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  1. Bumbershootin’ Day 1: Crystal Castles and !!!

    September 12, 2013 by Dave


    Full Crystal Castles photo set available here

    Words by AJ Dent

    Photos by David Endicott

    Crystal Castles

    When I was little, my older sisters told me that the move Mario does when he reaches the top of a beanstalk in Heaven and can climb no further is called “the Mario dance.” It involves him rapidly shaking his arms and legs up and down while staying in one place. He should be climbing or falling, but he’s somehow stationary despite his spasms. My siblings and I would act this out ourselves while the current player did it onscreen, then jumped off to go collect coins. This is what it felt like being in the Crystal Castles crowd: Trippy. Sporadic yet rhythmic. Nirvanic.

    Alice Glass and Ethan Kath (whose very names are rhyme-licious and fun to say out loud — go ahead, try it) sculpt clouds when they perform together. Surely gypsies in their former lives who hypnotized their way to the top, their entrance alone was entrancing. Wearing mist across their shoulders, they stole my mind in the same fashion that Ursula’s vaporous fingers syringe Ariel’s voice from her throat. They didn’t just close Saturday night at the TuneIn Stage, they shredded it with a thousand lightsabers. I swear I was carried home after Bumbershoot’s first day on a magic carpet, smiling like a deranged cat. And I was sober! Catch their experience live if you get the chance. Everyone should have such ear orgasms.




    Words by AJ Dent

    Photos by David Endicott


    When someone looks you in the eye and says a certain act will be one of the most exciting of a three-day weekend, you listen. This is the influence under which I caught !!!, and sure enough, they wound up on my chk-list (sorry, couldn’t resist) of Bumbershoot’s greatest groups. Nic Offer was off-the-wall as ever, shaking his ass, staring down, and sing-screaming at each one of us. The high of 2012’s Thr!!!er seemed an updraft beneath the artists, lifting them to laugh-out-loud antics and inspiring delight all over their faces. I’d originally been a bit bummed they weren’t playing at night, but being Sacramento-sprung, they jived with the daylight like lifelong lovers. If you ever attend one of their shows and don’t dance, you have no soul. It’s that simple. For the rest of us, may this defibrillator of a band live forever.


  2. Bumbershootin’ Day 1: The Physics and Gary Numan

    September 11, 2013 by Dave

    Photos and Words by AJ Dent


    The Physics

    Seattle favorites The Physics absolutely devoured the Fountain Stage with their set. Of course, after fifteen years of Thig, Monk, and Justo making funk together, it was inevitable. Shout-outs of lyrics highlighting local areas could be heard by pockets of the audience throughout the show, but what made this a Saturday standout was all the grooving. There wasn’t a single down moment thanks to the backup singers backin’ it up, the crowd clapping along, and the rhymemasters themselves coordinating shuffle-jigs. With the sun splattering through the bandshell, they made use of every inch of the stage and proved why they still have staying power. As if it was ever in doubt.

    DSC_5851physics 4

    Gary Numan


    “So… what is he?” a young concertgoer I’d never met before asked me as workers prepped the TuneIn Stage for Mr. Numan. This twenty-something had seen my press pass and approached me for details, figuring I’d know what’s up. The fact she dropped “what” rather than “who” about him says a lot. Maybe it’s his Numanoids fanbase of old, or his positive atheist rep, or his impact on new wave noise, or his faux-cameo via Stewie singing on Family Guy. All I know is, several of my friends told me I had to catch this electronica original, and I was highly, highly entertained. There’s just something about legendary British gents that render me unable to look away. My guess is, ya know, the decades of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll ingrained in their very aura. Which is why my answer to the young Bumbershooter beside me that evening was a simple, “Just watch.”

  3. Bumbershootin’ Day 2: Katie Kate and Matt Pond

    September 11, 2013 by Dave

    Words and Photos by AJ Dent


    Katie Kate

    With hair like a frosty waterfall, Katie Kate commanded my complete attention in the second performance of hers I’ve had the fortune of catching. Sasquatch 2012 saw this ball of spunk, but that show felt quite different from her spot at Bumbershoot. She seemed more comfortable this time around, both with her bombastic raps and her interaction with the audience. “If you’re wondering where all these beats came from, I made ‘em,” she dead-panned at one point, creating cheers. Whitney Petty of The Grizzled Mighty — another Seattle act gaining speed — and I spotted one another in the crowd, and momentarily danced together to this punky pixie’s flows. “Shit’s about to get real real,” Katie Kate later laughed before busting out 2012’s “Zombie.” Before any of us knew what was happening, people dressed up for Bumbershoot’s Zombie Walk trudge-danced onto the stage. “If you see a zombie, fucking kill it!” she called out, and proceeded to run around kicking some undead ass. It was the perfect example of her confidence and coolness in the city that adores her. With her unique utterances on the mic and instrument intelligence in the mixing room, she’s set to explode across the whole country. Watch out for her.

    matt pond

    Matt Pond

    If I could choose my ideal setting in which to hear Matt Pond play, it would definitely be atop a frozen lake, him in winter boots with the audience ice-skating all around. I really bet spouts of visible breath and twinkles of snow would complement well his heart-driven guitar-strumming. Bumbershoot’s not half bad either, though. All the sweethearts that’d congregated in front of the Plaza Stage were in for a treat (probably back at home after the show, too). This New England-based artist and collaboration guru emitted warm melodies just right for a Sunday night beneath the Space Needle. “Let Me Live” seemed an especially content mantra, as if each band member knew they were in the precise right place at the right time right then. I think the spectators felt the same way, too.

  4. Bumbershootin’ Day 1:Thao and the Get Down Stay Down

    September 11, 2013 by Dave


    Words by AJ Dent

    Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

    There’s not much better in this world than soaking up a clean-cut banjo breakdown with thousands of other music lovers on a hot summer day. The instant I’d found myself within range of Thao’s matter-of-fact singing voice, I’d ran across the grass to get closer, and for good reason. It’s always striking to see someone live out their lifelong passion, and this was no exception. Thao commanded the crowd like a (friendly) boss, making waves of head-bobbing and in-place-jumping ripple out from the Fountain Stage. With We the Common out in February of this year, the band’s momentum has become magnetic, and their sun-infused Bumbershoot show only proved that it’s well-earned.

  5. Bumbershootin’ Day 1: Kendrick Lamar

    September 10, 2013 by Dave


    Words by AJ Dent

    Damn it, Kendrick. I hate how much your performance made me love you. Multiple people told me throughout the rest of the weekend that KL delivered their favorite set, and while I don’t grant him that honor, I can’t really blame those who do. He had one big platform almost entirely to himself, one very early timeslot (due to tight tour booking), and one helluva stage presence that kept us all hooked. The command “If you a bad bitch, put your hands up high,” clearly convinced every person on the floor to take on this newfound identity, because arm-raising is precisely what they did. Control? Yeah. He brought it.


  6. Bumbershootin’ Day 1: ZZ Ward and Gus + Scout

    September 7, 2013 by Dave

    Photos and Words by AJ Dent

    ZZ Ward

    An artist who can switch from soulful to lighthearted with a simple flick of her smile has definitely got my vote. While I usually envision dark lounges and dirty martinis when I listen to ZZ’s stuff, this sunny Saturday was surprisingly fitting. The Starbucks Stage, regularly known as The Mural, complemented Ward well, from her buttercup tresses and Persian rug pants to her cinnamony voice and hot lover of a guitar. Her equally into-it bandmates — repeatedly suppressing big ol’ grins to little avail — only helped frame the sultry female, turning hers into one of the day’s smoothest shows. “Put The Gun Down”? Only once yours stops smoking, Mz. Z, and we’re guessing that won’t be anytime soon.

    Gus + Scout

    Don’t you love discovering acts so endearing, you’re shocked they don’t have a Wikipedia page yet? It’s like they’re still a secret, something you can share with the right friends who’ll appreciate it too. Despite performing together since 2011, Gus + Scout still felt fresh during their Plaza Stage set — so much so, Scout came off as a bit nervous in my eyes. This is no dis, though; in fact, it added to the sweet-n-simple personality of their songs, the call-and-response format that heartbreakers like “Gone, Gone, Gone” feature. While their body language matched lyrics about cautious love, they certainly didn’t hold back their voices, which spooned together like two content cats. Start these two up next time you need some lazy Sunday afternoon tunes. And share ‘em with your friends. They deserve it.

  7. Bumbershootin’: Must-See Musicians Day 3

    September 2, 2013 by Dave

    Our writer AJ Dent gives us the low down on who we’d better be attending at Bumbershoot:

    2:00pm-3:00pm, Mainstage
    Be grateful these guys are a force for good. If they felt like asking you to join a cult, you’d be offering to sign anything in blood before the first sentence of their pitch was over. They’re that throw-yourself-into-a-volcano type of beautiful everyone’s ears so utterly crave. Thank god Mount St. Helens is a solid hundred miles from the festival.

    3:30pm-4:45pm, Mainstage
    Who knew that just saying four letters out loud could make the small of your back start to sweat? It’s rumored these wonderkings are in fact made up entirely of drugs. That’s right. Picture towers of acid sheets and pink pills connected by glow-in-the-dark veins. Somehow they acquired keyboards and microphones and took over all the serotonin cities inside us. Listen to them live. You’ll believe it too.

    Trampled by Turtles
    9:45pm-11:00pm, Starbucks Stage
    The smell of sawdust and campfires will waft through the memory of every audience member at this show, guaranteed. These guys’ fingers are like miniature Paul Bunyans having seizures all up and down banjo strings. They’re quite the dopey-smile-inducing sight, if you can stop dosey-doeing long enough to look at them. Cash in all your chips here to wrap up the Labor Day weekend of a lifetime. These dudes don’t disappoint.

  8. Bumbershootin’: Must-See Musicians Day 2

    September 2, 2013 by Dave

    Our writer AJ Dent gives us the low down on who we’d better be attending at Bumbershoot:

    The Grizzled Mighty
    6:30-7:30pm, Plaza Stage
    Even if you’ve never heard them yet, your own subconscious is saying “fuck yeah” to this band. Your world and Friday night pregaming playlist will never be the same after this dynamic duo holds you upside down by the ankles and shakes.

    Ra Ra Riot
    8:15pm-9:15pm, Mainstage
    Voices taut as tightropes will be the only thing below your floating feet the moment this band begins. Ever have one of those moments where everything in you aches to cry, laugh, and dance around in a swirl all at once? Oh, you will.

    Beats Antique
    8:45pm-10:00pm, Fountain Lawn Stage
    When you inevitably get so into this group’s jams you close your eyes and start to sway, what you’ll probably see in your head are elephants prancing and galaxies churning. But then you’ll open your eyes instantly, because the visual art they bring to the stage is even better than that.

  9. Bumbershootin’: Must-See Musicians Day 1

    August 30, 2013 by Dave

    Our writer AJ Dent gives us the low down on who we’d better be attending at Bumbershoot:

    ZZ Ward
    4:45pm-5:45pm, Starbucks Stage
    Fair warning: You’ll need a cigarette after this performance. Go ahead and try to steel yourself against this woman’s whiskey-kiss vocals. We’ll try not to laugh too hard as you leave with your tie (and heartstrings) undone.

    6:15-7:15pm, Tunein Stage
    Take a good look at that band name. It’s daring you to try not to dance, and knowing you will fail. This act is enough to make the most set-jawed Seattleite get down. Just give in already. You won’t regret it.

    Washed Out
    9pm-10pm, Fountain Lawn Stage
    Yep, you’re going to want these sounds and the fountain lights rolling over you like waves near the end of Bumbershoot’s first day. Simultaneously slow and synthy, they’ll inspire you to ride the night’s positive vibes without partying yourself out too much for Sunday.