Reviews from the massive Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle.
The first half of my day was filled with a lot of mediocrity: Trampled By Turtles, The Clientele and the Japandroids were all solid performers, but didn’t give me any reason to stay past a few songs. Maybe my patience was running thin, or maybe I was just overwhelmed with excitement to interview Baroness and The Moondoggies and listen to Jenny & Johnny.
After a fantastic interview with Baroness, I was absolutely thrilled to see them live for my first time. I felt a little bad for the band once I arrived at the Center Stage a little before show time. The crowd was so small! Now, they are the heaviest band playing Bumbershoot so maybe that’s to be expected, but after hearing them talk about how the crowd makes the show, I really wanted them to have a good show in Seattle! To no surprise, the crowd filled out and Baroness rocked. They’re soft-spoken on stage and I respect them a lot for being enthusiastic to talk to, for always acting like they wanted to be there, and for smiling on stage. Despite the long hair and tattoos, you wouldn’t expect these guys to be in a metal band. “A Horse Called Golgotha” and “Swollen And Halo” were perfectly satisfying.
The Moondoggies continued Baroness’ trend of playing a string of my favorite songs in succession (a rare occurrence at shows, in my experience), mostly songs off of Don’t Be A Stranger. My only complaint is that the vocals sounded really muffled and these guys are usually pretty clear so it was probably a result of the sound system. Just sayin’; this isn’t Bob Dylan.
Having seen Jenny Lewis perform in Seattle last spring as a solo artist, she is much more fun and confident with a full band backing her and the addition of vocals by her bandmate and boyfriend, Jonathan Rice. They’ve been co-writing and singing on each other’s albums for the past few years, so it only makes sense they finally came out with a record and toured together. They mostly played songs from their new album I’m Having Fun Now (2010) that came out this August, but they played an old favorite from Lewis’ last album, Acid Tongue, called “The Next Messiah.” Jenny and Johnny closed their set by playing a simple but gorgeous acoustic cover of “Love Hurts.” Now, I realize this might be far reaching, but it was during these last two songs that Jenny Lewis reminded me of Janis Joplin a little when she belted a note. She would just hurl her voice out there and let it ring in her slightly rough voice. Appropriate bittersweet ending to a rainy, quickly dimming evening. Bumbershoot, you definitely exceeded my expectations.