Bumbershoot 2014 Recap
Saturday, August 30
By Gemma Alexander
Saturday was a good day for hip hop at Bumbershoot. I knew going in that Wu Tang Clan wasn’t going to be an option; neither of my kids has ever seen the back side of 10 p.m. But the shows early in the day are always the place to discover the bleeding edge.
Fly Moon Royalty is a family favorite, especially for my 10-year-old, who befriended Adra Boo at Rain City Rock Camp. She headed straight for the front row. The rest of us stayed further back where a 5-year-old on the shoulders wouldn’t block so many people, but it didn’t matter where you stood. Action J said they hadn’t expected so many people to turn out so early in the rain. They rewarded us by sounding the best I’ve ever heard them.
I hadn’t heard Sound Off! winner Otieno Terry before, but the contest pretty consistently highlights quality artists, so we wandered by. I stopped my oldest daughter from running to the front. “We might not stay,” I said. Two songs later I was dragging her forward.
Terry is a natural on the stage, charming the audience with just the right patter. When he dedicated a song to his mama, “It’s her birthday believe it or not,” I was inclined toward “not.” But when the audience sang “Happy Birthday” a woman a few feet in front of me started wiping her eyes; it was Terry’s very pretty mama.
The songs sometimes veer toward R&B, which usually leaves me cold, but the hip-hop elements and a full backing jazz band kept Terry’s music interesting. And the young woman he’s got singing with him – Ariana DeBoo – has a voice somewhere between Etta James and Beth Gibbons that could easily lure sailors onto the rocks.
We didn’t really want to hear other music after that. Instead, the kids explored the interactive art exhibits in Fisher Pavilion until we were drawn outside by the sound of Big Freedia. But I wasn’t up for giving “The Twerk Talk” on this day so we settled on the Fisher Pavilion stairs with snacks where we could only hear and not see the music.
It was too cold to swim in the Alki Court Fountain in the Kids’ Zone, so the kids made crafts while I listened to Gansango Music & Dance’s pan-African drumming. Then we checked out the Vera Project’s new Forum of Local and Independent Producers showcase.
Tomo Nakayama’s soft, dreamy music did my 5-year-old in; her daddy had to take her home. I stayed with my older daughter for Iska Dhaaf’s set. It was more raw and intense than the time I had seen them before. They have one more show in Seattle before moving to New York – I recommend attending.
Besides the collapsing 5-year-old, our only scheduling conflict of the day came next: Naomi Wachira’s set overlapping with Poliça. We swung by the Starbucks Stage long enough to confirm that we do want to see Wachira play in the future. Compared to their glossy, heavily produced recorded sound, Poliça’s live performance was all rock band, with more distortion than reverb and more danceable than trippy. It added another appealing dimension to the band.
We tried to hold out for Yuna, but by the time she took the stage my 10-year was dropping into my lap. I made a mental note to explore Yuna’s music in the future. But for now, we have to pace ourselves – there are two more days of Bumbershoot left.
More Bumbershoot 2014 coverage:
- Photo Set: Bomba Estereo
- Bumbershoot 2014 Day 3 Recap: Seattle Puts its Dancin’ Shoes On
- Bumbershoot 2014 Day 2 Recap:A Magical, Line-Free Sunday
- Photo Set: Negativland @ Bumbershoot 2014
- Bumbershoot 2014 Day 1 Recap: The Refrain is the Same
Great Moments in Bumbershoot History:
- Against Me! (2004)
- The Locust & Flogging Molly (2005)
- Iggy & The Stooges (2005)
- Kanye West (2006)
- John Legend (2007)
- Man Man (2008)
- Monotonix (2008)
- Patton Oswalt (2009)
- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (2011)
- Tony Bennett (2012)
- Panel: Barsuk Celebrates 15 Years (2013)