Bumbershoot 2014 Recap
Monday, September 1
Words by Adrienne Pollock
Photos by Sunny Martini
Seattle festival crowds put the city’s show-going regulars to shame. You know those people who usually go to shows, who stand there, maybe bob their heads, and hardly move? That’s definitely not who showed to the final day of Bumbershoot 2014. The four-piece Seattle surf rock band La Luz had us all dancing bright and early at 12:30 p.m., grooving right along with their bite-sized catchy songs.
There’s nothing flashy about La Luz. They don’t try to sell themselves with fancy, skimpy clothes or over-the-top antics. These girls are here to play some of the best surf rock that’s in Seattle right now, getting you into it before your mind even realizes what your body’s doing. From four-part harmonies over simple beats to complex breakdowns and tempo changes, each member of this chic group adds something necessary to the eerie tunes. But Marian Li Pino brought it all together on the drums, leading the way through each song with precise hits, switching to a driving, booming run on the floor toms, leading the rest of the band with ease and finesse, all the while smiling and singing her harmonies. A drummer can make or break a band’s sound, and Li Pino is likely one of the best drummers in Seattle right now.
Speaking of great drummers in Seattle, what an incredible pleasure to watch Jordan Butcher of the band formerly known as Campfire OK! (We’ll come back to that whole name-change part.) Butcher played with so much intensity and blatant passion that he infused such a deeper level of energy and force into the music. They all played well, but Butcher made it magical and quite inspiring.
And yes, that’s right—Campfire OK officially changed their name to The Weather, announced yesterday. They didn’t say much at the show, but they announced the change on Facebook, citing that the old name – after changes in members, sound, and personal feeling – ceased to resonate with the band. Time for something new, and just in time to release a new record, which if their Bumbershoot performance is any indication promises to be quite good.
Certainly hard to follow on the heels of such a great performance from The Weather, the set from Rose Windows mostly fell flat. The drums were far too loud and seemed a touch sloppy, the flute was a nice addition but mostly inaudible for the first half, and many of the songs sounded relatively the same—granted, apparently, they played mostly new tunes, which are perhaps not totally ironed out. Not to mention little to no crowd interaction, and some slightly strange head banging from Rabia Shaheen Qazi that didn’t really fit the music. At least the end of the set, songs from their 2013 album The Sun Dogs, sounded far superior than the new material.
To completely switch it up, Bomba Esteréo stopped at Bumbershoot along their tour, coming all the way from Colombia. The group drew one of the biggest crowds yet of the day, but it seemed to be filled with mostly drunk, drugged festival goers who just wanted to dance.
The music itself harkened back to Daddy Yankee’s 2004 album, which admittedly got nominated for the Latin Grammy Award for Record of the Year. The members mixed sampling pads and live instruments, and the drums sounded okay, but they didn’t bring much innovation to the table. And the harsh, repetitive, sometimes nasally, sometimes off-key “lyrics” of Liliana Saumet did nothing but make the music more annoying—though I suppose her presence is more about the gyrating sex appeal than any actual musical talent.
Luckily, Nada Surf came through to lull the ears of festival goers into a sweeter state as the day turned into night. Nada Surf doesn’t play challenging music by any means, but, man, they put on a good show. They do what many bands fail to realize is paramount: they make it about the crowd. You don’t feel like you’re there to watch yet another band who thinks they’re the shit or they’re honoring you with their presence. Instead, you are a part of the music. You are what makes the show. Without you, it wouldn’t be as good. They joke with you, they involve you in a crowd-wide two-step dance that turns everyone into one swaying unit, and then, before you know it, you’re so lost in the music and high on their melodic, beautiful guitar riffs and anthem-like lyrics – moving, dancing, singing – that you don’t come back down until, too soon, the music ends.
More Bumbershoot 2014 coverage:
- Photo Set: Bomba Estereo
- 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
- Bumbershoot 2014 Day 1 Recap: Gemma Avoids “The Twerk Talk”
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)