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Great Moments in Bumbershoot History: Kanye West (2006)

Posted by July 28th, 2014 1 Comment »

I think it’s fair to say Bumbershoot’s lineup in 2006 was preposterous. Honestly. Look at it.

The most bittersweet part of this project reflecting on each year and noticing huge artists who, at the time, were playing at 12:30pm on a lawn in Seattle Center, trying to win over a few early go-getters who’re just waiting for a fresh elephant ear before dipping into the main stage to fight to the front row. Late afternoon sets by world class talent fighting against royal homecomings, long-awaited reunions, or possibly just sunburned fans suffering from a day-drunken fatigue.

2006 was just physically brimming with talent on the verge of greatness. I watched David Cross intently stride by Fisher Green in a baseball cap. Aziz Ansari lackadaisically wandered through the front of Charlotte Martin Theater snacking on curly fries and seemingly unaware of the giant line consisting of people on stand-by for the show. If you blinked, you missed Macklemore’s first Bumbershoot appearance or Feist just before The Reminder or A Tribe Called Quest’s last show before a prolonged hiatus or Zach Galifiniakis doing a now unheard of set to a few hundred people.

This marked the first time I became aware of an eerie phenomenon, and the same thing happens each year no matter how hard you try: one of the artists you sacrifice for one reason or another will explode. It is totally unavoidable and time is a flat circle.

When it happened to me for the first time, I missed someone who grew to be the biggest rock star and/or douchebag (depending on who you ask) on the planet. In 2006, I missed Kanye West.

At that time, Kanye was only two albums into his career. The College Dropout debuted in 2004 and Late Registration had been out for about a year, and I’d only heard “Jesus Walks” and “Gold Digger” and that was probably because when you’re 16 you’re a fucking idiot and you go see Hawthorne Heights and Yellowcard and Lady fucking Sovereign instead of badass bands like Deerhoof or the Blood Brothers or of Montreal.

Okay, sorry, I’m back.

The thing is, I didn’t even choose another artist over Kanye. I just distinctly remember going home, thinking nothing cool was happening after Thee Emergency, let alone that the pop music messiah would grace us with a very rare performance sans Versace mask and giant mountain of which he’s now so fond.

One of my good friends at the time, who has since become my longtime girlfriend, suggested going to see ‘Ye and I. said. Nah. Me, now one of legions of Yeezus fans who deem the man infallible, whose very name piques my interest like a dog whistle, decided it wasn’t important. I still get physically sick from the thought.*( I have since tried to make good on this through a series of over 100 mix CDs and I still don’t feel better.)

My point is that I urge you, Bumberfan, to explore each year. Make it a point to see a band you don’t know or are curious about because you might find your next favorite album or a local band just starting out, and it’s deeper if you rely on serendipitous wandering. Last year I researched and wrote about every band that came to Seattle Center for Memorial Day weekend and still missed a few cool acts. Just pick a couple things you can’t miss and then fly by the seat of your pants until it’s suddenly the following Tuesday and you don’t understand why your face-paint hasn’t washed off yet.

*Though, I would like to mention that I left blissfully unaware of these oversights, completely content with seeing a ton of great music and comedy. 

This year’s Bumbershoot lineup includes Wu-Tang Clan, Elvis Costello, Afghan Whigs, Schoolboy Q, Mavis Staples, Capital Cities, The Replacements and hundreds more. Tickets are still available. 

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One thought on “Great Moments in Bumbershoot History: Kanye West (2006)

  1. chris says:

    You didn’t miss a thing, I was there. He forgot his own lyrics. It was a shitshow.

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