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Charles Bradley can get down, and the soul veteran got during an on-air performance on the intimate KEXP stage today! Dressed in a red jacket with big shoulders, and kind of resembling an older Bernie Mac, Bradley brought down the house with his soul music, pretty much performing like the cousin of James Brown, though slowed down a little bit.

When singing “Lovin’ You Baby,” he was down on his knees, begging the crowd for forgiveness. No, for mercy! “When you touch me, my heart skips a beat!” Bradley put so much soul and passion into that song, he could have won back the heart of the most homophobic redneck in Kentucky. It was THAT powerful! When not crooning, he can still dance, shake and jive like a young man. The band was a tight unit, but you never heard any of them open up with a solo once. Bradley would at times reach just a half of a pitch outside of his range, straining to hit the notes, but with the effort and showmanship he puts into his songs, it doesn’t matter.

Before my interview with My Goodness, I did get the chance to listen to their set first. The band sounded great and there was next to no stage banter from singer Joel Schneider, but the poor sound quality in that venue really made the show a bummer. It’s just not built to have loud rock music in that venue with the sound bouncing all over the place. The kick drum was literally louder than the guitar the whole time and I had to move away from the front of the stage after about two songs to avoid getting a headache from the throbbing bass of the kick drum. I went back later in the day to see Vendetta Red and could only last through about one song. Horrible venue.

I decided to go check out the Why 3D? Why Autotune? Why Now showcase. This was hosted by rapper and much more Astronautalis who might be one of the most brilliant and well spoken rappers out there. The idea of this panel, which included 3D expert Bruce Oberg and Minneapolis based dj Mike 2600, was to discuss the relevance of 3D and Autotune and how coincidental that both technologies are big right now. However most of the time was spent talking about what both 3D and Autotune actually are, and their history. For instance, how there is a difference between Autotune, a Talkbox and Vocoder.

But I felt like the real question was left out, especially for Autotune: Why? That question never really got brought up or answered, which was really the whole point of the panel. The audience had a ton of questions (myself included) but there wasn’t enough time to get to them all within an hour. They should have broken this up into two separate panels.

Phantogram had an amazing visual show to go with their music, but I’ll let Zoe speak on that. After Truckasaurus took to the stage and announced their greetings, Adam Swan announced: “Oh, and fuck Hall and Oates!” to the crowd’s delight. The electronic, lo-fi beat wizards twisted and turned knobs to make loud beats that had the characters on the large video behind them (usually characters from crappy 70s and 80s films) move along in unison, like Ralph Macchio playing guitar in Crossroads.

I stopped back by to hear the end of Phantogram’s set and just across the field, they were pretty much in a duel for sound against rock-a-billy king Reverend Horton Heat, who announced this was the celebration of 25 years for the band and they were dipping back into every album for songs. After they were done, I settled on the Reverend for a while.  I thought about stopping in to see Hall and Oates for a second just mainly to see how many people actually stayed to see him. But due to exhaustion and a complete lack of interest, I declined as I chose not to support seeing the worst headlining act scheduled at Bumbershoot in the five years I’ve been covering this  festival.

THANK YOU to Arielle, Ambar and Zoe for an amazing job helping me to cover the festival again this year!

Reflection off of the EMP

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