Bumbershoot ups and downs

By weeklyvolcano on September 3, 2007

Like every year, I was excited about Bumbershoot but was so let down with the first two days that I skipped today.   

I was shocked and surprised when I looked at the schedule and saw literally zero blues slotted over the three days. 

No blues? 

I can recall a time when Bumbershoot was practically a blues festival.  I guess the promoters are trying to appease the three T’s: tweens, teens and twenty-something’s, rather than old guys, like me.  Still, I consider myself a pretty hip dude and only listen to KEXP so many acts were recognizable to me so I thought I would enjoy myself.  Boy was I in for a shock.

We arrived Saturday just in time to see the Shins.  The band played some of their best known tunes with precision with no room for jamming or spontaneity; they could have been lip-synching.  The reason bands tour is to promote their latest recording and they are no exception and Wincing the Night Away was covered almost from head-to-toe.  Good thing I love the Sub Pop release.  Overall, not the most exciting live act but was worth a peek-a-boo. 

Over the course of the remaining eight hours we walked around the Seattle Center trying to take in as much as we could. The acts we did see were northwest diva Carrie Arke, roots singer David Jacob Strain and local punkers the Cops before heading back to the Samsung Mainstage for Gym Class Heroes.  I know I’m probably showing my age but I find hip-hop annoying as hell.  But apparently I was alone on Saturday because the stadium was filled with people who could sing-a-long with every rhyme they spilled.  I’ll give credit where credit is due though. GCH put on an high energy show with off-the-cuff jams and even covered some classic soul in between the boom booms. 

We stuck around the stadium for the night’s headliner, Panic! At the Disco. I’d only ever heard one song of the Las Vegas quartet so I wasn’t extremely knowledgeable of their set list but was impressed by the energy they exuded as they filled the night with pure emo-pop-punk heaven. All-in-all, not a bad day of music but it could have been better. 

We were excited about Sunday’s line-up and raced back to catch the first Mainstage act, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.  At exactly 1:15 p.m. the trio, plus a bass player, hit the stage for a show that got me on my feet.  While they peddled their first disc with gusto, they revisited some of the older material for a nice trip back in time.  But technical problems plagued them throughout the show.  Sound check?  Hello? At 2:10 they said they had time for one last song? Wait a minute.  It says they stop at 2:30.  They ended with the barn burner “American X” which by that time the sound was fixed but a little late.   They were better at the Showbox. 

Cancellations were a huge issue for Bumbershoot.  My girlfriend’s daughter only agreed to tag along with us Sunday so she could see This Providence but low-and-behold, CANCELED.  One act I was dying to see were the rockabilly-from hell ensemble the Horrorpops but when we got to the gate, CANCELED.  Bummed out but hopeful, we forged on.  “Hey, let’s go see Ryan Shaw,” said my girlfriend.  We went and sat on the grass at the Esurance stage and caught the remaining moments of reggae rapper Barrington Levy.  The announcer followed him out and promptly announced Ryan Shaw was CANCELED.   Thankfully the Apples in Stereo didn’t cancel otherwise I might have thrown some apples.  â€" Tony Engelhart