Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sunday at Bumbershoot

Day two of Bumbershoot started out more well organized than day one so we managed to catch the first few bands this time.

SOL Kicked things off on the Fountain Stage

I can't tell in this video but the fountain directly out in front of the stage behind the sound boards is reflected in the screen behind the band to some degree, depending on the sun's angle and the ambient light which makes for a nice effect, I wonder if they planned that? I got a more complete song from Sol called the Rundown:
I'm a fan of the live instrumentation so I enjoy the bass, drums and keyboards along with the backing vocals, gives the song a very real human feel, not mechanical or computerized and repetitive the way so many sequenced bits end up.

We zipped over to the EMP Level 3 stage to catch the Gail Pettis Quartet, a nice jazz quartet with talented musicians and a great vocalist. They really show the Level 3 Stage acoustics off favorably, the audience finger snaps and the instrument noises are very clear. Nice, but the 3 flights of stairs on the opposite end of the Seattle Center from the other live music venues definitely wore me down.

On the way out you exit almost onto 5th Avenue and you can see the 5th Avenue entrance and here the street musicians:

We looped over to the Mural Amphitheater to listen to Kasey Anderson and the Honkies play an interesting set. I like the vocals and the way the song builds, very nice sound. Fun band, they had the smaller crowd moving and dancing and enjoying themselves. The early shows without that large a crowd often end up with some great bands that are easy to get close to but they tend to have limited crowd participation - the crowd mostly hasn't shown up yet for the early sets.

Kore Ionz had a good sound, this song starts out with some romantic sounding personal vocals, then goes into a good reggae groove. Good reggae in the sun shine is a nice combination, definitely a solid set. Gotta love the horns too!

Davilla 666 sounded more melodic and mainstream than I had expected from the name:

Fun sound, enjoyable if slightly unpredictable, here's another bit by them, on this one I'm closer and the bass tends to distort the audio so it's marginal at best, too bad.

I think this was Whalebones, the band we saw next. I've never seen them before so I could be wrong; the drum set sorta looks like it's spelling something like Whalebones, anyway.

The second Whalebones video is a complete song that I enjoyed:

Next we caught Lonely Forest on the Key Arena Mainstage, their sound fit the venue well. I suspect this is one of the larger venues they've ever played, certainly it's the biggest venue I've ever seen them in. It suits them - as I said, their sound works well in a large venue.

Next it was back to the Fisher Green for a fun dancy Mad Rad set. Mad Rad is a reliably entertaining hip hop group that always puts on a great show. I like the cello player, it adds an interesting sound to the transition bit in Life On Party Mountain:

Party Mountain and You Only Live Once are both instant classics:

The "air keyboards" in particular always amuses the heck out of me. Mad Rad is probably my favorite local party oriented hip hop band.

Next we caught Massey Ferguson at the Mural Amphitheater, I'd vaguely heard of them but never actually heard their music. Interesting song with some good pedal steel guitar work:

You may notice this common pattern with my videos: the first one is kind of short _ I start recording as soon as I get there, in the middle of a song, so it ends early. If they're good I'll stay and record some more, so here's another 7+ minutes of Massey Ferguson, I think there are two songs in this:

No Means No put on a good set in the Exhibition Hall, somewhere between a punk approach and a rockabilly beat with an almost anthemic feel to this number:

Broken Social Scene was cool, but we ran into a limitation. We got there a little late and the ushers wouldn't let us onto the show floor, effectively it was full. It seemed to have some room, but we were stuck up in the reserved seating fairly far from the stage. Sound is pretty good though:

I have to admit I don't enjoy it as much if I have to sit far away in a "reserved" section: reserved is the last thing I want to associate with a show, I want energetic and outgoing and over the top! I don't mean to criticize Broken Social Scene, they put on a good set that had the main floor crowd moving, the fault was mine for getting there too late to get onto the floor. We got better at that as the weekend passed, but we still ended up watching a fair amount of music from far away at the key.

Next we went out and caught some of Thee Oh Sees on the Fountain stage:

Thee Oh Sees were fun, good rhythms and twangy guitars with interesting vocals. I got a longer video too:

We caught some of DaN Funk + Master Blazter but I didn't get any usable video from them. Oops. I did manage to get some video of the Jim Jones Review, they were fun:

I think this is Tennis, I had to look at their web site to be sure since I never saw them before. This video is short but intriguing, wish I got more. I like the sound and the woman's vocals are very good.

Jessica Lea Mayfield (another assumed correct performer, never heard or seen them before but the photo looks roughly correct) was another interesting appealing performer:

Next up was Das Racist, I like them but my daughters weren't feeling them as much. I've seen them 4 times now and they are more creative than most in odd ways. The guy I always think of as the lead vocalist is always going off on some odd tangent; at Sasquatch he was calling every number a "cool jazz" song or something like that; at Bumbershoot he was talking about classic rock and fiddling with the Mac in the middle of the show, dropping different beats and samples I've never heard them use before, and the chatter between the performers is funny but also somewhat pointed, one of the members told another "Man you're mean, I liked you better before you lost weight!" The chatter changes so much from show to show that it doesn't feel canned or faked, it seems to be pretty authentic as they talk about things and mess around with their songs and patter.

I like the guy up front hoisting his crutches - I can;t see the guy, but I can see his crutches. He or she must be ambitious getting up that close!
I got a longer recording here:

We stopped for a bit of HTRK, they played more instruments than most of the performers at the Decibel Fest EMP Sky Church venue, the instruments gave it a nice sound:

Warpaint put on a great set, I'd never heard of them. An all woman band with a great sound both on vocals and instruments, I really enjoyed them and would like to see them again. This is one of those "I enjoyed it too much so the video is a little shaky" videos, sorry about that. I kept getting distracted by the band or the urge to move in time to the music, good bands do that to me. You can always tell when the focus drifts off the band that I'm no longer paying attention to the camera. On the plus side that means I'm enjoying the show!

Butthole Surfers were talented but the backdrop of horror movie gore projected on the screen behind them was distracting to me and actively detracted from the show.

I like the occasional violent horror movie, but the gore is usually spread out a little more and integrated into some kind of plot. Watching all of the spattering and limbs being cut off just made me want to see something else sooner.

Luckily there was a great alternative available!

This is the first time I've seen Macklemore & Ryan Lewis live and I enjoyed it immensely. We ended up in nose bleed heaven on the 3rd level so the visuals were poor and the sound was only so-so but the crowd was so enthusiastic and involved and the instrumentals were often pretty clean and the overall sound was good for being in a large venue and somewhat distorted, if that makes any sense.
The Town was a stand-out track:

I got other good bits on video like Otherside and several others, you can look them up on my youtube channel if you want; it was a great show!
I'll finish the Macklemore set up with "And We Danced" followed by "Irish Celebration" - I was hoping to see "And We Danced," I read a review about Macklemore & Ryan Lewis in Denver that called this "the full David Bowie" and it had the audience totally bonkers:

Once we got out of the Key Arena we managed to catch a short bit of what i believe is Toro y Moi:

The Kills were another band I had never seen, interesting approach, cool sound:

I got another song by the Kills too:

The last Bumbershoot act we caught on Sunday was Carbon Leaf:

This video was shot from the beer garden at the Mural Amphitheater. Carbon Leaf had a cool sound, and both of my daughters are now old enough to join me in the beer garden, Now if I could just train them to buy me beers I'd be set. If memory serves, I ended up buying a beer for Heather so the training seems to have been backwards. Hmm.

Some people were handing out flyers for a free show after Bumbershoot across the street from the Key Arena and I've got a soft spot for that venue. These guys were totally hosed when Schultz sold the Sonics to Oklahoma and they've struggled to recover and find a niche ever since. We stopped by for a couple of songs and another beer on the way home:

Including the bands I saw but didn't get recorded and the street musicians I saw 28 performances on Sunday. One more day of Bumbershoot left, hopefully I'll see even more bands!

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