring in two seasons of the reality television show Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce, and recently releasing a fourth album, Just Be Free. KELLY O
(Sun, 8 pm, Starbucks Stage) Home to the raucous "Kizza Me" and fragile "Blue Moon," the ornate "Stroke It Noel" and forlorn "Holocaust," Big Star's 1978 release Third is an album worthy of its legend. After the Velvet Underground, no band influenced alternative rock more than Big Star, and Third is where songwriter Alex Chilton forges his most idiosyncratic alliance of classic-rock impulses and his own warped soul. At Bumbershoot, Third will be re-created in its entirety by a slew of highly qualified people, including Big Star's Jody Stephens, R.E.M.'s Mike Mills, the dB's Chris Stamey, the Posies' Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow, Let's Active's Mitch Easter, and a 12-piece local ensemble of strings and brass. (The listing also promises "surprise special guests"—could one of them be preeminent Chilton fan Paul Westerberg, who'll be on the festival grounds to perform with the Replacements? Let us pray.) DAVID SCHMADER See preview.
(Mon, 6:15 pm, Fisher Green Stage) Bomba Estéreo, rather than a band, describe themselves as "a project led by visual artist Simón Mejía, in collaboration with different musicians, DJs, and artists." They appear to be a pretty big deal in their native Colombia, boasting a Latin Grammy, multiple world tours, and pop-culture recognition (including soundtracking an episode of Dexter!). They make irresistibly party-friendly, hip-shaking music incorporating Latin rhythms and modern electro flair, and their videos are full of excellent bright-colored nonsense. (Seriously. I'm watching their singer lip-synch into a plastic ax while monsters twerk in the background.) Go. Dance. Be happy. KATIE ALLISON
(Sun, 10 pm, Fisher Green Stage) Funk is not a genre of music. Funk is a philosophy, a way of being, and an unquantifiable essence. Like hiphop's current fixation on "swag," for a while there, possessing the ineffable quality of funk was just as important as knowing how to play your instrument. Bootsy Collins—bassist extraordinaire for both godfather of funk James Brown and funky-ass juggernaut Parliament/Funkadelic—is the funkiest human alive. He oozes funk from every pore of his body. For Collins, now 62, funk is more than a lifestyle: It is a life force. KYLE FLECK
(Sat, 8 pm, Fisher Green Stage) The Both are the combined talents of solo alt-rock maven Aimee Mann and punk stalwart Ted Leo (of Ted Leo and the Pharmacists). As a duo, the music highlights their humor, charm, and super-smart songwriting skills. The only complaint I have against their new project is that Ted Leo still won't be my boyfriend. EN
(Mon, 2 pm, Fountain Lawn Stage) Local band Campfire OK started out a few years ago closer to the Northwest alt-folk/Americana scene. (There were banjos.) But the five-piece group has recently backed away from that sound and their latest record leans more toward dance-rock with keyboards and shimmery guitar sounds. ("No more banjos," says bass player Aaron Huffman who—full disclosure—is The Stranger's art director.) This is a chance to see a band in a new state of emergence. BRENDAN KILEY
(Mon, 2:30 pm, Mainstage) The founding members of Los Angeles–based Capital Cities, Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian, met on Craigslist six years ago and originally collaborated as jingle writers for commercials. You may know their multi-platinum synth-pop hit "Safe and Sound," which, fittingly, has been used in commercials for HBO, Smart Car, Microsoft, the 2014 Mazda 3, and more. BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT
(Sat, 4:15 pm, End Zone Stage) Cataldo have been making the rounds on the local summer-festival circuit, playing Capitol Hill Block Party, Doe Bay Festival, and, now, Bumbershoot, and it's easy to see why. The Seattle band, led by singer-songwriter Eric Anderson, specializes in lightly folkie, low-boiling pop that's thoughtfully orchestrated and competently executed. On Gilded Oldies, staccato piano chords, declarative drumbeats, punchy horns, and Anderson's sensitive-guy vocals are tastefully woven together for tunes that are equally suitable for harmless summer-festival grooving or slightly stinging post-breakup wistfulness. K. RICHARDS
(Sun, 2:45 pm, Starbucks Stage) Everything I know about Charlie Musselwhite comes from Wikipedia: "Charles 'Charlie' Musselwhite is an American electric-blues-harmonica player and bandleader, one of the non-black bluesmen who came to prominence in the early 1960s... Though he has often been identified as a 'white bluesman,' he claims Native American heritage... Musselwhite was reportedly the inspiration for Dan Aykroyd's character in The Blues Brothers." For Bumbershoot, the Grammy-winning Blues Hall of Famer shares his famous gifts as part of the blues music showcase. D. SCHMADER
(Mon, 4:45 pm, End Zone Stage) It'll be tough for Tendai Maraire to elude comparisons to Shabazz Palaces, his other main project, and this blurb isn't helping. Where Shabazz's new Lese Majesty is a subliminal psychedelic hip-hop journey, Maraire and Hussein Kalonji's Chimurenga Renaissance fuses the former's Zimbabwean musical elements with declamatory, alpha-male rap moves. Their Erik Blood–produced debut album riZe VadZimu riZe is a rhythmically punchy and texturally vibrant work (mbira makes everything sound better) that aims to uplift and educate. Don't be shocked if Shabazz and THEESatisfaction cohorts jump on the End Zone Stage. Dave SEGAL See preview.
(Sun, 4 pm, End Zone Stage) Are you a regular at Edge of the Circle? Have you ever signed your overwrought, melodramatic love letter in blood? Is that a black-and-white poster of Ian Curtis hanging in your bedroom? Do you long for clove-flavored e-cigs? Is "Dead Can Dance" your go-to soundtrack for housework? Do you totally relate to Robert Smith? Is Willow your favorite Buffy character? Is the only jewelry you wear silver? If you answered yes to any of the above, you should put down the sage and get your goth-witch butt to the gauzy, hazy, dark summer sounds you've inadvertently summoned. BREE MCKENNA
(Sat, 3 pm, Pavilion Stage) If I were to compare local band Cumulus to early 1990s outfit Belly, would you consider that an insult? I certainly don't mean it to be insulting: I came to Belly late, but there was something to their post–Throwing Muses sound that I found impossibly compelling. And like Belly, Cumulus is unashamed pop rock, a jangly verse-chorus-verse-making machine that plays with high levels of attraction and minor notes of repulsion. Singer/guitarist/songwriter Alexandra Niedzialkowski's high-pitched voice is at once attractive and a little bit prickly—a burr soaked in honey. PAUL CONSTANT
(Mon, 1 pm, Starbucks Stage) From the nearby Canada-land of Victoria, BC—a town famous for tea parties, lovely flower baskets, and filling the Strait of Juan de Fuca with human waste—comes Current Swell, a rootsy folk-rock foursome that fits nicely into the continuing overalls-and-banjos trend. This show should make for a chill music-festival sway-along time. Bring snacks. ANNA MINARD
(Mon, 2:45 pm, Fisher Green Stage) I don't care that you drank too much and got super-emotional at the Replacements show last night, do NOT miss DakhaBrakha. This foursome is made up of Ukrainian underground theater performers whose strange and wonderful music is an updated take on their country's folk music. Dressed in what I assumed to be some form of traditional costume (which includes tall wooly hats and wedding-like dresses), they shall transfix you with eerie harmonies and knock the hangover out of you with furious rhythm. EN
(Sat, 4:30 pm, Fisher Green Stage) Danny Brown is the best thing to come outta Detroit since Berry Gordy and the Plymouth Barracuda. The wild-haired, front-tooth-missing, Gene-Simmons-tongue-having rapper once credited his early rhyming skills to the fact that his mom read him lots of Dr. Seuss books as a kid. His lyrics are both monstrous fables of growing up in a deserted and desperate Detroit, and tongue-in-cheek odes to dirty drugs and even dirtier sex. Best when he's at his most absurd, Brown sasses in his song "Detroit 187": "Borderline porcupine/A step from drinking turpentine/Just to wash down a plate of wack rappers' rhymes." KO
(Sat, 9:30 pm, Pavilion Stage) If EDM's your jam, this veteran Portland DJ Dig-Dug (né Doug McIntyre)'s set is definitely the place to don Kandi masks and neon whatevers and dance. Alternately, if EDM is not your jam, the Pavilion Stage is the place to be a people-watching tourist (or avoid completely). RE
(Sun, 9 pm, Fountain Lawn Stage) The '90s reunions continue, this time with the Dismemberment Plan, which reformed three years ago after an eight-year break. The Washington, DC, band's most recent release, 2013's Uncanney Valley, was a more tempered take on their angular, jittery, dancey brand of indie rock, but if you're lucky, they may still let you jump around onstage during "The City." K. RICHARDS
(Sat, 4:45 pm, Starbucks Stage) Up in remote northeast Washington in the late '70s, the Emerson brothers were hatching a cult masterpiece. Unfortunately, it took over 30 years for the public to hear it. After Light in the Attic reissued their 1979 LP Dreamin' Wild in 2012, the world finally got an earful of these funky farm-boys' soulful vocals and love-drunk melodic gifts. A second archival release of synth-heavy new-wave pop arrived this year, adding new facets to the Emersons' abundant appeal. Find out why esteemed figures like Ariel Pink and Dâm-Funk dig these bros. D. SEGAL
(Sun, 4:30 pm, Starbucks Stage) Some bands' debut albums are so stunning and perfect, you're afraid to hear anything else they do afterward. Such is the case with Dream Syndicate's 1982 classic The Days of Wine and Roses. For one sweet record, these LA cats channeled the frazzled, breakneck sound and spirit of the Velvet Underground at their John Cale–era best, caustic guitar jangles and deadpan Reed-like vocals and all. One of rock's greatest homages, Days almost upstages its inspiration. The heart-wrenching "Tell Me When It's Over" will kill and resurrect you all at once. D. SEGAL
(Sat, 1:45 pm, Pavilion Stage) The readers of British music rag NME recently voted Radiohead as the most influential band in music today. And it's true that since Kid A, rockers have been more willing to diddle around with synthesizers, samples, and drum machines, all while equating complication with sophistication and po-faced melodrama with ambition. That's all well and good, but sometimes you just need to listen to power-pop and pogo like a damn asshole to a song called "Fuck City," and that's what Dude York are for. KF
(Sat, 6:15 pm, Mainstage) Two years ago, Elvis Costello and the Imposters landed at the Paramount with their Spectacular Spinning Songbook, a Wheel-of-Fortune-like contraption tricked out with song titles spanning Costello's 30-year career. The audience was treated to everything from his earliest hits to his latest creations to loving covers of the Beatles. Here's hoping a similar spirit of generosity infuses the band's Bumbershoot gig. As I learned at the Paramount, Seattle has a very deep and special love for Mr. Costello, inspiring him to do things like 45-minute encores. Don't miss the lovefest. D. SCHMADER See preview.
(Sat, 11:45 am, Starbucks Stage) I fear what would happen if the brilliant jazz bassist Evan Flory-Barnes left Seattle. Really, what would result in the absence of his support? What would be the size and scale of the devastation? Because it is better that we never find out, let's make sure to give a lot of much-deserved love to his shows and his many projects about town, one of which is Infinity Upright! If you want to hear music that will expand your feeling for music, then don't miss this performance. CHARLES MUDEDE
(Sun, 7:30 pm, End Zone Stage) Excuse me, but I now must quote at length: "They met. They fell in love. They wrote songs. They fought. They made up. They broke up. They wrote songs. At a time when for most it would be the end of a relationship, for the Falls this feels like it is just the beginning." So please be warned that by attending this show, you're basically intruding on the potentially volatile, emotional folk-space of two people who are, for all we know, still very upset with each other, and you may be putting yourself on the receiving end of a stray cartoon dinner plate or lyrical emotion-bullet. K. RAY
(Sun, 9:30 pm, Pavilion Stage) "DROPPING BASS BOMBS FROM 50,000 FEET," reads First Class's "about" section. Okey-dokey. Having listened to their Paradiso 2014 set, I would posit that their bass bombs are actually dropped from closer to a mere 2,396 feet, but that's probably for safety reasons. Look, if you like the kind of dubstep/EDM/trap/drum-'n'-bass that currently owns the entire world, you'll probably like First Class. They do a good, solid job of it, with plenty of interesting flourishes and body-movin' breakdowns. If that's not your thing, this would be the right time to go see some art or get your face painted or something. KA
(Sat, 11:45 am, Fisher Green Stage) Apparently Mayor Murray likes this band. At least, he put them on a playlist of tunes to psych up Seahawks fans before the Super Bowl. And hey, it worked! Everything I know about football I learned from Friday Night Lights, but I do know this: Fly Moon Royalty's song "Lemonade"—a sultry R&B piano combines with electro beats while Adra Boo's totally dreamy voice sings about turning lemons for a profit—is as inspirational as one of Coach Taylor's pep talks to the Panthers. Or, um, some kind of nonfictional football thing. RE
(Mon, 9:15 pm, Mainstage) Ten years from now, when we're picking through the wreckage of America left behind by President Rand Paul, the only memory we'll have of Foster the People is their runaway hit "Pumped Up Kicks." Those of us who survive the economic and infrastructural devastation President Paul caused will look around the ruins of the last record store in Seattle and say, "Oh, yeah, that's the really catchy song about the school shooter, isn't it? The one with the dreamy chorus and the whistling bit? That sounded really good. You know, at the time." Then we'll quietly start crying and listen to the sound of explosions off in the distance. PC
(Sat, 6:15 pm, Fisher Green Stage) On the cover of his album These Things Happen, with his slicked-back hair and old-school leather jacket, Oakland rapper G-Eazy looks more West Side Story Jets than West Side gangsta. "But how does the music sound?" you ask. Well, his lugubrious party raps split the difference between particularly emo Kid Cudi cuts and glassy-eyed latter-day Wiz Khalifa, to predictably diminished returns. Kid sure has a handsome mug, though. KF
(Sun, 1:30 pm, Pavilion Stage) Scoring all your haunted sleepwalking and/or heavy-skied daydreams since 2010, Seattle's Golden Gardens craft moody, blue, velvet-hued synth-rock for lonesome souls and underappreciated poetic types. Their recently released Bellflower EP shows a heightened attention to detail and diversity, with standout "I'll Burn Alone" sounding like a lost cut from the Drive soundtrack, and "Carmilla" even making baby steps toward the dance floor. KF
(Mon, 12:30 pm, End Zone Stage) They want you to hear "neo-noir Los Angeles, cinematic haze, and midnight solitudes," and '80s music, too, and you pretty much do. These three dudes and a woman make music with a buzzy backdrop and the naif-pop progressions of what we all lived through way back when, which we quite liked and still do, and the whole situation is pleasant if not entirely located in time. They're from Canada, but they sound Depeche Mode-y English, so they're not located in space, either. Dislocate with them. JG
(Mon, 8 pm, Pavilion Stage) These best friends and EDM DJs throw a regular Saturday dance night at Foundation Nightclub, so if that's how you party, this is your scene. You know that rave tent at Sasquatch!? Y'know, when the night is dark, and you and your friends are slowly stumbling toward the gate, and then, suddenly, you pass that behemoth white tent almost literally pulsing outward with sound, and inside are a million neon-tinted sweaty young humans jumping around in a strobe party? Picture that, but at Bumbershoot. Bwamp. Bwamp. Boop-boop-boop, boop-boopy-boop. [Siren noises.] AM
(Sat, 7:45 pm, End Zone Stage) Grayskul is Onry Ozzborn and JFK, two veteran rappers who in the early '00s were bright stars in the massive 206/503 hiphop constellation called Oldominion. Grayskul, which formed in 2003, have released three albums, the first of which, Deadlivers, is a local masterpiece that helped launch a wave of underground hiphop that culminated in Macklemore's success. Grayskul's other records are solid works of hiphop, as well. Indeed, I have yet to come across a bad project that has Onry Ozzborn's name on it. CM
(Sun, 6:15 pm, Starbucks Stage) Gregory Alan Isakov is a South African–born Colorado native who subtly spins striking soundscapes—faraway, lovelorn tales reminiscent of Leonard Cohen or Bruce Springsteen. Recommended for when you are close to the bottom of a bottle of red wine and the wistful nostalgia of relationships past start to emerge. No, those aren't tears; it's just my allergies. BM
(Sat, 3 pm, Starbucks Stage) Gregory Porter is one of the most moving and soulful voices in contemporary jazz. It's a voice that uniquely blends Lou Rawls, Johnny Hartman, and Nat King Cole. To get a sense of his greatness, I recommend listening to his signature "Be Good (Lion's Song)"—a heartbreakingly beautiful waltz about a woman and a man in the strange place between joy and pain. Porter, who is based in Brooklyn, is also famous for always wearing tight and thickish headgear no matter the weather. Indeed, a gentleman knows no weather. CM
(Sun, 9:30 pm, Mainstage) Yes, the fussy-looking young men with luxurious beards and a taste for artisanal small-batch whiskey are starting to look like clichés from another time, but that's the scene that pulled the Head and the Heart up from a tiny Seattle act to greatness. The Head and the Heart surpass the indie folk scene to deliver music that's more than a gimmick. These are sturdy, genuine pop songs that don't feel tied to a time or place. The Head and the Heart are timeless in the truest sense, not in service of some phony nostalgia for a period that never was. PC
(Sun, 2:45 pm, Pavilion Stage) What is a Hermigervill? It is a bearded, ginger electronic musician from Reykjavík, Iceland, who is allegedly "upcoming." This specimen—his name is Sveinbjörn Thorarensen, and he was born in 1984—has, according to internet translations, released either three or four albums. His stuff sounds like a robot riding a carousel while playing an old-school handheld video game. He comes to Bumbershoot as part of an exchange with the Iceland Airwaves Festival and as part of the electronic music showcase. BJC
(Sun, 7 pm, Pavilion Stage) This Vancouver, BC, four-piece rocks a simple surf-garage sound that would make a nice chaser to a fiery shot of the Black Lips. They seem more civilized than their Southern cousins, with some gazing-at-their-Converse reveries and ghostly group harmonies (made more distant by echo effects) bubbling up among their more virulent broils of post-teenage skater chills and thrills. And they do it well—their tunes can be tough to tear yourself away from. BK
(Mon, 1:15 pm, Fisher Green Stage) In considering this Moroccan group, I'm choosing to NOT use a simplistic and, in this case, misleading term like "world music" to describe their good-time get-down. They are, instead, a guitar-based ROCK BAND who happen to sing in their native language (I think). Their riffs and fills are flavored by early '70s rock guitar, without much Eastern folk cliché. They sound hella fun! MIKE NIPPER
(Sun, 12:30 pm, Fountain Lawn Stage) Guitar riffs. High cliffs. One guitar, one drum kit. BMX bikes. Jean jackets. Jock socks. Headbanging. Camaros. Switchblades. Ghetto blasters. Annihilation. Mothra. Stage-divers. Creeps. Hobos. Zeppelin-Sabbath-Skynyrd. The Beastie Boys. Trash cans. Beards. Sweat. Dirt. Robots. Empty carbohydrates: bagels. Rowdies. Rockers. Stoners. Loud. Earplugs. Reverb. Retro-futurism. 'Merica. Freedom rock. Hot sauce. Amps. More amps. Dirty bathrobes. Walls of sound. Guitar-wielding Neanderthals. Balls. Good times. KO
(Sat, 10:30 pm, Pavilion Stage) Let me tell you a little bit about where I'm coming from when it comes to disco-dance-techno-house-style music: I know "Sandstorm," and that's it. Hook N Sling sort of pick up where "Sandstorm" left off, employing many of the signature sounds that listeners have come to know and love: throb crescendo, repeated zipping and unzipping of a large electric zipper, space computer's download_complete.wav, space computer's empty_recycle_bin.wav, and so on. K. RAY
(Sun, 11:45 am, Starbucks Stage) Described as "the inevitable intersection of four longtime, award-winning players from the Northwest blues scene," the Hot Wired Rhythm Band is composed of vocalists Polly O'Keary and Kevin Sutton, Frank "Hot Rod" Holman on the Hammond B3, and drummer Steve Sarkowsky, and they deliver "an eclectic blend of high-octane jump, soulful ballads, and traditional down-home blues." D. SCHMADER
(Mon, 6:15 pm, Starbucks Stage) Flannery O'Connor expressed the Southern gothic genre by writing books about Bible salesmen who steal girls' prosthetic legs, and atheist preachers. Alynda Lee Segarra expresses her inner grotesque Southern gothic by singing dirty folk songs with the nocturnal, thick-eyelinered swagger of Amy Winehouse. I guess in some ways, gritty songs about bad kids and bad dudes are basically the sonic equivalent of a stinking, massive aviary of peacocks: all feathers, strut, and shitstorm. But beautiful. BM
(Sun, 6:30 pm, Fisher Green Stage) I'm really feeling the lyrics to laid-back Bay Area rapper Iamsu!'s mellowed-out romantic tune "Girls": "I just wanna chill/I just wanna smoke/Slide through the city/Go see my folks." The Heartbreak Club MC longs over beautiful minimal beats: "And I like girls that like that shit." So relatable! Who doesn't like that shit? Stars, they're just like us. Other shit he likes, according to his single that features 2 Chainz and Sage the Gemini: "Only that real shit." Yes. Totally. RE
(Sun, 2 pm, End Zone Stage) I love ILLFIGHTYOU, but I mostly feel like an idiot when I write about rap. Phrases like "hard as fuck" and "sick beats" and "rhymes about drugs and shit" don't necessarily roll off my bubble-gum-snapping tongue. So bear with me! Yes, the Tacoma duo (that's rapper UglyFrank and producer/rapper Khris P) are raw and vaguely sinister, and there are few fucks given, but there's more going on. Frank's rapid-fire wordplay faces that dark shit with a shrug and stoned grin. Khris is a behind-the-scenes genius, dialing in shit you can sway or trash around to. Do both—they're fun as fuck to see live. EN
(Sat, 5:30 pm, Pavilion Stage) This is a band with two people in it. If you're wondering about the name, know now that it's the only Somali thing about this band. Someone could absolutely get away with describing their latest album as "atmospheric," but the words I'll select are "echoey" (always) and "sedate" (often). The audacious liner notes claim the album's interest in "the detachment and callousness pervasive in an age of constant connection" in a world where "drones and devices have replaced authentic contact and conflict," and go on to point the listener to salient lyrics and offer possible interpretations. K. RAY
(Mon, 5:45 pm, Mainstage) When I think of North Cakalack's J. Cole, I think, "nice dude," "successful," but I'm always reminded of his song from last year's Born Sinner that lifts Outkast's "Da Art of Storytellin'" track. I know Andre 3000's vivid, heartbreaking verse about a childhood love lost to abuse and addiction, word for word, every inflection intact. Then there's the Cole cover, in which he's insecure-stunting, seemingly stuck on those who hated on his sanctified strive for success, in the low-wattage Westian fashion that is today's standard. But honestly, I couldn't quote you a bar. Emotional intelligence just isn't a thing you can learn in XXL. To each his own. LARRY MIZELL JR.
(Mon, 8:15 pm, End Zone Stage) Dutch multi-instrumentalist Jacco Gardner issued one of 2013's loveliest albums with Cabinet of Curiosities, which I described in these pages as "a gorgeous tapestry of baroque psych pop, every song swirling in a perfumed garden with the fey grace of Donovan's scarf." Augmenting typical rock instrumentation with flute, harpsichord, and strings, Gardner evokes the gently haunting atmospheres redolent in the music of '60s pioneers of this style like the Millennium, Left Banke, Billy Nicholls, and the British Kaleidoscope. It's all too beautiful. D. SEGAL
(Sun, 1 pm, End Zone Stage) In between his roles as a Moor Gang general and as one-quarter of Kingdom Crumbs, Jarv Dee strives to perfect his lane as a soloist. A raucous, weed-loving MC with a bluesy singing voice, he's got a couple genuine 206 anthems ("I Just Wanna" and "High Expectations") to his name... "already," as he tends to punctuate his sentences. His high-energy performances and cutting voice make him an unmistakable original, but as his manager, you could definitely call me biased. Feel free to bet me five that I'm wrong, though. LM
(Mon, 2:45 pm, Starbucks Stage) Detroit's Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas sound like the kind of band that would play in some gritty vampire bar on True Blood. The band creates sassy, smoky, radio-friendly tunes with glossy Amy Winehouse vibes. Hernandez certainly has a powerful set of pipes, which she uses to sing bad-girl #sorrynotsorry songs about stealing attached men. It'd be cool to watch babely vampires drain some poor human's blood while this band plays in the background. RE
(Mon, 4:15 pm, Pavilion Stage) A heroine of undiscovered folk, Jessica Pratt makes '60s-style pop like a sweet, welcome time traveler who, unlike the Terminator from the first Terminator, does not want to destroy your identity or kill your son. She is more like the Terminator from Terminator 2—there to protect you from the harsh reality of the possible apocalyptic robot war and forge your own dazzling new future. BM
(Mon, 8:45 pm, Pavilion Stage) Monsoon faces the crowd. He's wearing an olive-colored army-style cap and a gray T-shirt. Technics Pro DJ headphones are either on his head or hanging around his neck. He raises an arm in the air; the crowd raises its arms in the air. We're facing the audience, but positioned behind Monsoon. Can you picture it? We're looking at the back of his head and past it, out at the crowd. All hands are in the air, including ours, even though we don't remember raising them, and we're waiting for the drop. Everyone is waiting for the drop. K. RAY
(Mon, 8 pm, Starbucks Stage) Jonathan Richman (of the Modern Lovers) is one of those full-grown adults who have managed to keep an honest childlike wonder well into adulthood. With eyebrows permanently raised in earnestness and dance moves that indicate he's never experienced self-consciousness, Richman writes sweet and catchy songs about love: loving New England, loving goth girls, loving the Velvet Underground, loving lesbian bars, loving the city but also the country. He's the best because he is absolutely for real. EN See preview.
(Mon, 5:30 pm, Pavilion Stage) Somewhere between the unintelligible cooing of Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Fraser and Alison Goldfrapp's gorgeous contributions to Orbital's classic tunes, Julianna Barwick's voice folds and layers on itself in beautifully ornate origami compositions, an a cappella ambient auteur with a populist's penchant for earworm melodies. Her latest, Nepenthe, expands upon the homemade feel of her earlier work with strings and keyboards, while maintaining the hushed intimacy that makes her celestial songs land so close to home. KF See preview.
(Sun, 8:45 pm, Pavilion Stage) If you live in Seattle and own a radio, you've probably heard the Saturday-morning sounds of Positive Vibrations on KEXP where DJ Kid Hops spins classic and newfangled reggae, ska, rocksteady, and dancehall tracks—you may also be familiar with the Sunday-night show Expansions, during which he trades off explorations into drum and bass, dubstep, underground house, and more with DJs Masa and Riz. For his "Conscious Nights" Bumbershoot set, Kid Hops says he'll be leaning more toward his Expansions repertoire. It will be, he says, "an energetic set of electronic music." BK
(Sun, 5 pm, End Zone Stage) Kins say they are "a UK-based guitar-pop quartet who specialize in the sound of doubt, detachment, and muted aggression." Brooklynvegan.com notes that they are originally from Melbourne, Australia, and says, "While very much a band, Kins seem to draw inspiration from down-tempo electronics for a expansive, atmospheric sound without ever dipping into anthemic 'whoa oh' territory." They sound more like a cross between Radiohead and Vampire Weekend than maybe they should. BJC
(Sun, 3 pm, Fisher Green Stage) Not unlike the experience of going crazy on the froyo condiments bar, where you may start to worry that you've exceeded beyond the far corners of what will taste good together, Kishi Bashi—pseudonym for violinist K. Ishibashi (formerly of influential pop outfit Of Montreal)—combines dabbles of Eastern-influenced, avant-noise pop, '70s prog ballads, and experimental improv. It's a feat, but sometimes that sprinkle/mochi/chocolate-chip/coconut-pearl concoction can be a mysteriously perfect slam dunk of melting, unexpected flavors. BM
(Mon, 11:45 am, Fisher Green Stage) This local roots-reggae band has deep roots in sunny Hawaii and a thing for what the legendary Jamaican crooner Cornell Campbell once called "sweet melodies." Kore Ionz—whose frontman is the dreamy and always-positive Daniel Pak—have made tunes with Geo of Blue Scholars and maintain close links with the thriving 206 hiphop community. If the sun is out and the feeling is right, you do not want to be away from this performance. CM
(Mon, 12:30 pm, Fountain Lawn Stage) Surely you've seen shirts emblazoned with the word LUZER on people with cool music taste all over Seattle. And that's because the band they're advertising, La Luz, is simply great. What else do you need to know? They've got it all: angelic girl-group-style harmonies, impressive surf-guitar licks, and choreographed dance moves. This is definitely one of the best bands playing Bumbershoot. Don't be a dummy! RE
(Sat, 3:30 pm, Fountain Lawn Stage) I reckon if you've listened to any alternative radio, especially KEXP, in the past few years, you've heard this group. They're local (hailing from Anacortes) and lay down some solid melodic and hook-filled, guitar-driven indie rock. To my ears they sound like the well-rehearsed children of early Shudder to Think and stock '90s radio-friendly pop punk. Oh, and they're stalwarts of Bumbershoot, so expect a great show! MN
(Sun, 10 pm, Starbucks Stage) While perhaps best known for recording a cover of "La Bamba" for the 1987 Ritchie Valens biopic of the same name, Los Lobos have been churning out albums since forming more than 40 years ago. Combining elements of Tex-Mex, roots rock, R&B, and traditional Mexican styles, among others, the "Wolves" of East Los Angeles have, like Valens, smashed barriers musically and culturally by filtering the Mexican immigrant experience through a uniquely American lens. Expect a diverse, rollicking set culled from the band's extensive back catalog. K. RICHARDS
(Sun, 4:45 pm, Fisher Green Stage) Luscious Jackson's 1992 EP In Search of Manny was one of the freshest debuts of that decade, a quick hit of live funk/rap brashness that rivaled Check Your Head by their Grand Royal label bosses the Beastie Boys. They followed Manny with another sultry funk gem, Natural Ingredients, and then gradually lost their grit. But LJ's comeback album, 2013's Magic Hour, returns them to their mid-'90s fighting form. And Kate Schellenbach remains such a badass behind the drum kit. D. SEGAL
(Sat, 5:15 pm, Fountain Lawn Stage) Mac DeMarco is a Canadian national treasure, or at least he should be if he's not—not that that's my call, as I am a US national. Honestly, Canada must have a lot of national treasures at this point. Anyway, Mac's two albums, 2 and Salad Days, are uniformly unadorned, completely charming lo-fi dude-with-guitar indie-pop that thumbs its nose at taking anything too seriously and then wipes it on the cuffs of its raggedy sweater sleeves. I listen to his music day or night when I want to have a chill, nonanxious time, and it hasn't once failed me. Props. LM
(Sun, 12:15 pm, Pavilion Stage) My heart was crushed to learn that there are zero actual manatees involved in Manatee Commune and, further, that it's not any kind of commune! It's just one guy! Named Grant L'Kayl Eadie (pretty cool name, actually). However, setting aside that instant bias, I was instantly swept up by Manatee Commune's oneiric tunes. They stop just short of ambient, with subtle beats gently guiding gorgeously kaleidoscopic soundscapes. This could in fact be music for manatees, or any other peaceful and huggable creature of nature and mystery. KA
(Mon, 11:45 am, Starbucks Stage) Not quite whiskey-sodden so much as micobrew-moistened, Seattle's Massy Ferguson—yep, these guys are named after a tractor company—trade in what the middle-aged kids like to call alt-country, or even Americana, all cracked speedometers, Marb Reds, and dirty motel windows. While most of that nostalgic, denim-dipped junk strikes me as hollow as the most cut-rate gangsta rap does—more a checklist of signifiers than anything—as far as Seattle's crop of the stuff goes, Massy Ferguson actually rollick and roll in proper fashion, and sound like something I could hear a lot of folks sangin' along to. Can't be mad at that. LM
(Sat, 10 pm, Starbucks Stage) Mavis Staples is a straight-up legend of rhythm and blues, soul, and general greatness. She was a voice of the civil rights movement, she had a thing with Bob Dylan (musical and otherwise), and she's been sampled by Salt-N-Pepa, Ice Cube, and Ludacris. She got her start in her family band, the Staple Singers, who hit the charts over and over again in the early 1970s on the also-legendary Stax label. To hear her sing "I'll Take You There" in person at Bumbershoot ought to be heart-bursting. And those in the know (Jeff Tweedy, who produced her last two albums) say Staples's voice still sounds amazing. BJC
(Sat, 1:15 pm, Starbucks Stage) Led by masterful organist Joe Doria, McTuff lay down some freewheeling, funky jazz fusion that eschews that genre's dubious rockisms in favor of noir licks and classily ego-free breakdowns. One of the hardest-working jazz ensembles in town, McTuff reliably bring the heat live, particularly drummer Tarik Abouzied's tight and taut backbeats. Hiphop producers take note! KF
(Mon, 4:30 pm, Fisher Green Stage) If you like catchy things and things that matter, Instituto Mexicano Del Sonido or Mexican Institute of Sound is your thing. It's just one guy, who goes by the stage name Camilo Lara, and he's a DJ/producer with an album called Politico. In his video for the song "Mexico," he raps into a megaphone in a public square with a rally behind him, which probably will not happen at Bumbershoot. But his words about the drug war and Mexican corruption are layered over danceable salsa and electronica, and they should move you in both ways. He's got albums called Piñata and Soy Sauce, too. JG
(Sun, 7:15 pm, Fountain Lawn Stage) Formed in 1979, Boston's post-punk heroes Mission of Burma made two very great albums—the 1981 EP Signals, Calls, and Marches and the 1982 LP Vs.—but they disbanded in 1983 due to frontman Roger Miller's (no King of the Road) tinnitus. Here's your annual earplugs lecture, kids! I personally can't get down with their newer albums since they reunited in 2002 (though other people really like them!), but I could listen to "Academy Fight Song" on repeat, probably forever. EN
(Sat, 12:30 pm, Pavilion Stage) This is a band with three people in it. Lead singer Drew Grow's vocals dominate, and this NPR piece I'm reading about Modern Kin describes him as "channeling a preacher in thrall to the good books of Cave and Waits." I guess I can hear that. I want to say he reminds me of Spencer Krug from Wolf Parade, but I suspect he actually reminds me of someone else whom I can't remember. The band that all three of these people were previously in, along with a fourth person, was called Drew Grow and the Pastors' Wives. K. RAY
(Mon, 9:30 pm, Pavilion Stage) Hungarian DJs Myon and Shane 54 have become monster celebrities in the global dance-music community. That either speaks to you or it doesn't. Their "Summer of Love Mix" of Lana del Rey's "Young and Beautiful" pretty much does what dance music is supposed to do: fill your head with shimmering electronic pulses and a propulsive beat, with intermittent flashes of lyrics tossed in to remind you what the source material is. You know, dance music. PC
(Mon, 7 pm, Fountain Lawn Stage) Nada Surf's career peaked with the mid-'90s hit "Popular" (whose lyrics were apparently poached word for word from a 1964 teenage advice book that seemed bent on crushing young men's dreams), but that hasn't stopped the New York band from continuing to write lukewarm indie-pop for the Gen X Dad Rock set. K. RICHARDS
(Sat, 6:30 pm, Starbucks Stage) Naomi Wachira started out singing gospel when she was a 5-year-old pastor's daughter in Kenya, and now she's an African in America singing folk music influenced by Tracy Chapman and Miriam Makeba. Her voice is full of smooth dignity and hope, and in just the last two years, she's gained the respect and collaboration—for her first full-length, self-titled—of local stars Damien Jurado and Evan Flory-Barnes, among others. She's simply a pro. JG
(Sun, 5;15 pm, Pavilion Stage) This experimental band, which was on SST Records during its peak moment (the 1980s), has never stopped their assault on American conformism. Capitalism, religion, consumerism, mass media—all have been attacked by the sharp wit and intelligent beats of Negativland. CM See preview.
(Mon, 8 pm, Fisher Green Stage) Provo, Utah's Neon Trees make shiny electro-pop that is not unlike breaking open a highlighter and pouring it on the Strokes or dumping a bottle of Mountain Dew onto the Killers. Speaking of Utah and caffeinated beverages, I'll go ahead and answer your most pressing questions: Yes, this band has ties to the Mormon Church (although the band's lead singer, Tyler Glenn, recently came out at the age of 30), and yes, the LDS say soda is okay now. EN
(Mon, 3 pm, Pavilion Stage) I don't wanna ruin the surprise, but just so you know, Old Man Luedecke isn't actually an old man. Now that that's out of the way: The mis-monikered Nova Scotia beardo (who's probably in his 30s) definitely has those old-timey vibes, singing rambler-dude, Michael Hurley/Woody Guthrie–style story-songs with a banjo that can be surprisingly poignant. RE
(Sat, 12:30 pm, Fountain Lawn Stage) Another talented youngster who is the product of the EMP's annual Sound Off! competition, Otieno Terry melds together a songcraft that is part slam poetry, part hiphop, with melodies that don't piece together like your average R&B circuit. He is the unanticipated bottle of Cheerwine soda to a crummy world filled with cans of Diet Pepsi. BM
(Sat, 2:45 pm, Mainstage) No, I'm not! Ever going to! Shut! Up! About how much I! Hate band names with! Stupid punctuation! It makes things really! Hard to! Read! Ahem, anyway, Panic! at the Disco are an LA-based over-the-top emo-pop band from Las Vegas that are now nearly a decade into their eyeliner-y career. They put out an album and/or change their lineup every few years, but rest assured that even though Brendon Urie still sounds the same (emo-y/eyeliner-y), he has much better hair now and is actually more of a babe than you'd think. EN See preview.
(Sun, 8:15 pm, Fisher Green Stage) These hometown boys are not named for the brand of tea nor the Dickens novel, but the studio where Lou Reed worked as a staff songwriter and session musician in the 1960s. The band's indie-soul tunes are a kind of callback to Seattle's old '70s scene, distilled in the recent Light in the Attic compilation Wheedle's Groove. But Pickwick's sound isn't a total time capsule—they live in the era of Vampire Weekend and the Black Keys, and you can hear little scraps of their peers floating through the grooves. BK
(Sat, 7 pm, Fountain Lawn Stage) Featuring two members from Minneapolis pop group Gayngs (Channy Leneagh and Ryan Olson), Poliça veer off into a more electronic direction while still keeping the melodic content sweeter than that elephant ear you're thinking about eating. Vocalist Leneagh tamps down the diva histrionics for a more grounded yet still hearty timbre; she's one of those singers who don't need to break a sweat to charm. Poliça's new rhythmically sophisticated and danceable Raw Exit EP continues their sly, seductive streak. D. SEGAL
(Sun, 11:45 am, Fisher Green Stage) Because a Sunday morning that looks like it will be beer-and-mimosa driven down an elephant-ear road should start out right: Dancing your ass off to this groovy, Afro/world-beat orchestra will likely be the healthiest part of your balanced breakfast. BM
(Sat, 7 pm, Pavilion Stage) Power Up is a fellow named Brandon Noftsger, a DJ whose bio says he is "just starting to make his mark in Seattle," which probably explains why his music appears to be nowhere online. He also apparently has a background in jazz guitar, which is quite intriguing. Maybe he'll put a weirdo twist on the standard electro-hits mix. Take a chance! Or don't. KA
(Sat, 8:45 pm, End Zone Stage) One of the important contributors to Seattle's thriving hiphop scene is the rapper RA Scion. In 2005, he and DJ Sabzi released an album, Common Market, that helped launch Seattle into a new era of hiphop, an era that ultimately paved the way for Macklemore's massive commercial success. Without RA Scion, and the whole Massline crew he was associated with in the '00s, there would be no "Thrift Shop." RA Scion has also had a long record of working with very talented producers, the most recent of which is Vox Mod. RA Scion is 206's philosopher. CM
(Mon, 9 pm, Fountain Lawn Stage) The Stranger's own Kyle Fleck says Real Estate rise above the crowds of "kinda disaffected, sorta heartbroken white dues with chiming guitars and pretty voices" because their every song is "the Platonic ideal of an indie-rock anthem." Mad respect, then. Their beachy guitar sound and calm, dreamy harmonies are a good fit for a festival stage, and seriously, if you're going to watch white-boy indie rock at a late-summer music festival, you can't go wrong with Real Estate, who have whipped that into spirals of soft-serve perfection. AM
(Sun, 3:45 pm, Fountain Lawn Stage) The thundering, power-RIFF-fic '70s-style stoner metal of Red Fang is loud, and it hurts. The roaring precision and heavy execution might even be too much to bear, if you didn't know they were four regular dudes with killer senses of humor. This is best evidenced in their videos, like the ones for "Prehistoric Dog" (barfing! beer-can suits of armor! sword fighting!), "Wires" (smashing things with cars! a cameo by comedian Brian Posehn!), and "Blood Like Cream" (beer-drinking zombies! A cameo by comedian Fred Armisen!). Red Fang somehow make it okay to laugh and cry and drink a beer, all at the same time. KO
(Sun, 6 pm, Mainstage) Well, all a y'all paunchy, balding fathers who prolly get shit for always wearing a fedora are gonna be ALL over this action! Uh, the goddamned Replacements, man!? Yeah! I really don't think this group needs much of an introduction, beyond saying that most of our contemporary alternative and college rock owes its legs to these respected Midwest underground miscreants! Oh, and all the reviews of their recent shows have been thumbs-up, so this is a can't-miss show! MN See preview.
(Mon, 9:45 pm, Starbucks Stage) Stranger writer Paul Constant used to like this rockabilly band a lot back when he was 19. He also used to like coffee, alcohol, Winstons, promiscuity, John Woo movies, Hunter S. Thompson, and Western snap-button shirts. Nineteen-year-old Paul Constant sounds like more fun, so draw your own conclusions about the Reverend Horton Heat. BJC
(Sat, 8:30 pm, Pavilion Stage) The scintillating sounds of Seattle-based dance-music selector RION is what I imagine as the soundtrack of neon-splashed Belltown (I mean, Pike Street) clubs, the kind of places thronged with dudes wearing stripy going-out shirts, gaudy designer jeans—you know, with the flaps and the rhinestones—and hard-bottom shoes. What kind of hell is that? Judging a book by its cover is no bueno, though, and people everywhere like to dance and #TurnUp and they deserve to do just that, damnit. By the way, I stopped using Axe body spray when they discontinued the Tsunami scent—let me know if any of you got the plug. LM
(Mon, 3:30 pm, Fountain Lawn Stage) Normally the thought of taking mushrooms at a music festival would seem like an absolute nightmare to me, but I feel like it might be cool for Rose Windows' set. It could be totally magical to lie on a blanket on the lawn under the influence and stare up at the Space Needle while listening to the dreamy psychedelic Jefferson Airplane vibes this Sub Pop septet creates. It could also be totally terrible and ruined by shirtless bro vibes. But there's only one way to find out. RE
(Sat, 1:15 pm, Fisher Green Stage) The legions of fresh-faced young fans who pack the shows of rapper/producer Sam Lachow shows, rapping along to every word, might suggest to you that his sometimes reflective, sometimes bubblegum town-rap, spiced with live trumpets and such, has some of that local Macklemore appeal (I bet he loves this comparison). And you'd be right. But his lyrical nods to his Central District upbringing, and to the up-and-coming local MCs he admires—via his Young Seattle series of posse cuts—make him a real man of the people, and onstage, he's the life and center of the party. LM
(Sun, 2 pm, Fountain Lawn Stage) Ten years ago, no one thought of Seattle as a football city. There was no such thing as a "12th Man," and the Seahawks were more like the SeaGULLS. Also a decade ago, folk and indie rockers like Band of Horses and Presidents of the United States of America dominated Seattle's music scene. All this changed in 2013–14. The 'Hawks just destroyed the Denver Broncos at the Super Bowl, and back in December, while we pummeled the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football, our own Sandrider played a loud-as-fuck show at Neumos that was broadcast during halftime. Sandrider is LOUD—their sound clocking in at 126 decibels. In turn, the 12th-Man fans, competing with the band, made 137 dB of screaming. I guess the moral of this story is Seattle finally grew some balls. KO
(Sun, 8:30 pm, End Zone Stage) San Fermin—pronounced "San Fur-MEEN"—is the project of Brooklynite/Yale-grad Ellis Ludwig-Leone. Songs from his sweeping, dreamy chamber-pop album San Fermin will be performed live by Ludwig-Leone and seven other musicians. One song is titled "Daedalus" and the band/album name were inspired by Hemingway, just in case you missed the Yale part up there. EN
(Sun, 10:30 pm, Pavilion Stage) Holy shit: Savant (aka Aleksander Vinter) "has Asperger's syndrome, which manifests in production and performance as a gift of extraordinary musical splinter skills. To wit, he has created more than 10,000 songs, from classical to black metal, dubstep, and everything in between." This guy is my new hero. Also, his song "Laser Sharks" contains the lyric "We gave them laser beams/To protect the American dream." And true to form, that song alone sounds like EDM, '80s hair metal, synth pop, movie-soundtrack, love, politics, and outer space. Do not fucking miss this show, unless you hate fun. KA
(Sun, 2:45 pm, Mainstage) In a rap landscape littered with lifestyle Bloods, ScHoolboy (capital H for Hoover) is, as he says, "finally the illest Crip." His TDE crew brought the game's center of relevancy back to Los Angeles, and not with mere empty gangsta posturing but with real MC craft and poignancy, the best example of which being Kendrick Lamar's last album—though Q's Oxymoron from early this year is no slouch, either. He's got one of the most distinctive voices and flows in the game since first popping up a handful of years back, and newest singles "Man of the Year" and "Break the Bank" are Dune-level earworms. LM
(Sun, 5:30 pm, Fountain Lawn Stage) When there's a local legendary punk group that's together for years, the accumulation of DIY basement shows eventually becomes an influence unto itself and seeps into the city's soil and water supply; those raised on that shredding are eternally under its spell. So when these kids grow up whispering your name in the back of their minds like Aladdin summoning a punk-rock genie out of a lamp, sometimes the band will reunite, appearing as a specter of Misfits-worthy horror pop—an apparition borne from the excitement of now-grown children. BM
(Mon, 3:45 pm, End Zone Stage) A rising local songstress with an enviably forward-thinking ear for odd textures and exotic instrumentation, Shaprece's limited output thus far suggests an artist with ambitions beyond mere local stardom and the talent to match. Of particular interest is a remix of her tune "Tell Me" by electronic hiphop producers Blue Sky Black Death, which has shades of the organic/digital sonic realm explored most recently by neo-triphop queen fka twigs. KF
(Sat, 5:15 pm, End Zone Stage) Shelby Earl began her solo career as an acoustic-guitar-wielding folkie songstress, but on her newest album, last year's Damien Jurado–produced Swift Arrows, the local singer-songwriter incorporates a more orchestrated, retro pop sound to showcase her big, boomy voice. She's earned heaps of praise as a result, but she's still not above poking some holes in her sail, as she does in the "The Artist," which is about how self-absorbed and dickish musicians can be. Somehow, that seems like hyperbole coming from Earl. K. RICHARDS
(Mon, 1:45 pm, Pavilion Stage) Ah, Americana—what would Bumbershoot be without the sound of white people playing country-tinged rock and roll on traditional instruments? Nothing, that's what. And Smokey Brights deliver on that promise with male and female voices intertwined in flawless harmony, flourishes of horn, unpretentious lyrics, and other "vintage" elements that will inspire you to buy a hot dog and pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of Americana. PC
(Sat, 2 pm, Fountain Lawn Stage) Listening to SZA feels like floating on Lake Washington on your back and lazily watching clouds float by and remembering every lost love you've ever had. The ethereal R&B singer crafts dreamy tunes with down-tempo rhythms and gorgeous vocals that sound like a more spaced-out Lauryn Hill. Other fun facts: She got her name from the Supreme Alphabet just like Wu-Tang's RZA, and does collabs with Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper. RE
(Mon, 7:15 pm, End Zone Stage) This Seattle quartet has a double heart named Marika and Miro. They're the Justad sisters: Marika's the singer and Miro's the drummer, and songs sometimes start with just the two of them anchoring each other, one innocently high and full yet floaty, the other driving and booming and bassy. You'd probably be able to figure a way to make Tangerine the ideal winter band, but they naturally feel like fizzy summer to me, with a close-your-eyes-and-throw-your-head-back West Coast thing happening. JG
(Sat, 4:15 pm, Pavilion Stage) You may recognize Tomo Nakayama not for his face or name, but for his impressively rich pipes, which belted out the sleeper indie hit "Horses," a central song on the soundtrack for Lynn Shelton's indie film Touchy Feely. As lead singer for local sensitive-guy rockers Grand Hallway, Nakayama's plied his Shins-vintage orchestral pop for some time now, and the modest success of "Horses" could pave the way for further national attention. Gently sway and get carried away, if that's your program. KF
(Mon, 5:15 pm, Fountain Lawn Stage) The music of Brooklyn singer/producer/author George Lewis Jr. is like a mirror-coated '80s Testarossa with Lambo doors, reflecting the pastel neon as it crawls up the Miami Beach strip—driven by a mysterious, melancholy stranger, his long Jheri curl smudging the finish on his wraparound shades. Where did he come from? No one knows. Where is he going? Straight to the top, baby. Imagine the video for the classic Philip Bailey/Phil Collins karaoke classic "Easy Lover," but just the bit in the helicopter—and the helicopter is actually Airwolf. Sick! LM
(Mon, 4:30 pm, Starbucks Stage) A Tennessee native whose first major public acclaim came in the UK, multi-instrumentalist Valerie June has a voice whose personality shifts: Sometimes she opens up big and clear, and lets her throat wander up and down the staff in the mode of R&B; at other times, she keeps things tight but plaintive in the mode of old country singers. She taught herself guitar, banjo, and ukulele; studied the canon of Alan Lomax; gigged her way through bars and colleges; and finally connected with musicians from the Black Keys, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and other influential corners who helped introduce her to the world. June describes herself as playing "organic moonshine roots music" but it could be as easily described as "blue country"—and you might be hearing a lot more from her in the near future. BK
(Sat, 9 pm, Fountain Lawn Stage) With almost a quarter million fans, Walk the Moon's Facebook fan page is only about 70,000 people shy of overtaking the population of their shrinking hometown, Cincinnati. Playful, fun, fun-loving, catchy, smiling, and being silly (just because) with bright colors, they exude a level of mindless joy and positivity that the Cincinnati tourism board could only dream of, if such a sad, rudderless organization even exists. T-shirts that change color in sunlight or heat, reflective slap bracelets (currently sold out), and custom watercolor sets are but a small sample of the extensive catalog of merchandise available in their online store. K. RAY
(Sun, 1:15 pm, Fisher Green Stage) The word "wacky" gets used a lot to describe We Are Scientists, which is unfortunate. "Wacky" is never a good word; you use that to describe, say, They Might Be Giants when They Might Be Giants are having a bad day. Press materials say Scientists are known for "tempering their infectiously melodic tunes with humorous on- and off-stage antics," and that's not doing them any favors, either—Jesus, "antics?" Are they our uncles now or something? Let's all agree as a city to just let the troublesome "antics" and the tiresome "trickster fox" persona fade away and just respect them for putting together catchy riffs that make you want to shake your ass, okay? PC
(Mon, 12:30 pm, Pavilion Stage) Labeling a band "alt-country" is unfair since the term sounds flat and, well, honestly, kind of BORING. It certainly doesn't describe the layered melodies, trippy reverb, pretty-sounding shoegaze, or the combination of modern folk and ambient psychedelic sounds that Western Haunts play. This is a band that seems to be influenced by both Bob Dylan and My Bloody Valentine. I think I saw the word "folkadelica" somewhere on the internet recently, which does a much better job describing the Haunts' complex and dreamy songwriting. KO
(Sat, 9:45 pm, Mainstage) After Staten Island supergroup Wu-Tang Clan released their second album in 1997, Wu-Tang Forever, hiphop was over. Indeed, the album's first single, "Triumph," was the flag planted on the top of 25 years of solid hiphop innovation and democracy. After that track, the only way to go was down. That's not to say there hasn't been any great things happening to hiphop during this descent—but it's still a descent, with each day that passes being a day we are farther from that flag on the peak. RZA is one of the great musical minds of the 20th century. CM See preview.
(Sat, 1:45 pm, End Zone Stage) In the year 2014, a dystopian post-fun, pop-music landscape forces listeners to reckon with an endlessly interchangeable stream of overly earnest electro-rock brahs who are all about carpe'ing the diem, so long as the zero-cal energy drinks keep flowing and their hybrid cars have enough gas to get to the beach and back. This is music for those who believe more choruses should just involve grinning idiots in sunglasses going "whoa-oh-oh-ooooh" over and over again, which is to say, no one with taste. KF
(Sun, 4 pm, Pavilion Stage) Hailing from Reykjavík, Iceland, Young Karin are a mysterious electro band "influenced by modern day hiphop and avant-garde pop productions and based on creative sampling." D. SCHMADER
(Sat, 8:15 pm, Starbucks Stage) Indie singer-songwriter Yuna has been breaking into the US music scene for a couple years now after award-winning success in Malaysia. She blends genres to create her own thing—song to song, she can land somewhere on or in between pop, blues, jazz, or folk. With an impeccable fashion sense (she owns a boutique and has her own clothing line) and a low-key honey-gravel voice, she could be a fun, low-energy stop on your Bumberjourney. AM
(Sat–Mon, Fountain Pavilion) Once upon a time, Lance Mercer was the official photographer for Pearl Jam, when he wasn't busy shooting other bands or playing with his own, the Briefs. But he's been taking pictures since he was 13, and he curated this show to depict what happened before it all happened. In June, Mercer's family announced a fundraising campaign for his health care after he was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin's follicular lymphoma. It's a good time to appreciate him and his work. JEN GRAVES
(Sat–Mon, Fisher Pavilion) It is very possible that we are doing sculpture wrong. Instead of looking at it, we should be feeling it with our fingers, making up stories about it as we go along its surfaces, or the surfaces of several in a row. That's what Seth David Friedman is providing, a whole environment of his works where you can take this challenge. Feelings. JG
(Sat–Mon, Fountain Pavilion) Clyde Petersen is an animator and human-being activator. Boating with Clyde is a "nautical adventure series" of movies in which Petersen invites musicians, authors, and scientists to hoist themselves into a handcrafted eight-foot dinghy in the Lake Washington Arboretum, and perform. Yes. Meet them! Animation and sculpture join in the festivities, too. JG
(Sat–Mon, Fountain Pavilion) New-wave gaming meets old favorites! Sam Machkovech put together this exhibition/arcade where you can be entertained, edified, or both. There will be known titles as well as experimental games, nostalgia, and risk taking. JG
(Sat–Mon, Fisher Pavilion) It's all in the title. If you don't have fingers, I don't know what to tell you. This interactive multimedia installation lets you manipulate music, light, and video with your fingers. And it's by a team called LET'S, which is Courtney Barnebey, Peter Lynch, and Andy Arkley. JG
(Sat–Mon, Fisher Pavilion) Who says you primarily need eyes for art? Shane Montgomery brings us art that uses food, and not just for art's sake. "Edible building structures and self-sustaining micro-environments will cook up new ways of imagining how we can engage the edible world around us." JG
(Sat–Mon, Fisher Pavilion) Andy Behrle, Dakota Gearhart, Casey Scalf, and Thomas Everett Green are four artists who use video to create "natural" environments you enter. One has a digital sandbox; your hands play with the imagery. In another, large glowing orbs are like planets tossed by micro-scale weather. There will also be a dying rainbow. JG
(Sat–Mon, Fisher Pavilion) This is the first-ever all-Native, multimedia, contemporary art exhibition at Bumbershoot, and maybe at Seattle Center. Don't expect that you'll know what to expect. There will be video, video gaming, painting, photography, a dead Custer lying on the floor, Yoko Ono and John Lennon, and a huge warbonnet. And more. JG See preview.
WORDS & IDEAS
(Mon, 1:45 pm, Words & Ideas Stage) It's a Slam of Slams—or maybe more accurately, a Slam-Slam-Slam-Slam Slam—as teams representing Youth Speaks Seattle, University of Washington College Union, Seattle Poetry Slam, and the Rain City Slam do battle through spoken word poetry. Only one team will survive (metaphorically speaking, of course) to be labeled champions of the city. PAUL CONSTANT
(Sat, 5:15 pm, Words & Ideas Stage) Founded by local musicians THEESatisfaction, Black Weirdo is a whole bunch of ideas under one banner—a blog, a lifestyle, a series of roving parties—dedicated to the idea of being black and being queer and loving music and art. Tonight, a bunch of beloved local weirdos including Riz Rollins, Storme Webber, Erik Blood, DJ Mursi Layne, JusMoni, and The Stranger's Larry Mizell Jr. join THEESatisfaction to talk about what it means to be a Black Weirdo in Seattle. PC
(Sun, 1:45 pm, Words & Ideas Stage) Capitol Hill venue/website the Project Room presents artists and writers in search of answers to big questions like "Why Do We Make Things?" and "How Are We Remembered?" For Bumbershoot, they're producing a variety show about artistic failure featuring "rapid-fire presentations" by a panel of artists, followed by interaction with the audience. The great thing about this concept is even if the show is a complete bomb, the Project Room can at least be praised for sticking with the theme. PC
(Sat, 1:45 pm, Words & Ideas Stage) I served as a judge when the Literary Death Match first came to Seattle. It was one of the more humiliating experiences I've ever put my name to: Three authors read briefly, the judges make fun of the stories, the authors do some sort of physical challenge—that first Seattle visit, they were throwing beanbags into the mouth of a portrait of Ernest Hemingway—and someone is declared a winner. Still, Literary Death Match tours the nation continuously, and it's going to become a television show, so perhaps it's improved in the years since? The list of judges and authors this time around— Rachel Kessler, Sara Benincasa, Peter Mountford, The Stranger's David Schmader—is certainly impressive. PC
(Sun, 7 pm, Words & Ideas Stage) Over the last five years, the Moth has taken off both nationally (the radio show is becoming incredibly popular) and locally (wildly wonderful feminist/writer Lindy West is a Moth fixture). It's a celebration of storytelling—all true, no gimmicks; just a beginning, middle, and end—and while Bumbershoot has not at the time of this writing released the specific lineup of this edition of the Moth, it's sure to be good. PC
(Mon, 5:15 pm, Words & Ideas Stage) See preview, page 35.
(Sat, 7 pm, Words & Ideas Stage) See preview, page 35.
(Sun, 5:15 pm, Words & Ideas Stage) Do you want to know a secret? I couldn't make it more than a hundred pages into Tom Robbins's new memoir, Tibetan Peach Pie. Like everything he's written in the last two decades, it's simultaneously dull and smug (smull?) and not worth your time. But some of his novels—Jitterbug Perfume, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Still Life with Woodpecker—are on par with classic American fabulists like Kurt Vonnegut and Hunter S. Thompson. Tonight, Robbins is going to read from the openings of all 11 of his books, in order. That's a once-in-a-lifetime reading event from a giant of 20th-century literature. PC
(Sat, 3:30 pm, Words & Ideas Stage) Stephin Merritt from the Magnetic Fields appears in conversation with Seattle magazine's Brangien Davis about his new book, 101 Two-Letter Words. Merritt is an incredibly smart man and a genius musician, but he's often a difficult interview. If Davis hits the sweet spot, this could be an experience to remember. If Merritt isn't feeling up for it, this might be one hour of wince-inducing awkwardness. Either way, you win. PC
(Sun, 3:30 pm, Words & Ideas Stage) At press time, final participants for this event had not been nailed down, which means all we know about this event is that it's about civics, and that it's produced by Town Hall, which is a gem in Seattle's arts and cultural crown. I like those odds. PC
(Mon, 3:30 pm, Words & Ideas Stage) Town Hall's scholar in residence, Steve Scher, engages in conversation with Daniel Levitin, author of the very popular book about the effect of music on the biology of the mind, This Is Your Brain on Music. Topics will range from neuroscience in general to Levitin's new book, The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload, in specific. PC
(Mon, 7 pm, Words & Ideas Stage) See preview.
(Sat, noon, Words & Ideas Stage) John Roderick, who once ludicrously proclaimed punk rock to be bullshit, discusses the popularity of beards and twerking—although to be honest, twerking is kind of over. But maybe Roderick, who usually wears a beard, will provide some special insight on the facial hair part of the agenda? Will that make this panel worthwhile? Who knows? Who cares? Why bother? PC
(Sun, noon, Words & Ideas Stage) Local raconteur John Roderick asks the probing questions in this incisive study of bronies (which were more of a thing a year ago) and Juggalos (which kind of peaked four summers ago) and why they're supposedly hot right now (they're not). PC
(Mon, noon, Words & Ideas Stage) John Roderick leads a panel of unnamed participants in a discussion about why we love cats and why we hate bullying. Perhaps they will also get to the bottom of why we like good things and hate bad things while they're at it. PC
(Sat, 2 pm; Mon, 2 pm; Theatre Puget Sound Stage) Bret Fetzer's sophisticated fairy tales come with a dash of bitters—in his world, the virtuous can be dumb, sacrifice is not always rewarded, and heroines have mixed motivations. It is as arbitrary-seeming as our own, though considerably more colorful, but always offers the chance for transformation. For Alligators and Debutantes, Fetzer has hooked up with Sari Breznau and Eric Padget of the band Future Fridays for some sepia-toned musical accompaniment, including wistful banjo and Breznau's powerful but delicate voice. BRENDAN KILEY
(Sun, 5:15 pm; Mon, 6:45 pm; Theatre Puget Sound Stage) For the past seven years, Blood Squad has occupied a peculiar and delightful niche in Seattle's comedy scene, filtering a deep knowledge and love of horror movies through their prodigious talents as improv performers. They dig through genres and sub-genres—summer-camp slashers, high-school horrors, vampires, demonic children, grisly Christmases—perverting the familiar clichés and introducing enough surprises and upsets to keep audiences gasping. Even if you don't normally like improv, you might give these guys a shot. BK
(Sat, 5:15 pm; Sun, 2 pm; Theatre Puget Sound Stage) Ricky Coates, directed by K. Brian Neel, performs a solo show about a young man who has a car accident, wakes up in the hospital with a yearning for human flesh, and watches himself undergoing a bizarre transformation. And how is a reunion with his not-undead wife going to go? The Death of Brian has traveled some of the fringe-festival circuit, and the Orlando Sentinel called it a "frenetic one-man romp" with "plenty of life." BK
(Sun, 6:45 pm, Theatre Puget Sound Stage) Over the past couple of years, comedian and performer Jennifer Jasper has established herself as a specialist in exhuming skeletons from family closets. Her solo show I Can Hear You... but I'm Not Listening (also appearing at this year's Bumbershoot) traces the weirdness of her own kin, while Family Affair is a Moth-style storytelling event where "storytellers, dancers, writers, musicians, and artists share their hilarious, twisted, and ultimately relatable" family tales. BK
(Sat, 6:45 pm; Mon, 5:15 pm; Theatre Puget Sound Stage) A long-standing puppets-for-grown-ups collective, Fussy Cloud Puppet Slam brings favorite acts and artists from past years to Bumbershoot. "From hilarious to heartbreaking to horrifying," FCPS writes, "both festival performances feature a variety of fascinating short works by puppeteers from the Pacific Northwest (and beyond!)." With work by Gavin Cummins, Rachel Jackson, Clay Martin, and many others. BK
(Sat, 3:30 pm, Theatre Puget Sound Stage) "Jennifer Jasper loves her parents," read the headline for an interview with Jasper in The Stranger last year, "but that doesn't mean she's going to hold back on telling embarrassing stories." That about sums up I Can Hear You... but I'm Not Listening, Jasper's solo show in which she describes, in unrelenting but insightful detail, the bizarreness of her own family—from finding her grandfather's homemade dildo collection to the time her mother accidentally made out with Jasper's youngest sister. Every family is strange, but the way Jasper relates the strangeness of her particular family has universal resonance. BK
(Sun, 3:30 pm; Mon, 3:30 pm; Theatre Puget Sound Stage) In a show that sounds like it sprang from the pages of a George Saunders short story, Lance Banks, founder of the "LanceLife Comprehensive Total Life System" and "global inspiration pioneer," gives a multimedia seminar on how to be more successful: "Learn how to take control of the Y-O-Universe, streamline the efficiency of your everyday conversations through the power of omni-tasking, and become the you you've always wanted to be." Brought to you by Portland comedians Wallace Fessler and Josh Fisher. BK
This part of Bumbershoot—the film part, the part when you leave the music and stage and enter the room with the screen and its images—is called 1 Reel Film Festival. The fine people at SIFF are its curators; they selected works—nearly 100 in all—from around the world. The curators also claim that these are the best short films out there. If you want to see if this claim is true, that these are indeed the best of the best, then you have to visit the SIFF Film Center, a lovely and comfortable theater. The films are screened continuously. CHARLES MUDEDE
(Sat–Mon, 4:30 pm) Four short films the audiences at SIFF 2014 loved.
(Sat–Mon, 3:30 pm) This segment contains three films that received praise awards from a jury. One film is set in Seattle, Maikaru by Amanda Harryman; another is set in Burkina Faso, Twaaga by Cedric Ido; and another is set in the streets of Berlin, Rhino Full Throttle by Erik Schmitt. The short set in the African country is about a black boy who loves comics and dreams of becoming a superhero. We are all Americans now.
(Sun, 7 pm) Who is reppin' the 206? Peter Edlund, Mark Lundsten, and Donald Saunderson.
(Sun, 1 pm) If the human is not the only animal on earth that does this strange business of dancing, then the human is certainly the only animal that makes films about humans dancing. I can imagine a chimp getting down to a beat, but I can't picture one making a film about getting down.
(Mon, 5:30 pm) We know that humans are the most eccentric animal on earth. But Australians are certainly some of the most eccentric humans you find on earth. This three-short section of the festival is devoted to this wonderful group of weirdos.
(Sat, 1 pm) Because it would be ridiculous for a small film festival in the middle of a huge music festival to not have a section that's about music. One of the shorts out of six, Flower Shop, concerns the drummer Phil Young.
(Sat, 8 pm) There is a film in this section of seven films that clearly should be in the Make Me Laugh section: This Way Out. It's about an "oddball owner of a euthanasia center, her hapless assistant, and their desperate attempts to keep the center from closing." Can any death be worse than the death of a euthanasia center?
(Sun, 8 pm) Iranian prisoners talking about love and life, a noir in the hood, a couple that gets sexual freaky—this could be the section of five shorts not to miss.
(Mon, 8 pm) There is a vampire in one of the five films in the third and final "adult" section.
(Sat, noon) If you think Australians are eccentric (check out the Down Under section), wait until you see an Australian donkey. This short—one of five—is called Little Big Hero.
(Sun, noon) One reason to check out this section of seven films is that it features a short, A Tropical Sunday, from Maputo, a city in Mozambique, one of the two countries in black Africa that were colonized by Portugal. If you are like me, then you have never seen Maputo on a movie screen.
(Mon, noon) Because family time is so important to Americans, this festival has a segment devoted to films about families. One of these six shorts, however, is clearly for Hungarian families, as it is about a deer that's trying to find a mathematical formula for the third dimension.
(Sun, 2 pm) If you want to know where love in the afternoon ends, then go to one of the three Films4Families. Nothing in this section is, however, XXX.
(Mon, 1 pm) This sounds funny: Ike Interviews God, one of the four films in this segment, is about a man who's trying to give God a winning reason why he should not bring all of life, all that we know (the whole world), to an end.
(Mon, 2 pm) Those of you who love Fogtwang will certainly not want to miss this segment of 12 shorts. It's huge, about the life and music of the Mid-South, and curated by a native of Memphis.
(Sat, 2 pm) War in Syria, the multinational corporation making life miserable for miners in Colombia, men in Brooklyn dealing with Trayvon Martin's death—this is the stuff of this segment of five. Get your politics on.
(Mon, 7 pm) Those who enjoyed the section Ripped from the Headlines will certainly enjoy Show Me the World, with its three shorts. What do these segments show us? I shall use the words of Bob Marley: "So much trouble in the world."
(Sun, 5:30 pm) SIFF's Fly Films is a cultural institution. Seriously, I can't even think of one local director or movie actor who has not made or been involved in a Fly Film short. Today, you will want to check out Sea Folk. It reminds us that our city is a city of water—bays, locks, lakes.
(Sat, 5:30 pm) This segment contains three science-fiction films: two happen on our planet, and one happens in deep space.
(Sat, 7 pm) This section contains two films about regular animals and one about the weird animal, the human. In the weird-animal short, urban farmers give themselves this goal: build the largest rooftop farm ever.
Andy Arkley, Peter Lynch, and Courtney Barnebey are the Seattle arts collective known as LET’S, featured on this year's Bumbershoot cover. Go check them out!