Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bumbershooting Review

Bumbershoot 2009 has been over for nearly a week now. Below is a summation of all the wonderful music the 3 day arts festival had to offer... as well as a few other fun tidbits about the experience.

First... since most of you are dying to know... here's how the bands viewed shaped up in the post Bumbershoot ranking based on the live performance of their music.

1. Michael Franti & Spearhead
2. Akron/Family
3. Yeah Yeah Yeahs
4. Eric Hutchinson
5. Metric
6. Natalie Portman's Shaved Head
7. The Long Winters
8. Jason Mraz
9. Grand Hallway
10. U.S.E. (United States of Electronica)
12. Cold War Kids
13. Say Hi
14. Low vs. Diamond
15. Soul Savers featuring Mark Lanegon
16. Oren Lavie
17. Carrie Rodriguez
18. Everest
19. Visqueen
20. Sera Cahoone
21. The Honey Brothers
22. Matt & Kim
23. Massy Ferguson
24. Black Joe Lews & The Honey Bears
25. The Minus 5
26. Kim Fields & The Mighty Titans of Tone

It could not have been predicted that Michael Franti would have topped this list prior to attending his performance. However, what followed the hour plus crowd sandwich waiting session was nothing short of energy packed brilliance. Spearhead backed up Franti with such success, it was very evident without them, Michael Franti is just a talented guy with a guitar and no real punch. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but doubtful a performance without Spearhead would have boosted Franti to the Bumbershoot top spot. The one song featured in this article's playlist (Franti's first top 40 hit), enjoyed the on stage collaboration of Jason Mraz, as he appeared in a preview of his upcoming performance to sing and riff with Franti.

Akron/Family, in the second slot was only slightly edged out by Franti and Spearhead. This trio delivers a magical performance in the most prolific and overstated way. Delving into a variety of sounds, loops, and imagination, Akron/Family takes thoughtful ideas and weaves them into a creative array of delicious and sometimes dance worthy rock. Capable of slowing things down and connecting with the audience in a slightly more silent way (as evidenced by the song on this article's playlist), Akron/Family truly reaches into all sub-genre's of contemporary rock.

The rest of the list filled out quite nicely for the remainder of the 3 day festival. While all bands desired to be seen, could not be, these 26 were definitely among the best. Other surprises that garner MUST CHECK OUT status are Grand Hallway, U.S.E., UH HUH HER, Low vs. Diamond, & Everest. You can use Playlist or Grooveshark to listen to these groups before purchasing.

Bumbershoot remains the premier way to catch the last bit of summer in a fantastic city, and the views of the Space Needle while listening to some amazing music can't be beat for a wildly genius Labor Day weekend.


1: disappointments
(Matt & Kim failed miserably to provide anything other than a standard performance)

20+: number of people I threw into the crowd for surfing
(save for Natalie Portman's Shaved Head's performance, it was simply the easiest way for people to exit the crowd and not for fun.

34: hours spent standing during the 3 day festival
(If you want to hang in the back for all the shows you can sit a lot more. But with bands like Metric, NPSH, U.S.E., & Yeah Yeah Yeahs... who would want to!?!)

560: total dollar cost of attending Bumbershoot
(hotel 1 1/2 blocks from the festival, groceries from Safeway, ticket, gas, & parking... a total bargain)

3.28: total dollar cost to see each band based on ticket price.
(where else are you ever going to see some of the bands on this list in the Pacific Northwest for under $4? NO WHERE!)


Standing at the very front of the stage, awaiting a performance by The Long Winters I met a man who works for Discussing a band I had never hear of, I was told to "Google" them. I didn't have the heart to call him out on telling me to 'Google' this band rather than "Bing" them, which should have been the response from someone working for MSNBC.


No longer a Yeah Yeah Yeahs virgin. And I'm happy about it! (Sept. 6, 2:52pm)

@shanlee @BendChick let's be clear on this... Are we talkin' poo and vomit? (Sept. 6, 6:03pm)

Michael Franti is like Shaggy... But for real. (Sept. 6, 6:24pm)

Dang. I was gonna stop by the Bumbershoot Alzheimer's booth... But I forgot. (Sept. 7, 2:35pm)

Front row for the next band. Can't remember who it is. Don't care... Not moving. Metric is afterward and that will be AH-mazing! (Sept. 7, 6:04pm)

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