I’ve gone to Bumbershoot four out the six years I’ve lived in Seattle, so I like to think I have a fair amount of life lessons when it comes to braving the festival: I’ve been the loud drunk person, I’ve been the sad dehydrated person, I’ve been the ‘missed my favorite-bands-because-I-was wandering-around-lost-on-edibles’ person (it’s not just a rookie mistake, Chase!). But this time, I’m older, wiser. This time, it would be different. I would play the game of Bumbershoot. And I would win.
CATALDO AT THE KEXP STAGE
Maybe it was the quieter, oasis-like vibes of the KEXP space, away from the madding crowd, or maybe it was Cataldo’s charming back and forth with the sound guy as they warmed up for their set. Maybe it was the air-conditioning (!) and free water. Whatever it was, it was the perfect way to ease into Bumbershoot – off to nice start with the clean, comforting sounds of “Your Love Has Got Me Running Home (To You)” from their new album. Eric Anderson, mastermind behind and lead singer of Cataldo, was feeling chatty, telling stories about his adventures on tour and making jokes about his nerdy love of logistics between songs. But that nerdy love paid off with the beauty of some well-executed percussion (there were drums and bongos), an upbeat saxophone, some keys, and his relaxed, off-the-cuff stage presence.
Ah, that was nice. Ok, back out into the heat. But luckily there was this guy:
"Cool off before you throw down!"
TACOCAT AT THE FISHER GREEN STAGE
I didn’t even need to look at the map - I was led by Emily Noke’s unmistakable voice singing “Bridge To Hawaii” to the Fisher Green stage. I wanted to continue the Seattle love, so Tacocat was just what I needed – neon tutus, glitter-guilded drums, and that tambourine! Pure punk rock fun on summer’s afternoon.
“This song is about the Internet!” Nokes says before launching into their next song.
“FUCK the Internet!” the guy behind me shouts.
“Aw, you like the Internet!” says his friend.
“Ok, yeah. I guess I do like the Internet,” he concedes, after a moment of thinking about it. Even he couldn’t hate on the Internet when there’s cute people dressed as cats releasing balloons into the audience, future feminist little kids with rainbow-dyed hair bouncing to the music and bubbles! Bubbles forever.
WEEZER AT THE MAIN STAGE
Ok, fine, guilty. I went to see Weezer at the Main Stage because I wanted to catch the sweater song and “Islands in Sun”. So I trudged up the stairs all the way to the top of the amphitheater, where all the cool kids were smoking their drugs and making out. I suffered through Rivers Cuomo wearing a cringe-inducing sombrero during “Beverly Hills,” I stuck around for their awkward white-boy cover of Outkast’s “Hey Ya”, and I even didn’t leave when they played their new single, the incredibly lackluster “Feels Like Summer". But then I got my wish: the sweater song and “Islands In The Sun”, practically back to back. I was already on my way out, though, and felt nothing inside.
SOFI TUCKKER AT THE MURAL STAGE
Now here’s a good place to be - the creative explosion of jungle pop and electro dance fun that is Sofi Tuckker. People were actually dancing! Sofi Tuckker asked, nay, demanded a high level of energy from the audience, who were more than happy to oblige. Here’s a rule of thumb: at any festival where there’s dancing, find the real freaks on the outskirts of the crowd. There, I found fun folks doing limbo, dancing around like maniacs to “Batshit Crazy,” and even these people:
THE ROOTS AT THE FISHER GREEN STAGE
“You’re going the wrong fucking way! GO SEE THE ROOTS!” screeched some drunk guy to hordes of people heading to the Main Stage to see Lorde. “I’ve never seen such dumb-ass Americans in my whole fucking life!” Really, dude? Anyway, I know I made the right choice and I knew I would, because my god, did The Roots deliver. Fluid rhymes, beats both dynamic and tight – which makes sense, considering they’ve been playing nightly on Late Night With Jimmy Falon for the past decade or so. The performance was being livecast to children’s hostpitals around the country – including Houston – and throughout the set, Black Thought repeatedly gave shout outs to them. Hearts were melted, hips were moving, and hands were in the air.