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Bumbershoot 2009: How to Avoid Ben Allen

Posted by September 3rd, 2009 No Comments »

Bumbershoot Preview
Monday, September 7
By Ben Allen

Monday is my birthday, so I’m hoping it’s easy for me to see all of the bands on my 2009 Bumbershoot schedule. You can help out by avoiding these particular shows, OK?

I mean, why would you want to spend your Labor Day at the Seattle Center anyway? Bumbershoot has become a corporate cheesefest. This year tickets are $50 per day and sponsors include “Samsung Mobile,” “Starbucks,” and “Rockstar Energy Drink.”

So even if you examine the 30 plus acts performing on Monday, you won’t be able to find  some genuinely enticing groups worth checking out. Right?

Right. Here are some to specifically avoid.

Say Hi
Seattle-based “solo” artist Eric Elbogen (Say Hi) released his debut for Barsuk earlier this year. Like many of his label mates, he can be categorized as having a lo-fi indie-pop sound, often featuring “quirky” lyrics regarding pop culture.

Rockstar Energy Drink Vert Ramp
If you need to chill out and take a break from heavy rocking, the fountain lawn is the spot to be. Last year I found myself stopping in on several occasions to watch the skaters tear a new ass out of the less than perfect Rockstar Energy Drink Vert Ramp.

The Cave Singers

The Cave Singers

Jason Webley
It’s a miracle Seattle’s Jason Webley hasn’t become a super star. Usually just performing with an accordion and vocals, the guy is incredibly talented and entertaining. He started by busking, but worked up a routine strong enough to take on tour and release albums. You heard it here first, I predict the guy is about to get some type of big break.

The Cave Singers
The Cave Singers
 exemplify the folky, gloomy, 60’s singer-songwriter vibe that seems to be so popular in the Northwest these days. The songwriting is damn solid, and simplistic in the most appropriate way. Singer Derek Fudesco’s nasally whine took a while for me to get used to. After repeated listens though, I found myself craving more.

Portland Cello Project
The Portland Cello Project is rotating cast of characters numbering between 8 and 16. Their live performances mix up classical compositions with tongue-in-cheek pop covers of Britney and Outkast. Oddly enough they’re now signed to Portland-based indie rock label Kill Rock Stars. I’m intrigued.

Patton Oswalt
If you’re familiar with Oswalt’s performance on the “Comedians of Comedy” tour, or even his work on the pile of shit sitcom, “King of Queens,” you’ll want to check out his routine. Dude gets raw and nasty, in a good way.

Head Like A Kite
I’ve only heard a couple of Head Like a Kite songs and they remind me of Portishead. In a good way. Plus, NadaMucho.com liked them so much they put them on their compilation CD, so they must be worth checking out.

Modest Mouse
What can I say about our “local boys done good” that hasn’t already been said? It’s interesting to think that Modest Mouse‘s historical legacy may be  the hit single “Float On.” My fondest memories of “The Mouse” will always be 1998l playing cuts off their landmark album The Lonesome Crowded West over and over on my college’s radio station. I recall hearing “Trailer Trash” and “Polar Opposites” for the first time and wondering if “college radio rock” could possibly get any better. Since that time, MM has continued to churn out decent sensitive guy indie rock, but nothing that achieved the peak and perfection of ..Crowded West.


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