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BUMBERSHOOT Music & Arts Festival – DAY 2
September 2, 2012$3 - $125.00
Since 1971, the annual Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival has been held at Seattle Center, an area that was originally constructed for the 1962 World’s Fair and is home to the Space Needle (erected for the same purpose). Throughout the mid-1990s through the early 2000s, my friends and I sneaked in just about every single year. It’s been about a decade since my last visit, but Monster Fresh is gonna be covering the festival this year and I’m genuinely pretty excited about it. Sure the ticket prices are astronomical again (compared to 20yrs ago) and I’m way too old and out of shape to jump a fence in my old age, but I’m still getting in for free like the good ol’ days, so fuck it.
But seriously folks… The reason that I’m really excited is partly because of the nostalgia and because I’ve had a lot of lifelong memories formed through this festival in the past. Bumbershoot is what you’re supposed to be doing in Seattle over Labor Day. When I moved to to King County, there was a ton of all-ages shit for kids to do to prevent them from simply stealing their parents booze, getting into fights, and breaking thangz. There were events for the community and constant reasons for us to want to ride a bus up to Seattle from the suburbs and spend the day up here with something to do. These days I live in the city and there isn’t much that excites me like it used to. I often wonder now what the fuck the youth is getting into, but through all of the changes, diminishing of all-ages venues, and funding cuts, Bumbershoot is still here for the community. It’s crowded and there are both families and skethed-out wingnuts in spades, but it’s an experience full of music, comedy, and even intimate Q & As. Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing a variety of acts perform such as WEEN, David Byrne, Built to Spill, Benevento Russo Duo, Daniel Johnston, The Ramones, Tiny Tim, Public Enemy, Sam Bush, Maceo Parker, Sonic Youth, Rat Dog, and was even pulled off and beaten down after trying to breakdance on the mainstage during Beck. Even in going as a member of the media, I’m still really hoping to see some hooligans trying to work their way into this festival and the looks on the faces of someone experiencing an act that they would have never come in contact with otherwise, but is exposing them to something remarkable.
Each day in the suggested events page, I have included a list of recommended acts
Here’s a list for…
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 2nd
It’s a convention style set up with various screenprint and poster artists. Whenever you’re not doing anything and have some down time, check it out. It will be up every day. The set of complimentary WEEN posters pictured above were created by Gregg “Gigart” Gordon, who’s work we’ve featured before on Monster Fresh. Also appearing at Flatstock will be other past WEEN poster artists like Justin Hampton and Justin Santora, as well as site favorites like Nakatomi Inc’s Timothy Doyle. Go pick yourself up something nice.
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
Daptone records has been at the forefront of what has repeatedly been referred to as a “revivalist” movement for the soul sounds of the 1960s through mid-70s, but unlike other resuscitated sounds of the past that are currently in favor with the youth of today, such as the overwhelming onslaught of generic 80s synths flooding the virtual airwaves, the Daptone catalog sounds much more authentic and doesn’t seem to be cursed with irony or contrivance. Maybe that’s because some of their artists, like Charles Bradley and Lee Fields (performing at the festival later in the day), have been at it for most of their lives. Sharon Jones is no exception and, along with her group the Dap-Kings, she’s become the break out force for the label, helping to put it on the map. In fact, her debut release was the very first full-length released by the Daptone a full decade ago. The Dap-Kings have gained further notoriety by being the band that backed Amy Winehouse on her critically acclaimed, Mark Ronson produced album, Back to Black, and when Phish threw their 3-day festival known as Festival 8 at the Indio Polo Fields over Halloween weekend in 2009, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings joined them on stage to recreate the classic Rolling Stones album, Exile on Maine St in it’s entirety. These guys have an incredible resume and are beyond impressive. You don’t want to miss this set.
Alabama native, Michael Wayne Atha (aka Yelawolf), looks a lot more like a member of a random Warped Tour band than a Southern rap star, but that’s exactly what he’s become. His career has taken some of the typical turns that plague struggling artists, by being signed and dropped (by Rick Rubin no less) and enduring years of trying to get his name out there by methods that range from TV appearances–both reality and dramatic–to working the mixtape hustle. I first heard him on a Big Boi track and his flow is incredibly identifiable and unique. Now signed to Eminem’s Shady records, the only “notable” comparison between the two artists is their choice of genre and skin color. He’s likely adopted some more mainstream subject matter on his newer tracks, but I discovered him through backwoods and hood-as-fuck tracks like “Pop the Trunk” where he spits verses about blasted fools to death with shotguns.
Every year, Bumbershoot makes sure to do set aside one night as a hip hop showcase for the mainstage. In the past it has featured such legendary talent as Public Enemy and Mos Def. This year that day falls on Sunday, and the mainstage features much younger acts like Big Sean and Mac Miller. Sean has made a name for himself after accosting Kanye West at a radio station trying to slip him a demo tape. Mac Miller is another up and comer who, apparently, already up and came, getting the major mainstage headlining spot over the whole festival for the day. Meanwhile, Yelawolf isn’t part of that lineup at all and will be performing on a small sidestage at 4pm next to the centerhouse, in the middle of the festival grounds where families and young children stroll through. For me, that’s enough. I just want to see what kind of wingnut shit this guy is rapping about and the looks on the faces of innocent, unsuspecting on-lookers while he does it.
Writers of Futurama
One of the great features of Bumbershoot is that they host a number of talks, Q&As and lectures each day. If you feel like changing up the pace of your day and are planning to try and hit one of those up, why not go to one with the writers of Futurama? This event conflicts with Mudhoney’s set, who has remained a consistent live act with one of the most engaging frontmen ever, in Mark Arm, but I’ve already seen them a million times over the years. If you haven’t seen them before, that might be the way to go, but if you live in Seattle, chances are that you’ll be able to catch Mudhoney again. The energy between the two are like night and day so, depending on where you’re at with your own day, it should be easy enough to make a determination between the two, based on that.
Here’s a bit of a description of what to expect from the talk, via the Bumbershoot website:
Writers of Futurama will discuss the unique opportunities and challenges of writing an animated program, and will present a world-premiere clip of an episode currently in production for broadcast in the 2013 season. Moderated by Kurt Braunohler, star of Bunk on IFC.
Being from the Northwest, I’ve seen Portland’s Blitzen Trapper quite a few times at this point. Nothing against these guys, because I think that they’re a really talented and solid group of musicians, but after seeing them so often, I felt burned out and didn’t really see the point of checking them out again. Then, towards the end of last year, we hosted a ticket giveaway for a Seattle performance that they were co-headlining with the band Dawes. Being offered a free ticket and photo pass, I figured that I might as well swing down to check it out at the last minute and get some shots. Not only did they blow the other act completely out of the water, they definitely made a case for themselves as a live act worth catching again and again. [Read our review of that show HERE.]
Whether you consider them to be an indie, folk, alt-country, or psychedelic act, might be irrelevant. At their core, Blitzen Trapper is a rock band that might make it look impressive, but doesn’t make it look easy. They’re a group that pushes their sound out with grit and elbow grease and puts their soul into all of it. They might wind up doing aerial maneuvers in a spacecraft traveling through an inter-dimensional portal, but they get that machine off of the ground with a push start and the hand crank of a propeller on a bi-plane. If you want to see something honest and witness a group that’s churning something out with everything they have, make the effort to slip by the Sub Pop stage at 8:30pm. They seem to be getting increasingly better each time and it’s a safe bet that you’ll want to spend the next hour watching Blitzen Trapper rip the fucking stage apart.
Wanda Jackson and the Dusty 45s
74 year old Queen of Rockabilly and Rock n Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Wanda Jackson had to prove herself early on in her career. At first rejected from a contract with Capitol records due to their claim that a female artist wouldn’t sell any records, she later moved more than a few units for the label, while becoming a widely popular musical sensation. With her wild growl, steamrolling delivery, and glamorous twists in style and delivery, she made tremendously positive and groundbreaking impacts on the perceptions of the capabilities of women in the industry, as well as on music as a whole. She might be well known for her romantic relationship with tour mate, Elvis Presley, in her youth, or for her more recent collaborations with long-time fan, Jack White, but if there’s one artist who doesn’t need either of these rock stars to define them, it’s Wanda–she’s more than proven that she’s a legend in her own right. Make sure to catch this legend live, while you still have the opportunity.
Here, check out some of this raucous throwback jive..