Reviews from the massive Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle.
By the time I was done hanging with The Whigs and then editing/publishing that story, it was nearly 7pm. Sadly, I missed TONS of performances today, but hopefully Zoe and Nate picked up the slack. After three days of running hard, I was feeling pretty fatigued, so I figured some comedy might perk me up. I had been trying all weekend to find time to see a comedy show, so now was the time.
The first thing that caught my ear was before the show, with The Thievary Corporation’s remix of The Doors’ “Strange Days” playing. Kinda like it. First came Joe Mande. As soon as he dropped the word shit for the first time, he discovered there was a little girl in the front row. “How about we just pretend you have Benjamin Button disease?” he said. Mande was really funny, and some of his highlights were talking about how a threesome might not be so great because then that would be two women he has to say “I’m sorry” to before going to sleep. And his stories of people who have blocked him on Twitter because he harasses them was great: Greta Van Susteren from FOX News, Chamillionaire, and Jeremy Piven from Entourage.
Chelsea Peretti was okay, but not hilarious. Her jokes about how her mother out foxes her were good and how her father has had three wives that were each Jewish, Black and Indian was funny too. But she had lists of jokes on the stool out there with her, which seemed like kind of an amateur move.
Donald Glover came out very strong with a set much more vulgar than what NBC’s Community will obviously allow. Apparently there had been controversy when people suggested that the new Spiderman should be black, and that Glover would be a good fit. He said bloggers on the web kind of went crazy and one even said “What’s next? Making Michael Cera the next Shaft?”
Glover reminds me of Chris Rock a lot with his stand up with the way his voice changes directions and his body gestures. But he has this high-pitch squeak (Think of the mom in the Adam Sandler bit “Do It For Your Mama”…”What??!! You’re Beautiful!“) that just borderlines being enough to get annoying. People behind me started mocking the sound when he would do it. Again, his body gestures were really funny though and he imitated what it would look like if someone could shit on command and throw it at people like a superhero. He started losing me late in the show though as it ran 15 minutes over schedule. I had places to be!
One of those places was to see the legendary Booker T. I thought his band was tight, but nothing special at first. They started roping me in when they played the classic “Green Onions” as that was a real treat to watch live. Booker didn’t play any wild solos on the organ, but he was just smooth, cool and dry. His guitarist was good, but not great. I think I still had James Cotton’s guitarists on my mind from the day before, which isn’t fair to Booker T. and his crew. His guitarist eventually won me over with a cover of Albert King’s “Born Under a Bad Sign.”
As for Mary J. Blige, I couldn’t believe how much of a crowd she did NOT have! She maybe had 25% of the crowd that Bob Dylan had on this stage two nights before (though the drizzle and people having to work tomorrow didn’t help). I kind of felt bad for her. Dylan had the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen at Bumbershoot on the mainstage where Blige might have had the smallest.
But it didn’t matter: She out-performed Bob Dylan by 200% Her musicians were top-notch, her backup singers were superb, the light show was cool and the R&B queen strutted all over that stage and sang her ass off! She had great vocals as the crowd cheered her on with “Go Mary! Go Mary! Go, Go, Go Mary!” And she made that crowd a little sexy too; there were a lot of people getting close with a little bit of grinding going on all over.
As usual, I have too many thanks that I can’t even begin to recall about this wonderful festival from the staff to the musicians. ESPECIALLY to my staff though! Zoe Saurs and Nate Watters did a great job even though we had technical problems all weekend long! Much thanks to them!!
The Bumbershoot staff and volunteers were amazing once again, especially the tech folks that helped us through our computer dilemma on Sunday! Thanks Nikki, Kimi and all the rest! As usual, I met a ton of new people this weekend that I hope to have lasting friendships with, and many others who it was my pleasure to meet regardless. And to my good friend Alena: It took me all weekend, but I finally plugged your business!
Some of my favorite performances over the long weekend included: Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, Star Anna and The Laughing Dogs, James Cotton, Mary J. Blige, Justin Townes Earle, Ozomatli and more that I probably can’t remember right now with my exhausted body.
Bumbershoot: Thanks once again and I love ya, kid.