For the third and final day of Bumbershoot, I took the high road and left the wig at home. It's muggy and I'm in no mood to be dealing with that. Thank the lawd too because the gift I received in return was 3 sets of different blackness and IT WAS GLORIOUS!! Also, I can't believe I'm just stopping to write. I got here at 3:20 p.m. and it's now 7:10 p.m.. I'm in Memorial Stadium waiting to receive my whole entire life to SOLANGE. But first, the others.
I came in to the new sounds of Stas Thee Boss, formally of the groundbreaking duo THEESatisfaction. I knew I wanted to see what new things I was going to experience from Stas. I was not let down. I love the mellow Black Constellation vibe she kicks. It's ride music. It's music speaking by to my old black soul like "eh, turn that up so I can hear it on the porch" type shit! She had a few singers backing her up—Moni and Dee (I assume it's Dee) and of course, my sister-boo Taqueet$ was up there wavy AF on these early heads! The crowd was definitely into what Stas was serving.
Stas was a sweet set followed by a girl I had never heard of before, Bibi Bourelly, and I was like YAS ALL THIS BLACKNESS!!! Now, Bibi was tight to listen to, but again I say, you better grab me with your show. She left me on the front step while she asked her mom permission for us to go to the mall. It was just like that. I knew we were gonna have fun, but I was bored waiting. I find that, recently, the younger musicians I want to get into, or do get into with my eyes closed, are dope, but the stage performances leave much to be desired. That said, her voice was tight. But the next band was going to take my soul out of my body.
If you have never experienced The New Respects, good gawd go get your life RIGHT NOW. It's a set of twins, Alexis and Alexandria, their brother Darius and their cousin Jasmine, and I don't know what Nashville is kicking but HOT DAMN THAT SHOW WAS WHAT I NEEDED!! These chirren were the most beautiful brown and the guitars were on point and the harmonies of the four ABSOLUTELY MURDERED US ALL! They have an EP out called Here Comes Trouble, and that title track “Trouble” is SIIIIIICK!!!
Jesus!! I was at the pearly gates. I looked down on earth. I had a soft cry, and came back to life! They are a soul rock establishment and you must get to know them! Gawd, I wanna see them on the same bill as The Black Tones— THAT WOULD SLAY!!!
I felt this again and again… I missed Afropunk this year, and today, I was receiving every feeling I missed, clear down to the tears of joy in my soul from hearing music that put its hand through my chest, wrapped its fingers around my heart, and proceeded to squeeze the life into me. DAMN IT WAS A BLACK DAY and more about that in a moment!
Afterward, I got to powwow with a lovely lady, Lillie Mae, who at first reminds me of CaeBae (Caela Bailey) in the fact that she has performed for so long—since she was 7 she's been playing the fiddle/violin (and I did ask the difference, and she said the common joke is "a paycheck" but they’re actually the same thing).
With Lillie Mae, it was a brief q&a, kinda like I did with ZZ, and really, it was better that it was short. Apparently, I am GREAT at catching people off guard with my questions. Folks expect you to ask the same ass interview questions, and I know this because it was once one of my complaints while a singer for Fly Moon Royalty. Same old questions after same old questions. Lillie was not ready for me, and I preferred it that way.
I don’t want to say our convo was bleh, but I can tell I really caught her off the cuff, but I also am like nah. I asked her what she was listening to and I tell you—she had nothing. Literally. She is constantly performing so she really only gets to hear live music when she’s performing. Now, of course I also asked my favorite food question, and since she’s 6-years sober, we switched it up to a Thanksgiving dish. Mashed potatoes. Vegan butter substitute prolly. She did say with lime, tho.
She was so super sweet, but not my favorite interview. Now, I did catch some of her set and she is amazing at what she does—she also plays guitar, and her band’s harmonies are righteous, but again, not my thing. Yah. Geez, it sound like I didn't like her either—I am not talkin' mess. I can't win for losing, but if I don't feel no feelings about it I don't. Let me hush. This girl was sweet. That's that.
Sidebar: There was this Miami Vice area, and there was karaoke, and NO, I didn't sing, but it was the most-off-to-the-side randomness that I wish I had time to enjoy, but there was shows to see. Uh, yah.
Now, I did have the best time being silly with Smokey Brights, and that was a fun time after the “m’eh” interview. I was in the KEXP backroom with Kim, Ryan, Mikey Kalnoky (I did make him spell it too), James Vermillion (and his boo) and Nick, Kim’s bestie, Skylar from Freakout Records, Samuel Bell producer of the new EP coming this January (red vinyl called Come To Terms that I just pulled a Marco Collins on—I BROKE IT), and a bunch of other heads. Again, it was catch folks off guard with my silly questions biz. We chopped it up for about 20 minutes and here’s just a few gems I wanted to share: I wanna give y’all the whole thing, but I’d rather give you the juicy nuggets:
Ryan: We are the bowl you smoke with your uncle before the thanksgiving dinner.
Kim: It’s like the first thanksgiving that’s kool—you’re going to the garage to do that with your uncle…
James: Football looks... different.
Sam: There’s a lot to it (the music). I gravitated towards the hooks and the songs and the energy of the band… and the groove.
Kim: It’s the funnest work you can imagine to do. We’re a very intentional as far as every aspect...
Ryan: Come see our set. You’re gonna dance, you’re gonna groove, you’re gonna feel things, and you’re gonna have an experience that’s slightly weird… and you’re gonna remember me when you walk away.
James: Enough beers and enough pizza will make really good art.
Mikey: I think our band is a sum of a lot of people who are… really good friends, homies. It’s much more than the five of us.
Skylar: They sound fantastic and developed… I have to sell their record—to me it sounds like a 70’s like progressive psychedelic-tinged modern rock & roll pop!
Me: It’s more than enjoyable… Kim brings it with the pantsuits!
Ryan: (when a young lady, Edie, comes in) I was gonna come into your booty, your booth… (we laughed because it was mad funny).
Kim: It takes a village to raise a baby, it takes a whole damn town to raise a band!
These guys have been making jams for 6 years together and the chemistry is so much fun to watch, both in performances and backstage, and the pics I had them take were AMAZING!! They take a great Polaroid, but I made them do single pix that I made into one collage of sorts, and it’s precious! I really like these guys a lot!
I also had the opportunity to chat more with Sam Bell outside. He, aside from producing the new Smokey Brights EP, has worked with HELLA names, and soon enough, we’ll chat it up so I can properly introduce him to you all, but that’s for another day.
Now when 7 p.m. rolled up: I was in full hustle to Memorial Stadium. I was hungrier than two lions looking at a buck in the tall grass. Lucky for me this gig came with free vouchers for some of these food stands—I wish I had one for the soul food cafe (and yes, I killed another Kool-Aid! No fox given!) Instead, I had some lobster Mac and cheese- no. That’s a real response. I know it was free, but cold lobster on hot mac 'n' cheese. Nope. I moved the lobster to the side, and the Kool-Aid saved my life!
Now, X Ambassadors was on at this point, and it was the end of their set. I caught a few songs—one of which I SWEAR is featured on a car commercial... "Renegades"? Yah, that one.
People were super pumped, and I was like “yah, girl, hurry up so SOLANGE can bless me,” and I sat there and chilled with my WHOLE BOX of Johnny’s Seasoning French Dip packets because I can. Say somethin'!
AND LAWD, DID WE! Solange’s set was the perfect mix of everything we all needed—background elements on point, background singers and band on point, and the pantsuit!! YOU GUYS, THE PANTSUIT!!! on point. It was all perfection! She did the JAMS from A Seat At The Table as well as my two FAVORITE tracks from the True EP, "Bad Girls (Verdine Version)" and "Losing You"!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH, but you guys. YOU GUYS. LET’S TALK ABOUT WHEN FUBU CAME ON.
Though I was in a stadium filled with mostly white folks, I was too entranced to check because Solange came off that stage, y’all… REMEMBER, I have been asking the Universe for something, a cookie, a quick pic… YOU GUYS, SHE CAME OVER AND SANG TO MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! BONUS LEVEL REACHED!!! I was the entire Kool-Aid smile of every black person there, including Taqueet$ who I have the video proof of, was ALSO sang to by SOLANGE!! Y’all she was close enough to smell us and we could smell her! If she turned, you felt wind from her hair! YOU GUYS, WE WERE ON THE JUMBOTRON!! Bitch, I have PROOF!!! They all seen it! It happened, and you can’t even say that Adra be out here making crazy stories like stuff be happening to her or whatever! It. Went. Down.
The entire set was FIRE. I was on the mountain top, and no one was going to bring me down, and that was that. We all witnessed that perfection. I recognized that there is work to be done. Solange basically told us all to hurry up and get your shit together. That show was not a joke at all. And while we were there basking in the glow, I bumped into all four members of The New Respects, and between them and Solange, I had the best day of the festival. Period!
Gawd, this was the blackest time I have ever had at Bumbershoot—all three days gave me blackness in shades and flavors I NEEDED. Which made me think of, on many different moments, that here we are and this festival is showing me black and brown performers, mostly women, and it is beautiful and I look around, and there is a sea of white faces, and I know they don’t feel what I feel. They are not on my wavelength, and I’m feeling wavy as hell. And even a friend text me about it, and all I can slap together is that for whatever reason, I found this contest, and I decided to apply, and I didn’t think I was even gonna be the one, but the Universe said something different, and I have had the best time talking my mess with y’all. And this festival gave me a treat each day, and even if only a few people feel me, DAMN, I WAS UP IN THE MIX WITH MY BLACK MOM’NESS AND IT WAS ACTUALLY GLORIOUS. Thanks The Stranger and the folks at AEG for letting me hang out and see the festival from the other side.
Next time tho? VIP PASS. Emerald Pass. Artist Pass. I missed the easy instant hiding of tucking into those sections to run from all these half-dressed kids. Let me hush... ooo these children.
Girl. We are done here. For now. I’m tired. Girl, bye!
Note from Boo's editor: You can still buy Fly Moon Royalty's excellent music here.