The Bots: I hate comparing bands to other bands. But I still do it all the time. These guys remind me of TV on the Radio, who I love. But with a dash more blues/pop. This band gets me excited.
The Grizzled Mighty: These guys are swamp. Power to the two-piece. (Joanna Syme)
BROOKLYN NINE-NINE WRITING STAFF
Bridget Everett: She’s the special kind of funny that happens when someone just does exactly what they want to do. She’s exciting and raw and electric, just like live comedy ought to be. I wish I was either as funny OR as exciting as she is.
Built to Spill: I’ve been a fan of these guys since I was in college, and I’ve never gotten a chance to see them live. I love their new album because it sounds exactly like them and they rule. (Gabe Liedman)
Jhené Aiko: I have always been a low-key, old-school R&B fan, and she brings that flavor back. Also because shaking her hand is one of my life goals, and seeing her live performance is almost 50 percent of achieving that goal?
Nacho Picasso: He’ll be back in town for the first time since his recent move to LA, and I’m sure he’ll have a lot of pent-up debauchery prepared for the town.
Also a shout-out to rappers One Above Below None, I want to check the new-to-the-scene local duo.
Hozier: Really excited to hear him pronounce his name in person. There’s been an ongoing debate between the three of us on the correct way to say it. Also, hearing “Take Me to Church” will be mad spiritual, ha-ha.
Fitz and the Tantrums: One of the most exciting live acts we have seen in the last five years. The musicianship and execution are outstanding!
Elle King: One of the best voices we have heard in a very long time.
Built to Spill: In concert, Built to Spill are as engaging and hypnotic as you will ever see.
Dead Moon: Pure rock and roll. You should already know, but if you don’t and you need a reason to check them out, go listen to “Poor Born,” “I’m Out Nine,” “Dagger Moon,” “It’s OK,” “Dead Moon Night,” “Where Did I Go Wrong,” or “54/40 or Fight.” They have a lot of jams. They sing: “I’ve been screaming at the top of my lungs since 1965.”
Lee “Scratch” Perry: He’s made so much killer music. If you haven’t, listen to “Roast Fish, Collie Weed and Corn Bread” and “Double Seven” by the Upsetters.
Neko Case: So many great albums. Neko Case sounds like summer.
Flying Lotus: He is one of the most versatile producers in the game. He really loves to just make music. I have seen him perform several times and even toured with him. And every show, you hear something new and different. It’s a break from robotic, repetitive machine music. He is the jazz of today.
The Weeknd: To be honest, a few years ago he was coming to Seattle, and someone told me to go check his show out. I had never heard his music but trusted the person’s musical taste. So I took my wife. The next day, I downloaded every album and song he had available. I love to watch artists who truly love their craft. You can see by his passion that he not only gives his whole spirit to every note, but he appreciates every moment with his fans.
Constant Lovers: I remember the first time I met Joel Cuplin. He told me he was in a band. I really had no idea what to expect. By the time I left, I wanted to work with him. He has such a unique tone and crazy clear range. And their energy onstage is big. Everyone in the band is a hardcore musician. I got the album early (I hope it’s okay to say that), and I still have it in the six-disc changer in my car.
Neil Hamburger: I’ve seen “America’s Funnyman” many times. The most memorable being the time I was playing on a rock ’n’ roll cruise from Miami to the Bahamas. He performed in Nassau at an awful wet-T-shirt-contest-style bar called Senior Frog’s, which reeked of dead fish. This was his perfect venue. If you have no idea who he is, don’t look anything up and just go see him perform.
Melvins: I saw them recently for the first time, and it was awesome. But of course it was, because it’s the Melvins.
For me, there are three can’t-miss performers at Bumbershoot this year:
Neko Case: Neko is rad. Plain and simple. I love her.
Puddles Pity Party: Voice of an angel and unlike anyone else you’ll see. Heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time.
Peaches: My sister from another mister. Peaches kills every time I see her AND always surprises. Will never miss her when she’s within 120 miles. I hope we record a song together one day. Something about fucking or pussy or cats, with tons of money notes and a killer beat.
I seek out artists who challenge me and make me uncomfortable. I’m excited to see the following artists at Bumbershoot because I feel that 10 years down the road, we are going to look at them and realize that they were the game changers.
Flying Lotus: This guy is one of the few artists out there who paints with his own brush. I can hear some influences in his work, but mostly he’s shed all of them and is confident enough to speak with his unique and unorthodox style. “FlyLo” has opened doors for so many of the artists he’s collaborated with, including Kendrick Lamar, Thundercat, Kamasi Washington, and many more. He’s inspired me so many times when I’m trying to write my own music by acting as a “palate cleanser.” If I’m sick of everything I’m hearing on the radio or every idea I come up with, I listen to him to start from a blank slate again. He reminds me that there are no rules.
Melvins: Seeing the Melvins live was one of the most powerful life-changing experiences I had as a young musician growing up in Seattle. The first word that I associate with them is “conviction.” Maybe “intent” as well. I wish I, along with most musicians, would adopt their fearlessness. They make me want to make art. Bring earplugs.
Neil Hamburger: I’ve never laughed harder while simultaneously being so uncomfortable and squeamish than when I saw Neil perform at Spaceland in Los Angeles. Sometimes I’ve wanted to walk out of his gigs, and yet I couldn’t because I had to admire his bravery. (John Wicks)
Built to Spill: I was the music director of my college radio station, WBOR at Bowdoin College, and thought I was the coolest thing ever. I listened to THE BEST music (and the Get Up Kids, unfortunately), and I figured I would always be ahead of the curve. Over a decade later, I’m still listening to the same albums. It’ll be great to hear Built to Spill live finally, and I am hoping they will play songs off every record up to Ancient Melodies of the Future. NOTHING AFTER THAT.
Why This Why That Why Now with Ijeoma Oluo: Ijeoma Oluo is a brilliant writer and a new and powerful feminist voice. I’m excited hear Ijeoma speak on a wide variety of topics. A strong woman of color who has appeared on the Moth and been featured in publications around the country, she has also created a feminist coloring book. (FULL DISCLOSURE: I am featured in said coloring book. MORE DISCLOSURE: She is the sister of my writing partner and best friend Ahamefule Oluo. MOST IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE: Who cares? You white demons got Built to Spill above. I can do whatever I want here.)
Lady Parts Justice Featuring Lizz Winstead: Lizz Winstead created The Daily Show. That should be enough for you to attend this event. But she has also started this wonderful organization that uses comedy and other forms of media to fight for reproductive justice. Expect a hilarious and thoughtful experience.
The last time I went to Bumbershoot, I saw Spinal Tap play their last concert ever! I can’t believe it was 31 years ago! I’d just joined the Melvins, and this was the first show we saw together! Of course, the Tap have re-formed since then, and so have some bands I look forward to seeing at Bumbershoot this year!
Dead Moon: I only saw them once. I hope they play the song “Dead Moon.” It’s my favorite!
Faith No More: They re-formed a while back, which means Mike Patton is due to pull a crazy stunt! Will it happen at Bumbershoot??? Better hold your breath!
Babes in Toyland: We’re longtime friends and have done a lot of touring together in the past. I recently saw their first reunion show. They still got it and they’re going to rip it up! (Dale Crover)
Super Famous and Radio LARP: Seattle has some great comedians who have no problem stepping out of the traditional boundaries of stand-up/sketch/improv and are willing to get as weird as possible to tell a unique and beautiful story on stage. There is no better example of this than the double bill of Seattle’s most exclusive sorority and a radio play about burned-out superhero the Red Sun.
Hella Much: A QTPOC variety show helmed by some of my favorite emerging talents, including musician/artist/storyteller LA Henderson and comedian DJ Martinez that showcases the fact that Seattle comedy is so much more than a bunch of dudes telling jokes about pot and video games. Full of amazing voices that will make you a better person for hearing them.
Neko Case: I wish she were on the comedy stage. I think she is a hilarious genius. I still laugh about her wolf shirt joke from @Midnight last year and enjoy her on Twitter so much. I would never Peggy Olson her, and I am looking forward to hearing her music.
Hari Kondabolu: Come on, you don’t even need me to tell you why you need to see Hari. He’s a goddamn national treasure of righteously hilarious comedy.
Solomon Georgio: Seeing how much this amazingly talented (and devastatingly handsome) man has stepped up his comedy game over the last few years has been inspiring. I’m so excited to see him doing a show in Seattle—WHERE HE BELONGS.
Lady Parts Justice Featuring Lizz Winstead: Right now, we need Lady Parts Justice and Lizz Winstead more than ever. I’m definitely planning on seeing this hilarious woman in person.
DeVotchKa: Maybe this isn’t the “coolest” recommendation out there, but DeVotchKa put on a hell of a show. They make you want to drink, they make you want to jump up and down, they make you want to start a fight (but please don’t start a fight).
Kacey Musgraves: With her latest album, Pageant Material, winning over listener and critical hearts alike—including mine—Kacey Musgraves is setting the musical world on (slow-burning, weed-scented) fire. I saw her live earlier this summer, and it was one of the best things I’ve seen this year. “Biscuits” is the jam of 2015, for sure.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Writing Staff: One of the most consistently funny shows on TV, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is built not only on the strength of its amazing cast, but around the smart people in its writers’ room. I follow a bunch of them on Twitter, and I’m stoked to see what they have to say live not only about their show and how they put it together, but about life and the world in general.
Bridget Everett: Anyone who watches Inside Amy Schumer knows about Bridget Everett, the comedian Schumer says is the absolute funniest person in the world. Even without that Schumer connection, though, Everett is poised to blow up in the comedy world. She’s one of those people who might play little rooms now, but will be doing stadiums soon enough. (Marah Eakin)
Hari Kondabolu: Genuinely smart and edgy stand-up. Both those words are highly overused but actually apply here. Highly recommended.
Puddles Pity Party: A six-foot-eight silent clown who sings torch songs? We love every part of that description and can’t wait to finally see this YouTube sensation live.
Dana Snyder: This popular voice actor is also an extremely funny performer and singer. Just about anything goes at his shows.
Mike Lawrence: He’s weird and vulnerable and innocent and hilarious, and the things he says make me laugh but also occasionally make me feel like I’ve been punched in the heart. He might be my spirit animal. I recommend all of his stand-up appearances, but I also recommend you see him on my live podcast Sunday night with fellow weird vulnerable hilarious person Hutch Harris of Portland’s the Thermals. (Is it cheating for me to recommend my own show? Let’s keep this between us, Seattle.)
Annie Lederman: She’s beautiful, funny, and whip-smart, and she used to be a real-life train wreck, apparently.
Neko Case: I’ve been a Neko Case fan forever. Her voice is haunting in the best way. I just love her.
Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals: Because I missed ’em live the first time around! My buddy Oliver plays drums for them and he’s badass! (Dave Hidalgo Jr.)
I’m bummed I won’t be able to see the White Buffalo because they play on Saturday, but I’m excited to see Neko Case! I haven’t been able to see her band in a long time, and I love her newest record, The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You. You’ll also find me watching Melvins!!!!!! (Brent Harding)
Neko Case: This year’s Bumbershoot has a lot of awesome bands, but I’m most excited to see Neko Case. How can you go wrong with a woman who sings the best songs off the New Pornographers’ Mass Romantic, hails from Tacoma, and supports rescuing dogs? You cannot. (David Crane)