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Bumbershoot: Day 1

Bumbershoot: Day 1: live in Seattlelive in Seattle (2007)
live show

Reviewer Rating: 2


Contributed by: ArchangelArchangel
(others by this writer | submit your own)

This was my first experience with Seattle's largest arts festival, so I'm not really qualified to talk about the event's gradual incline in price (free to under ten dollars to today's $35 a day) and decline in talent (Modest Mouse, David Cross, Wilco, Sonic Youth, to this weekend's Panic! at the Dis.


This was my first experience with Seattle's largest arts festival, so I'm not really qualified to talk about the event's gradual incline in price (free to under ten dollars to today's $35 a day) and decline in talent (Modest Mouse, David Cross, Wilco, Sonic Youth, to this weekend's Panic! at the Disco, Fergie, +44, Sean Paul, and Joss Stone). There were, however, some good names at Saturday's installment of Bumbershoot, and I tried to see what I could catch.

I began at the Exhibition Hall, sponsored by MySpace, where things started out fucked up. There was a station with computers to check your MySpace while you waited for the Receiving End of Sirens to take the stage, but if you weren't doing that, you had to be seated. Security was walking around, telling people to sit down until the show started -- and when the music started, they were in the crowd to ensure that no one moved. The band started out with "Planning a Prison Break" and brought plenty of energy -- almost enough to compensate for the crowd's enforced lack of it. I only caught half of their set, during which they played "The Rival Cycle," "Smoke and Mirrors" and another track off of the new album, but they sounded great and looked like they were enjoying themselves.

Having already seen the Shins this year, I decided to skip the obscene line leading to the main stage. For those interested, they opened with "Sleeping Lessons" and "Australia," closed with "So Says I" (I think), and played pretty much all the songs you expect them to.

One of the highlights of Bumbershoot was Flatstock, an exhibition and sale of concert posters. Several rows of dozens of tables and artists displayed incredible work, all of it worth checking out. I walked away with two by The Decoder Ring.

Local pop act Lillydale played their last show in the EMP Sky Church. It was disappointing and not worth further comment.

Menomena took the Sound Transit Stage with a choir dressed in matching robes. The percussion-heavy, relatively stripped-down style sounded great under the two vocalists, but I didn't really see the point of the background singers. I didn't know much about this band beyond their name, but I walked away impressed -- although the choir seemed entirely unnecessary. They added very little to the first four or five songs I saw before leaving to see the last half of Head Automatica's set.

I walked into a crowded house during one of the tracks off of Popaganda. Daryl Palumbo sang and leapt around the stage with boundless energy, but the band's power-pop sounded awful in Exhibition Hall. To their credit, the sound problems were the venue's, but I also can't shake the feeling that this band just isn't as good as I thought they were when Decadence first came out. After "Beating Heart Baby," half of the crowd left as Daryl led the band through "Please Please Please (Young Hollywood)," "The Razor" and set closer "I Shot William H. Macy."

Local act Aqueduct put on the most fun set of the day. I was only familiar with a few songs, but the three-piece keyboard/synth-pop act kept my interest for the full hour or so of stage time. Their frontman couldn't stop talking about how much fun he was having, how excited he was about their new record, and his enthusiasm rubbed off on the crowd. The band played "The Suggestion Box," "Heart Design," "Hardcore Days and Softcore Nights" and plenty of songs off of new album Or Give Me Death, including "With Friends Like These," "Just the Way I Are" and "As You Wish," introduced as a song about The Princess Bride. After playing through their set before their allotted time was up, they let the crowd's applause determine whether or not they'd give us a few more songs. The simple and beautiful melodies combined with the singer's visible joy made Aqueduct simply the most fun band of the day. Oh, and their rendition of R. Kelly's "I'm a Flirt" (introduced as "the festival cover of the summer") was a highlight of Bumbershoot.

The end of the night left me with a difficult choice, as four acts were playing more or less simultaneously: Gogol Bordello, DeVotchKa, Grand Archives (ex-Band of Horses / Carissa's Wierd), and Rodrigo y Gabriela. Although I heard great things about Rodrigo y Gabriela, I stayed for the entirety of DeVotchKa's set. The Denver-based four-piece brought out an interesting variety of instruments, including a sousaphone (covered in red Christmas lights), accordion, and theremin. The crowd thoroughly enjoyed the variety of genre-blending, from mariachi-style flourishes to oft-mentioned gypsy folk foundations to anything else the band could throw in. Singer Nick Urata's voice was unreal, accomplishing notes and wails that complemented the band's stomping bridges or gentle violin-led moments. The only song I recognized was "How It Ends" (from that one movie everyone loved), which sounded wonderful. The band followed their set with a brief instrumental encore, much to the audience's enjoyment.

I wish I could score Bumbershoot based on DeVotchKa and Aqueduct alone and call it a 5-star day, but from absurd ticket prices to bizarre security to sound problems to fucking ridiculous headliners, the festival was -- as a whole -- a disappointment.

Note: Apparently, +44 cancelled and local horrorcore pop-punk act Schoolyard Heroes filled in for them.

 


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
TOBB (September 6, 2007)

i like the new every time i die record. it's noisy.

opsdrummer (September 6, 2007)

i was the guy stalking all the hot chicks from across broad ave. with his pants off. the best thing was it was free for me, and i didn't have to listen to that substandard bullshit that passes off as music (as george carlin would say) these days.

sitars (September 6, 2007)

Sean Paul? What?

internetsanta (September 5, 2007)

oh yeah, as for 9/11, decide for yourself.
http://www.tv-links.co.uk/listings/9/4828

internetsanta (September 5, 2007)

you should have watched sean paul

trevor_the_exploder (September 5, 2007)

Seriously? I had an awesome time at Wu-Tang. Lupe was bullshit, but I kind of overlooked that because I enjoyed Wu so much.

i thought method man was the only trying to entertain the crowd. everyone else just stood there. granted, not a whole lot of breathing room when you have that many people on stage.

Citizen_Crack (September 4, 2007)

Aggrolites and Gogol were filthy. Bouncing Souls were same as ever. Horrorpops cancelled. Blue Scholars and Lyrics Born were amazing. Wu-Tang blew that shit out of the water. And it sounded like Sean Paul forgot how to speak english.

damnitsderek (September 4, 2007)

saw the wu last night. expected so much more out of them, especially after lupe fiasco's set.

this was probably the worst bumbershoot line-up in a while.


Seriously? I had an awesome time at Wu-Tang. Lupe was bullshit, but I kind of overlooked that because I enjoyed Wu so much.

damnitsderek (September 4, 2007)

Damnititsderek -- I didn't see them, but I was moments away from punching one of the Jesus protestors in the face. The sign-waving, "you're ALL going to hell" people were at the big entrance. Un-fucking-real.

I'm glad I missed them. They had a whole booth for the 9/11 garbage. I threw the flyer away, but one paragraph was trying to tie the Pat Tillman incident in with our self-induced 9/11. Stupid.

RedScare (September 4, 2007)

Yeah, you do have to know how to work it at Bumbershoot. But the lines can be so ridiculous you just have to bail on some bands.

655321 (September 4, 2007)

Horrible!! Too many cancelled bands and lines were absolutely rediculous. To stand in line longer than 2 hours to see Micheal Ian Black is a bit stupid.

Aggrolites were great except for the fucking children wanting to mosh and crowdsurf - smoke some fuckin dope already! Gogol Bordello was great.

All in all not worth sitting around all day for.

feeeding5000 (September 4, 2007)

Oh, Archangel, you should totally friend me. It'd be sweet. Well, it'd be...there, I guess.
Now you see that I am a fat teenage slob who is obsessed with both punk rock and Woody Allen movies. Surprise, surprise, a fat lazy kid posts on message boards!

feeeding5000 (September 4, 2007)

Why would I lie, Archangel? Should I know you? Hi.
(Keep in mind that any animosity I display toward you is only because I've arbitrarily selected you as my arch-nemesis).

pwfanatic37 (September 4, 2007)

i love bumbershoot. people complain about the lines, the prices, blah blah blah. but if you know how to do it, it is a pretty painless process. but to each their own i guess.

but this i can say, by not going to gogol bordello you missed one of the best sets. i still can't decide between them or ted leo, but gogol never disappoints.

RedScare (September 4, 2007)

I was nowhere near the NW this year so I did not go, but I usually go and enjoy this festival. I was being dragged to that thing since it was free and saw my first ever show at Bumbershoot.

Last year was great, I saw The Steve Miller band, The Briefs, A Tribe Called Quest, and The Engish Beat all in one day.

I ate some some corn too.

Archangel (September 4, 2007)

feeding: I was just checking the Facebook group, and is it true that you're a senior in high school?

trevor_the_exploder (September 4, 2007)

saw the wu last night. expected so much more out of them, especially after lupe fiasco's set.

this was probably the worst bumbershoot line-up in a while.

Archangel (September 4, 2007)

feeding -- I was afraid that would come up, but I didn't bother mentioning it in the review because I knew the "this isn't your livejournal, douche" comments would follow. My girlfriend bought tickets because her dad was coming to town and wanted to go. So, I got into Bumbershoot for free.

Welivewedie -- It's good to hear you had a better experience with security than I did, but I have to stop you. If the Trucks you're talking about are the same Trucks I had to sit through in July to see Girl Talk, then you are way off: They are PURE GIMMICK and COMPLETE SHIT. Four girls in thrift store trash clothes making incomprehensibly awful music? I fucking hate them. Good that you had fun otherwise, though.

Damnititsderek -- I didn't see them, but I was moments away from punching one of the Jesus protestors in the face. The sign-waving, "you're ALL going to hell" people were at the big entrance. Un-fucking-real.

damnitsderek (September 4, 2007)

I wish I had just couged up the $35 to go to this. Aqueduct, DeVotchKa, and Gogol Bordello seem like they would have been worth it. There wasn't a whole lot else that really appealed outside of that, though.

Also, what the fuck was up with the 9/11 conspiracy guys parading around handing out CDs?

welivewedie (September 4, 2007)

I only went to Sunday and I think that it was worth the $35. The Bouncing Souls set was great, the security could not stop everyone from dancing up a storm. I was soaked in sweat from head to toe and had to go change clothes after the set. The highlight of the day was seeing Seaweed's reunion show. The energy in the EMP was fantastic and there were quite a few 30 year olds who had been waiting 10 years to see one of their favorite bands perform. I also watched The Trucks who were pretty good, they were definitely a gimmick type band though. Art Brut was also good, the crowd was definitely into their set. The Watson Twins were horrible, boring music for boring people. Blue Scholars killed it for probably 3000 or so people (I'm not really sure how many people watched their set but over 40,000 people attended Sunday). This may be construde as misogynic, but there are so many great looking girls at Bumbershoot it sort of makes the festival great. Just walking around can be sort of depressing though, seeing that many great looking girls and knowing you don't really have a chance with any of them. And seeing the line for the Fergie and Sean Paul show definitely restored my faith in the idea that the country is going to hell.

feeeding5000 (September 4, 2007)

I hate you, Archangel. You seem so disinterested and blase about a show that you paid $35 to see. I mean, shit, if I was laying down that kinda money, I'd at least make it for something legendary, you know?
I hope that banning anonymouseseses doesn't cut down on cruel comments, because, frankly, you deserve them.
(And, yes, I am only angry at you because I have decided that you are my arch-nemesis).

Ollywood (September 4, 2007)

Could only use the computers to check myspace.com?
Checking myspace at a festival? wow... Score is for what this world is coming to.

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