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Bumbershoot 2012 Day 1: A Good Day for the Arts

Posted by September 9th, 2012 No Comments »

Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival
September 1-3, 2012
Day 1 Recap
By Red Lehman

If  Bumbershoot is a “music and arts” festival, opening day 2012 would have been a good day to focus on the arts.

With only a few things circled on my schedule, I arrived at 2 p.m. and headed to Key Arena for Gotye. On the way over I caught a few songs from local rock band Unnatural Helpers, who have a singer/drummer that kinda looks like Bob Mould. They rocked.

Here’s why concerts in Key Arena suck:

1. The sounds bounces all over the place
2. The memorial stadium was so much better
3. It’s indoors on the last weekend of summer
4. Security are a bunch of assholes. I had to pour out a sealed bottle of water, but they don’t pat down. Apparently a lot of people have glaucoma.

Despite all of this, Gotye’s show was interesting, complex and undoubtedly the best thing I would see all day. He played almost everything off his latest album Making Mirrors with visuals synchronized to everything the band was doing, which included a lot of different vocal parts and all sort of banging on percussive instruments. With visuals spanning Ren & Stimpy cartoon style (State of the Art) to MC Escher meets Robert Smigel he has clearly taken some live performance notes at Peter Gabriel shows.

I left to check out the ELVIS exhibit, which was reminiscent of an episode of Hoarders. I left before anyone started talking to me. It was creepy and I don’t get it.I did check out the art exhibit and enjoyed the giant gloves, robot bugs, floating bit images on the wall and some interesting cloud art machinery.

Next stop on my one-day “tour of the arts” was a showcase of short films selected by the Seattle International Film Festival audience, which I absolutely loved. The film CAT CAM was one of the funniest short films I have ever seen. My co-workers are sick to death of me talking about it in a terrible (perhaps German-like) accent.

After that I went and check out some comedy. All the comics on the Paul F. Tompkins and Friends (real and imaginary) showcase, but the highlight was a heckler who threw his sunglasses on stage where they were smashed by Mr. Tompkins’ foot. The guy went into an uproar and Paul asked if he was drunk, to which he replied “no.” Paul then asked him “then what the hell is wrong with you then?” Good retort Mr. Tompkins.

I spent the rest of the day back at Key Arena, or “Satan’s Anus” as I’ve lovingly dubbed it. AWOLNation was quite possibly the worst music I have ever heard. Screaming vocals with dreamy pop music? Lyrics that are mostly chants and telling everyone how we are “all an AWOLNation?” Awful.

I figured it would be worth it when I had a comfy seat for the next performace, though, which was from seminal 1990s alternative rock band Jane’s Addiction. I was wrong. They were horrible.

This performance did not feel like a comeback. It felt like Perry Farrell and company were digging up a dead corpse and then re-killing it. After a video about child abuse where kids where punching dolls, a Zombie Adonis Perry Ferrell with his shirt off and bottle of booze in hand asked the crowd “Hey Seattle how’r you doin?” I replied loudly, “Well I was doing fine, but now I’m a bit depressed and I want to call my father.”

Then they launched into “Jane Says” and butchered it. I left halfway through the song before they could soil the rest of their already tarnished memory.


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