Look, I get it. The name Macklemore & Ryan Lewis means something much different today than it did just three years ago, when the duo were gaining regional notoriety for merging heartfelt love letters to the Pacific Northwest with their version of socially aware hip-hop. Since the release of 2012’s The Heist, the duo have toured the world extensively, won a Grammy for Best Rap Album of the Year, and have been inducted into the national consciousness but, before that, they headlined Bumbershoot in 2011, in a slot just before Wiz Khalifa.
I can’t imagine how vindicated Macklemore must’ve felt performing on the main-stage at the festival where, just a few years earlier, he’d been slinging mixtapes near Seattle Center entrances. People who ignored him then could’ve very well been among the masses cheering his name in Key Arena, revealing the strange poetry to how the music industry is in constant flux.
I’d seen Macklemore and Ryan Lewis a few times at smaller college fests, and knew they were good for an hour of inoffensive entertainment, punctuated by the appearance of Mack’s alter ego for “And We Danced” and calling upon the Beirut-sampling “Irish Celebration” as the grand finale.
And that’s what basically happened, except the enormity of the moment was hard to shake. The Irish flag he waved seemed big as a ship’s sail and Seattle Supersonics’ legend Shawn Kemp strolled out between songs to give Mack and Lewis daps on their hard work leading to such success. The arena was packed and deafening with the sound of thousands singing along and, in that moment, they began their course to world domination.
This year’s Bumbershoot lineup includes Wu-Tang Clan, Elvis Costello, Afghan Whigs, Schoolboy Q, Mavis Stables, Capital Cities, The Replacements and hundreds more. Tickets are still available.
Photo by Alex Crick.
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.
More in this series:
- 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)