By Greg Lehman
I woke up an hour before I actually got out of bed today. In my mind, I was already at Bumbershoot filling up on corndogs, meat on a stick, lemonade and finally getting one of them free Toyota bags with the cool
owl on it.
What a disappointment that the reality was a messy cottage space with all my Saturday festival shwag strewn about. The worst part of living alone is that the messes you make are yours alone to pick up. I thought about tackling the dishes and then I remembered… second day of Bumbershoot. Dishes be damned!
As we entered the park grounds we ran headlong into Sol’s performance. According to the Bumbershoot guide he is “Seattle’s Prince”. I do not think they mean he sounds like Prince, but he is young, gifted and lyrically playful. I was truly digging on his song about Trojan condoms. Give this guy a pack of jimmy hats and an endorsement, people.
It’s a unique and special experience seeing a band you love go from small clubs to the main stage at a world-renowned festival. It brings a sense of pride, but it was also hard to see others singing along to the Lonely Forest songs that I had memorized from a homemade CD with a hand-drawn cardboard cover. I think that’s because the Lonely Forest makes everyone feel like they are a part of them. They invite you to share in the experience that is life and love, humor and sadness, and, as a unified group raise your spirits and cast away your troubles.
Except for the trouble dealing with the security at the Key Arena. I know you are just doing your job guys, but seriously. If it’s this early in the day and you are already this paranoid you are going to be jacked up during Wiz Khalifa. Unclench a bit – we’re all just here to have some fun. I vote no on the having the main stage at the Key Arena next year.
Speaking of saying no. We saw NoMeansNo at the Exhibition Hall Stage. Yeah they are some elder statesmen of hardcore, but they haven’t skipped a beat. The music tore through that hall and a few mosh pits broke out. They were quickly extinguished and the parties involved were shown what the other side of the entrance door looked like. I settled for a little mental moshing. In my pit was Mayor McSchwinn, Stripe from Gremlins, a Happy Meal without a prize and a handful of main stage security guards.
We didn’t really see Broken Social Scene, but I’m OK with that. I heard part of a song, but we weren’t allowed on the floor or to stand anywhere. There were a few seats that were far away from the furthest seats back so we ditched and caught the Thee Oh Sees, who are weird, psychedelic and rockin’. I will see them again and bring friends. It will go something like “you just have to see them. It’s like great rock and roll, plus they have two drummers!”
Next we saw Atari Teenage Riot. They were terrible. They looked like the Black Eyed Peas, sounded like Ministry, but rapped with so much distortion you couldn’t begin to fathom what was going on. They looked disinterested in each other and separate from the audience. Even when they were trying to get people going it seemed angry and forced. It was a clusterfuck of sounds and emotions that seemed misdirected. I couldn’t get out of there soon enough.
I pretty much ran to Jim Jones Revue and was greeted with full-on rockabilly that was so intense and slick it caused a seven mile back up on the rock and roll expressway. Boots were kicked up, all 88 keys were utilized, and the singer’s raspy scream bore a hole into the legend of Bumbershoot, unlike the group down the way, Das Racist.
Seriously, what is the deal with these guys? I think I would have liked it if I was stoned, but stoned I wasn’t and liked it I did not. People were sure were trying, though. There was so much dope in the air it felt like a smoke signal. I interpreted this a sign that meant: “leave this stage and go see Warpaint.”
These four female phenoms not only brought some sophistication to Bumbershoot this year, but served it up in a tasty dish of beautiful arrangements, harmonies and professionalism. This is the best band you missed today.
The Butthole Surfers. I can’t believe I finally saw them. I waited all day and there they were in front of me. Gibby had this box with BHS written on the side. At first I thought it was Bothell High School and then I thought why would Bothell loan him a wooden box? These guys are too scary to be associated with the public school system. I’m glad I didn’t stare at the screen behind them too long or I would have nightmares without eating cheese or sugar before going to sleep. It was exactly as I thought: a psychosis of instrument noise and weird imagery that pushed the boundaries of un-normal. I liked it.
After that mind-bending experience we said good-bye to all the damn people. Katy Camera got a bean burger. I got a meat on stick that probably wasn’t steak and, in the light of the fountain, the half moon and the sounds of the different bands played at the same time as we bid adieu to the ‘Shoot.