Reviews from the massive Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle.
It took five hours to make it happen, but a major THANK YOU to April and Jackson of Bumbershoot staff for finally getting Randomville online!!! NOW we will get some work done!! 🙂
I stopped by the Cyclecide show happening all weekend long for a minute. The public gets their chances to ride these strange bikes, but for now it was the host folks with a live band:
Next I moved over to finally see The Lonely H, a band I’ve been trying to catch for years. Singer Mark Fredson yowls, growls, screeches, yelps and pulls a drawl sometimes; maybe like a young, tame Jerry Lee Lewis. Think of Spoon meshing with The Black Crowes for a comparison. He’s a great frontman and each song had the enthusiasm as if it was the final song of the night. Solid performance.
Walking up to see Seattle hip hop group Fresh Espresso, rapper P Smoov (of Mad Rad fame) was the lead voice, though in a more calmed down tone then Mad Rad, simply just rapping. Rik Rude (and Terry from Mad Rad and guest drummer Trent Moorman from Head Like a Kite) is good too, but Smoov is quietly the frontman here. He’s just the best MC, and has a more clear voice and he has good flow control.
I’m not sure if this is happening outside of Seattle, but flying flour tortillas at festivals is becoming the norm around here. Better than bricks! Fresh Espresso is similar to Mad Rad though, but this batch seems more fit for a hip hop video shot late at night with cars and girls. They had matching black outfits with white ties, but they are simply not as fun as Mad Rad. Perhaps their highly anticipated new album will be better than their live show.
Circus Una Motorcycle Thrill Show. They rode to Motorhead, Poison and Motley Crue. Crazy performance!!
Back out to the street. Not sure yet if I’ll update again before after the show tonight. Stay tuned!
I had to ask!
My question: I want to be able to walk like Sherman Hemsley. How can I do it? First I was shown the walk, then told to perform. As expected, I didn’t quite have it down and I was instructed to pretend like I was dribbling a basketball behind my back. He said I was “close.” I think he was lying.
[I can hear Courtney Love howling down the road as I type this. I have zero interest…to be polite]
As an off-agenda move, I stopped by the secret KEXP stage to see power pop band Surfer Blood. In pure, skinny-jean fashion, they played out like The National and Vampire Weekend thrown into a blender. There were some head bobs going on, but the danceable tracks didn’t seem to fitting in the intimate, sit-down venue.
New Orleans based Jay Electronica let off an F-bomb within his first 10 words. He had the crowd chanting back “Real hip hop. True hip hop. Weed don’t stop. We don’t stop.” But every time I would just be getting into his beat, they’d stop the music and he’d just be rapping into a mic…in front of 1,000+ people. The crowd was just too young to connect to that and was quickly losing attention. I left after a few songs, if that’s what you would classify them as.
Have to admit I really had not seen any really great performances today, but that changed real fast with James Cotton. From the opening song, it was like his two guitarists (Tom Holland and Michael Coleman) were in an intense boxing match over who could out-solo each other. They put some boogie in my woogie!
Of course Cotton was the main focus; the guy used to be in Muddy Waters’ band. But at one point Coleman unleashed this furious solo where he layed on a two-note speed rampage for about 30 seconds, causing the crowd to erupt. Somewhere up above, Stevie Ray was tipping his hat in approval. Then there was the bass player: When given the chance, he drilled the slap bass ala Flea it was so fast. James sat out for the first two songs, then hobbled out to the stage (he’s 75) directly to his chair. The harmonica legend did his thing and he’s still got some life in those old lungs. I’m a blues man by heart and today my heart was warmed!
For me, The Vienna Teng Trio closed out my night on a cool, summer-ending night and their music was perfect for this theme. An accomplished piano player with a pretty voice, Teng and her crew produce quiet and peaceful music. The talent is fluent in the band as well with one instance where her percussion player used his right hand to pound out on a tonga with his right hand while simultaneously using his left hand for the keyboards. A fun trick was getting the audience to participate by shaking their key chains to make sound, as well as knee patting and making wind noises.
I had no interest in Weezer nor the Dandy Warhols, so I called it an early night. Must rest for a big final day!